Today’s News - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

●  OMA's de Graaf ponders architecture and climate change: "What is at stake is not so much how to find solutions in our struggle against the elements, but why we are at war with the elements in the first place - perhaps we should abandon the notion that our built environment is permanent" (it's not as radical as it sounds).

●  Pskowski, a journalist and researcher based in Mexico City, tells us how the city's architecture center became the headquarters for architects and engineers "looking to help and determine why some buildings suffered more spectacularly than others" (the day "Mexico City: 1985 Earthquake" was set to open).

●  Pedersen offers a fascinating Q&A with building researcher Orfield re: why architecture seems to be "afraid of science": "The problem is that science and design don't have a common language" - science is mostly foreign to architects because it's not taught in schools to begin with.

●  Florida considers Amazon HQ2, Google, etc., a new study, and "what the new urban anchors owe their cities - the last decade has given rise to a troubling pattern of 'winner-take-all urbanism.'"

●  Seattle's Westneat offers a heads-up to "Dear Other North American City" vying for the Amazon HQ2: "Take it from us: With Amazon, you can get too much of a good thing - it's is about to detonate a prosperity bomb in your town" (not a good thing).

●  Holder, Schneider & Boone parse the pros and cons for 6 long-shot and likely cities vying for the Amazon HQ2, and which "which cities fit into the Goldilocks Zone."

●  Wilson tackles the hurdles of achieving affordable housing for all: it requires "a shift in attitudes from governments, curbing speculation, and embracing advances in construction technology" - it must be seen as "a community investment, rather than a burden."

●  O'Sullivan parses a proposed plan to build 2,500 homes on a patch of Copenhagen's "wildlife-rich," boggy grassland that "highlights a flaw in the city's much-praised approach to balancing its books" (it seems there is a happy ending).

●  Big plans for a big, "ambitious" mixed-use project adjacent to one of Johannesburg's natural greenbelts: the whole precinct is targeting Green Star certification under the Green Building Council South Africa's new Green Star Sustainable Precincts tool.

Of parks, playfulness, bruised egos, memorials, and highways to heaven (or not):

●  de Monchaux offers a cautionary tale about projects like Pier 55, the High Line, and Garden Bridge, and "how parks lose their playfulness when cities rely on private donors" (it all goes back to Washington Square Park, its 1958 rescue, and its 2004 restoration - now it "doesn't do its job as well as it did").

●  Bagli and Pogrebin delve deep into Pier 55, "billionaires, bruised egos," and the death of Diller's Grand Project: it "demonstrates some of the dangers of turning over funding of city infrastructure to individuals with deep pockets but, perhaps, thinner skins."

●  Meadowcroft, meanwhile, weighs is on the "whole tapestry of mess" surrounding Gehry's Eisenhower Memorial that is "like some sort of over-enthusiastic temple complex for Osiris" (Leigh says we're heading "into the swamp of memorial sprawl").

●  Now, only Trump "can save good taste and decency in D.C.," by putting kibosh on Gehry's "impressionistic metal-wrought doodle" ("the president's penchant for petty grievance might come in handy here" - though Betsy DeVos calls it "gorgeous").

●  Neafsey considers "why we seem to habitually design memorial landscapes for indelible permanence in the first place - might there be virtue in designing certain memorial landscapes to allow for a degree of fluidity and change?"

●  Saffron on Philly's "struggle to figure out what the Benjamin Franklin Parkway should be," and the city (finally) taking on "a study to develop a management strategy" (but "don't expect it to be transformed overnight").

●  Brey sees a glimmer of hope in plans for a new 8-acre park to connect Philly to its waterfront "after decades of damage caused by one highway" - but "zooming out a bit, things still look sort of bleak."

●  Litt has high hopes for Cleveland's "Thrive 105-93" plan for 7 miles of new streetscapes and public amenities that "could spur redevelopment," but "inevitably raise fears about gentrification" ("integrating higher income newcomers and de-concentrating poverty" would help).

●  Bliss doesn't see a lot of bliss about Portland's proposed "grass-capped highway expansion in a gentrifying neighborhood": it's not much more than "a bit of green garnish on an old, bad, idea."

●  How did we miss Park(ing) Day this year (gasp!) - definitely worth a look!

●  A gracious gift to PennDesign launches an annual $50,000 Student Prize, and a Professional Medal for Excellence for "an under-recognized architect who has changed the course of design history."

●  One we couldn't resist (so much for Active Design Guidelines): "Chinese man who was 'too tired' to climb stairs gets private lift" (a.k.a. "dumbest elevator") to his 6th floor flat (without permission).

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