City as Laboratory for Alternative Urban Research and Practice | This Big City
By William Hunter - an architect, urban designer and Teaching Fellow at University College London’s Bartlett Development Planning Unit where he leads studio modules in urban practice in the developing world, critical case study analysis, and investigative design strategies. 
The current landscape of cities is that of contested processes, interdependencies and relations which are dominated to various degrees by diverse actors with contrasting voices and agendas. These complex relations emerge from historical and material dialectics of the territory, linking diverse activities with the environment in a time-based evolving process, connecting action sequences that may happen simultaneously both locally and globally. To appropriately engage in this arena, a critical re-appraisal is required concerning a new paradigmatic shift in the cultural discipline and practice of Architecture and Urban Design, one that views design as an interpretive and open form of action.
Arguably a re-appraisal of this nature needs to start in education. The notion of sleepless nights spent toiling over the design of a hypothetical museum or even the genuine article of a micro design-build project does little to enliven an understanding of the underlying and surface complexities that run constant in the shaping of the urban realm. As well as in practice, there is necessary movement to re-engage with the ground, the real, as it unfolds in front of us. Pre-dated by learned theory and methodology, the act of research, especially field-based investigation, becomes paramount to the exposure of a reality that offers higher stakes, higher return value and unparalleled informed experience. As Jeremy Till suggests, there are other ways of doing architecture.
In a move to align with any emerging shift in an alternative or renewed critical design practice, the Bartlett’s Development Planning Unit has launched its 2nd annualsummerLab series. Drawing on extensive internal resources and established departmental ethos, these workshops are an intended extension of academic and professional pursuits seeking to leverage the reality of the city as a laboratory for developing socially responsive design measures that provoke, stimulate, strategize, and reconsider the role of designers and practitioners in promoting spatial justice.

City as Laboratory for Alternative Urban Research and Practice | This Big City

By William Hunter - an architect, urban designer and Teaching Fellow at University College London’s Bartlett Development Planning Unit where he leads studio modules in urban practice in the developing world, critical case study analysis, and investigative design strategies. 

The current landscape of cities is that of contested processes, interdependencies and relations which are dominated to various degrees by diverse actors with contrasting voices and agendas. These complex relations emerge from historical and material dialectics of the territory, linking diverse activities with the environment in a time-based evolving process, connecting action sequences that may happen simultaneously both locally and globally. To appropriately engage in this arena, a critical re-appraisal is required concerning a new paradigmatic shift in the cultural discipline and practice of Architecture and Urban Design, one that views design as an interpretive and open form of action.

Arguably a re-appraisal of this nature needs to start in education. The notion of sleepless nights spent toiling over the design of a hypothetical museum or even the genuine article of a micro design-build project does little to enliven an understanding of the underlying and surface complexities that run constant in the shaping of the urban realm. As well as in practice, there is necessary movement to re-engage with the ground, the real, as it unfolds in front of us. Pre-dated by learned theory and methodology, the act of research, especially field-based investigation, becomes paramount to the exposure of a reality that offers higher stakes, higher return value and unparalleled informed experience. As Jeremy Till suggests, there are other ways of doing architecture.

In a move to align with any emerging shift in an alternative or renewed critical design practice, the Bartlett’s Development Planning Unit has launched its 2nd annualsummerLab series. Drawing on extensive internal resources and established departmental ethos, these workshops are an intended extension of academic and professional pursuits seeking to leverage the reality of the city as a laboratory for developing socially responsive design measures that provoke, stimulate, strategize, and reconsider the role of designers and practitioners in promoting spatial justice.

 How To Heat And Cool Cities Without Fossil Fuels | Low Tech Magazine
One of the fundamental problems about covering sustainable design is that really, the single family house doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things. We spend so much time covering passive houses, for example, when they and all of the other green houses shown on every design website don’t add up to a rounding error when it comes to where people live in most of the world, which is in cities.
That’s why Kris De Decker’s post at Low Tech Magazine is so important and groundbreaking. He has written The solar envelope: how to heat and cool cities without fossil fuels. He writes:

Passive solar design does not involve any new technology. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years, and even predates the use of glass windows. For most of human history, buildings were adapted to the local climate through a consideration of their location, orientation and shape, as well as the appropriate building materials. This resulted in many vernacular building styles in different parts of the world. In contrast, most modern buildings look the same wherever they stand. They are made from the same materials, they follow forms that are driven by fashion rather than by climate, and are most often randomly located and oriented, indifferent to the path of the sun and the prevailing wind conditions.
He then goes on to describe how zoning and building rules might be changed to create solar envelopes and the ensure the principle of solar access. It used to be common practice; De Decker notes that ” The Ancient Greeks built entire cities which were optimal for solar exposure.”
Via: Treehugger
Image: © The density atlas

via massurban:

How To Heat And Cool Cities Without Fossil Fuels | Low Tech Magazine

One of the fundamental problems about covering sustainable design is that really, the single family house doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things. We spend so much time covering passive houses, for example, when they and all of the other green houses shown on every design website don’t add up to a rounding error when it comes to where people live in most of the world, which is in cities.

That’s why Kris De Decker’s post at Low Tech Magazine is so important and groundbreaking. He has written The solar envelope: how to heat and cool cities without fossil fuels. He writes:

Passive solar design does not involve any new technology. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years, and even predates the use of glass windows. For most of human history, buildings were adapted to the local climate through a consideration of their location, orientation and shape, as well as the appropriate building materials. This resulted in many vernacular building styles in different parts of the world. In contrast, most modern buildings look the same wherever they stand. They are made from the same materials, they follow forms that are driven by fashion rather than by climate, and are most often randomly located and oriented, indifferent to the path of the sun and the prevailing wind conditions.

He then goes on to describe how zoning and building rules might be changed to create solar envelopes and the ensure the principle of solar access. It used to be common practice; De Decker notes that ” The Ancient Greeks built entire cities which were optimal for solar exposure.”

Via: Treehugger

Image: © The density atlas

via massurban:

 Better Information, Better Cities | Next American City
As a curator at the National Building Museum (NBM), Susan  Piedmont-Palladino spends her days enticing the public to think  critically about the built environment. In her past exhibitions “Green  Community” and “Tools of the Imagination,” the trained architect studied  the use of new technologies in our design of and interaction with urban  places. Now Piedmont-Palladino is at the helm of Intelligent Cities, a  multipronged effort that “explores the intersection of information  technology and urban design to understand where we are, where we want to  be, and how to get there.” The project, supported by NBM partners Time  and IBM and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, uses the museum’s  website and social networking tools to gather public input with the  purpose of gauging collective attitudes toward the built environment —  ranging from the home to the city to the region and the nation. This  June the museum will convene experts, officials and the public at the  museum to discuss the results and how to apply them in cities; the  museum will also publish a book and stage an exhibition to reveal the  project’s findings. Here, Piedmont-Palladino offers a preview of the  early results.
What are the goals of the Intelligent Cities initiative, and why did the NBM decide to pursue it?
Our mission is educating the public about the value of the built  environment. This project sits well with our goals because it lets us  think about the means and methods of educating the public, and how that  works differently for people who come to the museum and those we reach  through different media. The Intelligent Cities initiative is letting us  really think about what’s at stake: How do we communicate with people  about the full range of the built environment, from the living room to  the infrastructure of the nation? The point we’re making is that we’ll  all make better decisions if we have better information.

 Better Information, Better Cities | Next American City

As a curator at the National Building Museum (NBM), Susan Piedmont-Palladino spends her days enticing the public to think critically about the built environment. In her past exhibitions “Green Community” and “Tools of the Imagination,” the trained architect studied the use of new technologies in our design of and interaction with urban places. Now Piedmont-Palladino is at the helm of Intelligent Cities, a multipronged effort that “explores the intersection of information technology and urban design to understand where we are, where we want to be, and how to get there.” The project, supported by NBM partners Time and IBM and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, uses the museum’s website and social networking tools to gather public input with the purpose of gauging collective attitudes toward the built environment — ranging from the home to the city to the region and the nation. This June the museum will convene experts, officials and the public at the museum to discuss the results and how to apply them in cities; the museum will also publish a book and stage an exhibition to reveal the project’s findings. Here, Piedmont-Palladino offers a preview of the early results.

What are the goals of the Intelligent Cities initiative, and why did the NBM decide to pursue it?

Our mission is educating the public about the value of the built environment. This project sits well with our goals because it lets us think about the means and methods of educating the public, and how that works differently for people who come to the museum and those we reach through different media. The Intelligent Cities initiative is letting us really think about what’s at stake: How do we communicate with people about the full range of the built environment, from the living room to the infrastructure of the nation? The point we’re making is that we’ll all make better decisions if we have better information.