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Today’s News - Thursday, May 8, 2014

•   Pogrebin just made our day with news that the New York Public Library has made "a striking about-face" and has called off in its hotly-disputed plans for its 42nd Street landmark (Foster may be disappointed, but probably crying all the way to the bank with the $9 million his firm was paid for its work).

•   Bevan looks "beyond the brand blather" when it comes to towns aspiring "to brand themselves with city status - perhaps it's time to redefine what it means to be a city at all."

•   Volpe takes a long look at NYC's Hudson Yards: "This 'quantified community' is a real-life urban laboratory for connected living, and its future, deep-pocketed residents will be its well-kept lab rats" testing lots of "big-picture buzzwords."

•   Farrelly is fuming about a "massive new downtown development" proposed for Newcastle, Australia, that is "a weird mix of quasi-officialdom and outright gluttony" that sets a dangerous precedent for developer-led planning: "This is vampire-running-the-blood-bank stuff."

•   Steuteville takes issue with Rybczynski's critique of New Urbanism.

•   Betsky finds fault with NYC Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plan that doesn't do much more than "formalize the idea that the city wants to keep building more cookie-cutter towers - a better solution would be to ask architects and others to come up with alternative models that might let New York develop in a denser, more integrated, and more sensible manner."

•   Finch finds fault on both sides in the debate over London's towering future: "The Skyline campaign has demonstrated that it is easier to write a manifesto than it is to get an agreement on what it actually means" (with a warning of "a slight danger of zoo-itis").

•   Wells explains resiliency's "growing pains" as it rapidly begins to influence urban sustainability and hazard mitigation planning: "The challenge ahead is to weave resiliency into planning and green urbanism."

•   Green looks into how Cape Town is using "an inventive program" that uses urban design to transform a dangerous township "into a safer, more livable place."

•   Eyefuls of Asymptote's master plan for cultural spaces in the Tuscan hills "that will become more than a flashy tourist center."

•   An impressive shortlist of six teams in the running to design D.C.'s High Line spanning the Anacostia River.

•   Even though the official announcement is scheduled for next week, Waite can't wait to tell us who's going to be tapped to design the U.K.'s 2015 Milan Expo pavilion (expect lots of buzz about beehives).

•   Jacobs has a thoughtful Q&A with Rybczynski re: "his attachment to the past": "I think the celebrity aspect of architecture is not helpful. It's not making for better architecture."

•   Dunlap delves into the fascinatingly curious history of Bucky's World's Fair dome - turns out "a little-known architect seems to have had a lot more to do with it."

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