Ontario’s first tall wood building is set to revolutionise sustainability in the construction industry.
George Brown College, located in Toronto, Canada, has announced plans to construct the Province’s first ever tall wood institutional building. The building will be host to research facilities, the College’s centre for Information and Computer Technology as well as a child care facility.
One of the newest trends we have seen in the past couple of years is the rise of ‘tall wood buildings’, popping up around the world as attempts to increase sustainability in the building industry strengthen. These buildings aim to be carbon neutral as they are constructed primarily out of timber, using wood for its structural components rather than concrete or steel.
The College also hopes that this project will bring conversations of sustainability and innovation to the forefront of not only the University students and researchers involved in the project, but also the City and Province as it will showcase sustainable building methods.
Image courtesy George Brown College.
China’s new road is powering the country, literally.
Jinan, a city located in the east of China has committed to a new road project seeing over one kilometre of local highway paved with solar panels covered in transparent concrete. This small stretch of road will power around 800 homes as well as highway lighting. Not only will these roads be powering the grid, they will also be equipped with technology to provide traffic and weather updates. This forward-thinking infrastructure holds the technology to allow on-the-go charging for the smart cars of the future.
As we look around the world, China is delivering this project under a plan to be known for manufacturing more than just clothes and shoes, but also new technologies.
China isn’t the only one adopting this sort of technology, similar projects are popping up in France, the US, Netherlands, Sweden and Hungary. Check out the links below for more.
Whilst these project are all in the testing phase, the future of roads and cars have never looked more promising and sustainable.
January is a great time to share travel stories from TC collaborators.
This time, its the Ipoh Bus Project from Ipoh, Malaysia! Alex Lee started the project to freshen up his local bus stop that had gone without an update for 20 years. What came of it was a movement about buses, the bus system and the possibilities of placemaking through the bus system and its community!
The project shows what you can do with just one can of paint, an idea and mission. In the months after the first bus stop, all of the bus stop on the street were renovated.
We love when our TC collaborators share cool experiences of cities around the world from their travels.
Especially projects that connect perfect strangers and improve the place experience, like this interactive public art in Milano!
Alberto Garutti’s public installation "City's Voices", featuring 23 trumpet shaped pipes, connects the sounds of the underground to the surface. People put their ear to them to listen to the noises of other people, on other floors at Milano’s newest urban-renewal project, Porta Nuova district, a melange between the old and new faces of the city. Garutti’s usual work uses the urban backdrop to seek that people understand his artistic interventions, no matter if they realised it was art, see more of his work here!
Also an oldie but a goodie! Dresden, Germany is also trending with sound integrated public art on the facade of an apartment building adorned with intricate drains that create sweet symphonies in the rain. The singing house was created by sculptor Annette Paul and designers Christoph Rossner and André Tempel, who all live in the musical home! See more here!
Well here we are again, sharing another awesome project from the subway. Interloop by Chris Fox reuses 50 meters of the original wooden-stepped escalators to create a contemporary floating sculpture. Built for the station in 1931, the heritage escalators had to be replaced for safety reasons and have been remade into a whimsical addition to the daily routine of commuters.
Image courtesy Josh Raymond.
A year on, Auckland's community fridge is going from strength to strength.
Setup by Amanda Chapman, Love Food Hate Waste and enabled by the Auckland Design Office at Auckland Council, the community fridge was part of a larger temporary public space called Griffiths Gardens in central Auckland.
According to Auckland's Design Champion, Ludo Campbell-Reid, "it is estimated that since the fridge was installed, more than four tonnes of food has been donated to the fridge which is the equivalent to 11,000 meals".
Image courtesy Auckland Council.
One of the most famous and beautiful Metro stations in the world now has a swing!
The square was recently upgraded and today offers porch-swings and attractive seating that invites visitors and passers-by to stop and stay, meeting and looking at people.
Read more about it here.
Image courtesy Jamilyn Finlinson.
Here at TC we love great ideas from the street. We love it even more when these great ideas highlight often mundane street elements or reproduce them in creative ways. Enter Raubdruckerin (pirate printer), an experimental art collective that uses manhole covers, grids, vents and other public utilities to make unique patterns on clothes and accessories.
Image courtesy Raubdruckerin Facebook.
Remarkably we haven't run a bike related story for a while so we're well overdue! Enter the recently opened #YEGBikeGrid in the City of Edmonton, Canada. We're loving what we see, including changes to the overall feel of streets, more pedestrian and cycling friendly networks and even dedicated 'watering trikes' (adapted cargo bikes) that use solar to power the hose. Brilliant!
Images courtesy City of Edmonton and Edmond Chui.
If you're a big fan of community-led regeneration projects, you need to check out Malaysian based Think City!
Starting in 2009, Think City has delivered dozens of place making initiatives focused on delivering "long-term holistic and sustainable solutions for generations of today and tomorrow".
The Jeti Lama Rain Garden is one of the organisation's latest projects in Butterworth, Penang. The Rain Garden is a collaboration between Penang State Government, Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai and Think City. It's also a bio-retention system that is aligned to the principles of Water Sensitive Urban Design.
Another great project is the Laneway Improvement Programme in the historic heart of Kuala Lumpur. More info here.
Visit the Think City Facebook page for more images and latest project information.
Image courtesy Think City.
When what comes out of your kitchen goes back in - you know you’re cooking with gas!
HomeBiogas makes that motto more than just a fancy tagline, for them it's a reality. The Israeli startup has designed a family sized, affordable biogas system that converts any organic waste into clean cooking gas and high quality liquid fertiliser for the garden.
Transforming home gas usage from a linear, unsustainable process to a closed-loop eco-cycle. Up to 6 litres of food (scraps, meat, dairy) can be digested, and each kg will give you 1hr cooking in return!
Australian innovators BioBowser are also on to it, offering a range of packaged biogas plants and modules that can treat between 50kgs and 20,000kgs of organic waste per day!
Check out more info here
Photo Credit: Homebiogas
Ever wondered what it would be like to be in a life-size foosball match?
Giant board games and creative play are trending all over the world and making spaces exciting again for all ages.
Spaced Out in Perth is all over this, from cardboard cities to giant cubby houses and the newest fun – Human Foosball!
12 players take their places on the field, holding onto a pipe piece that slides along a wooden frame. The rules, like Foosball confine each player to their frame making it a fun challenge!
Spaced Out is using Human Foosball as a way of creating a fun, relaxed and sociable environment where people want to engage and interact.
Brisbane is also on the Giant board games bandwagon, building Giant Chinese Checkers and Scrabbles sets to attract passers-by to watch and get involved.
Spokane Sidewalk Games in Washington also initiates community building with four weekly games events each week!
Check out more activation ideas and place leadership examples from Spaced Out here!
Photo Credit Spaced Out
Here at TC, we're big fans of integrating new technology into street furniture rather than it becoming a stand alone or ad-hoc consideration. We've also been watching Auckland for a while now (definitely a trending city for many good reasons) and were again inspired when we spotted this project on Linkedin.
As part of their Low Carbon Action Plan, the Waitematā Local Board has placed two solar tables in the inner city of Auckland.
“We are delighted to be integrating smart city technology and sustainable energy sources into our urban design” says Rob Thomas, Waitematā Local Board.
Located in Aotea Square and near the basketball courts at Victoria Park, these tables are recognisable by the chess board design on top. Solar panels on the tables provide four ‘rapid charge’ portals for free charging of phone or device.
Key features and fast facts:
- 2 tables with built in solar panel and chess board
- Four “rapid charging” usb connections per table
- Best operate when the panels are in full light
- People need to bring their own power cord
- A quick and convenient way to get a “rapid charge” using renewable energy.
- Installed in high “hang out” areas in Aotea Square and Victoria Park Skate Park
- The project is one of the Waitemata Local Board’s Low Carbon Initiatives
- The project promotes Auckland’ target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2040
- The project supports a global wave of new smarter city green urban design technology.
Read more on the Action Plan here.
See another story of solar powered benches in Boston here.
Chiangmai Life Construction (CLC), Thailand specialises in modern earth and bamboo architecture. Their free flowing, organic designs are created in earth, bamboo, rocks and wood reducing their carbon footprint by 90%!
One of their newest projects has been a children’s playground. It’s been popular with the kids, with amazing properties of sunshine and rain protection and is much warmer to play on than regular steel playgrounds. See it here.
CLC was also a Finalist in the World Architecture Festival 2015 for its Erber Research Centre (pictured).
At TC we are loving bamboo as an alternative building material - we’ve been tracking it in Australia too!
MPavilion is set to popup again this summer in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens - It’s an event and meeting space that also exhibits the wonderful properties of bamboo.
Dark Mofo also constructed the ‘hothouse’ (pictured) a temporary bamboo structure in Hobart to facilitate creative and collaborative thinking within the city.
At TC we love sharing projects from you, our readers so please get in touch with us!
Photo credit: CLC
It is great to see cities reimagining their laneways into more diverse public spaces!
Vancouverites are transforming three alleyways in their city into vibrant gathering spaces. The pilot project, located at West Hastings, included a repainting of the alley and the addition of a foosball court, basketball hoop and cafe patio to the space.
Realising the potential for underused laneways is a trend we can track over the past few decades. If Vancouver activated all 200 downtown alleys, their public space would increase as much as 30%!
Other cities like Berlin, London and Melbourne which can credit much of its recent CBD liveability success to laneways by boldly transformed their linear public spaces into cosy arcades is a continuing success.
For more info check this out!
And see more awesome insta pics #moreawesomenow
Photo credit: @alikenyon and More Awesome Now
At TC we are inspired at how public art can transform a site to communicate history, architecture and culture!
Jonathan Jones’ evocative sculptural installation at the Sydney Botanical Gardens pays homage to the sadness felt by Aboriginal people across Australia for the destruction of their culture through British invasion and loss of countless culturally significant artefacts.
Barrangal dyara (skin and bones) consists of 15,000 artificial shields in the footprint of the grand Garden Palace, built in 1879 as an exhibition center and burnt to the ground only three years after opening, destroying many items of aboriginal heritage.
The intentions of designer Jonathan Jones were to visually represent a story important to Aboriginal history in the public domain, as he states:
“Historically, Aboriginal history has always been forgotten… you get used to that as an Aboriginal person: you’re constantly having to tell the mainstream community about Aboriginal history and that everything didn’t happen after 1788”.
It’s the 32nd project by Kaldor Public Art Projects and will take over the Sydney Botanical Gardens for two weeks. Check out the installation if you're in town and share with us your thoughts!
We love seeing neglected spaces adapted for reuse!
New to the scene is #pocketcityfarms who have transformed the abandoned Camperdown Bowling Club, located in Sydney’s inner west, into a community hub and productive ecological urban farm.
The result is Camperdown Commons, where a percentage of produce goes to their onsite eatery acre with the remaining "veggies" feeding the city. You can also get your hands dirty as a volunteer with Camperdown Commons inviting participation from the local community.
The citizens of Budapest have just filled Liberty Bridge, taking advantage of its recent closure for tram maintenance works during the summer.
It's always so surprising how quickly people reclaim, use and enjoy public space, even if temporary, when given the chance.
See all the images over on Instagram.
Also read more about what makes Budapest cool here.
Image courtesy of @vitdavid.
Here at TC, we're a big fan of temporary interventions, particularly structures, performances or tactics that change our perception and flip the everyday experience.
Enter conceptual artist, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, whose latest work titled 'The Floating Piers' consists of giant, yellow coloured walkways, floating on Lake Iseo and stretching 3 kilometres (nearly 2 miles) across the Italian water. And it's free!
>> Official project site here.
Image courtesy of Time.
Don't have enough space to park your bike safe at home? No worries! Store it in the local Bike Hangar!
Image courtesy @lucylband.
This PlayHouse (designed by Rawson Homes) is part of a temporary, fun and children focused activation that's also raising much needed money for charity.
Over a 6 month period, the community at Willowdale (a new estate in Sydney by property developers Stockland) are not only get some interesting play equipment for their neighbourhood, they'll also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite design, and if they want, even purchase it at auction.
All proceeds will go towards local charity Touched by Olivia Foundation and feedback on the concepts will go towards designing better places for kids in the future.
Here at TC we love this idea - both playful and meaningful!
Images courtesy of Rawson Homes.
You may have heard of the High Line (once, twice or a million times)?! Well now, New Yorkers are looking underground, and want to reclaim subterranean space for public good.
The clever brains at (non-profit) Lowline want to turn an abandoned trolley terminal under Delancey Street into a public green space.
After a successful kickstarter campaign, that went viral raising more than $220000, the Lowline collective have launched a Lab space in Manhattan. It will become a living laboratory to investigate how best to grow plants, and an even more difficult task, a public park underground.
On the weekend, over 2,500 people visited the public launch of the Lowline Lab with the space remaining free and open to the public every Saturday and Sunday through to March 2016.
Top image courtesy of Lowline and bottom image courtesy Charlie Grosso.
Located between Roy Street and Du Mont-Royal Avenue, La Grande Terrasse Rouge (translated to the Grand Red Terrace) is nearly one kilometre long and has become an iconic destination in Montreal, Canada.
Key to its success has been the grassroots design involvement by the local community. “Storekeepers are creators, passionate men and women who have made Saint-Denis what it is now: a vibrant, friendly commercial street offering a variety of boutiques, shops, restaurants and services unique in Montreal” says the The Société de Développement Commercial Pignons rue Saint-Denis.
The Terrasse includes a range of furniture types, including moveable chairs and hammocks, and hosts free events targeted to both locals and visitors.
Image courtesy Nicola Balch.
Called Perspective, the mural is made of white tape and the anamorphic design changes as you move in the space. At a certain point, the full image is revealed making it both an experience and great instagram moment.
The mural complements other activities happening as part of the annual Festival and is located on the Powerhouse Museum warehouse.
While temporary in nature, there are talks to make it now permanent given its success and growing interest from the public.
Something similar: Australian artist, Buff Diss, creates detailed murals using tape, here.
Images courtesy Nowhere Famous.
Around the world, City's are branding themselves with clever marketing techniques based on experience and personalisation. In Shoreditch, an area of London known for its contemporary art scene, Berlin has recently created a pop-in space called 'Hallo London'.
While only setup for a week, the very concept of a popup, Hallo London has scored much praise for its innovation, including a highly commended tweet by one of our contributors Tom Payne.
The store features events, products and possible the world's smallest disco outside. If you drop by let us know your thoughts!
More information here.
Image courtesy Tom Payne.
A youth organisation, ‘German Crew' has joined forces with a local Mexican government to transform the image of Palmitas - a small underprivileged town just north of Mexico City.
The mural, entitled ‘El Marco Mural Barrio de Palmitas’ is a vibrant expression that covers an impressive 20,000 square meters or 209 houses.
Organisers of the mural intended for the project to unite and empower the local community through promoting a sense of identity and ownership.
Photo courtesy of Sophia Jaramillo.
Australia's largest street art festival is back for another year in Wollongong. Featuring works by sofles, selinamiles, drapl, fintan magee, butchdaddy, ironlak and many others, the Festival is changing the City's brand and creative life.
Read about this great initiative here.
Image courtesy Chris Phillips.
Here at TC we love projects that combine engagement opportunities with digital infrastructure with physical interventions. The clever brains behind Guidarini and Salvadeo in collaboration with Interstellar Raccoons have done just that with #nevicata14 at Piazza Castello, Milan.
Guidarini and Salvadeo Architects have created a series of white, temporary, pedestrian spaces promoting online engagement opportunities and marketing the City's digital infrastructure, including municipal wifi.
Read more about this project here courtesy of Andrea Pollio.
Images via Future Cape Town.
In Kitsilano, a giant egg has been painted on the street by locals wanting a safer and more creative suburb.
The brainchild of Dax Belanger and other local residents, the egg draws attention to the intersection, slowing traffic and prioritising safety of all who use the road - cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. It's also pretty creative and gets the thumbs up from us at TC.
Read more about the project here.
Image courtesy Jennifer Gauthier.
Anyone heading to Spain soon? Stop by this park and see if anything weird/different/awesome is going down.
It appears, Lexus have just built (adapted) a custom skatepark for hoverboards, using technology called SLIDE. In short, it looks like the boards work because of the inbuilt liquid nitrogen and magnets laid directly into the ground. While only in prototype phase, and not for general release, it could be an interesting project to watch.
Here at TC, we're inspired by Sci Fi films of the past (and future). In a world dominated by ideas, are we dreaming big enough? Could this hoverboard tech one day help transport cargo across continents, deliver aid to drought affected countries or even help redefine how our cities form?
In the meantime, watch this video and learn more about the SLIDE project here.
Image courtesy Lexus.
New York may have dominated headlines regarding big tactical urbanism efforts in years past. But it’s New York’s near neighbour Philadelphia that might be the U.S’s real tactical capital. Greg Meckstroth looks at the small-scale interventions that are making big collective change in the City.
Read more here.
Image courtesy newsworks.org
Got an underpass needing some love in your city? Do what they do in Vancouver and put some string on it!
'City Fabric' uses bright orange cloth to transform a previously mundane underpass. This project is the latest public art and placemaking installation from VIVA Vancouver located on the bike path underneath the Burrard Bridge. The brain child of artists, Rebecca Bayer and Matthew Soules, as well as Burrard Arts Foundation and 221A Gallery (who sponsored the project) City Fabric is making impressions around the world.
Image courtesy Chris Bruntlett.
Japanese property developers are converting office towers into hotels to keep up with growing tourism demand.
Sankei Building Co. recently converted a 35 year old office building into a hostel and lounge, called Grids. It features a range of living options and bar where people can 'connect'.
With changing work patterns, digital economies and global tourists wanting authentic experiences wherever they go, will we see more of these conversions over the coming years? What's the life span of your office tower?
Images courtesy of Grids.
Reclaiming disused and forgotten spaces within the community, Micro Galleries permeates the streets and changes the way we see the world for a (micro) moment.
Here at TC we love seeing artist collectives change our urban environment and reframe traditional attitudes around space and its use. So many of these interventions are simple but could bring about longer lasting and positive change.
We're looking forward to watching Micro Galleries grow into a worldwide movement. Submit you town and change the way you see the world.
Images courtesy Micro Galleries.
Curated by Project OKYO and distributed by Australian sustainable packaging company, BioPak, the BioCup Art Series interrupts the daily coffee ritual with an injection of art.
The project activates an unusual urban surface and awakens the need for sustainable choices in the consumer space. The first BioCup Art Series was launched in August 2013, working with artists who are passionate about the environment and use related themes in their work. These artists identified the project as a platform to gain exposure for their work and celebrated the opportunity they had to share their passions and create change.
Over 36 artists have now been printed on over 10 Million BioCups, distributed Australia and New Zealand wide. 18 new artists are engaged each quarter. The success of the project has been mapped with the Instagram hashtag #biocupartseries and hundreds have snapped and shared the now visibly beautiful resources that are at the core of their daily coffee ritual.
Images via Instagram.
At TC we love Instagram. It's by far one of our favourite platforms and is only getting bigger/more relevant as we increasingly crave imagery over text (return of hieroglyphics anyone??!).
One standout account we love to follow for inspiration and creativity is @jaunknown or Jessica Bee, a Sydney based film photography artist.
Working with 35mm film, preferably expired, and old SLRs Jess is attempting to give old equipment new life. She uses a 35mm film manipulation technique where she soaks her rolls in any number of substances prior to shooting to create analogue effects that look like they could have been made digitally; these substances could be anything from coffee to aftershave to bleach. Additionally, she uses multiple exposures and negative scanning techniques in creating her images. In doing so, she creates images that bring on feeling of nostalgia and make you believe there is more to this world than what we see. She is inspired by all things ethereal, unusual, imaginary and odd.
Visit her website for more information and inspiration.
Images courtesy Jessica Bee.
From time to time we feature products here on TC. Mostly, they make the cut because of their innovation and forward thinking response to making our lives more convenient and/or sustainable.
Today we bring you Quinny, a European longboard-stroller hybrid that's recently hit the market in Europe (but not currently available in other world regions).
We love the smart industrial design elements on this product, the combination of transport and family needs, but mostly because it's pushing boundaries and in a way that we traditionally wouldn't perceive transit.
Although not being 100% safe it does highlight a potential trend and growing need for family friendly transport options other than the car.
Read more about (and order your very own) Quinny here.
Image courtesy of Quinny.
Copenhagen – the city that first put bicycle-only bridges on the map – has taken these strictly cycle bridges to the next level, focusing not just on function, but also form. The recently opened Cirkelbroen, designed by artist Olafur Eliasson, serves as both transport infrastructure and urban art. The bridge encourages users to slow down, to not just to pass over the bridge, but also to stop and examine the bridge and the city. Designed with what look like tall sailing masts above, it plays to the city’s nautical heritage as well as its love of good design.
For more info on the Cirkelbroen, check: Design Boom.
To learn about Copenhagen's cycle bridges, check Guardian Cities.
Need a house? Build it DIY!
Founded by Tim McCormick, Houslets are a low-cost housing option that can be setup quickly and easily using DIY fabrication. The modular dwelling concept has gained a lot of attention recently after receiving a Knight Foundation grant for great urban living ideas.
Here at TC we love everything about this idea - from its affordability and accessibility, through to its potential for impacting on the complex (and growing) issue of urban homelessness.
Hats off to the brilliant Bay Area-based designer, Tim McCormick. Definitely someone to watch.
Read more here.
Image courtesy @houslets.
Here at TC we love a good waterfront. The mix of people, businesses, landscaping and weather (changing daily or seasonally) make them some of the most desirable urban spaces around the world.
Recently, our favourite Amsterdam local, Jennifer Lenhart, stumbled upon a new activation, Waterkant. "It is one of the City's latest and finest bars, and is also located on the bottom floor of a parking garage" she says.
We agree! Perfect new use for an old carpark!
Image courtesy of Jennifer Lenhart.
Talented French artist, JR, is taking art to new places with his oversized urban installations.
JR’s most recent work was a collaboration with New York Times. The work gives voice to non-English speaking migrants arriving in our cities.
Watch a time lapse of the installation here.
Here at TC we continue to love seeing new ways in which artists are taking to our streets and public spaces as blank canvases for expression, education and art (see also work by Australian artist Buff Diss).
Top image courtesy of The New York Times and bottom image courtesy of Andrew Warman for The New York Times.
Mikael Colville-Andersen has been dubbed the ‘rock star of urbanism’, 'the modern day Jane Jacobs' and the man who'launched a million bicycles’. Tom Payne sat down with Mikael and had a chat about urbanism, cycling and the future.
Read more and watch the great interview here.
Image courtesy Tom Payne.
Last year TC was excited to be one of the first to break the Netherlands solar bike path story. We actually can't get enough of innovation in solar energy and just the other day came across Onyx Solar, who create photovoltaic glass in Spain!
Image courtesy Onyx Solar.
Australian artist, Buff Diss, creates detailed yet temporary street murals using one simple and unexpected material, tape.
Here at TC we love projects that re imagine the street art process, or what's perceived as 'traditional' street art, to develop new ways of using the City as a canvas (see also HoTTea's work here).
Images courtesy Buff Diss.
The City of Vancouver has a mighty ambition - "to be the greenest city by 2020". To achieve this, the local council has set specific targets related to climate leadership, transport, building, waste, water, air quality, and food production. Some of these green goals are communicated and promoted through live interactive signs and installations, that track the City's daily environmental performance.
Here is one example of an installation, which tallies the running total of cyclists commuting on a key city bridge. At TC we appreciate Vancouver Council's commitment to including its people in making change and shaping the city. Kudos comrades!
Image courtesy Katrina Torresan.
In Mexico the ITDP, an international NGO specializing in urban, sustainable and equitable mobility, recently organised a tactical intervention at an intersection in Colonia Doctores, Mexico.
The ITDP's Camina Strategy promotes improved pedestrian environments to encourage transfers to walk safely, efficiently and comfortably. Here are a few images from the tactical intervention courtesy Joy Nuño on twitter.
Here at TC we love a good rooftop garden. It gets even better when we hear stories of how that garden grows food where there was once cars. Enter Weiss Hospital, Chicago.
In 2009, a local not-for-profit, Loud Grade Produce Squad, took over the rooftop parking lot of Weiss Hospital and today, it now provides excess produce to the local farmers market down the road.
The 'Squad' and Hospital have also partnered with schools, to educate kids about the importance of agriculture, and other organizations doing good in Chicago such as Heartland Alliance for Refugees.
You can also follow the 'Squad' on instagram @loudgradeps.
Images courtesy Weiss Hospital.
If it's not coffee we're obsessing about here at TC it’s definitely tea (...or basically any other excuse for humans to gather comfortably, and for little cost, in public space).
While scrolling through Instagram recently, we came across this great shot by Enya Mommsen of Myanmar (Burma). It features a line of seats, catering for tea drinkers on Yangon Street. In the image you can also see the contrast of progress with traditional life. “Myanmar is experiencing a short and unique moment in history, where one can observe a fascinating juxtaposition of its own culture.” Says Enya.
Read more about modern Myanmar and its tea culture here.
Image courtesy Enya Mommsen.
The past few months have been COLD in North America. But what's interesting to us at TC is how innovation still manages to thrive when even your plumbing is freezing over.
Not letting the bad weather get the best of them, Kristy Nardone and Chris Haynes, created a DIY bar, from snow, in their front yard. Awesome!
Image courtesy Dave Pitzold.
Urban revitalization at it’s ‘sweetest’! Designed by renowned Canadian landscape architect Claude Cormier, this development is one of a string of man-made beaches along Toronto’s newly revitalized downtown waterfront.
Inspired by the sugar spray that drifts across the site, from the neighboring Redpath Sugar Factory, this whimsical design incorporates stripped candy-inspired objects and fairy floss pink furniture. It’s so far been a hit with locals and visitors!
The success of Sugar Beach has largely grown from a dedicated social program that allows the site to thrive as a vibrant public space. Through unique events, such as it’s open-air cinema session (complete with an inflatable screen mounted on a customised barge), Sugar Beach has not only gained popularity, but social and cultural value and meaning.
While the artificial beach has received some criticism for prohibiting access to it's waterfront, it stands to offer a unique urban beach experience that plays on the memory of “beach”. It provides city dwellers with a place to escape, soak up the sun, and engage in community life - and it get’s a nod of approval from the TC team!
Learn more about this design intervention here.
Top image courtesy Claude Cormier Associates.
Bottom image courtesy Jesse Colin Jackson.
In 2013, we featured a new craze sweeping the world - Lego Bombing! Now 2 years on, we're seeing something similar yet truly amazing in its own right - 'Urban Geode'!
Created by Paige Smith, AKA A Common Name, the 'Urban Geode' street art project finds nooks and crannies in the side of buildings and abandoned street furniture and fills them with paper and resin casts.
Here at TC we love these projects that bring attention to the everyday and 'mundane' urban landscape. It's this creativity that helps us imagine opportunities where there previously was none.
Read more about this project here.
Image courtesy of A Common Name.
Across the globe we love seeing great examples of innovative recycling/upcycling methods. Usually, the products created from this process serve a functional or aesthetic purpose and give life to previously unwanted materials.
Street art culture is no stranger to this movement and a recently completed work by Bordalo II in Lisbon is its latest iteration.
The local Portuguese artist Bordalo II, AKA Artur Bordalo, has just finished the oversized rabbit "built using trash and found materials".
Image courtesy of Street Art News.
At the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, you no longer need to hide your skateboard while you attend class, the campus now has an innovative system to store your board.
Just like bike parking, the skateboard rack has been located to allow for more next to the original if proven popular.
Read more about this initiative here.
Image courtesy of @DamonSalesa
It's easy to fall in love with Portland. At every level, the City seems to foster innovation and champion sustainable ways of living.
For us here at TC, it’s definitely one place we like to keep our eye on. For residents, your house may be soon partly powered by small turbines in your drinking water.
Read on (and be amazed) here.
Image courtesy of Sherri Kaven.
Hidden in a Eucalyptus forest in Presidio National Park, California, is this simple yet enchanting installation by British artist Andy Goldsworthy.
Ephemeral, organic and thoughtful, Goldsworthy's installation aims to celebrate the life-cycle of the historic forests planted in the surrounding area.
Read more about the artwork here.
Image courtesy of The Bubbly Bay
An oldie but a goodie! If you cycle and live in Copenhagen, it's free to ride on S-Trains throughout the greater metropolitan area!
Back in 2010, the Danish State Railways wanted to let riders know about the fee changes, so instead of traditional communication methods, the team setup a ‘mock train carriage’ to build interest, and then handed out flyers at the red light up ahead.
Here at TC we love innovative ways to engage and build excitement around urban policy. It's what we'd like to call 'people first' marketing, that focuses on positive behaviour change rather than pushing a product of consumption.
For more information and other images of the carriage, click here.
Image courtesy of Copenhagenize.
A marketing campaign for Brisbane, Australia, launched a year ago, has been encouraging locals to promote their place with the slogan ‘Give Me Brisbane Any Day’. The campaign encourages everyday citizens to become virtual ambassadors of Brisbane and post their experiences online.
The latest iteration of the campaign has seen Brisbane bus stations ‘hacked’ with iconic Queensland themes. The campaign was designed and delivered by Brisbane Marketing in collaboration with Tourism and Events Queensland, various local governments and industry bodies to boost an already increasing tourism market.
Image courtesy of @oh_pixelle.
If you blink you might miss it! This ‘Little Free Library’ on the sidewalk of downtown Vancouver, offers the community a chance to exchange novels and leave book reviews for future avid readers. The library operates on the generosity, honesty and enthusiasm of its many local supporters. Following the simple concept:
'Take a book and return it'
Here at TC we love these small gestures of placemaking by locals. It just works. Little Free Libraries promote community sharing and bring art and life to the streetscape.
For more pics see #littlefreelibrary
Image courtesy of Katrina Torresan.
'StreetPong' is an interactive version of your favourite 1970s arcade game Pong. Designed by the team at Urban Invention in Hildesheim, Germany 'StreetPong' enables two people to challenge each other at pong whilst waiting for the traffic light to change. This interactive game features skateboards instead of table tennis rackets and includes an hour glass to show how much time you have to beat your latest rival. The team here at Trending City say "Let the games begin!"
A video of StreetPong in action can be found here
Images courtesy of streetpong.info
Union Square in the heart of downtown San Francisco has closed some of its key streets to vehicle traffic, to create a consolidated public space dedicated to people and activity.
Complete with Christmas markets, music, food trucks, visiting animals and outdoor furniture this transformation has been a hit with locals and begs the question why bring the cars back?
Image courtesy of @erlinamorning via #winterwalksf.
This striking art installation by Sam Falls at the Metro Tech Centre in Brooklyn, New York, is a true delight for the senses.
Falls draws on thermal qualities of varying materials to register heat, sunlight and rainfall, in an attempt to celebrate the effects of time and light on everyday objects. These exquisite, oversized objects invite the viewer to intimately engage with them, bringing them to life and blurring the asymptotic line between art and function.
Image courtesy of Liz Ligon Courtesy Public Art Fund NY
Hats off to Modo, a not-for-profit co-op that manages affordable and efficient car sharing across Vancouver. Modo has also recently invested in extending its fleet to include electric vehicles!
Find out more about this fantastic green initiative here.
Image courtesy of Modo.
Across the globe, the hotel industry is experiencing an evolution. No longer are customers expecting to endure the global sameness that made chains like the Hilton popular, but innovative and bespoke hotels are fast becoming the norm.
Take for example QT Hotel that was launched in 2011 on the Gold Coast, Australia, and now has a nationwide chain of unique destinations. A mix of small and large wins makes QT not just another Hotel but an ambassador for the Gold Coast. Read more about QT Gold Coast here.
Image courtesy of John O'Callaghan.
In Seattle a suspect is wanted for renting, repainting, and then returning bikes from the City's bike share scheme.
Here at TC we're wondering if it's art or vandelism, and if the police need to even pursue the matter? Sounds a lot like a form of Tactical Urbanism to us!
The difference between sanctioned and unsanctioned works is often a fine line and one that SPD Graffiti Detective Chris Young says is "all about permission". But in this instance perhaps permission has come from the public with the public 'owning' by the bike share?
Read more about the interesting case here.
Image courtesy of SPD Blotter.
Perth is an Australian city on the move! The mining boom and a growing knowledge economy has woken up this sleepy town and recent urban developments, like the Northbridge Piazza, are bringing rhythm back to the central business district.
Artist Lorenna Grant’s public piece is a great example of this rejuvenation. A bold and progressive City that promotes public life at every turn. Grant's art helps calm traffic and "the design also works on the principle that the roads can be shut down so the whole space becomes a piazza in the true sense of the term."
Read more here.
Image courtesy Michael Ellis.
What are Jafflechutes I hear you ask? Well in Australia toasted sandwiches are also known as jaffles and if you attach a parachute you've got the latest innovation in urban street food. Customers order online via PayPal and wait at a mystery location for their sandwich to arrive safely from the heavens. Lunch time in the city may never be the same again!
A video of jafflechutes in action can be found here
Images courtesy of we-heart.com
Australia's first glow in the dark footpath has been installed in Gosford. A layer of minerals covers the path and absorbs ultra violet light to emit a soft glow at night. Could this soon become the norm?
Read the press release here.
Image courtesy of Transport for NSW.
A crowdfunded bridge in Rotterdam, the Luchtsingel, is a catalyst for change throughout the neighbourhood, reconnecting people and place.
Image courtesy of The Luchtsingel Foundation.
Wind turbines + art...dare we say anymore?!
Also support their pozible campaign for getting ghostpatrol involved with Gale's friend Gusto (aka the other wind turbine on the property).
Image courtesy of Bernard Winter.
Designed by Norwegian architects Yashar Hanstad and Andreas Gjertsen, the Klong Toey Community Lantern is a football court and public playground in one of the largest and oldest areas of informal dwellings in Bangkok. It also doubles as an important community gathering space to discuss social issues in the area.
The community centre is the result of a year long preparation period that allowed the project team to connect with residents and understand their needs. The space was built in less than three weeks with materials sourced from local merchants.
Read more about this great project here.
Image courtesy of TYIN tegnestue Architects.
Here at TC we love the concept of 'sittability', that is, as William H. Whyte would describe, making areas for sitting in our cities both physically and socially comfortable.
Building Blocks by Jess Scully is an urban experiment that explores this notion of sittability. The installation, made up of large wooden blocks, provides a space for people to sit, play and interact. "Building Blocks was designed to soften the edges of a part of Sydney that has the potential to be a warmer, more inclusive, more exciting place" says Jess Scully.
Read more about this project and see other images here.
Image courtesy of Jess Scully.
Empathy Garden is an interactive installation that connects the spheres of urban food production, architecture and interactive-design. A key feature of the install uses MaxMSP software to create an interactive musical instrument, capable of generating music depending on context.
The concept was showcased by MoMA in NY (Cut'n'PAste Exhibition, St Horto) and was awarded the Architizer Award 2014.
Read more about the project here.
Image courtesy of Federico Giacomarra.
Here at TC we've been waiting for this for a while (and are pretty super excited)!
The smart cogs over at SolaRoad have developed the world's first solar bike path & it's looking good so far! The pilot initiative located in Krommenie, 25 kilometres outside Amsterdam, follows years of prototyping, testing and feasibility studies.
Read more about the project here.
UPDATE: It's been 6 months since we shared this story, read about how well the road works here.
Image courtesy of SolaRoad.
A new light tunnel located in Kolding, Denmark, is interactive, playful and curiously social.
The project titled Interference, is comprised of a series of light boxes that glow as people walk through the space. This in turn raises awareness that they are 'interfering' with their surrounds, hence the project name. The brainchild of Danish designers, Kollision, Interference is part of the Design City Kolding initiative and a great example of how to use sensor data to create a unique and dynamic urban experience.
Image courtesy of Kollision.
This, is the future.
A great initiative by Shell called 'Make the Future' has installed kinetic panels under the astroturf on this football field, allowing players to power the lights as they run. The project, located in Mineira Favela, Rio de Janeiro, has provided a much needed upgrad for the football field and highlights innovative solutions to our global energy problem.
Read more about the project here.
Image courtesy of Shell Global.
We've been waiting in anticipation for this and it's just arrived! The MPavilion opened in Melbourne this week. A commission by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and designed by Architect Sean Godsell, the MPavilion is a new public meeting room for the city.
Read more about it here.
Also jump to the Serpentine Galleries here.
Image courtesy of Sean Fennessy, The Design Files.
Story Yard is a temporary art installation featuring giant posters of local business owners. The initiative is part of Lents Grown, a growing network of passionate businesses, neighbours and entrepreneurs located between Mt Tabor and Powell Butte in Portland.
Lucas Gray from Propel Studio, the Architecture firm behind Story Yard, says "We applied for the grant through the Portland Development Studio to design and implement [the project] converting the vacant lot into a public plaza. We designed the gabion walls, benches, performance stage, and the photography stands. We collaborated with ROSE Community Development and Dawn DiAno who organized the portraits and interviews. We were honored to be a part of the project and enjoyed working with other creative groups within the neighborhood."
Here at TC we love hearing stories of locals making their communities better through innovation and creativity, and talented professionals being catalysts for change.
Image courtesy of Portland Development Commission.
The Urban Acres co-op connects city dwellers with farm fresh produce and regionally made products. A key philosophy behind the business is 'knowing where our food comes from' and supporting local growers. In this way, it becomes obvious that Urban Acres places importance on slow food, food that is grown nearby rather than flown-in from the other side of the world.
Find out more about the Urban Acres program here.
Image courtesy of Stephen Moore.
Federation Square is not only one of Australia's most iconic buildings it will soon be 100% Carbon Neutral. A number of large and small scale initiatives have contributed to this target milestone including the farming of honey bees, installation of solar panels and rain tanks, and the popup rooftop garden.
Federation Square's unique heating and cooling systems have also helped to achieve this rating, leveraging off site context and the nearby Yarra River. "We've paid back the cost of this [concrete passive cooling system] in the first 5 years" says Architect and Professor, Donald Bates.
Image courtesy of Donaldytong.
Like your coffee in a nook? Or better yet, want to make your own space, nesting or burrowing into the urban fabric? If so, Flipboard Cafe by Brolly Design is your place!
For some time now, the clever brains behind Brolly Design have been testing and undertaking temporary activations within Melbourne's inner city but with Flipboard Cafe they've settled on something more permanent. "Flipboard Cafe is vertically oriented, the space bisected by a prominent stair, and prioritizes users’ space rather than preparation space." says Marcus Baumgart in ArchitectureAU.
Image courtesy of Tanja Milbourne.
Out House is a dedicated public space (that was once a public toilet) for street art located on the northern quarters of Stevenson Square. "Every three months the three blocks will be reworked to provide new inspiration for anyone and everyone." says the Out House website.
As part of Sydney 2030, planter boxes across the City are not only pretty but also educational. The latest round of plants, just in time for Spring, focus on weeds, many of which are edible and growing in surrounding locations right in the heart of the City.
For more information about the Sydney Living Colour initiative click here.
Image courtesy of @wildwonprojects.
Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB) manage their power needs through innovative design and technology. With projects around the world, these ZEBs aim to use the same amount of energy that they generate annually putting them at the forefront of sustainable architecture.
Click here for a great selection of Zero Energy Buildings across the globe.
Image courtesy of The Urban Developer.
A bottle recycling machine that rewards its users with discounted fares is proving popular with commuters in Beijing. Currently at trial stage, there are plans to extend the network of machines to 34 other locations around the city. It's an exciting initiative and one that reflects China's growth in the recycling industry.
Image courtesy of Pay Ding.
Architecture collective OH.NO.SUMO have designed a pop-up cinema in response to the lack of social interaction on their local street corner in Auckland. Locals were invited to recommend short films and playlists via social media to bring life back to the streets in our smart phone world. This project is a great example of how innovative pop-up architecture can engage the public in unique and exciting ways.
Further details of this amazing project can be found here
Images courtesy of OH.NO.SUMO
Here at TC we love a good game...and for us bigger is always better! Giant boardgames are in vogue across the world and Seattle's Street Scrabble tournament is not only fun but also highlights a need for more open space and better public realm offer in the First Hill neighbourhood.
Organised by the Seattle Department of Transportation as part of the First Hill Public Realm Action Plan, the Street Scrabble tournament is a great example of participatory design, starting a conversation between policy makers and locals on how their everyday spaces can be improved to create better gathering spaces.
More information here.
Image courtesy of Joshua Trujillo from seattlepi.com
Self-taught pop artist Xoe Hall has been revamping bus stops as part of a street art project supported by Wellington Council. Once bleak and degraded bus stops are now being transformed with bright colourful murals. The first was a bus stop in Aro Valley in 2011 (top image), and in recent months another has been completed in Newtown (bottom image). The striking pink bus stop reflects elements of the character of the local area, the city, and Hall's own life, including music, art, and a sister with green hair.
Images courtesy Billy Haworth (top), and Kevin Stent/Fairfax NZ (bottom).
Designed by German Architect and Artist, Alexander von Branca, the underground addition and pedestrian tunnel to Munich U-Bahn: Marienplatz is hard to avoid.
Some of the best subways in the world, including Marienplatz, embrace their subterranean positioning with high quality design, lighting and inspiration through art or memorial.
Want to see other subways from around the world that are worth the ride? Click here for 6 of the best as sourced by The Guardian.
Image courtesy of Shaun Clarke.
Brisbane was recently named Australia's coolest city and it seems at every turn, the City is embracing innovation and supporting creativity.
One great example of this is 'Echo Orbit' a part-shade part-art installation by award winning artist Sandra Selig. It is located down Brisbane's Brunswick Street Mall in Fortitude Valley and is a key component of the Mall's revitalisation.
Selig's work is also "pinpointed with small LED lights which appear star-like within the pattern, offering a gentle atmospheric canopy for the buzzing night-time flow of people through the mall".
Image courtesy of Dan Pike.
We don't often share products on TC, but when we do, you know it's going to be good!
Authority Clothing collaborates with international street artists to create unique urban apparel with all royalties paid to artists.
It's about revitalising spaces with high quality murals and then reconnecting people with place through the clothes they wear on their back. "Design isn't just limited to buildings or architecture, it's on street walls, and even on the clothes we wear. This impacts on how we experience the city." says Christopher Skyner, founder of Authority Clothing.
Images shown here are from Bennetts Lane in Melbourne by Vanderlism.
Image courtesy of Authority Clothing.
Bike parking doesn't have to be ugly.
The Umbrella Arc by Bike Arc has been "crafted by cyclists, architects and urban designers with a love of the built environment, our bike parking and storage systems also offer security, organization and an enjoyable parking experience."
Here at TC we believe every element of the city, including bike infrastructure, should be designed with the same level of interest and enthusiasm as our own private spaces, our kitchens and backyards.
See more great images/examples and read more about Bike Arc here.
Image courtesy of Bike Arc.
Wow! Another incredible building by Kengo Kuma.
Here is the new architectural detail at the University of Tokyo/Hongo launched in May 2014. Kuma has covered the new Graduate School of Information Studies with 9000 pieces cedar plate.
Image courtesy of @urbanscape.
Running out of power to take that last insta shot of the perfect sunset? No sweat in Boston, a charge station is just a bench seat away.
City officials in Boston have recently collaborated with Soofa to produce a series of solar-powered benches and have been asking locals which parks deserve one the most.
These guys have an amazing story to share. Visit the website and read more here.
Top image courtesy of Soofa.
A series of black and white images have popped up around town as a teaser for the Red Earth Arts Festival held in Karratha and the surrounds in late September. They make a nice contrast to the red dirt of the Pilbara region.
It's great to see an initiative that takes art to the people, welcoming and accessible, but also from a marketing angle, builds brand awareness. Looking forward to seeing what the REAF 2014 has in store for us!
More information here.
Image courtesy of @spheruledesigns aka Bron Shipway.
It's subtle but so so good! Fresh work by Minneapolis artist, HoTTea, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California. HoTTea uses yarn as his weapon of choice and often conveys deeper social meaning through his work.
Image courtesy of HoTTea instagram account @hotxtea.
In Vancouver park benches welcome the homeless instead of rejecting them. How cool is that?!
The brain child of Spring Advertising, and in colaboration with RainCity Housing and Support Society, the campaign modifies bus stops and park benches to change from seating during the day to bed shelter at night.
Read more here.
We'd love to see this take off in cities across the globe and shift stigma and public attitude towards homelessness.
Image courtesy of fastcoexist.
Infrastructure as art...yes please!
We love seeing initiatives that flip what is considered normal for infrastructure and urban planning projects. Leuchtturm, meaning Lighthouse, was conceived by Ail Hwang, Hae-Ryan Jeong and Chung-Ki Park.
Image courtesy of klasse löbbert.
'Rush Hour – Acknowledging everyday practices' is an intervention as part of the International Union of Architects World Congress of Architects in Durban, South Africa.As a collaboration between local collective dala and raumlabor, an experimental practice from Berlin, it aims to transform a plot of land into a temporary station for hitchhikers.
Read more here.
Image courtesy of @goethejoburg.
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