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Being a pedestrian in Dhaka

Category: ⚐ EN+city+dhaka+mobility+urbanism

Stuck between a street vendor, his living hens and a rickshaw (first mean of transportation in Dhaka), trying to cross a four-lane road in the middle of an intersection among clouds of dust… being a pedestrian in Dhaka can look like a risky adventure. Ecosistema Urbano experienced it when we were in Dhaka for the Dhaka Upgrading Urban Project.

In 2016, Dhaka was the 11th megacity in the world with 18.237.000 inhabitants. In 2030, the UN estimate that its population will be around 27.374.0001 inhabitants. In rapidly growing megacities like these, with large, unplanned neighborhoods, both private and public spaces are affected by dynamics determined mostly by the pressure of the local and global economy. Public space, in particular, tends to be approached as an afterthought and becomes the residual (and scarce) space between the buildings, merely regarded as the minimum right of way and thus becoming hugely dominated by traffic. Due to lack of planning, parks, squares or boulevards are nonexistent, and when they exist, the spaces consist of bare land, often misused and treated as dumping grounds.

Walking is the main form of transportation in the Greater Dhaka Metropolitan area since 37,2% of the trips are made by foot2. However, this mode of transportation is far from being the safest. Being a pedestrian can be very complicated as one may encounters lots of obstacle through his journey. continue reading

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Reclaiming the Street design competition

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture

As part of its ongoing multimedia exhibition project ‘Endless City’, MAMA is launching an open-submission competition: ‘Reclaiming the Street’. ‘Endless City’ is a multi-part project, initiated in the summer of 2009, in which MAMA explores the relationships between skateboard culture, the public realm and (visual) art, with a wink to the heritage of the Situationist International.

‘Reclaiming the Street’ is an open-submission competition aimed at established and emerging artists, architects and skateboarders who have or wish to establish a relationship with skateboard culture. We are looking for unpublished and unrealised concepts for the (re)organisation of urban public spaces in order to create a place for multiple user groups including skateboarders. Whereas in the past skateboarders were driven away from public spaces and then ‘caged up’ in purpose-built skateparks, we envisage a new phase in which youth culture and skateboard culture will be integrated within the public realm. In addition to our wish to provide a valid place for skateboard culture, we see skateboard culture as an instrument for improving the quality of certain public spaces.
‘Reclaiming the Street’ takes the idea of skateboard culture as ‘homo ludens’ as its starting point for building bridges between the all those who make use of the public realm. continue reading

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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