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Today’s News - Thursday, December 8, 2011

•   Israel-based architects and Palestinian planners devise border crossings that is "a fascinating case study of the challenges urban planners would face" in a potentially split Jerusalem - part of the "Is Peace Possible?" special report (all well worth checking).

•   Zandberg reports on the Movement for Israeli Urbanism conference: "The time has come for an end to sprawling suburbs and for the renewal of existing neighborhoods...Ashkelon is a living laboratory embodying the MIU's arguments."

•   While some closed auto plants across the country are being redeveloped, a study could help communities with vacant plants understand which approaches had been successful" (in some cases, the best use might be green space).

•   Chaban on Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards prefab plans: cheerleaders and skeptics abound, but "if modular happens, it would be a miracle. But then again, so is the fact Atlantic Yards is being built in the first place."

•   Copenhagen puts the kibosh on BIG's trash incinerator ski slope: the "recreational monument emphasized the hedonism of Bjarke's 'hedonistic sustainability' mantra perhaps a little too much."

•   A Croatian firm wins competition to design Istanbul's first Disaster Prevention & Education Center (with simulation systems to experience earthquakes, hurricanes, liquefaction, tsunamis - oh my!).

•   Kamin cheers a new Chicago charter school that proves even "in economically austere times, we don't have to build boring, unimaginative architecture" (though it's not faultless).

•   Rosenbaum re: Safdie's Crystal Bridges: while it's "a 'wow' building from the outside, it is something of a problematic puzzle on the inside" (with pix to prove it).

•   Wainwright is not all that impressed with London's Boxpark, and even less so by developer's attempt to sue the container shopping mall in Christchurch (to house businesses devastated by the earthquake): "Might we politely point him to the largest shopping mall in Europe," built in 1989 in Odessa and "home to 6,000 independent traders," it is made entirely of shipping containers.

•   Australia selects six practices for the 2012 Venice Biennale who will aim "to provoke debate about the changing role of architects."

•   RIBA Gold Medal winner Hertzberger "laments fading role" of architects who are "no longer as important as we once were...We're not buried next to the king anymore" + an interesting list of Hon. RIBA Fellows includes London mayor and Ai Weiwei.

•   A radio show out of Miami (and available via podcast) makes the case every week that place matters.

•   The new International Green Construction Code will be available next spring.

•   HUD has $2.5 million for the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellowship Program.

•   Two we couldn't resist: a small "garden" in Paris is an astounding optical illusion.

•   An FLW biopic on its way: it won't "whitewash him into some sort of saint"; no word yet on who will play the lead (though we've heard some good suggestions, like John Malkovitch, Kevin Spacey, or Billy Bob Thornton).


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