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The Loss of Human Scale: Old Hong Kong vs New Hong Kong

For the last two years, Flickr user HK Man has been collecting old photos of Hong Kong, finding the exact spots at which they were taken, and taking them again. The result, from his first photo of Victoria Harbor to a more recent one of Nathan Road, comprises a chronicle of Hong Kong's unrestrained vertical development over the past few decades. In a similar vein, Gwulo is a community site for "for everyone that is interested in old Hong Kong" and includes photos, mysteries, and discussions -- such as this one about old Kai Tak Airport. [more inside]
posted by milquetoast on Aug 30, 2009 - 28 comments

 

Detroit schools urban exploration & reclamation.

Urban exploration has been featured here once or twice before, but Jim Griffioen's site photo-documenting his discoveries in and around Detroit deserves a look. Griffioen was recently interviewed [direct mp3 link] on the American Public Media radio program The Story. [more inside]
posted by item on Jul 25, 2009 - 14 comments

Robert Moses is rolling in his grave!

Seoul, Portland and San Francisco: 4 cases for destroying highways to save the city.
posted by geoff. on Jul 8, 2009 - 79 comments

Making Policy Public

Urban Omnibus is an online project of the Architectural League that explores the relationship between design and New York City's physical environment. They are featuring Making Policy Public, a program of The Center for Urban Pedagogy, through their articles about Vendor Power and Predatory Equity. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 31, 2009 - 3 comments

"This Place Matters"

National Trust Releases 2009 List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple. Additional detail and sites from past years here.
posted by Miko on Apr 28, 2009 - 18 comments

Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video

"The Cleveland Tourism Board gave me 14 million dollars about 8 months ago to make a promotional video to bring people to Cleveland. As usual, I waited till the last minute and I ended up having to shoot and edit it in about an hour yesterday afternoon. I probably should have invested more time."
posted by dhammond on Apr 16, 2009 - 50 comments

When terrorists attack Office Depot, we'll be ready!

Urban Camouflage deals with the question how to camouflage oneself and one’s identity in the urban space. Our costumes are inspired by the «ghillie suits», the military camouflage suit. It was an adventure to wear the suit in the stores because of the conflicts with the employees, the reaction of the customers and also to see the pretty well camouflage effect in a real situation.
posted by educatedslacker on Mar 5, 2009 - 48 comments

School of Hard Knocks.

"This is the safest place these kids have," Mr. McMonigle explains. "No matter how crazy it gets here, no matter how bad the school is, it’s still better than what’s waiting for them out there when they leave. The irony is that after all the bitching and the moaning about how they don’t want to be here, at the end of the day you can’t get them to go home!" School of Hard Knocks is a heartbreaking 7-part series of articles about kids with behavioral problems in a Philadelpha high school. [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] [via mefi projects]
posted by dersins on Jan 21, 2009 - 33 comments

Picture London without Londoners

Abandoned London is a Flickr set by photographer IanVisits of London on Christmas morning when the city is (almost) denuded of people. Very disorienting if you've been to London (or any major city, really). I got this via William Gibson's blog and I'll let him describe it in his inimitable way: "Christmas, particularly in the early morning, has always seemed so much more liminal to me than New Year's eve. Spectral, deeply in-between [...] something about the way in which traffic, pedestrian and vehicular, controls one's depth of field, fragmenting and animating the experience."
posted by Kattullus on Dec 31, 2008 - 20 comments

Causing false public alarm

As those of you on the wrong email lists can probably guess, Snopes is overflowing with gang initiation rumors. What you may not know is that the New Jersey police recently arrested someone spreading those stories for "causing false public alarm." [more inside]
posted by tkolar on Dec 7, 2008 - 23 comments

Meet you at the Circl-Serv!

"The plans for Victory City have evolved over a period of 38 years, nurtured by the vision and dedication of Victory City's inventor, Orville Simpson II [no relation]. Mr. Simpson conceived of the general idea of Victory City in 1936, when he was only 13 years old. Afraid of being ridiculed, Mr. Simpson kept his ideas about designing and building the City of the Future to himself … a secret vision he held in his mind... It wasn't until 1960 — after he had embarked on a lucrative career in real estate investing and apartment building management — that Mr. Simpson decided to make his ideas about Victory City known to the general public."
posted by Miko on Dec 7, 2008 - 35 comments

Till human voices wake us

Alone Together. In American lore, the small town is the archetypal community, a state of grace from which city dwellers have fallen.

Yet the picture of cities—and New York in particular—that has been emerging from the work of social scientists is that the people living in them are actually less lonely. Rather than driving people apart, large population centers pull them together, and as a rule tend to possess greater community virtues than smaller ones.
posted by plexi on Nov 25, 2008 - 90 comments

Holmes' and Watson's World

One minute and four seconds in London, 1904. Birkbeck College professor Ian Christie rediscovered this footage in an archive in Canberra, shot for a travelogue by film pioneer Charles Urban.
posted by digaman on Oct 24, 2008 - 67 comments

Let's Eat!

Will Allen, the founder of Growing Power, an urban farm in Milwaukee, has won a MacArthur Genius grant. Growing Power uses aquaculture, vermiculture, and sustainable agriculture to raise food in an urban environment. Chefs of the region have taken notice, but that's not Growing Power's main purpose. Congratulations to only the second farmer to win a Genius Grant. [more inside]
posted by Eekacat on Sep 25, 2008 - 14 comments

Things to do with skips

New uses for skips. Skip recipes. Find a skip. Public domain occupation with skips. Guerrilla art skips. Skipcar. [Via]
posted by parudox on Aug 10, 2008 - 11 comments

The Colors of Decay

Keith Thorne has stunningly colored pictures of decaying urban spaces on his Flickr stream, including some taken at an abandoned German military hospital that once treated Adolf Hitler. A few pictures feature himself. Via.
posted by Hollow on Aug 4, 2008 - 26 comments

The Changing Face of the Inner City

Are you a young middle-class creative type (probably white) who has chosen to live in an urban neighborhood that your parents would have shunned? Have the families that formerly lived in your neighborhood (probably not white) been pushed out by soaring rents and real-estate prices to the city fringes or suburbs? The New Republic on demographic inversion.
posted by digaman on Aug 2, 2008 - 64 comments

Yes, I'll take the full insurance coverages please.

Rental Car Rally. (From the guys who brought Street Wars to NYC). That is all.
posted by allkindsoftime on Jul 8, 2008 - 29 comments

Get yer urban exploration/dead mall fix right here

"Q: What the hell is this site about? This is a site about urban exploration in the Ozarks." Abandoned water slides, underground tunnels, abandoned buildings and half-demolished malls throughout Missouri were all once fair game for this blog, and remain fair game for those who post in Underground Ozarks' forums.
posted by limeonaire on Jun 16, 2008 - 25 comments

Urban pranks

From the Improv Everywhere people comes the Urban Prankster blog to keep track of delightful shenanigans around the world.
posted by CunningLinguist on Jun 11, 2008 - 21 comments

"Everyone can be constructive even in tiny ways"

Humble abode: Loftcube // Rucksack House // Micro-Compact Home // Superadobe // Zigzag Cabin // Tree Sphere // Mirador // La Petite Maison du Weekend _ all via.
posted by nthdegx on Jun 4, 2008 - 17 comments

Skyscrapers or Souks?

Two visions of the ideal city rise in the Persian Gulf: "Waterfront City will probably be where a lot of Middle Eastern investors will put their money—and where international architectural stars will build their putative landmarks—but if little Masdar develops successfully, it may hold much more important lessons for us all."
posted by Non Prosequitur on Apr 27, 2008 - 23 comments

Chicken Flap.

Last summer, the Missoula MT city council deadlocked on the question of whether city folk should be allowed to keep "urban chickens". (Missoula, pop. 57,000 is what passes for urban in Big Sky Country.) Reporter Ann Medley made a wonderful video essay on the issue for New West. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Feb 16, 2008 - 24 comments

Tree lined Eco Boulevard

Madrid's "Air Tree" is a working experiment in combining public spaces with energy generation.
posted by Burhanistan on Jan 25, 2008 - 21 comments

Detroit Public Schools Book Depository

"This is a building where our deeply-troubled public school system once stored its supplies, and then one day apparently walked away from it all, allowing everything to go to waste...All that's left is an overwhelming sense of knowledge unlearned and untapped potential." (Via Making Light.)
posted by ottereroticist on Jan 22, 2008 - 57 comments

Urban Agriculture...it's in our backyard

City Farmer is a Vancouver-based organization that's been promoting urban agriculture since 1978. If you dig around their sprawling website, you can find everything from this feel-good news story, to a series of links leading to a nice deep free book. Alternatively, their new blog has cool pictures.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Jan 20, 2008 - 4 comments

Urban[e] Renewal

Postcards from Our Awesome Future. [via] An art exhibition stemming from the minds of Packard Jennings (whose illustrations have appeared in Adbusters) and Steve Lambert (of Anti-Advertising Agency fame); using San Francisco's infrastructure as a model for improvement, the duo answered the siren call of Objectivism through an arcology devoid of “...budgets, beauracracy [sic], politics, or physics”. [more inside]
posted by Smart Dalek on Jan 8, 2008 - 11 comments

"The rendering is a means to an end; the end is architecture."

Hugh Ferriss: Delineator of Gotham. Through his charcoal renderings of dramatic, imaginary skyscrapers in early 1900s New York City, Ferriss influenced the aesthetics of numerous architects with his bold compositions.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 6, 2008 - 12 comments

Train Runs Through Market

Train runs through bangkok market. (via)
posted by phrontist on Dec 1, 2007 - 35 comments

Urban Exploring

Urban Exploring. Recently: Sanatorio Popolare Cantonale di Piotta. Sinteranlage, Duisburg. Atomschutz Kurfürstendamm, Berlin (flash). (Previously.)
posted by Soup on Nov 28, 2007 - 4 comments

Defying Demographics

Defying Demographics: A look at University Park Campus School, a 7-12th grade school located in the poorest neighborhood in blue-collar Worcester, MA. Approximately 73% of students hover at or below the poverty line and 61% are minorities, yet over 80% go on to college and 99% pass the Massachusetts graduation exams. The partnership between Clark University and Worcester Public Schools has created an environment so successful that a number of cities are looking to emulate it. Have they discovered the key to closing the achievement gap?
posted by rollbiz on Nov 23, 2007 - 32 comments

John Stilgoe wants you to go outside and look at things a little differently.

John Stilgoe is a professor at Harvard who teaches his students how to, among other things, mindfully observe the urban and suburban environments they inhabit. [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Oct 11, 2007 - 27 comments

#7: Ten percent of all city space shall be open land where you can "touch the dirt"

"First we kill the architects..." Photographer Danny Lyon [1, 2, 3, 4] offers ten suggestions for New York City. Suggestion #6: "Leave the World Trade Center excavation exactly as it is and use the space as a freshwater pond planted with pink, white, and yellow lilies..." His essay is only one of many from names you'll recognize in a book called Block by Block: Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York. An associated exhibition opened yesterday [museum, NYT review]. Is New York City moving in the right direction? Is your city? [via] [more inside]
posted by salvia on Sep 26, 2007 - 19 comments

São Paolo sewer openings

Sewer openings turned into street art by São Paolo duo 6emeia. [via FunForever]
posted by mediareport on Sep 18, 2007 - 17 comments

"Nasty, brutish and short" indeed

Urban Scout. Sincere crusader for sustainable living or poseur hipster douchebag? [last link is google video]
posted by dersins on Sep 1, 2007 - 214 comments

More abandoned places, because they're creepy and beautiful

Illicit Ohio has a wide range of photos and essays of abandoned places in Ohio, from the Cincinnati subway system (yes, there really is was one, and it's been discussed here before), to various and sundry prisons, government installations, hotels, hosiptals, houses and more. And don't miss the old vs. new galleries, either.
posted by dersins on Aug 29, 2007 - 20 comments

"The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects." Baudelaire

WebUrbanist: Collective Bloggings about Urban Cultures and Alternative Arts
posted by bijou on Aug 17, 2007 - 8 comments

People who walk faster live longer

Why New Yorkers Last Longer. Interestingly, urban theorists believe it is not just the tightly packed nature of the city but also its social and economic density that has life-giving properties. When you’re jammed, sardinelike, up against your neighbors, it’s not hard to find a community of people who support you—friends or ethnic peers—and this strongly correlates with better health and a longer life. [New York Magazine article]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 15, 2007 - 75 comments

Associative Design

Associative Design - a study of new neighborhood models. requires QuickTime
posted by Burhanistan on Aug 10, 2007 - 10 comments

Walk Score

Walk Score helps people find walkable places to live. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.
posted by chunking express on Jul 23, 2007 - 71 comments

The wages of sin... are fabulous!

High salaries and rising property values in Sodom and Gommorah? There Goes the Neighborhood: How and Why Bohemians, Artists and Gays Effect Regional Housing Values.
posted by orthogonality on Jun 23, 2007 - 38 comments

Iran Graffiti and Urban Art Report

Iran Graffiti and Urban Art Report
posted by carsonb on Jun 15, 2007 - 9 comments

Helvetica: The Apotheosis of the Invisible Art

In 1957, Swiss typographer Max Miedinger invented "the official typeface of the 20th century" -- Helvetica [previously discussed here, via Arts and Letters Daily].
posted by digaman on Apr 21, 2007 - 44 comments

heroic urban portraits inspired by Maoist propaganda

Kehinde Wiley : painter and sculptor . "The subjects, anonymous men in T-shirts and jeans that Wiley approaches on the street, are given the mantle of authority and grandiosity bestowed on figures such as Napoleon in Jacques-Louis David's famous depiction with a rearing steed or the holiness of saints." (via)
posted by desjardins on Mar 7, 2007 - 7 comments

Living off the grid, right in the middle of it.

The Dervaes Institute is an 'off the grid' homestead in Pasadena, CA and supports 4 adults full time. It also produces 3 tons of produce annually. It's all run from solar panels and biodiesel. Over 350 different plants and a handful of farm animals thrive on a 1/5 acre lot, not too far from the middle of Los Angeles. An 'urban homestead' indeed!
posted by drstein on Jan 26, 2007 - 10 comments

beautiful ruins

Photography of the unexpected and neglected architecture. Romain Meffre and Yves Marchand travel the world photographing "singular and surprising buildings of all domains," mostly 19th and 20th century urban and industrial architecture. Don't miss the photos of Detroit (under Projects), or more of Marchand's stunning work at his personal site.
posted by melissa may on Jan 15, 2007 - 24 comments

Daredevils

What's behind Niagara Falls? Some dudes investigate.
posted by davebush on Jan 14, 2007 - 71 comments

Nature gone Wild

Birds that rap and cows with accents. The big picture is urban adaptation, which is pretty cool. (...and the egg wins.)
posted by ewkpates on Dec 28, 2006 - 17 comments

It was Twentyfive years ago...

City in Flames Twenty Five years ago the City of Lynn Massachusetts experienced its second great fire. Devastating several downtown industrial buildings dating to the rise of the Shoe industry. All of which were undergoing redevelopment. While nowhere near as big as the Great Boston Fire of 1872, or the various Chelsea fires, the tragedy of the story is the empty wasteland that still sits after all these years. Today the Boston Globe dug up several articles from their pre Web vaults. The Lynn Museum has an exhibit, and the Lynn Library will have a slideshow.
posted by Gungho on Nov 28, 2006 - 9 comments

Crossroads game: running from a voodoo spirit

Running from a voodoo spirit. The urban game Crossroads is one of the featured games from last weeks Come Out and Play (yes, another FPP!) Posting because this game is still running this weekend.

Using GPS cell phones, players are trying to take over intersections in lower manhattan, like playing Go. But the Baron Samedi is in the grid with them, and one thing I know is that you don't want him to touch you... which is weird because he doesn't actually exist. You end up getting chased down Hudson street by something invisible. Feels like the future.

Part of an exhibition called the Good Life that closes this weekend.
posted by cloudscratcher on Sep 29, 2006 - 8 comments

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