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.”
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…
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.
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!
Cool idea, if perhaps a little, um, well, er, too organic?
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.
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.
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…
The City’s Green Team was out shovelling dirt on Robson Street:
“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.)
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.
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!