Jose Luis Vallejo will be giving a lecture next week at the ia&l (Institut für Architectur und Landschaft) from the Graz University of Technology. He will also take part in the “Urban Legends” workshop as a guest:
March 25, 2013
The people behind More Than Green have organized a great summer course on July 15-26, 2013 in the mediterranean city of Alicante (Spain), where we will also be taking part together with PLAYstudio, Transsolar and Urban Think Tank.
Sustainability is not just an environmental issue but, and above all, a social, cultural and economic one. This course about URBAN DESIGN and SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE proposes a complex incursion within the subject of sustainability understood not only as a problem but as an opportunity to meet new approaches to the city in a creative, innovative, playful and unprejudiced way.
Contents + Objectives
Improve your design skills: based on an open criticism of the “only green” approach for the construction of our future sustainable cities, this course offers a much wider, complex and playful perspective at the same time. Students will combine the design of a team project –about an specific case‐ with the supervision of guest experts and their master classes.
Build a knowledge frame –examples of good practices told by guest experts‐ where students take consciousness of the importance of broadening their understanding of sustainability according to the new world policies.
Create a typical multicultural situation of an international course where students coming from different places exchange their various backgrounds and modes of undertaking the sustainable urban project. The diversity of the faculties contributes to enrich this situation.
Methodology + Course Structure
Master classes, teamwork and project reviews within the context of four different ways of understanding sustainability: ENVIRONMENTALLY, SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY and CULTURALLY.
DIRECTOR: José Luis Oliver Ramírez (University of Alicante) + TRANSSOLAR: Matthias Schuler (Harvard GSD) + URBAN-THINK TANK: Alfredo Brillembourg (ETH Zurich) + ECOSISTEMA URBANO: Belinda Tato y Jose Luis Vallejo (Harvard GSD) + PLAYstudio: Iván Capdevila y Vicente Iborra (University of Alicante)
Alicante + Free time
It’s summer, you’re by the coast… who would dare to keep you away from having fun? Within the course structure, it is programmed a considerable amount of free time so the students can visit other cities or some interesting spots on the surroundings, enjoy the sun and the beach, or take part in different summer activities organized by the University of Alicante.
The University of Alicante offers you a wide range of facilities and affordable accommodation in several lovely locations from the historic city centre to the university campus surroundings.
March 21, 2013
Is Peace a matter of design? Do designers have a role in it? During our stay at Harvard GSD last Fall semester, we had the pleasure to meet architect Karen Lee Bar-Sinai who is a current Loeb Fellow there. Last January she launched the workshop DESIGNING PEACE, looking into how designers can envision peace for the city of Jerusalem. Below is a description of the course and the links to some of the contents and results. We hope you find them inspiring.
Architecture and Planning may seem to be of little relevance to Conflict Resolution. However, territorial conflicts occur in space, and so are their solutions. It is time architects, planners and policy makers approach disputed territories together to plan viable, peaceful futures for disputed areas.
This workshop invites you to join an exploration of how design can aid envisioning peace in conflicted territories. We will explore the possible meaning of Resolution Planning – originally a concept and practice developed by “SAYA/Design for Change” (sayarch.com) . Together we will try to give broaden this term, and find new ways to encourage policy makers to think as architects, and to encourage architects to think as policy makers.
The 5 day solution-oriented workshop will focus on Jerusalem as a case study for other contested cities such as Belfast and Nicosia. We will plan, think and design at various scales, and propose innovative ideas for peace. Several sites will serve as case studies (one will encourage a landscape intervention, another an urban design strategy, and a third will call for a more general policy oriented vision for the future Jerusalem seam-line). The workshop is planned to be followed by a publication.
Goals and Outcome:
The goal of the workshop is to develop spatial-based concepts to aid peace. We also plan to gather the various proposals into a publication which will include both the theoretical framework and examples of various tools for planning peace.
Above all, we wish for this effort to truly aid overcoming the stalemate in the peace process, which we believe it is crucial to future of both Israeli and Palestinian. We therefore wish this event to be as interesting, meaningful and involving as possible, in order for its fruits and visions of peacemaking to be of highest impact.
Among the contents and results of the workshop we highlight here an introduction to resolution planning and a lecture by Karen on the topic:
January 28, 2013
Today we are sharing with you some pictures of the impressive exhibition Importing Architecture which is on right now at the Nasjonalmuseet (National Museum for Art and Architecture) in Oslo.
We had the pleasure to be included in the selection and it was a great opportunity to attend the opening last November and get a chance to know more about the different projects which are under construction or have been just finished as well as the international offices who are behind them.
The exhibition raises the question of Norwegian identity in architecture and how ‘imported architects’ respond to it:
Are foreign architects reinforcing the trend toward a type of globalization that is dissolving national and cultural differences? Or are they even more concerned with formulating a Nordic or Norwegian identity than their Norwegian counterparts? Is it possible for an architect to create exceptional architecture in Norway without first-hand experience of Norwegian society, building traditions, climate or the natural environment? Or on the contrary, do foreign architects bring new ideas and ways of thinking that enrich the quality of Norwegian architecture?
Our installation is located by the ramp at the entrance of the exhibition. We tried to take advantage of the windows to display images of the Dreamhamar project, along with four screens showing videos from the process. The physical-digital scale model of Stortorget (Main Square) was also brought from Hamar and installed on top of a vinyl that covers the floor resembling the pattern painted by Boamistura on the asphalt of the real square.
If you are in Oslo sometime between now and April, don’t miss it!
Photographers: Andreas Harvik and Børre Høstland.
Related post: Importing architecture | Exhibition in Oslo
November 28, 2012
The trans-disciplinary research initiative “Low-Budget Urbanity. Frugal Practices Transforming the City” invites PhD and post-doctoral researchers to their first Early Career Laboratory from March 25th to 28th 2013 at HafenCity University in Hamburg.
Low-Budget Urbanity is a research programme that explores contemporary urban phenomena such as ridesharing and online hospitality networks, water-saving infrastructures and DIY-practices of house owners, and second-hand consumer cooperatives as saving practices that transform the urban setting. These self-organized saving practices all involve “complex encounters, connections and mixtures of diverse hybrid networks of humans and animals, objects and information, commodities and waste“ (Sheller and Urry 2006:2).
Public budgets are slashed, many cities are burdened with near-paralysing debt, and for private households, too, saving money often is less a virtue than the order of the day. As a search term of an exploratory and multidisciplinary research project, “low-budget urbanity” provides a relational perspective on those seemingly disparate austerity phenomena. The research focuses on the question of how these phenomena are transforming cities.
What is new is not that saving money constitutes a principle of individual practices (rationalized building, economic or political action, individual budget planning, etc.), but that the austerity imperative for the assemblage, i.e. the confluence and interaction of these principles has become a force that shapes and defines cities.
Next you can find a call for papers that many of you may find interesting, with the topic “What is the value of saving costs? The urban economics and politics of everyday saving practices”.
July 11, 2012
June 27, 2012
Ecosistema Urbano has, together with the Norwegian architecture office 70°N arkitektur, the Danish landscape studio Kristine Jensen, the Swedish lighting firm Ljusarkitektur and Atkins engineers, been prequalified for the planning competition in Kiruna, Sweden.
Kiruna kommune has shortlisted 10 international teams —out of 56 that were applying— for the next phase of the competition.
It’s an unusual, but very interesting challenge the Municipality of Kiruna is facing after more than a century of mining by the LKAB company. The ground is becoming unstable as some of the main tunnels are localised right underneath the city, so the city centre and all other areas affected will have to be relocated. In a time frame of approximately 20 to 25 years, some 400,000 sq. m. of housing and non-housing development will need to be replaced within the forecasting line of LKAB’s next main level, 1,365 metres below ground.
The aim for the competition is to create a sustainable, distinctive and pleasant urban environment, a city centre linking together surrounding housing and industrial areas with the whole city and constituting the natural hub of the new Kiruna. This is an opportunity for creating something completely new, emanating from Kiruna’s unique history, to accommodate future needs and the desire for good living in an Arctic climate.
We are very excited to start working with the other firms in our team in this competition, and we look forward to develop the future Kiruna during autumn 2012.
June 13, 2012
Review of the paper “Urban land teleconnections” by Karen C. Seto, Anette Reenberg, Christopher G. Boone, Michail Fragkias, Dagmar Haase, Tobias Langanke, Peter Marcotullio, Darla K. Munroe, Branislav Olah and David Simon.
Recently a research paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) concerning the conceptual development of global sustainability, in relation to both urbanization (urban sustainability) and land change. The paper argues that land change and urbanization dynamics are explicitly connected, and suggests “urban land teleconnections” as a new framework for dealing with global sustainability.
“We propose urban land teleconnections as a process-based framework for integrating urbanization and land change, for revealing their linkages and pathways across space and time, and for identifying potential intervention points for sustainability. Through the lens of urban land teleconnections, new and surprising diverse urban forms and processes, such as periurbanization, can be better understood and foreseen. The urban land teleconnections concept could also be useful to the wider research community to anticipate implications for global land resource use.”
More and more people live in the cities. The increasing urbanization is raising many discussions about sustainable planning, and this recently published paper feeds the debate with new inputs. Encouraging a reconsideration of the terms on which we base sustainable policies, the research is widening again our perception of the relationship between the urban field and land. The term “teleconnections” refers to climate science, where it is understood that events have impact over large geographic areas – when the waters of the North Atlantic go through a warm phase, fire incidents increase in the western United States. Just such urban land teleconnections explain the interrelation and invisible bond between urban processes and land use processes, which we must consider when planning our sustainable future. The key to develop strong sustainable planning, is to stop thinking of urban sustainability and land use sustainability as limited to local scale and place, and instead start to take into account the processes and global connections merging urbanization and land use.
“The virtual shrinking of distances between places, strengthening connectivity between distant locations, and growing separation between places of consumption and production are emerging topics in “telecoupled” human–natural systems and tropical teleconnections of deforestation [...] In an increasingly urban world, characterized by global ﬂows of commodities, capital, and people, where land that provides goods and ecosystems services for people is becoming more segregated from the space of habitation, teleconnections captures links between distant processes and places, and can be used to explore consequences of urbanization and land changes at great distances from points of origin that would otherwise go unrecognized.”
Urbanization and land change have so far been treated as parallel processes. Apparently this has limited the progress of the concept of sustainability. The paper states that a simultaneously treating of urban sustainability and land change as interwoven, non-separable processes is the keystone to advance in developing sustainability:
“The magnitude and accelerating rate of contemporary urbanization are reshaping land use locally and globally in ways that require a reexamination of land change and urban sustainability. Worldwide, urban populations are projected to increase by almost 3 billion by 2050 and the total global urban land area by more than 1.5 million square kilometers—an area three times the size of Spain—by 2030. Urban economies currently generate more than 90% of global gross value added, meaning few rural systems are unaffected by urbanization (3). Given such trends, we must reconsider how we conceptualize the many connections and feedbacks between urbanization and land change processes.”
The paper is confronting three understandings of the urban – land relationship that so far have been key themes in sustainability policies.
One is the Land Classiﬁcation Systems, on which the paper states:
“By deﬁnition, because urban is human-dominated, urban areas “appropriate” natural ecosystems, ecosystem services, and natural capital. By this logic, urban cannot be natural capital. However, such a conceptualization contradicts underlying principles of urban ecology as well as sustainability.”
The second theme is Place-Based Deﬁnitions:
“The place-based conceptualization enforces the idea that urban sustainability requires urban self-sufﬁciency. [...] However, decisions and behaviors that are local or even regional in scope do not account for critical consequences of teleconnections, which may undermine sustainability efforts at great distances or inﬂuence the overall sustainability for the entire system. Eating locally might undermine livelihoods of distant farmers who may be using less energy-intensive methods to produce food than local growers. Put another way, sustainability initiatives often focus on the importance of place while ignoring the processes of urbanization that may have farreaching effects on distant places and people. These processes can generate uneven and undesirable outcomes that may be undetected when focusing solely on place.”
On the third theme, Land Transitions, the paper argues:
“[...] Although not always explicit, a common assumption is that land transitions in Europe and North America can help understand future trends in Asia, South America, and Africa. Such assumptions disregard the realities that cultural differences inﬂuence conceptions, codiﬁcations, and uses of space and land, and that use of distant land to meet demand for local populations can signiﬁcantly alter the pathways of change. As a result, there is no universal or linear transition process; phases identiﬁed in one context can be shortened, prolonged, overlapped, or even omitted or transgressed elsewhere.”
Urban Land Teleconnections is suggested as a new key theme, a framework to address sustainability. In an immediate invisible network, urbanization and land change are constantly in a process of affecting one another. The term itself indicates that the concept of sustainable urbanization and sustainable land use has merged. Conceptualization of sustainability should contain both processes at once.
“By using an urban land teleconnections framework, we move away from conceptualizing urban sustainability and land as attributes speciﬁc only to a place, to begin to link dynamic global processes to their spatial “imprint”.”
This means that changes in nonurban places affects urban places and that change in urban space affects nonurban space. In this way, urban and land relations are interwoven in a global network wherein neither the themes Land Classiﬁcation Systems, Place-Based Deﬁnitions nor Land Transitions can stand alone to define the framework for developing sustainable concepts.
“ [...] we can study multiple urban regions jointly, rather than trying to aggregate and generalize across many disconnected sets of case studies, and consequently provide a more organized way to integrate knowledge globally. A more holistic analysis of the underlying and spatial effects of production, consumption, and disposal will enable development of policies that promote viable and fair solutions, and ultimately global sustainability.”
Further reading: Urban Land Teleconnections paper – PDF
July 15, 2011
After few months of intensive work at Ecosistema Urbano, we are pleased to announce the launch of dreamhamar, a network design process around Stortorget square in Hamar, Norway.
Network Design is a process of open and transparent design allowing both local and international contributors to work and propose solutions for the same project. For more information about dreamhamar and network design process you can visit the ABOUT page.
Since one of the main purposes of dreamhamar is to encourage people’s participation in the project, please don’t hesitate to share with us your opinions and ideas by commenting this post or just through the CONTACT page.
One of the tools we will be using to communicate the progress of the project is the HAMAR EXPERIENCE, a weekly video broadcasting in which the Local Lab Team and Ecosistema Urbano will describe the project in progress. We will share reports about activities, challenges encountered during the process along with the every day life of the Local Lab Team. HAMAR EXPERIENCE aims to make the process a shared and learning architecture experience.
June 27, 2011
CONFLICT, el décimo número de la publicación trimestral MAS Context, ya está disponible. Los colaboradores de este número son Jonathan Andrew, Christopher Baker, Vladimir Belogolovsky, David Garcia Studio, dpr-barcelona (@dpr_barcelona), Peter Eisenman, Thomas Hillier, Alex Lehnerer, Nora Niasari, OMNIBUS, Mika Savela, Simon Scheithauer, Cameron Sinclair y Urban-Think Tank.
La revista acaba de estrenar un nuevo diseño web para facilitar el acceso a todos los artículos publicados en estos diez números (más de 100) y permitir comentarios para continuar la conversación. Podéis ver todo el contenido en www.mascontext.com.
May 3, 2011
Any analysis of today’s reality of European or Spanish cities and their current urban trends will entail placing them in a context of crisis that globally implies, among other structural issues to be taken into account: climate change –with unforeseeable characteristics and demanding modifications to be made to energy and consumption models- or the enormous concerns for the collapse of world economy and the crisis of financial systems and their direct or indirect impact on urban ways of life. This very complex moment forces us to be more conscious of our limits and announces the end of an era of apparent safety and the beginning of another that ranges between the unforeseen and the uncertain.
The current crisis is particularly serious in Spain due to the economic model of preceding years, strongly based on building construction and exploitation of resources, in particular the resource of land. In this context of required change it is necessary to try to focus on a fixed reference point or frame where the basic axis for urban interventions can be set. The current scenario is a complex one, there are few certainties and time and processes are key characters. However, this crisis, like any other crisis, is not only useful for correcting trends but mainly for detecting opportunities. A time of large changes and few certainties is probably when the greatest demand for creativity, innovation and prospecting for opportunities for the future should occur, as well as when time should be taken for thinking before acting, making the most of a moment of lesser economic acceleration.
April 29, 2011
We are pleased to announce the first Call for Paper for the first issue of Urbain trop Urbain magazine: a ”No City Guide for Shanghai”.
The main idea is to develop a digital “no city guide” for the pleasure of the “flâneur urbain”. The review is edited in French language, but English and Spanish Papers are allowed, so most authors will be able to write in their mother tongue. You can find more details (in French) on our web page
April 19, 2011
These 11 blogs will help you keep on top of news and views about various aspects of urbanism and city life in 2011.
PriceTags: Gordon Price is a former Vancouver city councillor and the Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University. His blog gives readers an insider’s perspective of urban issues. While it with a focus on Vancouver, he cover topics of interest to anybody interested in urbanism.
Urbanophile: Aaron M. Renn’s blog focusing on helping America’s cities thrive and find success in the 21st century. He offers unique perspectives and innovative strategies for cities and their residents. (@Urbanophile).
April 5, 2011
Detroit is known by many as the birthplace of techno, a reputation that has preceded the shrinking city among music-savvy youth for 20+ years. Like most twenty-something Americans, I have never really considered visiting the city of Detroit – that’s why, when i was asked “what Detroit is like” while living in the other techno-capital, Berlin, I didn’t have much of anything to say – except for something along the lines of “i hear it’s pretty cold”.
March 31, 2011
When people get to talking about the greenest city in the U.S., they’re usually referring to Portland, Oregon, which boasts an exceptionally, historically environmentally conscious, pro-active citizenship. Chicago, with its famous theater, symphony, and Navy Pier bi-weekly summer firework displays, is usually acknowledged for its art and music.
However, Chicago deserves more recognition for its architecture, which has, in recent years, boasted some of the greenest (and I mean this quite literally) initiatives in the country. Like many U.S. city Mayors, Richard M. Daley announced his intention to make Chicago the greenest city in America. He began this transformation by transforming the Chicago City Hall rooftop into a green garden. Other Chicago dwellers followed suit, greening up businesses and homes with vertical and rooftop gardens.By 2009, Chicago was the city with the most LEED certified buildings in the country.
This week though, we’ve learned that Chicago is taking its environmentally friendly architectural history one step further. The Willis Tower, formally known as the sears center, will be adding a vertical solar farm on the 56th floor.
The Willis tower is tall – really tall. In fact this ¨planting¨ means there will soon be a vertical solar farm on the tallest building in America!
While Chicago is definitely not the most environmentally conscious city in America, as it lacks the extent of aggressive sustainable development policies and pro-active citizen initiatives that Portland owns, Chicago’s leadership in promoting ¨green¨ architecture is really something special.
Chicago is the city of the arts – it’s a visual city. Adorning the tallest building in the country with solar panels represents and promotes sustainable development as a partner of the American city.
The 1.3 million tourists who come to gape at the willis building each year will now have a bit greener of an image of what 21st century urbanism can be. I propose the addition of a vertical garden next…
(Vertical garden at Caixa Forum, Madrid)
March 29, 2011
Ecosistema Urbano is participating in the urban development competition From Streetscape to Cityscape: remodelling Thomas B. Thriges Gade in a team together with the two Danish agencies Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and Kristine Jensens Tegnestue.
Among 25 teams 7 teams have been selected to make their proposal for the remodelling of the street Thomas B. Thriges Gade in the historical city center of Odense, the third largest city of Denmark.
Since the 1960′s the city center of Odense has been divided into two parts by the 4 lane street of Thomas B. Thriges Gade, which was established as an effort to modernize Odense. On a daily basis 35,000 cars are passing the street. Having served as an thoroughfare for many years, the street is now being remodelled as a step in the sustainable development of the city. When the new bridge Odins Bro will be finished in 2014, the main car traffic will be led around the city center as part of the Planning Strategy for Odense.
March 21, 2011
April 19, 2010
In the context of the extensive process to develop the Innovative and Creative Urban Strategic Plan (Plan Estratégico de Innovación y Creatividad Urbana), Cacéres City Council is calling INTA to help make its project a national and international reference.
The panel is intervening between the participatory and the design phases. INTA will involve its membership network in this challenging participatory process leading to an Innovative and Creative Urban Strategic Plan. INTA will expand on the proposals already made by several local working groups and comments received from external observers, providing a wider international input to the process.
Ecosistema Urbano, represented by Belinda Tato, will take part in this event.
August 8, 2009
July 27, 2009
“Now, the first thing we need to recognize is that this is not just a time of challenge for America’s cities; it’s also a time of great change. Even as we’ve seen many of our central cities continuing to grow in recent years, we’ve seen their suburbs and exurbs grow roughly twice as fast — that spreads homes and jobs and businesses to a broader geographic area. And this transformation is creating new pressures and problems”.
“So what’s needed now is a new, imaginative, bold vision tailored to this reality that brings opportunity to every corner of our growing metropolitan areas” (Obama)
June 24, 2009
It’s a rare day indeed when we see [specially in urban scale] a brave project that amazes all of us, and I think this is one of those…
Apart from the “cool” new-yorker look, is some kind of relief that one of many awesome urban-scale proposals has been carried out. It had to happen in New York and lead the way in the U.S. of recycling and not demolishing when a construction stops being in use or is not profitable anymore. I suppose this frecuent situation is due to a lack of legislation to protect buildings that has special interest, but I think this is a cultural issue…
February 26, 2009
more office work on Fuencarral Special Plan… this time:
Glorieta de Quevedo. fisheye view from the gruond
February 17, 2009
Through the public bid won by means of the project presented to the aids to the investigation regarding architecture in the year 2007, from the old Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and today dependent on the Ministry of Housing and Planning of the Territory of Junta of Andalusia, a line of investigation is defined regarding the manners of coexistence and habitation in the Andalusian territory in the near future, within 20 and 40 years, that shape evolutions and generate possibilities according to variables that today, each day, we can perceive as determinants of cultural transformation.
February 16, 2009
For a long time now I’ve been obsessed with suburban and exurban master-planned communities and how to make them better. But as the economy and the mortgage crisis just seem to get worse, and gas prices continue to plunge, the issues around housing have changed dramatically. The problem now isn’t really how to better design homes and communities, but rather what are we going to do with all the homes and communities we’re left with.
February 11, 2009
Exploring New Visualisation Tools for Community Participation in the
Transformations of the Built Environment
Pop-Up Landscapes and Wiki Urban Planning Workshop
26-27-28 Feb 2009 – Hangar Barcelona
February 8, 2009
February 7, 2009
Architects Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson confront the challenge of redeveloping abandoned suburban retail space in their new book, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs (Wiley Press, 2009). The detailed text also explores several creative solutions in which progressive planning has reinvigorated suburban communities nationwide. PM spoke to Dunham-Jones about the challenge of replacing dying malls and the culture of the car with pedestrian-centered residential and retail development.
February 5, 2009
“The geography of happiness
Where does one find happiness? Whether you live in Puerto Rico or in Latvia (the nation with the highest suicide rate) can make a difference. One usually tends to think of happiness as something personal: individuals, not nations, are (or can be) happy. So the question is: is happiness a subjective reality (“feeling good”) or do objective conditions exist (“being fine”) that let us define a common standard?
February 1, 2009
[bracket] is an annual publication documenting issues overlooked yet central to our cultural milieu that have evolved out of the new disciplinary territory at the intersection of architecture, landscape, urbanism and, now, the internet. It is no coincidence that the professional term architect can also now refer to information architects, and that the word community can also now refer to an online community. [bracket] is a publishing platform for ideas charting the complex overlap of the sphere of architecture and online social spheres.
January 27, 2009
Glorieta de Bilbao [Madrid]
-fisheye view from the ground-