Reading older books and texts

In 2019 I am focusing on reading recently published books but also including old books and texts including books from the pre-1900 about cities and design. I am hoping to read these book to gain some knowledge and understanding of past issues and topics to see if there are trends and ideas that could provide me with some ideas or inspiration for 2019.

Why would I want to read past text? My theory is that many technologies and ideas are coming full circle including the electric car (first practical electric car was 1859) which have reappeared numerous times in history over the past 160 years, therefore there many issues that cities and people faced in the 1800-early 1960’s (density, pollution, etc that we could further understand and utilise).

I had decided this a new year goal for 2019 but was thought about broadening it to futurists of 1980’s after recently reading the Isaac Asimov piece from 1983 predicting what 2019 would hold for the world from a 1983 perspective and it was interesting to read that he was not far off on many of his predictions about Computerization, Jobs and Pollution, however sadly his prediction about Education did not eventuate.

” The growing complexity of society will make it impossible to do without them, except by courting chaos; and those parts of the world that fall behind in this respect will suffer so obviously as a result that their ruling bodies will clamour for computerization as they now clamour for weapons. “

“The jobs that will disappear will tend to be just those routine clerical and assembly-line jobs that are simple enough, repetitive enough, and stultifying enough to destroy the finely balanced minds of those human beings unfortunate enough to have been forced to spend years doing them in order to earn a living, and yet complicated enough to rest above the capacity of any machine that is neither a computer nor computerized.”

” The consequences of human irresponsibility in terms of waste and pollution will become more apparent and unbearable with time and again, attempts to deal with this will become more strenuous. It is to be hoped that by 2019, advances in technology will place tools in our hands that will help accelerate the process whereby the deterioration of the environment will be reversed. “

“Education, which must be revolutionized in the new world, will be revolutionized by the very agency that requires the revolution — the computer.
Schools will undoubtedly still exist, but a good schoolteacher can do no better than to inspire curiosity which an interested student can then satisfy at home at the console of his computer outlet.
There will be an opportunity finally for every youngster, and indeed, every person, to learn what he or she wants to learn. in his or her own time, at his or her own speed, in his or her own way.
Education will become fun because it will bubble up from within and not be forced in from without. “

ISAAC ASIMOV, 1983
Read more at https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/12/27/35-years-ago-isaac-asimov-was-asked-by-the-star-to-predict-the-world-of-2019-here-is-what-he-wrote.html

Design regulations against terrorism – a catalyst for change

Over the last year there have been several terrorist incidents that have seen the loss of life in our cities and due to this acts we have seen governments have turned to security experts, police departments and intelligence experts to offer advice on how to make cities safer. This is a continuation of the ever increasing change in the way we live our lives over the last few decades as we have secured airports, train stations, bus stations, border crossings and tourist attractions.

Due to recent events the Australian government has sort advice from security experts and recently, the Prime Minister of Australia launched the Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism. A document which seeks to “…assist owners and operators to increase the safety, protection and resilience of crowded places across Australia.”. This strategy is similar to the Crowded Places Guidance recently published by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office(UK) and the FEMA – Site and Urban Design for Security.

 

Read the full post at World Landscape Architecture

Changing landscape uses in China

Use of landscape and recreation is changing in China. Over the last few years I have been in China landscape uses have changed from passive uses(people watching, reading, singing & card/table games) with a some active uses(dancing, exercises, badminton & kite flying) to more and more different uses. There has been a great increase in active(roller blading, basketball, tennis, football(soccer), running, dog walking/running) and passive (more younger people reading/chatting on phones, computers and electronic devices). As landscape architects we need to address this increase in uses not only in designing parks but also for future planning. Future planning is one area that requires greater involvement from landscape architects and government, there are numerous passive parks around major cities and new cities but not enough future planning for active recreation.

Passive Recreation

In The Park from Ricardo Mendialdua on Vimeo.

There is also a change in the use of regional and national parks as tourism increases and younger (&older) generations start to get participate in ‘newer’ sports such as skateboarding, bmx/fixies, rollerblading, skiing, snowboarding although not that new to western countries these are burgeoning sports that are spreading across the nation. Although Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou may already have some of the facilities for these sports there is a need for urban designers, landscape architects and landscape planners to plan for these future uses. Leaving planning to later will lead to ad-hoc landscape design and planning along with devastated landscapes as developers & government see a need in the market and rush to provide facilities. Also remembering that there are sports and uses that haven’t been invented yet and that unplanned or disused areas (not oversized plazas) are needed to allow new forms of recreation will be created and grow.

Active Recreation

Shanghai Basketball from Paul Hammond on Vimeo.

Snowboarding
“串儿 (chuan’r)” is a snow boarding video parks in Beijing – one indoor park and one outdoor park. Also is shows that brands and parks are blurring the lines between public, private spaces and park funding.

mellowparks.cn “串儿 (chuan’r)” teaser from Steve Zdarsky on Vimeo.

Low carbon cities are the way of the future for China

The Low carbon city has become a popular topic in recent times and is an important concept and idea for urban design. Developing low carbon cities is important as energy use, economy and environment are all connected and determine the prosperity of a city.

A low-carbon city is more complex than using alternative energy such as solar and wind but also requires designing a city efficiently to maximise the energy used. Cities can design cities to be efficient with appropriate land use, integrate transport system, efficient electricity and water use, using locally produced food and construction materials and integrated project management to reduce waste and rebuilding. To become a low carbon a city needs to integrate sustainable design and construction techniques for urban design, architecture and landscape architecture into their master planning process.

With new cities being planned in China for the next 20 years, China has the opportunity of developing and using the latest theories and techniques in low carbon and eco-cities to become the world leader in urban design. By developing and using efficient sustainable design for infrastructure, architecture, and urban design China can create liveable cities that will become the example for the world.

Research & Education is fundamental in implementing low-carbon cities. Universities need to lead research and development of low carbon city design with the best techniques made available to its students and also to the public through professors presenting at conferences. The theory and findings of research are only useful if it is put into practice in the real world.