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Today’s News - Friday, May 30, 2014

•   Kimmelman takes us on a fascinating tour of urban renewal in San Francisco - bulldozers not included: tech firms, "like hermit crabs living off whatever's around, have colonized auto-body shops, Victorian mansions and vacant and formerly unloved 1970s office buildings. But this is the Nimby capital of America."

•   King takes a tour of a 3-D model of the San Francisco skyline of 2017 via some "cool-gadget geekery."

•   Lewyn's Theory Behind NIMBYism, Part 3: zoning and homeowners fears deter the creation of new - and much-needed - rental housing.

•   Three tall building experts who back the AJ/Observer Skyline campaign propose practical ways forward for planning in London.

•   Capps makes the case for cities to bid for Olympic gold: "What Western cities are bidding on is not merely glory but the temporary political purchase to pursue massive internal improvements. Several of those cities could use the boost that only the Olympics can deliver."

•   Litt cheers the latest plans for Kent State's new architecture school building that "show a project still on track for excellence. If a university can't get the design right with its architecture school, it would undermine the credibility of that particular department, if not the entire institution."

•   Hill offers a (very cool) interactive tour of TWBTA's LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

•   Markham digs deep into conflicts between gentrification and community gardens, which are started with good intentions, but tend to become "pawns" in the real estate game: "If young home buyers like chickens and goats and kale, developers and real-estate agents like them even more."

•   Some urban agriculture ventures in Detroit are moving beyond the city lot and into buildings: "We're buying into something equivalent to a McDonald's franchise" (said "with a hint of irony").

•   A look a how Soleri's Arcosanti "foreshadowed current themes such as urban farming, New Urbanism, and smart growth ("elegant frugality" included).

•   Taylor-Hochberg's Q&A with Tssui re: his outsider status "in the shifting waters of architectural discourse, his unlikely inspirations from teaching architecture in China, and the trials of being a dissenting voice."

•   Harvard GSD launches a course in design competitions: "Competitions are going to be an increasing part of architectural work lives, for better or for worse," says Kayden.

•   Friedman understands "there's nothing worse than losing a competition that you thought your firm would win. Except for failing to find out why."

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Bevan parses the London Festival of Architecture (launching this weekend): it celebrates architects from other countries and the "diversity of influence" they bring to the city, but "there is the danger that it is already passing its peak" (for some disturbing reasons).

•   Betsky basks in the art of Liu Wei and Lebbeus Woods: "The works of these two artists represent cities, beautifully unhinged and unstable."

•   Flint cheers Stern's "Paradise Planned": "The gambit is to rescue an august planning tradition 'tragically interrupted' by 20th century modernism" and "to blend town and country all over again - a welcome addition to the discourse."

•   Filler gives (mostly) thumbs-up to Saval's "Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace": it is an "impressive but substantially flawed study of the modern office - as with all other architecture and design, the way we make our offices offers an accurate reflection of our values, and not a formula for improving them" (though "his grasp of architectural history" is not quite up to snuff).

•   Mogilevich cheers a collection of James Corner's essays that "chart new and exciting territory" in landscape architecture: "Always in tension are the landscapes of the mind and the site. But he seeks to defy and transcend these distinctions."


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