Iannis Xenakis, the Greek-French experimental composer and protege designer for the famous architect Le Corbusier, advanced theories of the vertical “Cosmic” city as the only sustainable way forward. Here, he wrote this essay in 1966, decrying decentralization (read: suburban sprawl) in favor of building up, up, up…5 million inhabitants to be housed in a single megastructure, a hyperbolic paraboloid of more than 3,000 meters high and 50 meters wide.
“City planning has been way too pragmatic for a long time.” So says Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, who creates artistic environments that break down the industrial expanse of cities with faux-natural elements, hot sun, waterfalls, rivers, and take over the senses of their spectators.
Across the US, inspired by the success of Portland’s streetcar and a movement toward downtown revitalization and expanding public transit alternatives, projects enhancing place mobility move forward despite controversy.
Is it possible for urban planners to make places more attractive and healthy, without then making them more expensive? Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow investigates recent research into the ongoing debate about environmental gentrification.
Developer David Mirvish hopes his string of sculptural towers in Toronto arts district will provide an antidote for the banality of the traditional glass box condo tower. “I am not building condominiums,” he said at the announcement. “I am building three sculptures for people to live in.”
The Rail~Volution Conference rolled into Los Angeles to illustrate how transit projects energize neighborhoods, meeting a significant demand for multi-density housing walkable to restaurants, offices, and shops. They can transform the landscape and mindset, in this case, of auto-addicted Southern California. One stop at a time.
We must view the fragility of the planet, the disaster of our resource addiction, the warming of the earth’s atmosphere as an immune response to our daily environmental mis-stepping, a call for a re-conceptualization of our cities. We must demand a retrofitting of our urban environments to live together more efficiently, giving credence to community, allowing space for the open wild in us and them.