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Today’s News - Friday, April 11, 2014

•   A call for planners to "shift their attention to the informal economy that is the invisible engine of true urban greatness. We want to redefine the 'world-class city' as an inclusive city."

•   Swope, reporting from the World Urban Forum in Medellín, offers a sweeping, 4-part Q&A with Colombia cities expert Gerard Martin re: how Medellín grew, and "how reform mayors have used new local powers to create a strategy they call 'social urbanism.'"

•   Adding to the "great density debate" in Melbourne: "before attempting to accommodate the rapidly increasing population, we must first understand what constitutes a good housing design. But is this merely an idea that is easier said than done?"

•   Olcayto explains why dynamiting Glasgow's Red Road housing towers as a TV stunt for the Commonwealth Games "sends the wrong message" about the city's regeneration, and how the city's "architects are among the wiser figures speaking on its behalf. If ever there were a time for architects to reaffirm their civic leadership role," it's now.

•   Jacobs weighs in on the 10 Rebuild by Design proposals that show "no shortage of resilient design options" for a post-Sandy world: they "don't feature monumental objects or extravagant built form, which makes them poor fodder for the architecture press," but "many seem reasonably easy to implement, even by local governments."

•   Australia's former Prime Minister calls plans for the Sydney Botanical Gardens "a bloody disgrace," a money grab, and "'the most appalling and outrageous plan Sydney has ever seen for the misappropriation of its public lands.' And this quote was one of the nicer ones."

•   Some prominent architects from Down Under chime in with their thoughts on the controversial plans for the Royal Botanic Gardens, "one of Sydney's most cherished and tranquil landmarks."

•   Davidson waxes poetic about the "long, slow death" of glamour in Midtown Manhattan as media companies head to cheaper digs downtown. "To the current crop of creative young ladder-climbers, a corner office in a midtown tower was their grandparents' dream, not theirs."

•   Which is why we couldn't resist "The Hilda Stories," in which the eloquent (and glamorous) Hilda Longinotti recalls some very amusing tales from her 21-year run as George Nelson's aide-de-camp in the Mad Men era.

•   King gets a hard-hat tour of SFMOMA's transformation: "the past is ghostly as the future takes shape."

•   Former leaders of RIBA's now-abolished procurement reform group are up in arms about the institute "promoting a PQQ masquerading as a design competition" that discourages young practices from entering: "What I find most galling is there's no design element at all at this stage."

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Menking cheers the Lebbeus Woods retrospective opening at NYC's Drawing Center: "Though his ethical voice and the demanding worlds he created inside his drawings will no longer confront the major issues of the day we still have his drawings to remind us of his thinking and vision."

•   Campbell-Dollaghan cheers "Maggie's Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care" at the New York School of Interior Design (great pix!).

•   Kamin gives (mostly) thumbs-up to "Chicagoisms" at the Art Institute of Chicago: it is "engaging but uneven" show. "Yet there's an appealing playfulness to the installation," which suggests that the city's "future can be as bright as its legendary past - if only the city rediscovers its capacity for boldness. That critique is not entirely on target."

•   Betsky went bounding out of "Buildering" at Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center, "looking for urban fun everywhere" - it "puts a smile on your face and reminds you not to take architecture too seriously."

•   Dunlop's "Marking the Millennium: 21st Century Miami Architecture" at the Coral Gables Museum "depicts an architectural coming-of-age in Miami" while raising some serious questions: "Will developers' increasing infatuation with star architects snuff out opportunities for the talented locals?"

•   The best of Ezra Stoller, "modern architecture's master photographer," on view at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

•   Stephens and the former Massachusetts secretary of transportation have different takes on Most's "The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that Built America's First Subway": for former explains why the "tale lacks drama for one crucial reason"; the latter says it "is as much about American bravado as it is about a transformative transportation project."

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