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Today’s News - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

•   We lose a master Edinburgh-based architect and lighting designer.

•   Hawthorne reports it's official - Gruen/Grimshaw team to take on L.A.'s Union Station master plan: "Their 2050 scheme was among the most fanciful of the bunch."

•   News from Down Under: Melbourne launches major initiatives to manage growth, including six new suburbs: "planners have admitted action has to be taken now to avoid the overall structural meltdown that occurs in excessively dense cities."

•   At least now Australians will have the GBCA's Green Star - Communities rating system as a tool to "lift the bar for developments nationally."

•   A study of Auckland's inner-city apartment dwellers finds that only 25% "feel they belong to a recognizable 'community'"; the results will be used "to develop ways to strengthen people's links with one another."

•   Hume x 2: the Ideacity conference in Toronto ended Friday "expecting the worst but hoping for the best" (he seems not so optimistic).

•   He's only somewhat cheered by a Toronto parking lot winning an IPI Award of Excellence: "Whatever beauty and drama the arch possesses is pretty well lost in the asphalt banality of the site."

•   Q&A with Mike Lydon re: tactical urbanism, offering quick, affordable tools for making a big impact (perhaps he should head to Toronto?).

•   Q&A with Olin re: landscape urbanism, the state of public space, and his new L.A. office: urban design is "an activity that lots of disciplines do together. It's ensemble work. It's one of the things we do when we play together well."

•   NYC's Parks Commissioner Benepe heading to the Trust for Public Land to take on park and playground development across the country (the city will miss him - and we're big fans - but good news for the country!).

•   An engaging history of zoning codes, "or, how Americans learned to legislate our NIMBY impulses."

•   A Melton essay we missed last year that is well worth the read re: beauty and buildings: "When the Modernists declared that form follows function, did they really intend for the built environment to look so ... dreary?" (with a dollop of "beauty and biophilia").

•   Q&A with "The Reluctant Architect" author Keith Anderson: "Architects have become so enamored with the phrase 'form follows function' that discussions of beauty have all but been thrown out."

•   A fairly starchitect-laden shortlist to design one of the world's largest research facilities in Sweden.

•   A look at two pavilions at Expo 2012 in South Korea: one "stands out as one of the most technologically advanced, if aesthetically underwhelming," while the other "tests architectural and engineering limits in a different way - by being as low-tech as possible."

•   More on MASS Design Group's efforts to improve healthcare delivery in Rwanda, Uganda, Haiti, and home.

•   Crosbie found some rude awakenings on a pilgrimage to Chichen Itza, "one of the places on my architect's bucket list...our spirits ready to be lifted and someone is trying to sell us gee-gaws."

•   "20 Odd Questions" for Piero Lissoni, the "high-output, low-profile Italian designer."


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