Evolving cities


I’ve heard the saying “a city is always moving”.  The movements they talk about involve people, cars, and living things that call a city home.  But the word ‘moving’ is seldom used to describe buildings; they are somehow seen as fixed objects.  But in Norway, a team of Swedish architects Jagnefalt Milton have created a system of moving buildings to combat seasonal changes and events.  From a landscape architecture point of view, it is immensely interesting because of the social implications a moving system would have on its surroundings.

I have been looking closely at the relationship between landscape architecture and gentrification, and researching into the impact it has on the bottom 20%.  The big question is how do we improve quality of life WITHOUT increasing social inequality?  This example of a moving system is really exciting because of its potential to become a way of providing equal amenities to everyone.  What if the seasonal movements somehow allowed for households of all kinds of demographic to access amenities that everyone should have?  If the landscape is fixed but the houses are moving, then we could have a system where the properties would have access to multiple parks and other public amenities.


All images are sourced from Dezeen and are subject to Copyright.


A Different Kind of Tragedy of the Commons?

City Parks Blog

606lineThe new 606 is open in Chicago – a mix of 2.7 miles of elevated trail with four ground-level parks along the route. Amidst the excitement of this new linear park, which will bridge four neighborhoods historically underserved by parks, is the familiar cautionary tale about its potential gentrifying impact. Like New York’s High Line, the badly needed park amenity is being viewed partly in light of its negative effects on the neighborhood it was designed to serve. (The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl said about the High Line, “As a catalyst of neighborhood change, the High Line has been to usual gentrification what a bomb is to bottle rockets.”)

But the issue of the impact of a new park on property values – and the resulting displacement of longtime residents by the rising cost of housing – is worth a thoughtful analysis. Are we blaming parks for…

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The faces of New York City’s massive 21st-century transformation


New York has always been defined by the volume and degree of interaction it forces on its people: on the subway, on the street, at the bar, at the house of worship. For The Edge Becomes the Center, I set out to understand how gentrification affects these interactions and the lives of the people who inhabit the city. Not far into my trip, I realized the word gentrification is useless—rendered so by overuse, too broad to adequately capture a huge range of disparate experiences, contexts, and ultimately, meanings. Here are a few stories I heard along the way.

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Is Urban Revitalization Without Gentrification Possible?


barryfarm Barry Farm / The Huffington Post

Cities are the place to be these days, which means big changes for the historic communities that have populated urban cores. While much of the urban renewal experiments of the 1940s through the 1960s have been deemed disasters, word is still out on the new wave of “urban revitalization” that began in the 1990s and continues through to today in most of America’s cities. The supporters of revitalization say rising tides lift all boats. As wealth has come back to cities, everyone benefits. But critics of revitalization simply call it gentrification, and, as one speaker at the EcoDistricts Summit in Washington, D.C. said, “gentrification is a crime.” Furthermore, new discussions of turning existing urban neighborhoods into “ecodistricts” may just be gentrification in a green dress. How can cities encourage growth but also provide a sense of continuity? How can over-taxed city planning departments accommodate…

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