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Today’s News - Monday, January 25, 2010

•   ArcSpace brings us a new arena, Astana, Kazakhstan, and a new civic space in Southport, Australia.

•   Starting from scratch in Port-au-Prince: an optimistic future would be "a smaller, well-built city" (with help from outside architects and engineers), but residents "may simply rebuild shantytowns rather than wait months or years for government action."

•   Calls for a trained town planner to oversee Mumbai's Dharavi slum redevelopment project: "Planning here is only about favoring the elites, not taking into account the aspirations of the common people."

•   Meanwhile, Mumbai finally pays attention to the plight of pedestrians with a "Yellow Caterpillar" - miles of elevated walkways (though some say it's a "huge mistake").

•   Indian officials are "horrified to see the end result" of a British documentary, claiming it was "poverty porn" instead of a promised program about Mumbai's architectural history; the counter-claim: "city planners and architects can learn from the way Asia's biggest slum has evolved and developed high levels of sustainability."

•   Big plans to modernize a sprawling slum in Baghdad.

•   Levinson on why "the Great Recession is not (yet) sparking a...contemporary WPA"; today, "we confront our crisis in a social-political climate that's to a large degree contemptuous of public sector solutions...hostile to the very idea of the public."

•   Campbell cheers a Boston firm dedicated to designing only for low-income people.

•   More on Gehry's withdrawal from Museum of Tolerance project: it had nothing to do with "with perceived political sensitivities" - and he supports its being built; a new architect will be named shortly.

•   Goldberger x 2: he surveys Gang's Aqua and cheers architecture's other "anti-divas" who are "purveyors of reason who also happen to be able to make beautiful things."

•   On a visit to Dubai, he talks about architecture, the sustainability of a skyscraper, and the Burj Khalifa: "I came prepared not to like it, but came around to changing my view."

•   Boston's Landmarks Commission reconsiders the city's "most ridiculed" mid-century-modern buildings as (possibly) "architectural treasures" (great slide show; sadly, no architects credited).

•   Washington, DC, reconsiders an abandoned underground trolley station beneath DuPont Circle (an RFP will be forthcoming).

•   Hawthorne looks at the trend towards digital façades and what it means for architecture: it will "become capable of endlessly reinventing itself" (a good thing).

•   P.S.1/MoMA Young Architect Program winner will have poles dancing on the rooftop this summer (and perhaps a few bruised noses that a small Brooklyn firm beat "Danish juggernaut BIG in battle over a tiny gravel triangle in Queens."

•   Gates Foundation HQ halfway finished on the last underdeveloped lot in central Seattle.

•   New-York Historical Society has playful plans for a children's history museum within the museum.

•   A Glasgow architect (and the first woman) named head of Architecture and Design Scotland - even A&DS critics are pleased (because of her "not ritzy" project portfolio).

•   Perhaps geoengineers are being too blinded by science: proposed high-tech fixes re: climate change not involving humans changing their behavior present practical and ethical challenges.


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