Take a quick (and educational) tea break with us! Customers are invited to book in a 10-minute Zoom or Microsoft Teams chat to learn about new products. Presentations are guaranteed no longer than 10-minutes plus Q&A. Choose from: ChillOUT Tree (recommended) Latest Linea additions. Wood Without Worry. Or request a custom presentation. Each participant will receive a T2 gift box (optional). Book by contacting us on email@example.com, or via the button below. Win one of three BLUNT umbrellas Tea Time bookings for Australian customers during August and September will go into a draw for a chance to win one of three BLUNT umbrellas, valued at up to $159. Winners will be notified on 1st October 2022. Image: BLUNT.
Trend Watch November 2022
What a ‘sponge city’ designed to withstand extreme flooding looks like:
After extreme flooding in cities of China in 2012, urban designer Yu Konjian coined the term ‘sponge city’ as one solution to climate change. Lisa Abend writes for Time: “Instead of paving over the land with impermeable concrete and asphalt, he proposed adding green spaces that could act like sponges and absorb excess rain water.”
Abend writes that cities aren’t built for extreme weather conditions; that building with asphalt and concrete increases heat and gives water nowhere to go. Konjian’s alternative would allow the natural flow of water in green spaces.
In Australia the term ‘water sensitive urban design’ is more commonly seen than ‘sponge city’, associated with techniques to ease flooding or “filtering and storing rainwater so that it can be used for irrigation and plumbing systems.”
Elements of sponge cities are being used throughout the world to support cities from flooding. More green spaces are created to ensure water can flow naturally into soil, be stored, repurposed and support plant life.
Nicolas Novotny, head of planning and development for a climate-resilient neighbourhood being built in Berlin, talks about rain falling on public and private spaces. The rainfall is retained then evaporates, with a cooling effect. And other rainfall can be stored in and repurposed in grey water plumbing for toilets and lawn irrigation.
Read more about ‘sponge cities’.
Image: Sponge city tree support design for Am Seebogen. Schwammstadt © 3zu0 Landschaftsarchitektur.
When cities treated cars as dangerous intruders:
There was a time when cars were seen as “tyrants” in the US, writes Peter Norton for The MIT Press Reader, adapted from his book Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. He writes: “city people saw the car not just as a menace to life and limb, but also as an aggressor upon their time-honored rights to city streets.”
Pedestrians had rights over cars throughout America in the early 1900s. In most cities nothing prohibited a pedestrian from using any part of the road, this included streets and highways. Obviously, this caused many accidents.
There was ongoing hostility to motorists. Police would blame motorists for pedestrian traffic accidents. There were many cases in the courts against motorists in favour of pedestrians. Norton writes, “In New York City’s traffic court in 1923, a judge explained that, “Nobody has any inherent right to run an automobile at all.” Another judge of Chicago said, “The streets of Chicago belong to the city, not to the automobilists.”
Charles Hayes, president of the Chicago Motor Club, knew that this continued negative representation of traffic casualties could lead to restrictions on the operating of automobiles. He decided to act to change the majority view. Auto promoters had a hard time changing the minds of the community in reshaping the traffic safety debate. Norton writes that Hayes’ solution was “to persuade city people that the streets are made for vehicles to run upon.”
It was a gruelling process for the motor industry to change peoples’ attitudes. Norton shares some rather hilarious and dangerous stories: “A Kansas City safety expert reported that when police tried to keep them out of the roadway … women used their parasols on the policemen. Police relaxed enforcement.”
Read about how cars moved from ‘intruders’ to a symbol of freedom at The Mit Press Reader.
Photo: Broadway looking north from Seventh Street with view of Mullen & Bluett, 31 December 1923. Wikimedia Commons.
Street Furniture Australia products will be on show at the ASLA 2022 EXPO in San Francisco, from November 12 to 13, 2022. Visit Booth 251 to see the sleek and minimalist Linea range, including Cubes, Platform, Sun Lounge, Seats, Curved Bench and Picnic Settings, and complementary Monsoon Litter Bins and Cafe Stools. Check out a variety of durable and low-maintenance materials and colours including five Wood Without Worry aluminium woodgrain batten shades, the new Earthy Pastel powdercoat range, and DuraBright fade-resistant colours. Street Furniture Australia will co-present the stand with California-based partner Spruce & Gander, who represent our products as an exclusive distributor in California, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky. Dates and times:Saturday, November 12, 2022. 9:30am – 6:00pm.Sunday, November 13, 2022. 10:00am – …
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, …
Strategic green spaces: How to make the most of their cooling effects We’re all aware of the cooling effects of green spaces for mitigating the climate crisis in cities. However ArchDaily’s writer Maria-Cristina Florian writes that greening and cooling strategies should consider how to improve climate outcomes beyond simply achieving ‘green coverage’. Strategic planning is a prerequisite in ensuring green spaces create the most impact for urban environments. Florian explores three strategies to optimise cooling effects: Green corridors and climatological planning Florian emphasises the importance of understanding, protecting and harmonising with the natural world surrounding a city. She references a meteorological study from 1939 in Stuttgard, Germany, which found that the city’s position in a valley basin with low wind speeds, combined with heavy industrialisation, were causing poor air quality. …
“Grassy parks no longer viable in the face of global heating”: British parks can no longer be modelled on ‘long-dead aristocrats’ with lawn-heavy landscapes due to soaring temperatures, writes Phineas Harper for Dezeen. He proposes planting urban forests to help control city heat and keep green spaces green during summer. Harper writes that there are 150,000 hectares of urban green spaces in Britain, and by turning these large open lawns into small urban forests, the ground temperature will reduce. This would also ensure the urban spaces are habitable even in scorching summer heat. According to research published last year, he writes, “Not only do trees stay green in dry weather, trees can bring down urban temperatures by between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius, providing shade and reducing local evaporation. Which is …
Toronto switches smart city plans to urbanist’s wishlist: Toronto is abandoning a smart city proposal for a new development along its waterfront, and a holistic off-the-grid development now leads the way, writes Karrie Jacobs for MIT Technology Review. The new proposal, said to be an urbanist’s dream, consists of: “800 affordable apartments, a two-acre forest, rooftop farm, new arts venue focused on indigenous culture, and a pledge to be zero-carbon” – a significant departure in ethos from the original winning proposal from just a few years ago. Former winner Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google, had proposed a $900 million “vision for a data-rich city within a city” on the foreshores of Toronto, known as Quayside. In May 2020, Sidewalk abandoned the plan, citing the Covid-19 pandemic to blame, though …