China launches new projects for sustainable urbanization
The 2017 New Urbanization Forum was held in Beijing on Sunday, with senior officials from the China Urban-townization Promotion Council and the National Development and Reform Commission in attendance. CGTN’s Su Yuting has more.
MIT, Brazil, and the Challenge of Housing
The School of Architecture and Planning and the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) at MIT have established a long-term initiative to rethink the future of affordable housing in Brazil, which faces an estimated shortage of 7 million units.
“The affordable housing gap — already a significant problem in Brazil — is growing wider,” says Gabriel Kozlowski, an architect and researcher who is part of the LCAU team. “Rethinking the architecture as well as the urban and economic models currently being implemented in the housing sector in Brazil is the first step toward providing better living conditions for millions of residents.”
The initiative is a combined effort among Brazilian academic institutions, research labs, and the private sector, in collaboration with MIT. The core local participants include the School of Architecture and Urbanism of São Paulo (FAU-USP); Arq.Futuro, Brazil’s largest platform devoted to the study and discussion of cities and urbanization; and the Institute of Urbanism and Studies for the Metropolis (URBEM), a “do-tank” for the conceptualization and implementation of large-scale urban development projects in São Paulo and other global cities.
Several other Brazilian institutions are joining the initiative, including INSPER, São Paulo’s leading center of education and research in the fields of business and economics, and the two largest private organizations representing the real estate sector in the state of São Paulo: the São Paulo State Housing Syndicate, SECOVI, and the Brazilian Association of Real Estate Companies, ABRAINC.
Two events in São Paulo this fall marked the beginning of this engagement. In October, FAU-USP hosted MIT School of Architecture and Planning Dean Hashim Sarkis for a public lecture, which took the form of a conversation about the new housing initiative and the opening of his exhibition, “The World According to Architecture,” mounted in the school’s gallery.
In November, Arq.Futuro, in partnership with the UN Habitat and the São Paulo State Secretariat for Urban Development, organized a two-day symposium entitled “Economy and the City: Housing and Urban Development.” With 40 speakers, the event aimed to open a discussion on the current state and new possibilities for affordable housing in Brazil.
“As a result of a series of economic and political practices, housing is a theme that was clearly left aside by architecture during these last decades,” says Kozlowski, who represented MIT at the event. “I believe this research collaboration is not only necessary but also symbolic for structuring an in-depth conversation on the future of affordable housing in Brazil to help reverse the current situation.”
The symposium also featured a video conversation between Sarkis and Adèle Naudé Santos, a professor in the MIT Department of Architecture and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, discussing the significance of housing research for Brazil and MIT’s role and vision for this collaboration.
Research activities will commence in 2017. During the spring — supported by a five-year grant offered by the São Paulo Research Foundation — the architecture school FAU-USP will gather a team of faculty and researchers led by architect Angelo Bucci to engage in a long-term project on housing.
“Housing is the primordial and most permanent theme of architecture,” says Bucci. “It is of the highest relevance to promote a cycle of research and debate that addresses new architectural designs necessary for today’s cities.”
The framework of the research is being developed in collaboration with MIT, which will also exchange faculty and students for short research periods over the next five years. During summer 2017, Santos will take MIT students to São Paulo for a workshop as part of the LCAU biennial theme of housing.
“We intend to design a community on an urban infill site that has reasonable access to facilities needed by the residents,” says Santos. “The housing should be flexible to accommodate different household formations, support income-generating activities, and through the shared spaces and amenities foster a sense of community. This will be a new neighborhood typology and an innovative building type, spatially, and technologically. The challenges are large, but we expect that the MIT team working with their Brazilian counterparts will bring bold thinking, rigor, and creativity to affordable urban housing solutions.”
Why Cities Are Where They Are in the World
Have you ever wondered why the world’s largest cities sprout up where they sprout up? It has a lot to do with water, natural resources, history, and being in the northern hemisphere.
Wendover Productions took a really hard look at why cities are whey they are in the video below and it’s completely fascinating. Some of the reasons are pretty obvious: Being close to water helps because the ocean is what connects the world, and without access to drinkable water cities would die of thirst. Being near natural resources obviously helps, too, since living near the stuff you need just makes sense.
But what’s most interesting is probably how most of the big cities in the world are located in the northern hemisphere, and that’s because many of history’s largest empires were located in Europe and Asia. And many of history’s largest empires were located in Europe and Asia because the shape of both Europe and Asia is wider than it is tall. And being a wider continent means there’s a lot of land that’s roughly on the same latitude which means roughly the same climate, which means plants and animals that were successful on one part of the continent can probably be successfully raised in another part of the continent (or even a new continent along the same latitude like say, North America), which means towns and colonies can support more people, which means they can eventually become the biggest cities in the world.
|The Chamwada Report: Episode 76 Sustainable Urbanization in Africa|
Anyone who has googled most African cities like Nairobi will know that the images that come up are not exactly flattering. It's mostly slums, conflict or at best, wildlife.One day, Mutua Matheka went up to the rooftop of one of the taller buildings in Nairobi and saw the city, from a perspective new even to him. He realised Nairobi is actually beautiful. This moment changed everything. Mutua saw the distortion of what is presented to the world versus what is. He set out to photograph his city, in order to show the beauty he saw in it and, to balance the imagery that introduces the world to Nairobi.
Mega cities - Tokyo National Geographic
Mention Tokyo and the images come fast and furious: the whoosh of the bullet train, hundreds of thousands of commuters texting on tiny mobile phones, the precision of a sushi chef, a sumo wrestler thumping the ground. The world’s largest metropolis—nearly 34 million people in commuting distance—may be a blur, but it’s a very genteel one. Look closer and you’ll notice refined touches everywhere: fashion, architecture, manhole covers (yes, manhole covers), the exquisite wrapping of a package, or the way your shoes are magically turned in the right direction when you’re ready to leave the city. All this and Hello Kitty too.
China's urbanization model will change
Joan Clos, executive director of United Nations Human Settlements Programme, or UN Habitat, said in a recent interview with New China TV that China's urbanization has been successful so far, but its model will change in the future in parallel with social and economic transformations.