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Trend Watch, May 2018
Kanye West – rapper, fashion designer and now city builder?
Kanye West appears to be turning his sights from music and sneakers to architecture and city-building. “Don’t let him do this,” writes Brentin Mock in CityLab.
In the final 15 minutes of an interview with Charlamagne Tha God, ticking well over 8 million YouTube views in 20 days, Yeezy walks his 300 acres and muses, “I’m gonna build five properties, so this is my first community. I’m getting into development. Anybody who’s been to any of my cribs knows I’m super into developing homes. This is the next frontier for me.”
“I’m going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time, like what Howard Hughes was to aircraft and what Henry Ford was to cars.”
His relationships with architects, he says, his “understanding of space and sacred proportions,” will make this possible, and bring a “vibe, this new energy.” McMansions and Spanish roof homes, he adds, are “whack.”
We may have to take West seriously, Mock writes, as he does seem to know top designers and architects, he can get projects financed, doesn’t mind “holding millions of dollars of debt,” and believes that design can make a positive impact on society.
Kanye in May revealed plans to extend his fashion label, Yeezy, with an architecture division, to “make the world better.”
Prior to establishing Yeezy, Dezeen reports he set up his own design company, DONDA, with the aim to assemble a team of architects, designers and directors to work with him.
Yet, Mock warns – Kanye “can’t be managed,” as he “believes that his love for all people is all the evidence that’s needed for people to trust his development vision, which is a personality trait of the worst kind of developer.”
In the Charlamagne interview, Ye pronounces many variations on, “I love real change. I love challenging the norm,” and “I’m not a traditional thinker, I’m a non-conformist.” Mock writes, this love of disruption for disruption’s sake could have the most dangerous consequences.
On the other hand, Sekou Cook, writing for ArchDaily in An Architect’s Defense of Kanye West, says he wants Kanye to “keep talking.”
Future Street wins World Architecture award:
Future Street, designed by Place Design Group, has been named among five winners of an international Urban Challenge run by World Architecture News.
The contest, ‘Reclaiming the Streets 2018’, called for ideas to help address current urban problems, with the opportunity to create a vision for the future.
The Future Street installation delivered “a real-life experience” of a potential street from the future at Sydney’s Circular Quay in October 2017, says Place Design Group.
The company partnered with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Smart Cities Council Australia and New Zealand and the Internet of Things Alliance Australia to showcase smart city design, services and technologies.
Street Furniture Australia contributed prototypes of the Aria Smart Bench with PowerMe recharging table, making it easier to work and spend time in public places, and eBins featuring fill monitoring for better waste management.
Chris Isles, Executive Director, Planning with Place Design Group, said, “We’re humbled and excited for the Future Street project to be recognised on an international scale, which highlights the crucial role that built environment professionals have to play in the design of the streets of the future.”
Judge Peter Bishop, a respected Urban Planner and Urban Designer at Allies and Morrison in London, commended the ‘pop-up’ scheme and felt it had the edge over other submissions, commenting “They’ve actually done it. And a city like Sydney desperately needs it.”
Using virtual reality to test out urban planning for green space:
Researchers in environmental psychology at NC State University have used immersive virtual reality, or IVR, to measure the performance of green spaces at different sites, writes D’Lyn Ford for WRAL TechWire.
Researchers with the Centre for Geospatial Analytics used a robot to capture 360-degree, high-resolution images of a downtown Raleigh plaza and of a city park, then manipulated the vegetation to create several different environments.
In a downtown plaza scenario, virtual visitors near tall buildings wanted to be surrounded by as much green vegetation as possible, says landscape architect and lead author Payam Tabrizian.
The top-rated landscape design among the 90 testers was one with trees on all four sides in a medium-density arrangement.
“In an urban setting, being enclosed by vegetation feels restorative. It can serve as a shield from the urban environment and create a kind of refuge where people can sit and relax for a while,” says Tabrizian.
“People preferred urban environments that were very green and being enclosed in vegetation didn’t seem to bother them that much.”
However, in the park setting, the testers’ preference was for open spaces, rather than enclosed greenery.
“It seems that people have enough green surrounding them and want to know what’s happening around them,” Tabrizian says.
“When you enclose them with vegetation, they don’t like it. They feel unsafe.”
The researchers say the IVR techniques could be used by landscape designers to get feedback on new designs or improvements to existing spaces.
Read the study, “Exploring perceived restoration potential of urban green enclosure through immersive virtual environments,” in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Image: NC State researchers.
Street Furniture Australia is donating $40,000 worth of furniture from breakout spaces from the 2022 Festival of Landscape Architecture: COUNTRY to The Murri School, an Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community School in Brisbane. The collection of Linea Seats, Cubes, Curved Benches, Sun Lounges and Picnic Settings includes a pair painted by artist Casey Coolwell-Fisher, a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, Queensland) – commissioned by Street Furniture Australia and Blaklash Creative. Director of Blaklash Creative and member of the Festival Creative Directorate Troy Casey says, “A huge part of the festival was about how we can ensure that community gets something from it. We spent two days sharing our culture, our experiences, and the responsibility to positive impact. We can’t really do that without giving back to mob, …
In rapidly urbanising Seoul, the next battle is saving green spaces: “Korea is a country that does not value greenery,” professor of landscape architecture at Pusan National University, Hong Suk Hwan, told Bloomberg CityLab. It “only acknowledges the value of property.” Samgmi Cha writes about South Korean local, 34-year-old Baik SooHye inspiring the shift of devaluing green spaces in South Korea to saving these spaces. SooHye’s ‘Plant Kindergarten’ project encourages the protection of hundreds of plants that are often destroyed at construction sites across Seoul. Cha meets SooHye in her outdoor garden in western Seoul with the many plant species that she’s saved from these sites. The rescued plants are ‘adopted’ out to others who are also passionate about green spaces in Korea. SooHye says, “I see ‘Plant Kindergarten’ as my …
Could glowing trees light our streets? Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say cities may be able to cut back on power use and emissions with plants and trees that glow at night. If successful, MIT hopes their research could be used to provide low-intensity indoor lighting, or transform trees into self-powered streetlights, according to the Urban Developer. Currently researchers have embedded specialised nanoparticles, including the chemical that gives fireflies their glow, into the leaves of watercress plants. The plants were shown to give off a dim glow for nearly four hours. This new method avoids the need to introduce a glowing gene into the plant, a far more laborious task, and with further optimisation the engineers say they could light up a desktop – or even a streetscape. “Plants can self-repair, they have their own energy, …
20 Minute Cities Launch: Get up on phygital design and #techresilience with this smart cities video discussion series. Check out the latest release, episode 2 ‘The Bench,’ featuring a review of Street Furniture Australia’s prototype Aria Smart Bench with PowerMe Table. Smart Cities Council Executive Director Adam Beck, and Place Design Group Director Chris Isles have teamed up to film their travels and chats about future change for cities, towns and regions, and how our lives will be affected now, and beyond. We liked this update of the hierarchy of needs pyramid: 5 biases behind share bike dumping: We use decision-making shortcuts to abdicate our responsibility for the bikes we leave in dodgy places, writes behavioural researcher Conor Wynn, phD candidate with BehaviourWorks and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, on the Conversation. “We see an action that leads to harm …
The stories you missed while enjoying the beach this summer. Musk says public transport “sucks”: Elon Musk came under fire in December after commenting that public transport is “painful” and “sucks.” He then called a public transport expert, via Twitter, “an idiot.” Asked by an audience member about his take on transport and urban sprawl at a Tesla event during the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference in California, Wired reports the Tesla, Boring Company and SpaceX CEO replied: “There is this premise that good things must be somehow painful. “I think public transport is painful. It sucks. Why do you want to get on something with a lot of other people, that doesn’t leave where you want it to leave, doesn’t start where you want it to start, doesn’t end where you want it to …