architecture · community · play

Seattle may get a new neighborhood. How will they incorporate green and playful space?

The National Guard is moving out of its long-time location in Interbay, a historically industrial part of North Seattle. It is near two very posh neighborhoods, close to the tech and business center of Seattle, and right next to the new light rail being developed and built over the next decade.

Seattle wants to be proactive about how they design this new space. There is a sense of inevitability hanging over this project that it will be dominated by high-density condos and be catered to the young urban techies working at Amazon, Google, and Facebook all just two miles down the road.

interbay

But it doesn’t have to be. Or rather, that high-density urban development doesn’t HAVE to preclude itself from ALSO including green spaces and playful design incorporated into the end product.

The location itself is also a serendipitous mix amazing natural features like water and parks in a central location to many in Seattle, at least those north of downtown.

Lots of different consultants and teams are already weighing in on what this area could look like.

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Plan above from of the KUOW article that cued me into this. Notice there isn’t a lot of incorporation of play structures or green space, other than the trees lining the light rail path and a couple of smaller parks.

Interested to learn more? The city is having an open house Wednesday May 15, 2019, to discuss options. It would be GREAT to have voices go and support the need for open play spaces in the new development, whatever it may look like. Bring your ideas and let your voice be heard:

Interbay Public Development Open House

anthropology · behavior · community · creativity · culture · happiness · play · Social

100 Seriously Fun Ways to Make Your Town More Playful | CommunityMatters

subway swing

Yes, yes, yes! This is so exciting! I love some of these ideas on how to encourage play in your community as a way of creating joy and growing community bonds:

Here’s our list of 75 100 ways that you can start making your city or town a playful place:

Join the CommunityMatters conference call on play and placemaking

  1. Join the CommunityMatters conference call on play and placemaking 
  2. Turn the subway into a swing set 
  3. Munch people with your eyes
  4. Turn your street into a Play Street 
  5. Let sidewalks be trampolines
  6. Play pong with traffic lights
  7. Transform a set of stairs into a piano
  8. Give pedestrians the keys to your city
  9. Host a hummingbirdman rally
  10. Embed games in public seating
  11. Think more like a roller coaster designer
  12. Rethink the public library as a place for play
  13. Start a citywide festival of play
  14. Challenge people to try alternative transportation
  15. Create a local currency, then turn it into a game
  16. Get all ethereal and make a playground in the air
  17. Install a swing just about anywhere
  18. Make a plan for engaging your community in play

see the first 74 via 75 Seriously Fun Ways to Make Your Town More Playful | CommunityMatters.

The other 25 were posted here, and included:

  1. Add cheer to the streets with tiny notes.
  2. Host a temporary tattoo parlor.
  3. Get out on the street with a popcorn machine.  Idea from @wemakegood
  4. Three words: Cardboard Animal Picnic. Inspired by Patrick McDonnell
  5. Stop standing and start sitting with bench bombing.
  6. Install a Givebox Idea from @wanderingzito
  7. Start a bell box mural project.
  8. Conduct pointless surveys.  Idea from @uncustomaryart
anthropology · community · creativity · culture

Critical City Upload, Edgeryders create games for urban public spaces

Augusto Pirovano, in Milan, Italy with 2 other friends we made a project called Critical City Upload:

A game of urban transformation that uses a web platform and asks its players to perform creative missions. So far CCU is not very different from Edgeryders, the fact is that the missions are – instead of stories and reflections to write and share with others as it is on Edgeryders – creative actions that are generally performed in the public spaces of cities. The player picks the mission, shuts down the computer, gets out on the street, plays the mission, collects the necessary proof of his experience and then, after returning home, publishes the mission attaching photos and videos. As the player gets points, he levels up until he reaches level 7 and wins the Mechanical Box (a mysterious box that is delivered at his home).

Some examples of missions:

more via We create games for urban public spaces | Edgeryders.

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!

THE DIRT

Dirt
Which city is the most fun? Building Trust International aims to answer that question by seeking professional and student proposals to “turn a neglected forgotten part of your city into a PLAYscape.” Building Trust will pursue funding and planning for the winning design in the professional category, while the winner in the student category will win $100 and the opportunity to volunteer with the build of the winning professional design.

Building Trust, a charity based in England and Wales, works with existing charities and communities in need by providing design and architecture support, as summed up in their motto, “Solving a world of issues through design.”

The PLAYscapes competition brief details the grim story of an under-active, play-less world, explaining that only a third of all teenagers get enough exercise and that five percent of adults believe they have the right work/play life balance. When people have the opportunity to…

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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 · 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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architecture · design · environment · health · Nature

China’s architects work to preserve natural environment

It is great to hear that Chinese architects and planners are working to retain and or restore the natural environment and beauty of China. And great to hear that Chinese government is more open to preservation rather than focusing purely on “progress.” Restoring and/or preserving the environment is good for China’s people’s physical and mental well-being, and healthier for the world at large.

THE DIRT


Chinese landscape architects are buffeted by two trends changing the planet: the information technology revolution coming out of the U.S. and one of the largest mass migrations in history, the current process of urbanization in China, said Liang Wei, PhD, a landscape architect and professor at the Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning & Design Institute (THUPDI), at the American Institute of Architects convention in Washington, D.C. Liang said 10  million new residents are moving into Chinese cities each year, with one billion new square feet being built to accomodate the influx. By 2020, China will be 65 percent urban, which means landscape architects, planners, and architects have an unbelievable amount of work to do to make these new cities more livable, sustainable, and scalable while also undoing the worst environmental damages.

The incredible rate of urbanization has led to changes in how design is taught in China. Since the 1980s, the number of landscape architecture, architecture, and planning programs…

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community · creativity · Social

Walking to learn about your environment better

With gas prices going through the roof, many people are taking to walking more. But after being car-focused in our navigation for decades, it can be unusual for people to know how to get around by walking and how long it will take them. One student from Raleigh, North Carolina, has an idea:

On a rainy night in January, urban planning student Matt Tomasulo and two fellow schemers positioned 27 signs in three strategic locations across central Raleigh. In bold, authoritative letters, each sign indicates the number of minutes it would take for a pedestrian to reach a particular, popular destination.

And for the directionally challenged, the otherwise spartan signs are equipped with a high-tech surprise. By scanning the signs with a smartphone, pedestrians can receive a specially tailored Google Map that will keep them on the right path.

Tomasulo and his colleagues at City Fabric have dubbed their effort Walk Raleigh, and have submitted the project to the Spontaneous Interventions competition, a contest sponsored by the Institute for Urban Design. In terms of impressing judges, the group is off to a good start: far from being displeased by Tomasulo’s guerrilla antics, the city of Raleigh has expressed interest in permanently incorporating Walk Raleigh’s signs into the city’s landscape.

see more at A Walk to Remember.

I’m glad the city of Raleigh is encouraging this, and I hope it catches on in other places. I think it’s great to share our knowledge of neighborhoods with others and let them get to know their cities and environments a little bit better. Plus it’s just fun.

Have you seen similar signs in other cities? Tell me about it in the comments below.