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Comments on Week 11&12 Readings-2017

SUCCESSFUL AND UNSUCCESSFUL DESIGN INTERVENTIONS AROUND THE WORLD

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  1. In “Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment”, the author talks about temporary artistic and community contributions such as community gardens and sculptures and how their presence generally improves the mood of the area in a positive manner. Unfortunately many of these, such as the Heidelberg projects and the South Central Garden in LA take place on property that is either city or privately owned and is not the artist’s to use. In turn, these projects are often removed or destroyed to make way for new development. It’s bittersweet in a way, new development can be the source of a long-term positive change but at the cost of a valued community project.

    In “Learning from Abroad: Lessons in European Shrinking Cities” it is somewhat comforting to see that Europeans struggles with deindustrialization often have the same causes and solutions to their American counterparts. Industries leave the city or country, jobs are lost, and soon people begin moving away, causing further economic distress. The fact that this cities have been industrialized for longer doesn’t really change anything. Their struggles are the same and the solutions are the same.

    Upon seeing the article about Masdar City, my initial reaction was “How have I not heard of this before?” This is something that is right up my alley… a sustainable utopian city in the middle of the desert. I did a bit of further research and concluded that yes, this is a real thing, but it is, in a way, too good to be true. The project is 15 years behind schedule and its future budget is uncertain. Judging by the lack of recent news on the internet I am under the assumption that the city is “on hold”. Regardless some of the ideas being proposed and tested here have made it out of the lab and be implemented in other cities and could become mainstream in a couple of years.

  2. In “Limitations of the Temporary” the author discusses the benefits of temporary projects on abandoned lands as well as their limitations. I think it was interesting to hear about the ways in which temporary projects are often cast aside in order to make more permanent ones. On one hand it seems reasonable as these are more permanent solutions and in many cases those in charge of the projects don’t really have any claim over the land. However, its a little ironic to me because the cities or land owners often only seem interested after someone else has come in and done the hard work of revitalizing the space to begin with. It made me think of the TED talk we watched briefly in class where a project was developed to grow food in the vacant land between sidewalks and the street. The city had no interest in maintaining those strips of land until other people came in and repurposed it. Instances such as that make me wonder if the city or landowner is genuinely interested in revitalizing and repurposing the land, or simply maintaining control over it. It seems like if it were the former, the landowner or city would be more willing to work with the community that has already put work into the land.

    In “Lessons from European Shrinking Cities” the author discusses a shift in neighborhood renewal projects in the United States and how many of the solutions treat the symptoms of a dying neighborhood, but not necessarily the causes. It was interesting to see how Bremen handled the problem by really researching the neighborhood, discovering its needs, and then providing resources not just for the physical infrastructure but also to educational and community building problems. I wonder if this is a way to combat the gentrification that often occurs in the US when revitalizing communities.

    Masadar City was an interesting case study in whether or not a city can truly be entirely sustainable. I recently read an article talking about Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, a previous prime minister of the UEA. He said “My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel.” This was in acknowledgement that the wealth in the United Arab Emirates was largely due to oil, which was not and is still not sustainable. So it is interesting to me that within the same country, an entirely sustainable city is within the works. It is obviously something that has been a priority to the country, and despite budgetary and scheduling issues, I have hope for the city’s completion. More over, the world is very carefully watching the UAE as Dubai has become a world-class city and seen astronomical growth in a relatively short time. Hopefully, if Masadar is completed successfully, or even partially completed, the world will also pay attention to that and follow its lead, even on a smaller scale.

  3. The article about Masdar City was very interesting. I was intrigued by this and thought about how the technology coming out of this project could be useful on many levels throughout the world. What did fascinate me was when they discussed the expense of such a project. It actually struck me as too contained, a cross between a prison (raised high above the ground), a medieval fortress, and an outpost in the “Wild West”, when the West was just being settled. The cost of the project is mind numbing, and it’s eventually disclosed that this type of project could only be funded by non-democratic societies. It goes on to discuss another similar project that was abandoned by the Chinese, called Dongtan, and that a project in Brazil, called Curitiba, actually ended up having higher car ownership, in spite of an excellent mass transit system due to lack of community involvement in the project.

    Landscape and Abandonment deal s with temporary solutions and their helpfulness or detriment. Temporary solutions can be problematic, but at least offer a solution, sometimes when there are no others. These solutions are subject to land owners wishes, such as when an owner was reinstated to a piece of land that had been tended to as a garden by local residents, and then the owner plowed in under, and never did anything else to the land. We must look at what is the best and highest use for the land case by case and city by city. In Germany, the Donbergdriek Site, became the most studied ecological site in the city, but was raised to build a hotel on the property.

    Rebuilding America’s Legacy Cities- quite frankly bored me. It was filled with data and comparisons between several European cities and a couple of hard hit cities in the US, and I lost interest not too far into the article. The ultimate message is about restructuring. Not only do the towns need to plan for shrinkage, but they need to be proactive about restructuring their economies, and capitalizing on the unique qualities of each individual city to be able to navigate through times of shrinkage and through growth.

  4. “Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment”

    In this article, author Jill Desmini provided useful insight in regards to the development of our vacant lot. She discussed how some cities have put up temporary structures in these spaces however she explains they are not sustainable and are not any better than filling the lot with trash. The article also points how we might go about avoiding foreseen issues, as she states the land will have to withstand changing interests which we have done by choosing a relevant feature to the history of the city. New Bedford needs a lot of help with its abandoned lots across the city, so her advice that a city that needs a lot of help indicates that a temporary solution will not be useful. Our structure is both relevant to the neighborhood and a permeant structure so it should hold interest to the city for years to come.

    Masdar City: Promotional Literature, the Government of Abu Dhabi.

    Masdar City is a unique example of a sustainable city that gives a glimpse into what our world could become overtime through these practices. One major decision in the city was to permit automobiles within the boundaries of the cities. Many countries, especially the United States, are not ready for this compromise, a necessary evil needed in order to seek the goal of a sustainable future. Many people like myself are not ready to sacrifice this luxury. Masdar City represents a major advance in sustainable urban design and if we found a way to make this more affordable and practical for people more cities might consider building this way.

    “Learning from Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities”

    European shrinking cities seem to face many of the same struggles as American shrinking cities. Like the article talks about, in some cities where industries have declines have no completely disappeared. I heard that manufacturing in North and South Carolina have succeeded because, like the article states, some have managed to adapted older skills to more advanced types of manufacturing. Where the two countries seem to differ is in their neighborhood renewal plans. In Europe, cities are heavily reliant on public funding steams which enables a long-term commitment and prevents neighborhood decay to the extent that the US has before.

  5. Landscape and Abandonment talks about temporary solutions to temporary spaces I agree that temporary space can both over and under value itself. It gives you more potential and more opportunities with your space but whatever is built there I don’t think will look as nice or serve it purpose as best it can. It is sad in the case of the Gardens in LA that the original owner did not continue with the garden project or at least do something with the lot other than grass.

    Lessons from European Shrinking Cities discusses how towns need to assess more what there future development is going to be and if that entails shrinkage as well. Like the article says the rise of industrial cities was linked to their location, and the first industries were located in close proximity to natural resources. Also infrastructure and the ability to displace the natural resources and bring it to other facilities was important so urban growth often occurs near waterways, roads, and railroads. Like I’ve said in class before, European cities are older and have already gone through transitions and ages where cities in the US have barely existed so I think we need to continue to look at cities in europe for inspiration on how to make our cities transitional development better.

    The Masdar city project seems like it might be have to much of an experimental approach to it where I don’t think that the cost of the project is worth the equivalent of 20 billion dollars; however this city shows promises in designing and building sustainable cities for the future. The project is also funded and controlled by the government so it is not like anything there is going to be for the new local community. Also it is going to be a city in the desert and isolated from other cities and communities? So I wonder about the future development of the city and its surroundings or will it just function like a utopic work zone where the building everyone works in is also the same building or adjacent to their homes.

  6. Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment

    The main point I got out of this reading is that all urban areas need “Loose Space” which can be a juxtaposition to the corporate and residential buildings. The space is meant to be eventful temporary so many different uses to occur as humans feel the need to host different types of activities. It also gives a vitality to the population to be able to engage with community outside of just costly activities like clubs, bars, and often times malls. This space also doesn’t have to be permanent in a sense, it can be temporary but lasting. The example used is the food trucks in Manhattan. They are only on a street for a few hours around lunch and benefit both the businesses and the community. After the lunch rush, all the trucks are gone as if the event never happened. This reminds me of the event in Salem Massachusetts around Halloween when streets are closed down for up to a week to traffic so people on foot can explore the shops and the vendors that set up in the streets themselves. Events like this are huge monetary and community boosting activities and once the event is over its like it never happened!

    Learning from Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities

    This article goes in depth about how cities are shrinking due to exogenous factors such as de-industrialization and company movement. It searches for the ability for cities to have growth, crisis, decline, and then hopefully recovery and regrowth. For this to occur both cities and people have to be invested in reviving it. People have to run businesses and “attractions” to make people want to live in a shrinking city for some kind of assured value, while cities themselves have to rezone, replan, and coordinate the opportunity for these kind of both public and private spaces to be built. AN example of this is say a large factory is abandoned and the land its on + the building is worth $1.4 million. The surrounding housing units once used for employees of the company are also empty and decaying and those lots are $800k, $500k, and $250k. The massive lot of space is estimated to be worth $2950000. Now if the city bought and cleared it out, put in a mall where the factory was, a large parking lot for two of the housing units, and turned the last spot into a public space rather it be a building with surrounding gardens where art exhibits could be, or any other creative practical use, then the entire area could be renamed something like “Cityname Park”. Now, you give the opportunity for businesses to open shop, a place for commuters to join in, and an attractive center that will create social advertising for the area. This now converted a lot of unused space into a highlight for the city. With enough effort of places like this, residential rates will increase surrounding the area as both jobs and social life are created. None of that would be possible by just a company or individual, it takes a government body to implement that.

    Masdar City: A model of urban environmental sustainability

    This is about a city that has been in the works since 2007. Its in the desert and is aimed at being fully sustainable from energy and resource perspective. The city is focused on traditional Arabic architecture and employs many different technologies and ideologies to reach its goal of being fully sustainable. Even though it is based on traditional design, the city will not hesitate to employ expensive technological solutions to problems faced by desert cities. The project is currently delayed and the funding for the project is unsure.

  7. There are benefits in temporary landscapes and are limited but are they worth it? I was not surprised on the benefits such as increasing activity and diversity. However, I found it interesting that some of these installations are done illegally do to being unregulated. I did like how they related the topic to food trucks, being able to serve an active space but not transitory. But without a long-term land leases both face the short-term lifecycle. The projects that have happen are referred to as “subversive” projects because of the lack of neighborhood improvement and continue without a future direction for these projects. Similar to the united states England is facing a shrinking cities affect. They also had a large industrial industry that dictated societies and urbanization across Europe. The rise of these industrial cities was relies on the resources available so these cities were built close to these required resources. The article provided many graphs and charts that showed the increase in unemployment and the manufacturing workforce. Once deindustrialization occurred these cities faced the same events as the U.S. and industrial city population declined. Our two separate economies experienced the same downturn even though they were an industrial industry longer. In the Masdar city project it not only shows that sustainable communities are possible but that a combination of technology and design are the building blocks to getting there. While also showing that one or the other is not the sole answer is creating a better/ greener lifestyle. However, I did find it strange that there is segregation between single men, single women, and families. I feel that is a downside to this project since it is breaking up the community changing the living dynamic.

  8. Learning From Abroad

    In America we often have this belief that our industrial-based cities are long gone; the only way to bring them back is to bring back laborious industry. Our current President harps on “bringing back coal,” even though it is quite literally an impossible task. When we look towards the future we have to thing about what can be done, not what was done. Restructuring these local economies around new industries, and accounting for shrinking is the way forward. We can’t pray and hope that the cities will magically rise in population or old industries will be reborn.

    Landscape and Abandonment

    A temporary solution for a pervasive problem makes no sense. Just starting from the viewpoint of “temporary” is problematic; it means eventually funds and resources will stop going towards these temporary solutions and eventually they will just be the trash and ugliness we have sought to avoid. I think temporary solutions can be used as testing grounds, see what works first, and then expand. But these lots need more care than temporary solutions.

    Masdar City

    Designing an entire city from scratch has always intrigued me. I have often thought how disappointing it is that we build structure with no regard for sustainability, or we build structures only for a far superior method to come about. Once something is built it is hard to tear it down and rebuild with better technology. But when we talk about sustainability is building an entire city really the best method? In environmental science we talk about reduce, reuse, recycle, and this project goes against most of those principles. Instead of using more resources on a gimmick we, globally, should dedicate resources to retrofitting and improving.

  9. I did a power read of all three articles. I think it was at an odd hour and I was tired. One common theme among them was; if all aspects of society are considered and involved in rebuilding, there is hope for success, longevity, and less chance of relapse. When I got to the pic of the Guggenheim Museum on Abandoibarra “Opportunity Zone” in Bilboa, Spain, in the Alan Mallach piece, I thought, oh boy that’s ugly! The monochromatic pic did it no justice, as I discovered by jumping to street level on the Google Earth. The powers that be, were skeptical about the plans for this area, and if the Guggenheim project could help jump start the rebuild. I recommend going to street level and checking it out. It is within walking distance of the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilboa, and the Maritime Museum of Bilboa. Surrounding the Guggenheim are many parks and restaurants and plenty of window shopping close to the city center. The river front, the airport and the infrastructure got a face lift. It is a good example of what happens when many different entities all get on the same page. Because of their efforts, two car builders opened plants in the area, adding employment. If I ever make it to Spain, a few days in Bilboa will be included.

    Bilboa and numerous other cities in Mallach’s study were very successful in their rebuild plans. “Several of the cities studied here (for example, Bilbao, Bremen, Leipzig) have implemented monitor systems that are regularly fed with data on social, economic, demographic and housing related issues. Monitoring has become an important tool to measure local development, plan resource allocation, and design specific area-based approaches.”

    Despite all the planning a question still exists. If we build it will they come? This was the question about Masdar. Is it so innovative that people will stay away? Will it last long term and how can it be made to blend with future building? It may be another place to visit. Imagine, sitting in the center of a city and not hearing traffic noise.

    These are the questions that Jill Desimini address in her article. Can temporary fixes lead to long term solutions? She points out the Heidelberg Project as a mix of both. Some is beautiful and some downright ugly, forcing the city to demolish the site. She talks about social attitudes and success rates. Both Mallach and Desimini point out that building for housing sake and not including other social amenities will end in failure.

    All three articles emphasize that total cooperation between public, private, the government and policy makers, and the community are the more successful projects.

  10. Jill Desimini, “Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment,” in Special issue of the Journal of Urban History.

    When the article talked about how landscapes are inexpensive to demolish and how protection is reserved for natural areas, I thought that was a generalized way of looking at landscapes. I feel like some urban landscapes are harder to change and are not expendable due to things such as history, policy, and how much power a community has. The article also talks about how the temporary falters when social interest is unsustainable, which, from my understanding, is why it is so important to involve communities in plans. Additionally, there is a need to find ways to keep people interested. Just as the article states there needs to be a combination of the temporary and planned.

    Alan Mallach, “Learning from Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities” in Rebuilding America’s Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland.

    This article mentions that in some cities their industries didn’t completely disappear because older skills were adapted to new types of manufacturing. I think this ability to change with time is great and it shows how rethinking what is already there can be beneficial. I also liked how this article reinforced the idea that each city is going to vary in its decline and recovery. It’s not always the best idea to implement solutions for a problem just because the solutions seemed to work before. Every city, and its needs, are different.

    Masdar City: Promotional Literature

    I had never heard of Masdar City before reading this article. It almost seems too good to be true, however there are some things about the city that I appreciate. For example, solar panels on rooftops have a dual purpose of providing energy and shade for pedestrians. I think designs that provide multiple purposes are great because they offer an opportunity for creativity on the planner’s part while giving people what they need. I also like how the city attempts to combine modernity and tradition by using both Arabian architecture and modern technological solutions. This shows that it is possible to hold onto history while also being sustainable. There’s a lot to be learned from Masdar City even if it is not possible to incorporate everything the city is trying to do.

  11. Alan Mallach “Learning from Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities” in Rebuilding America’s Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland.

    The article can be summarized between, “Present insights of about the impact of deindustrialization on older industrial cities, particularly highlighting some of the approaches and strategies that have been used in different European cities to overcome the problems associated with urban decline and “shrinkage”.” This article seemed excessively repetitive and not as intriguing as the other two. I grasped that restructuring is extremely important.

    Jill Desimini, “Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment,” in Special issue of the Journal of Urban History.

    The article opens with the idea that “freed-up space provides new possibilities.” This automatically let me think back to our final project with our vacant lot. The article consisted of great ideas and information that correlate directly to our project. The article argues, “Temporary projects are an active part of urban life in both resource-strapped communities facing depopulation as well as those experiencing growth and heightened development pressure.” which I completely agree with. Though I am not much of a fan of the “temporary solutions” but I will say it does help. I believe finding a final, permanent solution that works best be a better solution.

    Arthur Lau, Masdar City: Promotional Literature, the Government of Abu Dhabi.

    I absolutely love the idea of “eco-cities”. I’m shocked I haven’t heard of it because all I can ever think of is “Why hasn’t someone done this yet!” The idea that a city could serve as, “a clear public demonstration that environmental protection can be firmly and tangibly integrated with the development of a more attractive and livable urban community.” is quite maddening. I understand the “lead by example” but why not have a little faith in the idea of being sustainable?I am excited to see how Masdar’s Appeal: the notion that sustainable urbanism will become a broadly accepted and feasible goal only after someone demonstrates that a city with almost zero carbon emissions is possible on a large scale, will turn out. I believe this is just what we need. Though there are many compromises that come with such a beneficial, sustainable concept.

  12. “Learning From Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities”

    I think this reading is important because it demonstrates how economic decline and city “shrinkage” are not issues in just the US, but across the pond as well. European cities, like Leipzig and Bilbao, tried different strategies to promote a stable or growing population, in addition to economic growth. One interesting strategy I found was creating large scale projects to put a city “back on the map.” Attracting investors and the public eye with new train systems, modern airports, and transitioning to renewable energy are grand (in scale) projects that both help the current population, while also attracting new people to live there. Policies were developed to promote investing in businesses to keep jobs and production up, which in turn helped rebuild the economy. Another interesting strategy I read was hosting the Winter Olympics in Turin. The Olympics bring in hundreds of thousands of tourists who can spend money on hotels and in stores. Money also needs to be spent on building the infrastructure to support the Olympic games. Improving infrastructure will also attract people back to the city.

    What I took from this reading was that American cities aren’t the only ones shrinking due to economic decline and population loss. European cities have made great efforts to stop and reverse shrinkage with large investments in projects that will attract attention and improve infrastructure. These projects certainly aren’t cheap, but they can provide a huge return on investment if they are successful in bringing a city back to life.

  13. all these articles make me thing about rio 2016 olympics how they made everyone leave there homes to build these massive structures. and then after the olympics 6 months later never use the land again which is wasteful and not sustainable. and they could use these properties to help with education and homes for people of the area. pictures for example, of the waste that we cause when there is a olympics

    Before :

    After6 months:

  14. Jill Desimini, “Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment”

    While reading this article it gives the idea that free space can be used and provide new possibilities to the area. The reading gives examples of how these free spaces can be transformed into a space that can be used. This made me think about our project on the vacant lot. It made me think of what is best for the people in the area. I’m not a fan of a temporary solution for the lot I rather put something that is sustainable and will be used all year round.

    Alan Mallach “Learning from Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities”

    While reading this article it talks about the impact of deindustrialization on older industrial cities. It also talks about how some of these cities approached strategies to overcome these problems associated with urban decline. This article made me think about the city of Fall River and how it was part of the textile industry and had many textile mills. These mills were abandoned for many years until recent years they are now being transformed into apartments.

    Masdar City: Promotional Literature

    While reading this article it reminded me of a school that there goal is to be a school with zero emissions. The school is Lee Elementary located in Coppell, Texas it is an example of a Net Zero School.

  15. I think the Desimini article does a good job weighing the pros and cons of different uses of urban space. I think its important to note that she says the importance of planned and regulated spaces. Having a space be used as a free for all would cause a whole host of issues for the city. I think it’s okay to have temporary uses, but they still need to have a set plan.
    What I took away from “Learning from Abroad” is the appreciation of other methods of sustainability. I think in America we can often be too prideful and not want to listen to others ideas, even if they are objectively working better. Oppositely, it is good to learn about other’s downfalls so that we don’t make the same mistakes. This article focused mainly on the negatives that these cities exhibited and I think a lot of the issues these cities faced we can see in American cities.

  16. All three readings, I feel touched upon the need for sustainable implementation of land plans that will face the test of time. In Learning from Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities Mallach talks about how though cities like Leipzig and Bilbao recovered in due time from the post-industrial period they still remain fragile. The idea of fragile can be tied into the notion that these cities stability is only temporary unless a major change in the way the cites are reconstructed is done. Temporary ideas and art are not something that creates a long term impact or is seen as very helpful in problem solving, in the eyes of the writer Disimini in Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment I agree with the fact that temporary projects hinder progress for long turn project/idea implementation and more so large areas of land abandonment, if reimagined well can be used to revive the community which surrounds it. Such an idea would be the very interesting “eco-city” idea. A sustainable city built for the earth and the people that inhabit it is a beautiful concept. Such a large scale project would take a lot of time, money, and collaboration, and even involves risk in the case that the idea of being completely ecofriendly may not pan out. But what is important about this concept is thinking big, when rebuilding and reinventing the empty lots and buildings in cities around the world because the large scale, well invested, sustainable ideas are the ones that can reciprocate long term, positive change.

  17. “Limitations of the Temporary: Landscape and Abandonment”
    This article of deeply focused on the functionality of a vacant lot. It is understanding on how author wishes to tell her readers that building temporary solutions (architectures) are not going to be useful if the lot is to be restored.

    “Learning from Abroad: Lessons from European Shrinking Cities”
    Other than that, the article talks about the deindustrialization and company movement within a city. During the early 90s, the impact of economic restructuring on older industrial cities was substantial because most of the old industrial buildings runs the city. For Example, like the whaling industry of New Bedford.

    Going through the history and learning about the locations of shrinking cities around the world, helps us understand more about the downfall of another city. In which case, by learning the results of the shrinking cities in some parts of the world (Europe, Asia, etc..), it can be a helpful way of preventing/restoring some of America’s shrinking cities.

  18. The readings assigned for this assignment were incredibly interesting. The “Learning from abroad” article reviewed the reasons that caused prosperous cities to fall and turn into shrinking cities. I really liked the author’s intention behind this because it reminds us that we can always learn from others’ mistakes to prevent our own downfall. I think the lessons learned from this article should definitely be applied in our American cities’ analyses in order to avoid turning into shrinking cities. I mostly enjoyed reading the ” Masdar City” article. It talked about the measures that engineers took in order to form an eco-city in Abu Dhabi. What I loved most about this article was the question that it posed through its existence. Even though the city’s planners were trying their best to bring a completely sustainable city; professors and scientists still mentioned the fact that certain ideologies could be omitted in its planning. I enjoyed seeing those opposing views because it shows that sustainability is a progressive topic and that we as individuals can always try to improve our footprint even if we think that we are trying our best.

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