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Today’s News - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

•   Baillieu minces no words about why she thinks RIBA is being "sidetracked by fighting the wrong battles - it's not just how the world will look in 10 or 20 years' time...but how architects can still be part of it. Now that really is worth fighting for" ("there are bigger issues than Israel").

•   Brake makes the case that Detroit might want to put apply some brakes to its blight-removal plan, "breathtaking in its speed, scale, and cost," that "runs the risk of demolishing its identity and the foundation of its revival."

•   Hall Kaplan opines: "Whither planning in Los Angeles?" charging it "has become an ambiguous paper-pushing, in-and-out basket exercise. At least, according to a frustrated gaggle of practitioners trading candor for anonymity."

•   Flint finds fodder to ponder "who really owns public space" in "Open to the Public" at AIANY's Center for Architecture: "public space is central to civic health," and attention now being paid to its design and character is "quite welcome, but there are all kinds of thorny questions marbled in."

•   Kennicott digs deep into the "increasing awareness among city leaders, planners, architects, landscape architects - and the public - "about the degree to which urban design affects health," and "the interrelated issues of sustainability and healthy design."

•   Hough cheers NYC's former parks commissioner Benepe's leadership in establishing "a culture of sustainability" that has become a model for cities everywhere - and his well-deserved ASLA 2014 Olmsted Medal.

•   Pittsburgh's Mellon Square, "an icon of mid-century Modern design" (and the first plaza to be built over a subterranean parking garage), had seen better days - now, it is "a showcase for urban revitalization through historic preservation" (we remember it from the 70s - yikes!).

•   Birnbaum balks at part of the Frick Collection's expansion plan that would eradicate "an important part of the collection - an exquisite garden" by noted British landscape architect Russell Page - "deemed insignificant" and hardly mentioned in most reports.

•   Hume fumes about a city councilor's "bottom-feeder mentality" about Toronto's Sugar Beach, when, in fact, "it is hugely successful, socially and economically."

•   City Beach NYC launches a crowdfunding campaign to bring a portable floating beach to the Hudson River (sand sans swimming).

•   Lange offers a most thoughtful take on civic crowdfunding: "Can Kickstarter urbanism mature? Existing modes of civic crowdfunding need to stop disappearing projects that don't succeed."

•   Arup engineers explain how The Living's mushroom tower sprouted atop MoMA PS1 for the summer, and why "mushrooms might not replace steel and concrete soon, but Hy-Fi shows that they do have a place in today's construction market."

•   Gadanho is (mostly) optimistic as he contemplates the future of European architecture: "a strongly educated generation of young architects offers the signs that the profession is reviewing its priorities," and "European architecture may have already accumulated just enough cultural capital to become endurably resilient."

•   Kruger parses the newly established National Archives of Modern Architecture in Tokyo's Kyu-Iwasaki-Tei Gardens: "it is well worth visiting both."

•   On a sadder note - but not without hope - Dominion Modern!, "dedicated to the promotion and preservation of modern Canadian design and architecture," announced it is closing (but maybe not). - Iconic Albert Kahn & Associates, the "119-year-old firm that defined Detroit's golden era of opulent buildings and groundbreaking factories is fighting to find its role in the 21st century" (and just might win!).

•   We cheer Architectural Review rounding up its complete coverage of the Venice Biennale, by the likes of Jencks, Fior, Woodman, Finch, Wilson, and others, on to one page.

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