community · creativity

Madrid’s Crosswalks Turned Into Colorful Works Of Art

Too often cars ignore crosswalks, causing dangerous environments for walkers and bikers. Painted crosswalks have been found to increase safety AND add aesthetics to a normally fairly mundane part of the urban landscape. It can help add identifiers to neighborhoods and help promote the neighborhood’s culture.

Bulgarian artist Christo Guelov is turning crossings in Madrid into colorful pieces of art as part of his project called Funnycross. Using striking colors and geometric designs, Guelov breathes life into otherwise stale public installations. “Funnycross uses zebra crossings to intervene in the urban landscape,” writes the artist. “The metaphor “A bridge between two shores” is the starting point of this artistic intervention.”

See more pictures at: Madrid’s Crosswalks Turned Into Colorful Works Of Art By Bulgarian Artist | Bored Panda

I have read stories about some of these popping up in Seattle and Portland, so it is good to see these painted crosswalks are being implemented in lots of places, including Madrid.

anthropology · architecture · community · design · family · happiness · health · mental health · Social

What Benefits Older People Benefits Everyone

Yes, yes, yes! Accessibility for all! Allow everyone to be able to use their environments and stay in their communities! Different generations living together in a community is better for everyone!

THE DIRT

detroit
By 2050, one in five Americans will be 65 years of age or older, but, unfortunately, less than half of our country’s jurisdictions are prepared for this massive demographic shift. At The Atlantic’s “Conversation on Generations” forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Steven Clemens, Washington editor-at-large of The Atlantic and Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and other bestsellers, discussed how communities can better prepare for their aging populations. The big point they made: what makes these communities healthier for older people will really benefit Americans of all ages.

Florida defined aging baby-boomer populations as Empty-Nesters, those 45-64, and retirees, those 65 and older. These groups are now replicating the trends of the Millennials: they are moving to urban centers. Boomers are moving to cities to be closer to their children and grandchildren. In part, they may be moving there to build a sense…

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architecture · children · community · creativity · design · health

Energy drink maker Red Bull proposes skate-able art investment for Myrtle Edwards Park


The Seattle City Government Parks & Recreation site recently hosted a public meeting to gather input on a proposed public art piece in Myrtle Edwards Park that will be used for skateboarding.

Energy drink maker Red Bull has approached Seattle Parks and Recreation about making a community investment that would include commissioning an artist to design and fabricate a unique piece of skate-able art. At the meeting, Seattle Parks presented the history of the proposed project, followed by an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the idea.

Myrtle Edwards Park is located at 3130 Alaskan Way on the shoreline of Elliott Bay, north of the Olympic Sculpture Park.

The Citywide Skatepark Plan, developed in 2006 and 2007 with extensive public process, designated Myrtle Edwards as a recommended site for a skatedot [editor: which is apparently smaller than a skatepark]. Since 2007, Seattle Parks and Recreation has constructed eight new skate parks and skatedots. Two more are in construction and design.

4Culture is administering the Call for Artists associated with this project. The artist will coordinate the design with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

A second follow-up meeting is planned in June.

I love the idea of creating public art that is actually usable, whether it’s by skaters, kids, or even animals. I understand that some art is best appreciated by not messing with it, but especially in a public space sometimes it’s hard to not want to interact with sculptures or murals. I also appreciate Red Bull’s focus on supporting play in all its forms, although private sponsorship of public spaces is always a touchy, tricky gray area.

Is there a public art piece, or artistic skatedot, fountain, whatever, that you really enjoy sitting on, playing on, or just watching others play? Let me know about it in the comments below.

architecture · behavior · community · environment · health · play · Social

Competition: Create Your City’s Next Great PLAYscape

Yes! Seattle had a similar competition a couple of years ago, more focused on art but in a similar vein. Unfortunately not much came of the competition, so I would LOVE to see the results of this competition. Hooray for Playscapes!

Yes! Seattle had a similar competition a couple of years ago, more focused on art but in a similar vein. Unfortunately not much came of the competition, so I would LOVE to see the results of this competition. Hooray for Playscapes!

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architecture · behavior · creativity · design · environment

Soundscraper Transforms Vibrations from City Noise Pollution into Green Energy Soundscraper Generates Energy From Noise Pollution – Inhabitat

Cool idea, if perhaps a little, um, well, er, too organic?

Soundscraper Transforms Vibrations from City Noise Pollution into Green Energy Soundscraper Generates Energy From Noise Pollution – Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
The concept for the Soundscraper is that it would generate energy from noise pollution.

The Soundscraper is a futuristic structure designed to transform auditory vibrations from bustling cities into a source of clean energy. Designed by Julien Bourgeois, Olivier Colliez, Savinien de Pizzol, Cedric Dounval and Romain Grouselle, the Soundscraper is covered with noise-sensitive cilia that harvest kinetic energy while soaking up urban noise pollution.

more via Soundscraper Transforms Vibrations from City Noise Pollution into Green Energy Soundscraper Generates Energy From Noise Pollution – Inhabitat.

architecture · design · Nature

There’s a part of me that always says “well yeah, duh!” to this kind of talk, but I think it’s also one of those things that needs to be repeated over and over and over until people get it and start acting on it.

THE DIRT

Presenting as part of the TEDxWDC, a day-long discussion between Washington D.C.’s creative leaders, landscape architect Jeff Lee, FASLA, talks about the need to recognize the continuity between man and nature, striving to raise awareness of “planning and design strategies for creating new cities and rejuvenating existing mega-cities.”

Lee expresses the need for more environmentally-conscious urbanism. The world is urbanizing at a rapid pace, with “a majority of the projected 12 billion people to live in cities by 2050.” Stunningly, by this time “China alone will build 300 new cities the size of Chicago.” Given the ecologically devastating effects of urbanization to date, “we must find a better way” to build and live.

On a local level, the environmental consequences of reckless urbanization are undeniable. In the 64,000 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, urbanization has created vast impervious surfaces that prevent rainwater from recharging aquifers. Additionally, runoff from…

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architecture · community · design · environment · happiness · Social

This morning on Robson: Constructing an Urban Pasture

Interesting experiment happening in Vancouver, BC. Reminds me of the PARKing days that happen here in the U.S., only this one’s permanent.

Price Tags

The City’s Green Team was out shovelling dirt on Robson Street:

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“Urban Pasture” is another trial project in amenity-making, this time in the parking lane on the south side of the 1000-block Robson – just in front of the Cafe Crepe where the sidewalk narrows.  (Decades ago, the City required six-foot setbacks for any new construction, the intent being to widen the street for another traffic lane to handle vehicle growth.  That ain’t gonna happen – but the setback remains so that now the sidewalks can be widened for pedestrians.  This is one of the remaining choke points.)

Similar to Parallel Park off Main Street, Urban Pasture will provide a small seating space and landscaping.  It isn’t even finished, and already people are filling the seats.

But there are two other aspects of note:  first, this structure is in what was once the rush-hour lane, where the parking was stripped during the morning…

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community · creativity · design · environment · happiness · mental health · play

Remaking or “hacking” urban spaces

Great story from TreeHugger about self-proclaimed “Urban Hacktivist” Florian Riviere and some of the various “hacks” he’s done:

When it comes to redefining public space and objects, Florian Rivière is a master. The self-described “urban hacktivist” transforms parking spots into hockey rinks, sidewalk barriers into tables, and uncomfortable benches into lounge chairs for the homeless.

I absolutely agree with TreeHugger when they say:

I love it when people re-imagine how urban space is used; it’s a fantastic way to make cities more liveable, practical and fun, without needing major construction projects or the hassle of red tape.

Here are some of his best “hacktions.”

Visit Florian Riviere‘s site and see more of his work.

I particularly like these hurdles he’s set up:

parcourse

This is just one example of “hacking” public space in a fun creative way. I still remember the yarn-bombing movement that really took off a couple of years ago but seems to have died down for now.

There was also the Swing at the bus stop.

What other examples of urban “hacktivism” have you seen? Share them in the comments below.

architecture · community · design · environment · Nature

Roof gardens

I can see this roof garden from my office window.
Even in a city like Seattle where trees and moss are threatening to take over every unclaimed even-slightly-damp area, it is nice to see some greenery mixed in to the rooftops. I’m sorry to see they’ve let the grass go brown, but it is winter so that could be part of it. I notice so many other rooftops surrounding it have not taken advantage of their nice flat roofs, either for gardens or just "green roofs" or even solar panels. There is just so much wasted real estate up there it makes me sad.
Hooray rooftop gardeners, where ever you plant yourself!