Today's video: ORDOS 100, a documentary by Ai Weiwei

Ordos 100, a construction project curated by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei in inner Mongolia, China. The key to this project is to build a community in this part of China.

Ordos, a new city, a prefecture-level city, one of the twelve major subdivisions of inner Mongolia. Ordos's area is 87,000 sq. km (34,000 sq mi) with a population of 1,548,000 for a density of 17.79 pp/sq. km (46.08 pp/sq mi). Its topography is particular in that the region covers the larger part of the Ordos Desert. The urban area remains small. Main elements are hills, high plateaus, sandy desert and plains.
Originally appeared on A Daily Dose of Architecture
Launched in 2008, Ordos 100 is a construction project initiated by a Chinese client, Jiang Yuan Water Engineering Ltd. Curator are Ai Wewei's studio FAKE Design in charge of the masterplan for the 100 parcels of land, and Herzog & de Meuron in charge of the selection of the 100 architects from 27 countries.
Ordos 100. Originally appeared on A Daily Dose of Architecture

2 phases: first phase consisting of developing 28 parcels; Second phase inviting the architects to develop the remaining 72. And each architects was responsible for a 1000-square-meter Villa.
I will not go back to this project as a large number of review have been written on Ordos 100. I suggest to read or re-read in case you just discovered this project: A Daily Dose of Architecture.

These selected architects were, at least for many of them, from the United States. Some, nonetheless, are from Switzerland, Israel, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, Chile. These architects are 'talented', to paraphrase Alejandro Aravena one of the architects in the video: from MOS, Keller Easterling, Toshiko Mori, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss/Normal Architecture Office, to Preston Scott Cohen, Lyn Rice Architects, Slade Architecture, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Office Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Alejandro Aravena, F451 Arquitectura, Iwamoto Scott, among many others.

Below is a documentary directed by one of the curators, as mentioned above, Ai Weiwei/FAKE Design, showing three site visits made by the archictects from these '27 countries'. You have already watched this video on different platforms but I could not help but post here, too.

Ai Weiwei as usual did not make any concessions showing fully the articulation of this Ordos 100 Architects projects, including the participants' concern, misunderstanding about the investor's project, the organizers' misunderstanding of the architects' concerns, the issue of money, and so on. This video poses the question of a country that tends to enter in a sort of competition engaging in a frenetic urbanization of the totality of its very large-scale territory. And once again urbanization is used as an economical instrument. As China is becoming richer and richer, some clients want their own cities, their own communities paying architects, be they local or international, be they internationally recognised or emerging. Others want to contribute to the rapid economic growth, and urban migration developing large-scale projects for dwelling these new urban candidates. Others again, consider cities as the solution for a better living condition of the population… Yet most of these investors surprisingly avoid the crucial question: for whom are they building? Quoting Cedric Price, a city that is not built for its citizens is a dead city. This is, in my view, what this documentary partly shows: uncomplete, broken, or while completed, dead cities, cities that ignore completely their residents.
If so, let me put the question another way: what Ai Weiwei's documentary attempts to emphasize is to inviting China to shift from 'what cities for China?' into 'how to build human-scale cities?' Cities that are made for people to live in, that respond to people's specific needs. And of course I sum up.

And, unsurprisingly, we finally learned that Ordos 100, this ambitious, probably one of the craziest projects suggested by an ambitious investor, remains… uncomplete, namely a ghost community, or 'broken' community.

If you have not watched this video yet, I suggest to watch from the beginning since it is a very interesting documentary, particularly rare, on building in China, on China's urbanization, urban migration and rapid economic growth.

Credit video: Ai Weiwei. Initially posted on Youtube by iffrotterdam


Call for Submission: Adhocracy curated by Domus Editor Joseph Grima

Before sharing this announcement, I am hardly working on two audio editings Indeed, the second edition of The Architecture Post The Review will be launched on March 3rd, 2012. Two of CLOG Magazine editors, Julia van Hout and Kyle May, joined me to discuss this newborn magazine.
Friday 2nd March 2012 will be the launch of The Architecture Post Conversation which aim is to discuss with architects, editors, urban planners, engineers, curators, in few words, all the actors that help shape our urban as well as rural lives on a single topic. This will also be the opportunity to discover their work in case you don't know but I am sure this is not the case.
For the first edition, Gian Maurizio, director and curator of La Galerie d'Architecture, Paris as well as architect, will talk over the notion of exhibition in the architectural field, and will go back at Paris-based Jean-Philipe Pargade Architects solo exhibition that just closed its doors.
By the way, on March 15th, 2012: if some of you are in Paris or are planning to go to Paris, save this precious date: Paris-based Périphériques Architects will be on solo show at La Galerie d'Architecture. More soon.
Last important point: although repeating myself, for the moment, the two podcasts will be posted on Urban Lab Global Cities.

This aside, now a call for submission for a project curated by Domus Editor Joseph Grima for the Istanbul Design Biennial: Adhocracy.

Adhocracy is a project curated by Joseph Grima, editor-in-chief of Domus. This project is one of the two exhibitions comprised in the 1st edition of the Istanbul Design Biennial.

Since its inception as a discipline of industrialisation and modernity, design has come to influence — or even define — almost every facet of contemporary existence. From cities to typefaces via architecture, vehicles, objects, interfaces, and infrastructural systems, acts of design permeate our lives almost to the point of saturation. Design has become so ubiquitous as to have almost become invisible, subsumed into everyday life to point we forget it is also inevitably a political activity with far-reaching social implications. Today it stands at one of the most significant crossroads in its brief and conflicted history.

With the advent of the network as the dominant mode of social and cultural organisation, a fundamental shift is to taking place. Design is no longer the domain of a select few creating products of consumption for themany according to the top-down model of Fordist industrialism. It is evolving beyond its definition as the production of immutable objects for mass markets, its geogaphical center shifting away from the West. The convergence of instantaneously shared knowledge, the birth of countless transnational networks, new technologies of production, and a collective impetus towards culture of collaboration instead of competition suggest a new economic and political interpretation of the act of designing.

This new paradigm reveals an incipient role for design as an act of shaping society by enabling self-organisation, producing platforms of exchange, and empowering networks of grass-roots production. The emergence of the open-source movement; the arrival of affordable micro-manufacturing technologies; the explosion of hacker and maker culture; the democratisation of technology through projects like Arduino and participatory platforms such as Kickstarter — all point to an ideological shit away from established conventions of consumerism and the inception of a new understanding of design's role within society, one in which end-users are no longer merely passive consumers but active agents. For the first time, the prospect exists of an equivalency of individuals, and in response, established structures of power are quickly evolving. In many ways, design is now the theatre of a fast-moving conflict over society's future, and the search for a new language of design is the struggle for the establishment of a new, networked commons.

Welcome to the age of Adhocracy. As the opposite of bureaucracy, adhocracy cuts across accepted conventions and power structures to capture opportunities, self-organise and develop new and unexpected methodologies of production. It inhabits the horizontal, rhizomatic realsm of the network, in which innovation — resourceful, subversive, anti-dogmatic, spontaneous — can come from anywhere.
Adhocracy: Call for submissions

  • We are looking for projects that empower others to design, self-organise, and collaborate.
  • We are looking for projects that destabilise the traditional, balanced, triangular relationship between "designer", "producer" and "consumer".
  • We are looking for projects that highlight the political implications of design as a practice.
  • We are looking for projects that experiment with innovative methodologies of manufacturing and production.
  • We are looking for projects that use design as a form of political activism.
  • We are looking for projects that are born from or operate through networks.
  • We are looking for projects that propose unorthodox economic models.
  • We are looking for projects that push the boundaries of the open-source movement and its implications for everyday life.
  • We are looking for projects that combine traditional techniques and know-how with new tools and technologies.
  • We are looking for projects that have no author, or too many authors to be counted
  • We are looking for projects that are anti-dogmatic.
  • We are looking for projects that adapt existing designs to new uses.
  • We are looking for projects that challenge the accepted definitions of design.
For submission, registration, and other important information: Here.
The deadline for submissions for the two exhibitions is 2 June 2012.


Today's Video: The Arsenal of Exclusion-Inclusion by Interboro Partners

The Arsenal of Exclusion/Inclusion, a video posted by Interboro Partners to announce the forthcoming book, with same title: The Arsenal of Exclusion/Inclusion.
As Interboro Partners says:
50 leading experts provide tools for analysing how the open city is made and unmade The Arsenal of Exclusion/Inclusion is a book about 101 "weapons" that architects, planners, policy-makers, ddevelopers, real estate brokers, com-munity activists and other urban agents use to restrict, or promote access to the space of the city.
As for the book, it will be out on March 2012.

Suggested essay: Excavating Lefebvre: The Right to the city and its urban politics of the inhabitant | Mark Purcell

The Arsenal of Exclusion/Inclusion from WebMaster ABPro on Vimeo.

Today's video: Megalomania, an unfinished city by Jonathan Gales

As I am working on another broadcast project that will focus on all these actors, contributors who work with architects and urban planners, I am listing names and activities. Earlier today I shared Factory Fifteen's video GAMMAR that the studio realized in association with Unknown Fields (I presented the video in the previous post). One of the founders of this studio Factory Fifteen, Jonathan Gales, has his personal website.

Megalomania - Video still, © Jonathan Gales

Megalomania, a city in total construction, a built environment explored as a labyrinth of architecture based upon a certaine dose of speculations, indeterminations.
Megalomania — Video still, © Jonathan Gales

This city is either unfinished, incomplete or broken. As Jonathan Gales says, Megalomania is a response to the state of infrastructure and capital, evolving the appearance of progress into the sublime.

Megalomania — Video still, © Jonathan Gales

The influence of science-fiction and/or video games is plausible in this video.

Megalomania — Video still, © Jonathan Gales

As incomplete, no presence of life, only a feeling of angst accentuated by the organic movement sequences, demolition as well as the colors, the textures and the audio design.
Megalomania — Video still, © Jonathan Gales
This film has been shot with a Canon 5D Mark II, a camera that becomes more and more appreciated by video artists and, recently, by some filmmakers. Scenes are first constructed with 3d Studio Max and then rendered with Vray accentuating the fascinating aesthetics of the video. The demolition has been produced using the software Rayfire.

Megalomania — Video still, © Jonathan Gales
From AutoCad to Adobe creative suites including Maya, Vray, 3d Studio Max or Cinema 4D, Architects students become more and more adaptable.
Megalomania — Video still, © Jonathan Gales
 This adaptability may offer new possibilities in city and architecture design and diffusion.
Megalomania — Video still, © Jonathan Gales
Megalomania is from his Masters in Architecture at the Bartlett, UCL.

MEGALOMANIA from Jonathan Gales on Vimeo.

Who is he?
Born in Jersey, Channel Islands, trained in architecture, First Class honours in B.A. from University of Brighton and Distinction in M. Arch from The Bartlett, UCL., Jonathan Gales creates short films and animations concerning architecture, design and speculative scenarios. Jonathan Gales is also one of the founding members of Factory Fifteen.


Todays' video: Gamma by Factory Fifteen with the association of Unknown Fields

Factory Fifteen, a UK-based film and animation studio, led by directors Jonathan Gales, Paul Nicholls, and Kibwe Tavares, just released Gamma, a documentary shot in Chernobyl (Ukraine) and Baikonur (Kazakhstan), in the framework of Unknown Fields 2011, a project led by Unknown Fields, a nomadic studio co-founded by Liam Young and Kate Davies who organized a visiting programm in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and Baikonur Cosmodrome, last summer, 2011.
Unknown Fields, as presented by Liam Young and Kate Davieswill set off on an annual expedition to the ends of the earth exploring forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies.
Each year, the studio calls for participation to invite participants to visit a different global cross-section with the aim at mapping the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures.
Last winter (Winter 2011) was a road trip in Alaska with the Division, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. There, a community of climate scientists and Eskimos survey a changing landscape where supercomputers and ancient knowledge meet. Here, you will see the pictures of this road trip.
A trip is scheduled this summer, with the support of AA School, London. This will not be Ukraine and Kazakhstan, but the United States, specifically, a road trip to chronicle a series of extraterrestrial encounters from the borderlands, black sites, military outposts and folkloric landscapes of the United States. Consequently if you have nowhere to go, and nothing to do this year, sign up now to join the division this summer (Monday 20 August - Saturday 1 September 2012).

Suggested magazine: Icon #105, which cover story is "Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone."

And this project is fantastic. So is this video titled Gamma including in this post. Indeed, Gamma depicts a future in which numerous zones of the earth needs to be deradiated after a decade of nuclear war. I warmly recommend the read of The Funambulist/Léopold Lambert's analysis of Gamma on his website where I found the video. It is a short, though, well-analyzed text. According to The Funambulist, this kind of public health operations are achived by private actors, here a company called Gamma which developed a type of roots that would absorb radioactivity.

Suggested article and source: Gamma by Factory Fisteen (in Chernobyl and Baikonur) | The Funambulist

Credit video: GAMMA from Factory Fifteen on Vimeo.

Directed by Factory Fifteen in association with Unknown Fields

Martin Ashley Jones
The Unknown  Fields Division 2011
Bryan Allen
Andrea Bagnato
Chris Hatherill
Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu
Jack Mama
Clive Vanheerden
Liam Young

Monologue written by Courttia Newland

D.O.P: Jonathan Gales

Concept development:
Chris Lees
Paul Nicholls
Jonathan Gales

Advert: Chris Lees

Advert Voice over: George MacPherson

Sound Design: Tom Hobson

End track: Worriedaboutsatan 'Heart Monitor' — Her.Eyes.Like.Static remix

3D Artists:
Paul Nicholls
Chris Lees
Kibwe Tavares
Jonathan Gales
Matt Townsend

2D Artists:
Paul Nicholls
Chris Lees
Jonathan Gales

SFX Makeup:
Sangeet Prabhaker

Paul Nicholls
Jonathan Gales

Filmed in the Ukraine and Kazakhstan with the Unknown Field Division

Competition: 100 Mile House Open Ideas Competition

As I am working on the content of the second edition of the Architecture Post Review, I am particularly busy these days. However a competition for this forthcoming spring: 100 Mile House Open Ideas Competition.

Context & Brief
The Architecture Foundation of BC promotes BIG IDEAS that recognize sustainable design, architectural merit and innovation in order to advance the knowledge and practice of the design of sustainable buildings in British Columbia.
The AFBC invites the participants of this competition to explore, rethink, question and experiment with new ideas that will challenge the concept of the regional house and the way we live.
Historically, most houses were constructed as '100 mile' houses from caves, sod houses, log cabins and stone houses to the First Nations' indigenous cedar houses, tepees and igloos. People worldwide used whatever available materials were at hand to build shelters for themselves and their families. But is this possible in a modern 21st Century city like Vancouver? This competition will challenge all participants to rethink the way we live and select materials, systems and technology that reflect this reality in the world of computers, the internet, Facebook, etc… Participants are encouraged to challenge the logic of the present, formulate new questions, and explore variations that will allow new potentials for living.
Geographically, we have selected the City of Vancouver to be the focus of the competition for the '100 Mile House.' Participants are challenged to design a house to accommodate 4 people with a maximum area of 1200 square feet (111M^2) using only materials and systems made/ manufactured/ recycled within 100 miles of the City of Vancouver. A hypthetical flat, corner site of 33' x 120' (10.0 M x 36.6 M) will be used for the context. All city services (water, sewer, storm drain, natural gas and electricity) are available to the property line should the entrant choose to use them.
Affordability, while important, is NOT the focus of this competition. Competitors are free to propose any alternatives but the concept of the 100 Mile House should equally apply to luxury finishes and products. Being environmentally conscious is not always dictated by cost.
Similarly, zoning and building bylaws of the City of Vancouver are important criteria in reality but again are NOT the focus of the competittion. Competitors are not expected to know the bylaws and building codes of a specific area but general construction practice should be demonstrated. The applicability of the solutions to other jurisdictions will be important regardless of minor variances in building codes. It is hoped that necessity, as the mother of invention, will foster/create prototypes that could be modified and the ideas exported to any geographic area. All submissions should demonstrate the integration of local social, technological, economic and aesthetic sustainability into the final solutions.
This is a global competition. Architects, designers, artists, students and other environmentally conscious creators from around the world are encouraged to submit their ideas.

Registration, fees and information can be found here.


Conditions Magazine: Call for Papers for Issue 11/12

Conditions magazine calls for submissions for the issue #11/12 - Publication for the Danish Pavilion at The Venice Biennale 2012:
The Venice Biennale is one of the most prestigious venues for the exchange of ideas within architectural society. Issue #11/12 will be a special edition of Conditions Magazine dedicated to the challenges facing the arctic region as a whole, with a focus on Greenland in particular. Approved material will be part of the official catalogue of this year's Danish/Greenlandic contribution to The Venice Biennale.

Possible Greenland
Possible Greenland will focus on a Greenland that is currently the center of a development where the emergence of new natural resources, climate changes, new industries and geological research providing brand new knowledge on the origin of the world, all lead to new and exciting opportunies.
Where to Position?
We invite all contributors to reflect upon how Greenland and the arctic region is being re-positioned. The historical and current migration of people in the arctic indicates that we need to understand the region as a far more complex entity than a compilation of national states with national borders. Many different cultural groups transgress these imposed national borders and represent a new, "floating" world-society. At the same time, the Arctic region has become a poster child for climate change, a new hot spot in the search for energy and natural resources. The geopolitical context is becoming unstable as conflicting military interests are being apposed? The traditional cultures have undergone radical change. Language, habitation, identity and lifestyles of the arctic are changing. The opening of new seaways and resources is challenging the notions of sovereignty and ownership, both in the periphery and the center of the arctic. In addition, Greenland's relationship to Denmark is shifting. With the different processes now taking place, Greenland has a unique possibility to reposition on multiple fronts: culturally, economically and politically.

What to SHARE?
Traditionally the Greenlanders were hunter-gatherers, and like other societies of that nature, they depended on exploiting and sharing the available resources. The particularity of Greenland is the extreme nature of the conditions. By borrowing what they needed when you needed it, the society was dynamic, with hardly any private ownership. Over recent years, their society, settlement patterns and governance systems have been forcibly rearranged to align with modern Western perspectives. Subsequently, the modern Greenlanders are facing many challenges similar to those faced by other indigenous cultures in the 20th century. In addition, new and vast resources have now become available and new actors are entering Greenlandic society, its politics and business. The stakes have changed. Natural resources, such as fresh water, oil, gas, minerals and those yet to be discovered under the ice cap in the ocean lay be exploitable. What is a good strategy? How can Greenland avoid being used and instead exploit the exploiters? How could these collective resources be shared in the future? Can the discovery of new resources be the foundation of a new state system?

What to Build?
For Greenlanders to be able to take maximum advantage of the shifting conditions, a strong platform must be built. The particular dilemmas of a traditional society facing rapid transformation need to be confronted. Education, infrastructure, policies addressing cultural identity, societal institutions and communities need to be rethought. The visions or scenarios made today might be outdated tomorrow. How can Greenland consider these Greenland build or rebuild? What are the sustainable strategies to build this future?

We are looking for articles, projects, illustrations and material relating directly to these approaches in the context of Greenland, as well as studies exploring similar conditions (World learning from Greenland/ Greenland learning from the World). A special issue of Conditions, produced with a guest editorial panel, will serve as catalogue for the exhibition in the Danish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2012.

Please send your abstracts (maximum:1 page) by the 5th of March.
Deadline for final submissions will be the 13th of April.

More: Here.


Unveiling its new editorial project: The Architecture Post The Review with Albert Ferré and Anna Tetas (Actar Editorial) and Rachel Armstrong

Today is the launch of The Architecture Post The Review. For this first edition we will look back at three books: GSD Platform 4, Fuksas Building and Next Nature. First guests are Actar Editorial Albert Ferré and Anna Tetas. Then Rachel Armstrong joint us to continue the discussion on Next Nature.
I hope you will enjoy it nonwithstanding a bad line due to two conversation via skype but that is the magic of skype (coupled with wifi. Not the best cocktail in a certain way). The second edition will be launched in two weeks with the editors of new little magazine Clog Magazine which just released their second issue (but I am waiting for their confirmation) and Gian M. Maurizio, director of Paris-based Galerie de l'Architecture, also curator of French architect Jean-Philippe Pargade. Of course the programmation may change.

All these books are available in you favourite bookshop or on Amazon.
I am currently working on The Architecture Post website…


Today's Map: 2012 The U.S. Maps

Before starting this today's map. February 18th will be the launch of The Architecture Post The Review podcast with two interview of Albert Ferré and Anna Tetas (Actar Editorial) and Rachel Armstrong. We will look back at three books: GSD Platform 4, Fuksas Building, and Next Nature. This will also be the opportunity to get deeper on Actar history and activities and for those who do not know to discover this Think lab/Publishing House, one of my favorite publishing house. So in your agenda the 18th of this week. And of course I am pretty late concerning The Architecture Post website… Anyway stay tuned.

Let us move on and start:
The Esquire posed earlier today the United States of 2012 or a series of maps of the U.S. much more considered as alternative maps of the U.S. Alternative they are: red state, blue state, big state, small state, north and south, east and west. Mark Mikin, the author of the article, asks a question that I quote here: how we define our similarities and differences with each other often comes down to where we see ourselves on the map of America. Following with this: what if we threw out the standard-issue version and started over with something new?
Among the authors of these maps, you will recognize Interboro Partners, an agency that I have been following with delight since 2005, with a series of maps and SENSEable City Lab with the United States of Cities. Others are Stamen, Eric Fischer and Dominic McGill. And we start with SENSEable City Lab.
The United States of Cities © SENSEable City Lab
Credits: MIT SENSEable City Lab, IBM Research, AT&T Labs - Research, New York University.
Here is what The Enquire says on SENSEable City Lab's map:
We once were chained to our workplace. The phone chained us to our desk. Then the computer chained us to our desk. And then our work tools became mobile, and so we became mobile, and the distance we were willing to travel to and from work gradually rose. In collaboration with AT&T Labs Research, Carlo Ratti and his team at MIT's SENSEable City Lab — a research group that blends architectural concepts with emerging technology — used anonymous, aggregated cell phone data to prove just how mobile we've become and to explore our evolving definition of state lines. "Today, everywhere is a workplace," Ratti says. "We see people doing their work, using a railway station as an office. An airport as an office. Starbucks as an office. Because of that, our lifestyle is changing, and the fact that people commute from very, very far away is one side of that. "The data was compiled during the month of July 2010 from several million commuters' home locations, while the rings and their intensity represent the bumber of commuters traveling. The resulting map shows a breaking down of the traditional idea of a nation of states, and, instead, an ever-expanding urban sprawl the pushes the limits of our respective cities. This is a version of America that's not based upon politics, or history, but one that's constantly moving.
The Real-Time City © Eric Fischer

The digital cartographer Eric Fisher's map is another amazing map. Its title: The Real-Time City.
The real-time city can be defined a number of ways. Eric Fischer's map defines cities by where the action is: the places one photograph to preserve, the places one tweets about. By compiling 8,653,518 geotagged tweets (during the year of 2011) and 9,368,254 photos tagged in Flickr (from 2004 until 2011), his United States is an interconnected web, the lines of which consist of a series of dots that each represent one tweet of one photo. Unsurprisingly, America's coastlines are rife with pictures and tweets (Florida's Disneyworld bulges out in the bottom right). But Detroit, a city better known for economic struggle than sightseeing, is surprisingly dense (Michigan as a whole has 187,639 photos and 255,856 tweets alone), and sparsely populated areas like Yellowstone and Yosemite — which normally are hardly represented in census-based maps — are larger than ever, rate more for their beauty than their population. Whereas a map built upon census data is figured down to a city block — a static representation of where you live, where you sleep — this is a map that represents where we vacation, where in our lives is important enough to photograph, to tweet, to report to the world. This web represents a completely different relationship to place; not the aggregate, or the community, but the individual.
The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion © Interboro Partners
Credit: Tobias Armborst, Daniel D'Oca, Georgeen Theodore, Rebecca Beyer Winik, Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez

The third one is that of Interboro Partners with The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion. This map articulates the 42 following points: Animal Zoning Ordinance, Annexation/Incorporation, Armrest, Automatic Elevators, Beach Badge, Blood, CC&Rs, Concierge, Cul de Sac, Curfew, Eruv, Fire Hydrant, Fire Zone, Gate, Golf Course, Hockney Rink, Housing Voucher, Immigrant Recruitment, Inclusionary Zoning, Lavender-Lining, Map, Minimum Lot Size, "No Loitering" Sign, No-Cruising Zone, NORC SSP, One-Way Street, Questionnaire, Racial Steering, Regional Contribution Agreement, Residential Parking Permit, School District, Sidewalk Management Plan, Skywalk, Stoop, Ultrasonic Noise, Ave Maria, Snowflake, Rainbow Vision, Sky Village, Jumbolair, Peace Village.
The Esquire writes:
Though we've lived in a post-Fair Housing Act America more than four decades, that doesn't mean there aren't still ways for communities to be discriminatory. The way Brooklyn-based architecture firm Interboro Partners sees it, a housing discrimination exists still, through what they call the "Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion," legal policies that keep some people in, and keep others out. The policies can be subtle like in the case of "Ave maria," a Catholic community in Florida created by Tom Monaghan (the founder of Domino's Pizza), which employs what's called an exclusionary mend: Members of the community are required to pay due to a Catholic church that's built on the property. The policies can be outrageous, as in the case of an ordinance in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, which mandates that only blood relatives can be rented to by owners of single-family homes, if they had become rentals after the disasters. But whether or not the policies are necessarily good or bad can be less than obvious, and in some cases, cause for good: Rainbow Vision, a New Mexico retirement community created for the LGBT community, has created a place for LGBT retirees that can't be matched anywhere, with amenities like drag shows.
For an in-depth description of each point, check out the Esquire website. I advice the reader to read these points for a better understanding of Interboro Partners' map.

Now Stamen with Where Does the Money Go?
Stamen's map is particularly interesting. Based on American class mobility, Eric Rodenbeck and his team explores spatially lost and gain in terms of money. New York County, for instance, "has lost $1,306,548,000 and 15,100 people," the map shows, which "does not necessary mean that New York is a big loser". More below:
The notion of American class mobility is deeply roted in the ability to make more money. But class mobility can also be measured in the ability to actually move. Using IRS migration data from the 2009-2010 period — which measures the inflow and outflow of citizens who file taxes from county to county — Eric Rodenbeck and his team at San Francisco-based design firm Stamen created a map of America that is as extreme as ever. By using the IRS figures and mapping them out on U.S. highways with open-source technology provided by OpenStreetMap, they've created a roadmap of the parts of America that are losing and gaining, and the results are suprising. "We realized that if you look at the biggest 'losers,' essentially what you're looking at are the biggest cities in the U.S.," Migurski says. One of those losers: New York county, which lost $1,306,548,000 and 15,100 people. "But does that actually mean New York is a big loser?" Migurski asks. "One of our ideas was that, you're not a loser if you're losing money. You're an exporter." The sort of exporter, he says, that boosts the rest of the U.S. economy. Traditional Sun Belt retirement areas comprise the gainers; areas like South Florida and Southern California in particular, create what Migurski calls "money sinks." But between the two is a middle that doesn't move, that actually exists in the middle: King and Loving counties in Texas remained unchanged. The rural areas between coasts show movement not from coast to coast, but off the beaten path, within state lines. Stamen presents an America that is in both a state of unrest, and unable — or unwilling — to move at all.
Where Does the Money Go? © Stamen

The last one map is that of Dominic McGill: with We Are All Keynesians Now.
Imagine an America — and more broadly a society (France, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, to quote some — without a middle class or even a center, a middle, says The Enquire about Dominic McGill's map. Yet observers notice a decline of middle-class and a rising low-class, a decline accentuated by financial crisis. And for McGill, it is time to change, not only America but also the world's society, if not…
What would the country look like without a middle class? Or, even, without a middle at all? "I took the outline of the U.S. map and then digitally compressed it in the center — basically pushing it in from both sides," painter Dominic McGill says. "We Are All Keynesians Now," as McGill explains, is a carefully orchestrated collage of archival imagery, original illustration, and quoted and statistics that depict a country at odds with itself. "Thirsty years of neo-liberal policies have been nothing short of class war," McGill says. He fears a country that won't reverse the tide. Mounters inspired by 16th-century maps come tattooed with phrases like "social mobility," breathing "executive excess." Rick Perry becomes a snake, touting the number 234 — the number of prisoners he's executed since 2000. Occupy's lighthouse project becomes a literal lighthouse, while a statistic for middle-paying jobs being replaced by low-paying jobs straddles the Northwestern coast. McGill's observed America is an America that needs to change before it envelops itself.
We Are All Keynesians Now © Dominic McGill

Source: The Enquire.
All the maps are initially appeared on The Enquire.


Today's video: Peter Maerkli on Education, Research and Practice in Architecture. A Project of The Eindhoven University of Technology

A very interesting project launched by the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, titled Education, Research and Practice in Architecture. The video that I am sharing is that of architect Peter Maerkli. The other two guest-architects are Paul Robbrecht and Stephen Bates.
These architects are interviewed by architect Jan Schevers and Heleen Herrenberg. The video of Peter Maerkli is in German translated into English by the same Heleen Herrenberg.

Credit: Jan Schevers and Heleen Herrenberg for the Eindhoven University of Technology

More: Here.


Today's video: Jeanne Gang: A Future Built with Bits and Sticks

Today's video is Studio Gang's Jeanne Gang speaking of A Future Built with Bits and Sticks, specifically about Studio Gang mines the high and low ends of the technology spectrum to discover new design possibilities. Jeanne Gang tackles building with re-used bricks and steel, the development of new methods of pouring concrete for the SOS Children's Vilages Community Center, employing stone in tension for the Marble Curtain, transforming the Chicago River in order to protect the Great Lakes, and how integrating environmentally sound practices into structures can have a direct impact on current ecological challenges.


Retranscription of The City 2.0 Evolved (not made) by Ecological Humans, a live conversation directed by Rachel Armstrong

I have already introduced Rachel Armstrong's research. This is consequently not necessary to go back over it. Today I followed a live conversation she led on TED.COM, titled The City 2.0 - Evolved (not made) by Ecological Humans. This conversation is based on her recent published book Living Architecture which attempts to rethink the city in the nearing future. For Rachel Armstrong, the combination of architecture, city planning and biology — synthetic biology — can reshape cities and our lives. The following excerpt of this live conversation provides a forestaste of her book Living Architecture.

Suggested book: Rachel Armstrong, Living Architecture, TEDBooks, 2012.
Note that the book is only available in the ebook format via iBook, Nook and Kindle.

Before retranscripting of her conversation — I will only retranscript her notes not those of the other participants. To read their questions and observation, go to the TED.COM page —, let me start with the presentation of this live conversation project.

The City 2.0 — Evolved (not made) by Ecological Humans
We are not machines but Ecological Humans. We depend on our networks for survival, like an oak tree in the forest, being made up of highly interacting and interdependent systems. For example, eating is not simply consuming 'fuel' to feed our body-machine but is a mutual relationship shared between our gut bacteria, our food and our bodies (which, in turn, are highly interconnected assemblages of specialised tissues). The way that we see ourselves influences the way that we operate through the world in all aspects of our lives — from health, to business and even space exploration!
Ecological Humans, imagine the City 2.0 as being grown from the bottom-up by its comunities. It is udnerpinned by highly interacting and interdependent networks, which use dynamic fabrics that behave in life-like ways. These buildings can be described as Living Architecture that are capable of responding to the changes in our dynamic cities as only real ecologies can?
Will The City 2.0 be qualitatively different to modern cities? Or pragmatically, can the transition only be made as a series of incremental changes? What can we do to facilitate this transition?
What does being an Ecological Human mean to me? Can it help me find new or more effective ways of working?
Can we rely on biology to provide all the answers when it comes to sustainable building solutions? Is life a technology - and should we exploit it in the pursuit of more sustainable ways of building?

Now the retranscription that I extracted from her posts. Note that this retranscription appears to be disjointed. This reflects the flows of discussion and reaction to participants' questions and comments as well as the themes she proposed:

Is it possible — given that cities are complex, therefore unpredictable — to generate any kind of impact (whether initiated by a 'wish' or any other kind of action) — on what is a conundrum and constantly moving target? Moreover, cities possess durations longer than a life span and inevitably outlive the jurisdiction of politicians and company heads who may be in any kind of meaningful position to oversee sustainable change.

(…) I definitively believe humanity can coevolve into a beneficial structural and functional force in living systems and the Panarchy. With us evolving into an urban species, cities are the key!

This method of approaching uncertainty has become so successful that we have even embraced this concept into the soul of our existence. Machines are really great for being machines. They command control through the consumption of natural resources and are belligerent to a tickle natural world. They keep us sage and in command.

Since ancient times we have sought to gain control of the unknown, believing that the laws of the cosmos, nature and the human realm are knowable and ordered. The most powerful instrument we have used to unravel the complexity of existence and simplify it is the 'machine' - the idea of an object-based, hierarchical system that possess a mathematical order. The metaphor of the machine has been extremely successful, so much so that we imagine ourselves as machines. We think of our bodies of being made up of parts consisting of organs and tissues. At the very centre of these machine organs is a biological program, a complex chemical called DNA that literally runs the processes of our soft machine. When various parts of the body machine break down, we can replace them with other parts that do the same job and ultimately, since we are machines the logical conclusion is that we could indefinitely replace our body parts and achieve immortality. If we do not submit to complete mechanisation Ray Kurtzweil warns us that we will be replaced by superior life forms in an event horizon so profound that we cannot see the consequences for our species beyond it. He calls this The Singularity.

Can a city be solved? A distinguishing feature of the life of a city is that it is not made but evolved in collaboration with its inhabitants. In other words – cities are long-term projects that engage with both top down and bottom up ideas and processes.

When I was writing my TED book on Living Architecturewhich I am eternally grateful to Tom Reilly for suggesting and Jim Daly for seeing the idea through to fruition – I began to realise that ‘living architecture’ was not a product but a process that could be used for problem solving.

As the implications for ecological thinking became apparent, I was keen to find a context in which it might be possible to test how ecological principles could be applied to a variety of different challenges.

The TED Prize City 2.0 challenge started me thinking about the seemingly insurmountable issues that our cities will pose over the coming decades. It invites us to collectively craft ‘one wish’, which will collectively ignite the actions of the TED community and set them on the path towards sustainable change in our cities worldwide.

This conversation is entirely separate to the TED Prize but has been inspired by it. The idea of a future city offers a framework in which I’d like to start to explore the possibilities that a new kind of thinking. I’d like to explore what this approach may have to offer us in dealing with the unknown and also with the more mundane aspects of our daily lives.

It occurred to me when I was writing of my TED Book that all the Grand Challenges that we currently face are not ones control and command issues related to simple situations but complex ones - that require participation, engagement, collaboration and interdependency.

Two decades after the internet breached the domestic and commercial realms we have become familiar with the idea of complexity - on a daily basis. Whereas once the world may have appeared to be ordered in a hierarchical manner – now it appears to be impossibly entwined and forged from networks and interactions that are ephemeral, transient and fundamentally uncontrollable.
Is it possible to reconcile this subversive view of existence with a working view of our presumed cosmic order?
We might imagine this new complex framework in which we are inextricably immersed as being an ‘ecological’ one.
This method of approaching uncertainty has become so successful that we have even embraced this concept into the soul of our existence. Machines are really great for being machines. They command control through the consumption of natural resources and are belligerent to a fickle natural world. They keep us safe and in command.
Since ancient times we have sought to gain control of the unknown, believing that the laws of the cosmos, nature and the human realm are knowable and ordered. The most powerful instrument we have used to unravel the complexity of existence and simplify it is the 'machine' - the idea of an object-based, hierarchical system that possess a mathematical order. The metaphor of the machine has been extremely successful, so much so that we imagine ourselves as machines. We think of our bodies of being made up of parts consisting of organs and tissues. At the very centre of these machine organs is a biological program, a complex chemical called DNA that literally runs the processes of our soft machine. When various parts of the body machine break down, we can replace them with other parts that do the same job and ultimately, since we are machines the logical conclusion is that we could indefinitely replace our body parts and achieve immortality. If we do not submit to complete mechanisation Ray Kurtzweil warns us that we will be replaced by superior life forms in an event horizon so profound that we cannot see the consequences for our species beyond it. He calls this The Singularity.
Is it possible that by thinking differently - using a new kind of ordering system - whether this might give us a set of tools that can help understand ourselves in a more connected, ecological context and may have an impact on for example : the way we live our lives, the way we make things and the way that we dream and build our cities?
In my book [Living Architecture] I have attempted to use an ecological framework to address a complex issue - such as the future city - as invited by the TED Prize City 2.0. Living Architecture, is the consequence of using a new set of tools and technologies in our acts of making. These are not machines, they do not work like machines at all but behave biologically. The portfolio of new tools, which are mostly based in synthetic biology and complexity chemistry, sets the scene for a new group of materials and architectural interventions that lie somewhere between the performance of machines and biology. These strange, new technologies blur the distinction between building and landscape and suggest that the 21st century marks the advent of synthetic urban ecologies. The book itself takes a multi-systems view of the potential applications of systems that are not truly 'alive' but possess living qualities. As 'living technologies' these properties can be exploited as new ways of 'making' things at many scales of operation ranging from the micro scale, to the city. The text explores the context and need for these kinds of new solutions that are compatible with a systems view of the world embodied in the ecologically engaged practices of Panarchy, Permaculture and Biomimicry. Living Architecture results from the strategic applications of living technologies and - importantly - is based on real world experiments.
1) A system that is ecological and emergent is dependent firstly on its context - or its environment. This establishes just how much growth and self-organization any particular generative system can achieve. Think of a small office making great business, enough to take on new staff - the size of the office space will limit the emergent interactions in that group of people.

2) A system that is ecological and emergent is dependent on its 'metabolism' - the energy that it possess to keep it away 'from equilibrium' - that's a term used by Shroedinger 1944 to describe a signature of life. In an everyday setting we can think of the 'metabolism' as motivation, stimulation, cultural motivation and belief systems (I am sure that you'll be able to think of many more ways of keeping energy flowing in a community or a workplace). Without an internal energy to stop everyone reaching a point of inertia - or unproductively - spontaneity and emergent behaviour will not occur.

3) A system (or group of people) that work according to ecological and emergent principles also need an 'architecture' - in other words a strategy through which the participants can use to connect with and interact with each other. Without social codes, ethics and etiquette then the bonding or 'architecture' of the system breaks down. These forms of architecture do not have to be permanently fixed but they need to be present as they are vital for the participants to help them understand their role and limits within a group.
This raises a very important challenge when dealing with ecological ways of working - that is the need for both top down and bottom up forms of coordination. The whole issue of emergence is one that is inherent to systems thinking and ecological thinking yet it provides a design and engineering challenge that has not been 'formalised'. How do we design with emergent systems? The short answer is that emergence alone is not enough to generate sustainable change other factors are extremely important.
Let's think about what this might mean in the work place. If we think of ourselves as machines, we have a single job to do, wall ourselves away and invest all our energy in getting that job done. We work to the same pattern, the same programme and the same habits. In a machine, variety is not a good thing as if dilutes our efficiency. In an ecology, networks are all important. The first thing we would do in an office would be to make sure that our networks are healthy. If we have a particular task to perform we find out who can help us and use the network to find out a way around any issues that may result from the unseen challenges that beset us daily. An ecological approach to the work place would also see continual changes in practice that respond and evolve according to ongoing daily challenges and may evolve new systems of ways of working that do not need a centralised command chain to operate them. Ecological ways of working evolve rather than follow a rigid program which is then very disruptive when this is altered at central HQ.
The political theorist Jane Bennett takes a very interesting view of the material world which gives it political agency. In other words, as we depend on more than ourselves for our well being then she believes that the world around us has meaning and therefore value. She describes the act of eating, for example as being a collaboration between the bacteria in our gut and our own bodies - neither one of these exclusively benefits or always 'wins' in this transactions - she imagines then that our bacteria, during the process of eating are part of us. So if we need to embrace and respect our body bacteria as a way of looking after ourselves this changes their meaning - for example, we may not take an antibiotic when we feel unwell as we would see it as being more harmful than good and would take a bionutrient instead to strike a better biological balance. This is a subtle but important change in the way we think about our environment. Machines seek to be sterile - and bacterial free. Ecologies are the consequences of healthy networks and balances.
I'll address some of the questions that resulted from writing the TED Book on Living Architecture. The first being what the idea of an Ecological Human actually mean? Could it help us find new or more effective ways of working?
Those contexts are just some very simple rules that it was possible to examine using the living technology that I have been working with since 2009. It has been an amazing experience being able to work with a technology that really does look as if it is alive but since it has no DNA, it is not called 'alive'. However, that this technology breaks a lot of rules that machines obey helped me look again afresh at the way that world appeared to be organised around me and how it might be possible to use the powerful visualisation that the technology offered as a way of re-imagining what may be possible. Take a look for yourself - this is a series of films that were taken of the technology - they are not animation but real footage of simple droplets behaving in a remarkably lifelike way. Video: Here [credit Michael Simon Toon].
It occurred to me when I was writing of my TED Book that all the Grand Challenges that we currently face are not ones control and command issues related to simple situations but complex ones - that require participation, engagement, collaboration and interdependency.
Two decades after the internet breached the domestic and commercial realms we have become familiar with the idea of complexity - on a daily basis. Whereas once the world may have appeared to be ordered in a hierarchical manner – now it appears to be impossibly entwined and forged from networks and interactions that are ephemeral, transient and fundamentally uncontrollable.
Is it possible to reconcile this subversive view of existence with a working view of our presumed cosmic order?
We might imagine this new complex framework in which we are inextricably immersed as being an ‘ecological’ one.

Future cities will need to have some qualitatively differences to modern cities but change does not mean tearing down what already exists. This is simply silly. In my book I refer to 'extreme recycling' of cities where structural elements such as concrete and steel that mature with age are kept in situ and new kinds of 'skins' that have more biological-like and dynamic materials in them can start to perform some of the kinds of functions that we'd normally attribute to plants. Most of us will not be able to live in Masdar and sustainable enclaves so one of the biggest challenges that I hope that living technologies can address is in our existing building stock. I think that we will firstly experience a series of incremental changes as some of these new technologies can increase the quality of the local environment in physical but also in terms of its psychological impact. We need to make room for nature in our cities. We can be inventive about what this actually means now that we are able to design and engineer with biological systems to the degree that we are currently able. But we also need to respect our environment and also the wishes of communities. Facilitating a transition towards a City 2.0 (as the TED Prize states) has really got to start with a change in mindset as to what is possible, education, addressing infrastructures, meeting the needs of populations and lastly changing the way that our architectures are made. In that order. Also this is just my opinion and I am very keen to hear your views as to how change may be possible - it is so vital for a humane future in cities - and so pressing upon us!

What is the role of biology in our twenty first century cities? Will we have space for native biology if we're not only going to see one third again more people in urban environments, living more densely and with more people moving from rural to city lifestyles. Can biology be viewed as a technology that can help us generate more sustainable solutions for city living spaces? These kind of questions may be addressed best by the practice of a new kind of science called synthetic biology. Most of us will equate synthetic biology with genetic modification - which is something that I do not do myself. But is it more broad than this - certainly the way that I personally view synthetic biology. I consider this science as being the way that we design and engineer with nature and living systems. In other words using a set of tools and materials that are Ecological in their very nature. Machine based tools need to be checked and adapted for their ecological compatibility because they constitute a barrier between human design and the natural world - but biological systems share a common language with nature through the laws of physics and chemistry. In my TED Book Living Architecture I describe the range of these kinds of interventions that range from agrarian techniques to biotechnology. They constitute a powerful portfolio of possible ways of shaping our living quarters. Because they are powerful they need to be considered carefully but they do offer us something new and different to machines. Modern architecture finds the biological system too slow for its liking. But if we really do find some of the properties such as, robustness flexibility, the ability to deal with the unexpected and the capacity for surprise valuable then there are a new range of opportunities (and challenges - which include ethical ones) available to us.

More: Here.

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