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Ecosistema Urbano en HABITAT III – Naciones Unidas

Category: ⚐ EN+⚐ ES+city+eventos+events+mobility+news+urbanism

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⚐ ES – Hábitat III es la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano Sostenible que tendrá lugar en Quito, Ecuador, del 17 al 20 de Octubre de 2016.

Dentro del proceso preparatorio hacia Hábitat III se organizan las Reuniones Regionales y Conferencias Temáticas que involucran a una amplia gama de participantes para debatir las prioridades de la Nueva Agenda Urbana y las recomendaciones políticas en forma de una declaración final.

La próxima semana tiene lugar la Conferencia Temática Ciudades Intermedias: Crecimiento y Renovación Urbana, en la ciudad de Cuenca, Ecuador. Ecosistema urbano tomará parte en dicho evento, moderando la Sesión plenaria sobre “Crecimiento inteligente: Movilidad, espacio público y sostenibilidad ambiental” el próximo Martes día 10.

El panel incluye a expertos como Francisco Arola, Cátedra UNESCO, Univ. Lleida; Horacio Terraza, Coordinator Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative, IADB; Adalberto Maluf, Director del Departamento de Asuntos Gubernamentales y Marketing, BYD Brasil; Jose Cañavate, entre otros.

Más información y programa

A continuación un extracto de la temática:

Ciudades Intermedias: Crecimiento y Renovación Urbana

Los procesos de urbanización y desarrollo acelerado de los asentamientos humanos dieron entre los resultados, a las grandes metrópolis o megalópolis, escenarios poco favorables en los que, a menudo, ha sido difícil alcanzar buenos niveles de calidad de vida. Sin embargo, también han puesto en primer plano a las llamadas ciudades intermedias como centros que acogen la mayor cantidad de la población urbana a nivel global y que son sometidas a continuos cambios en su “nicho” ecológico por su propia dinámica económica y social.

Es en este marco que estas ciudades, también denominadas como ciudades “secundarias o menores”, surgen como “intermediarias” no solo en tamaño y escala, sino fundamentalmente en funcionalidad. Estas ciudades sufren procesos de construcción y reconstrucción que no se equiparan a los trascendentes cambios sociales y culturales, que conllevará asumir también múltiples desafíos, puesto que es preciso “modificar lo existente”, extraer todo aquello que ha sido identificado como “obsoleto” e insertar nuevas estructuras de “soporte vital” para la urbe y especialmente su periferia.

Varios espacios hablan a nivel mundial del “poder de las ciudades intermedias”, como si de ellas dependiera encontrar una apuesta o alternativa a futuro para responder las exigencias identificadas para los próximos años, o si su pronunciamiento fuese una voz calificada a nivel mundial al momento de formular propuestas y soluciones prácticas que funcionen y sean asumidas como buenos ejemplos para alcanzar un desarrollo urbano sostenible en diferentes áreas geográficas y culturales.


⚐ EN – Ecosistema Urbano will be participating in an advisory board meeting next Tuesday,  November 10, in Cuenca, Ecuador, together with several other participants. The event is part of “The Urban Dialogues”, which host a series of e-discussions over the course towards Habitat III (October 17-20, 2016) with the aim of integrating all voices and bringing forward new and emerging thinking in the elaboration of the New Urban Agenda.

The Urban Dialogue on Intermediate Cities will enable people all around the world to join the debate, bringing together a broad range of stakeholders, as well as citizens, to discuss major ideas and issues of topic of the Thematic Meeting to be held in Cuenca, 9-11 November.

The online debate will provide inputs for the Final Declaration.

More info and program

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The Bicycle as a Tool to Understand the City

Category: ⚐ EN+city+mobility+movilidad+sustainability+urbanism

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Bicycle parking in Copenhagen, photo gently borrowed from Olmofin on Flickr

All the arguments are known. All the benefits of using a bicycle as a means of transportation have been discussed, on words, speeches, infographics, funny drawings, and all other sorts of communication. We all know it is an efficient vehicle, with zero fuel consumptions and pollutant gases emission, requires less space, eases traffic congestion and is good for one’s wallet and health.

However, the most valuable and meaningful aspect of this two-wheeled vehicle has not yet been discussed. Cycling is a really intimate way of blending with the landscape, urban or rural. The bicycle is, therefore, an instrument for understanding the city, being this a key factor for the future of urban areas.

In a car, the world is reduced. The driver is inside a box, focused on getting rapidly from A to B. He moves through sections of asphalt roads and highways. Everything that surrounds him is a secondary plan. The environment, the architecture, the landscape, the life. All part of a canvas blurred by the circulating speed.

In the city, the bicycle it’s not just a ride, it is also a tool, a device for understanding the city and experiencing the true meaning of urbanism.

Being on the side of those who believe cities should be (much) more human centered, more livable, attractive and sustainable is certainly not easy, especially if you’re living in a car-centered society. Have you tried to talk with your friends or family about these problems? Have you tried to talk about how much space in a street is reserved for the cars, compared to the little sidewalk? They won’t understand, most of them drive a car, they want their space, their parking spot. They still believe more and wider car lanes will ease urban congestion.

I cannot approach them, or any random citizen, about energy efficiency in cities, about air pollution; I cannot tell them that part of the solution is a system based on walking, cycling and on public transport. I cannot tell them that the key for urban sustainability relies on density or about how the highways had fragmented the landscapes (and this is clear in Lisbon).

It doesn’t matter how eloquent we are, nobody wants to change their lifestyle when they understand it as life quality.

And this is why the bicycle is such an important tool, as a way to experience urbanism. Go for a bike ride along the city with someone who’s driving a car on a daily basis and even the best sustainable cities presentation will fall short of this exercise.

They’ll see the world with different eyes. There’s so many cars here and they’re going too fast, he’ll say. This cycling track should be larger, but generally there should be more in this part of town. I never noticed this building before. Oh, this cafe looks very nice, let’s stop, thank god they got bike racks. And, all of a sudden, those problems are not that far away from their reality.

Here’s the deal, everybody was already liking to ride a bicycle since they were kids. We don’t need to sell it. It’s cool, it’s fun, easy and economical. It’s just a matter of trying, becoming thrilled about it, and maybe they’ll see the benefits of a car-less or even car-free living. It’s all about experiencing it.

And this elevates the importance of pilot projects in the city, the importance of giving the opportunity for citizens to enjoy and feel the city as their own. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s enlightened with life: a car-free saturday, a naked bike ride, some parklets or occupying a street for a month. Personally, I love when the traffic is cut in some random street, I instantly jump from the tiny sidewalk to the car lane. People will love it and the city will benefit from it, short and long-term.

This is what we need, less talk and more action.

A do-it-yourself bike lane in Asunción, Paraguay

A do-it-yourself bike lane in Asunción, Paraguay

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Bicycle-friendly houses

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+mobility+sustainability+urbanism

Cities, organizations increasingly vast and uncontrolled, crystallize today most social and environmental issues. Intensification is a hot topic as antidote to urban sprawl and overconsumption of the territory, but how to live in the dense city, make it livable and desirable? This paradox between individual aspirations and the need to contain the growth of cities is a challenge for the architecture, the opportunity to imagine new types of habitats, for the collective economy of the soil, but offer a sense of independence and freedom in the use of space, from within and without.

Let’s find a simple example: to reduce private car use, many  cities are trying to promote green transport methods, including cycling, which is highly valued by the local population that exhibits a strong “scientific, sporty and green” image. The cycle path network is growing, but the problem lies at the two ends: What do you do with your bike when you get to your destination?

The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation ever devised, and it delivers a whole-body workout. Cycling consumes far fewer calories per mile travelled than cars, buses, or even walking. It is sometimes the fastest way to get around a city. Cyclists can zip around traffic jams and don’t have to fight for a parking spot because they can bring the vehicle home… maybe: Many homes aren’t bicycle-friendly, so bikes are either not used or not purchased.

The French architectural studio ‘HERAULT ARNOD architectes’ was faced with that problem in Grenoble, where they designed a sustainable residential house.

Image is made by Herault Arnod architectes | L’IMMEUBLE À VÉLOS |Grenoble 2006-2010

The project ‘Bike building’ has a system which makes possible to take one’s bike to the door of one’s apartment. The lifts are big enough to carry bikes; the corridors are wide and form a panoramic walkway with views over the mountains. People enter their homes as they would a house, from the outside. The architecture of the storage and distribution system is designed for a project situated at the end of the cycle path network. People will be able to reach their front doors on rollerblades, scooters, bicycles, etc., and then store their wheels in a safe place.

‘…This project was conducted as part of an order placed by the architects to 8 City of Architecture and Heritage, on the theme of a “Habitat densified environmentally responsible.” These projects were gathered in one part of the traveling exhibition “Living Green”, which was provided by the police Gauzin-Dominique Müller, and which was presented to the City of Architecture…’ say Chris Younes and Isabel Herault

Since the outskirts of Grenoble are layered with districts of detached houses which generate traffic flows that grow more intense and more extensive each day, it is time to think about urban housing that is more in tune with contemporary aspirations. What does a detached house have that an apartment does not? Amongst other characteristics, we identified the relationship with the exterior, which is more direct and special, the greater privacy, and storage capacity: according to a recent study, 40% of the surface area in detached houses is used to store various objects, food, clothes, tools, bicycles, windsurfers, skis, etc.

‘…>80% of the population would rather live in a detached house than in an apartment block in town. What does a detached house have that an apartment does not? Amongst other characteristics, we identified the relationship with the exterior, which is more direct and special, the greater privacy, and storage capacity: according to a recent study, 40% of the surface area in detached houses is used to store various objects, food, clothes, tools, bicycles, windsurfers, skis, etc….’  say Chris Younes and Isabel Herault

The façade on the street side is made up of several layers which reveal the building’s unusual design, and make a feature of it through the system of outdoor corridors and the individual storage “boxes” placed in front of each apartment: the image is created by usage. People enter their apartments via a private balcony. Located between the walkway and the building’s main structure are the storerooms and bathrooms, which alternate with empty spaces running the whole height of the building. The “storage units” are clad with different coloured corrugated steel sheet, which individualize the apartments and together create an expansive, dynamic and contrasted façade – an unpatented and lively composition.

This project is not the only one example of bike-friendly houses designed by Herault Arnod architectes.

’24 apartments house’ project is located on a new BIA to Green Island, an eclectic neighbourhood of Grenoble composed of villas, workshops and small buildings on the banks of the Isere. It meets the certification BBC with 40% renewable energy, according to the requirements of the specifications of the ZAC. The building was designed to allow residents to live in the city as a house, with a privileged relationship to the outside. The twenty four units are through and have a large terrace facing west continues. Ends of the apartments have a triple orientation. All are served by an outdoor walkway sheltered east side. The building is intended to facilitate the use of bicycles in everyday life: each unit has a storage room, protected by winks perforated (over 50% vacuum), in which residents can store several bikes. The elevator is generously proportioned to allow everyone to borrow his bike.

Image is made by Herault Arnod architectes | 24 APARTEMENTS |Grenoble 2011-2013

The building is very compact, its organization to optimize the stairwell and the elevator are grouped in a separate volume, which they are connected by a walkway. This volume is wrapped in open vegetation: a linear bins, equipped with an automatic watering, home to vines that invade gradually cables and nets stretched between floors.

The other example of bicycle friendly building is the EcoFlats mixed-use apartment building, along North Williams Avenue in Portland with its co-developer, Jean-Pierre Veillet of Siteworks Design Build.

Williams Avenue, once the heart of a thriving African American community, is today well known as a popular bike route as well as a burgeoning retail area of restaurants, cafes and shops.

Image is made by Jean-Pierre Veillet | the Eco-flats |

On the ground floor of the building, for example, is Hopworks Bike Bar.

“Some 3,000 riders a day pass by Mr. Ettinger’s new brewpub,” the New York Times’ Linda Baker writes of Hopworks in a recent feature about the neighborhood and catering to cyclists. “It has racks for 75 bicycles and free locks, to-go entries that fit in bicycle water-bottle cages, and dozens of handmade bicycle frames suspended over the bar areas.”

There are no automobile parking spaces for tenants, but the 18-unit building has storage for 30 bikes.

“Cyclists are a great potential market for businesses that want people traveling at human-scale speed and will stop and buy something,” Roger Geller, the city’s bicycle coordinator, also told Baker.

Eco Flats is one of 15 building projects aiming toward net-zero operations through a pilot program launched in 2009 by Energy Trust of Oregon. Co developed by Doug Shapiro, it was designed to use approximately 60 percent less energy than a building constructed to code stipulations. Veillet says actual savings have been higher, approaching 80 percent. In the ground-floor entry to the apartments via elevator, a flat-screen TV affixed to the upper wall conveys in real-time the amount of energy being used by each unit as well as how much energy is being generated by a rooftop array of solar panels.

If you decided to become bike user, but the house you live in is not bicycle friendly, try to make your home bicycle friendly by yourself. A bicycle doesn’t ask for much. It just needs a safe, dry spot away from thieves and vandals.

By the way, in a humorous note, there is also the opposite way: you can make your bike the main element and attach your house to it, as this man did for the Burning Man festival, or as seen in various creations involving a bike and a tiny home.

RV-Camper bike by Kevin Cyr

RV-Camper bike by Kevin Cyr

For further reading:

‘Bicycle friendly area’ – Design workshop at Auroville- PDF

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Velo-city conference and cycling awards | Vienna, June 2013

Category: ⚐ EN+mobility+sustainability

Vienna Cycling Cultures

Under the motto “The Sound of Cycling – Urban Cycling Cultures”, the Velo-city conference 2013 will take place this year in Vienna, a city that has been recognized for its efforts towards a highly livable and sustainable urban environment.

Velo-city conferences in general serve as a global communication and information platform aiming to address decision makers in order to improve the planning and provision of infrastructure for the everyday use of bicycles in urban environments. They typically bring together more than 1,000 delegates such as engineers, planners, architects, social marketers, academic researchers, environmentalists, businessmen/women, and industry representatives who join forces with government at all levels in order to build effective transnational partnerships to deliver benefits to cycling worldwide.

Velo-city Vienna 2013

This year, the conference has been organized in three generic themes: cycling cultures, cycling cities and cycling benefits. It aims to offer a variety of inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to cycling issues through different dialogue formats such as round tables, speed dating, open spaces and a world café, amongst others. To ensure a relaxed atmosphere and to facilitate networking, there will be also other activities like a Cycling Parade, a Bicycle Fashion Show, a Garden Party and some technical excursions.

cycling visionaries awards 2013

In parallel to the conference, you can take part in the Cycling Visionaries Awards in the categories of Advocacy and Social Projects Science, Research and Development Design, Fashion and Cycling Equipment, Urban Planning and Urban Design Cycling and the Arts. We are curious about the entries, there’s quite a lot of innovation going on in the world of cycling but it’s not always visible to the general public.

On the conference’s website you can also read about some interesting cycling stories.

Date: June 11.14, 2013
Place: Vienna, Austria
Website: velo-city2013.com
Twitter: @VeloCityVienna

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Cyclistfriendly Copenhagen

Category: ⚐ EN+city+mobility+research+sustainability+the environment+Uncategorized+urbanism

The 1st of October – it happened! What many citizens of Copenhagen have been looking forward to. The day when they shut down one of the most busy streets for cars, Norrebrogade, Copenhagen N. The street is one of the main thoroughfares of the capital – and it will be permanently closed for three months. continue reading

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Urban Mobility Master Plan – Lyon, France

Category: ⚐ EN+mobility+sustainability+the environment


Improving mobility for citizens
Citizens of Lyon will in future have better mobility, shorter tranportation time and be less dependent on private transportation. Lyon is the first French city to engage in a master plan for transport development. continue reading

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Manual de control climático

Category: ⚐ ES+medioambiente+mobility+sostenibilidad+tecnologías

Manual de control climático: 10 pasos fáciles para reducir las emisiones de los coches para 2012 (no 2015) es un manual de Greenpeace que nos enseña medidas para reducir las emisiones de CO2.

El manual os lo podéis descargar en este link (es un PDF) continue reading

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Mobile community garden

Category: ⚐ EN+city+mobility+the environment

The Dutch artist Anne Chienmeier has already done small gardens on the bus roofs and airplanes. And her last project is movable community garden. Citizens can take it directly continue reading

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Mobile community garden

Category: ⚐ EN+city+mobility+the environment

The Dutch artist Anne Chienmeier has already done small gardens on the bus roofs and airplanes. And her last project is movable community garden. Citizens can take it directly continue reading

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Blooming NYC Cabs

Category: ⚐ EN+city+design+mobility+the environment

Last year since 2007 September until years end New York City has visually transformed. Taxi, yellow icon, blossomed in all colors and became a mobile artistic canvas, or Garden in Transit. continue reading