Tag Archives: urban

Detroit: Hantz Meanz Farmz


Once a city of innovation, by all accounts, Detroit is today a city in ruin: the Pompeii of our times.  The statistics are frightening: unemployment amongst the highest in the nation, population decreases surpassing even east-Berlin after the wall came down; and not a single supermarket within city limits.

Hantz Farm in inner-Detroit is set to change this.  John Hantz and Matt Allen have created this innovative approach to save the local community.  They realise that much of Detroit is simply “too broken to fix”, so aim to reinvigorate it by creating 100 acres of urban farms – former residential or commercial plots of land which they will clear and transform into a thriving agricultural area, for a relatively low cost. They cannot reinvigorate the fledgling car industry which has devastated the local – and national – economy, but they can create jobs, stimulate the local economy, and give residents a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

It’s an inspiring idea that will create jobs, increase the health of its denizens, aid in smart energy use, lower crime rates and free up emergency services to look after the inhabited areas of the city.

Natty little logo, too.



Leave a comment

Posted by on August 1, 2009 in building, urban design


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Brad Moore Photography


Brad Moore takes wonderful photos of urban wastelands and isolation.  The images were taken around Southern California – the real SoCal, not the glamorised version that the state likes to portray.

Thanks to wrongdistance for the link.








1 Comment

Posted by on July 26, 2009 in looking, photography


Tags: , , , , ,

Elok House: It’s a Jungle Out There


10756_1_Elok House - Additional 1

Orchard Road is known for being one of the world’s finest shopping destinations.  But, deep in the urban jungle of Singapore, it is also the site of a remarkable new piece of residential architecture.

The owners of the small site gave Chang Architects one brief: to incorporate as much natural life as possible.  They wanted  home that was light, breezy and sustainable, with at least 40% landscaping.  The architect came up with clever ways to incorporate living plants and other natural elements such as waterfalls and pebbles into the home’s fabric, including a central atrium to feed light to the plants on the ground floor; a retractable roof to protect the house during Singapore’s legendary storms; and plants literally growing through the kitchen roof, reaching up to the sky above.

The house is featured in this month’s Habitus and won several gongs such as the Singapore Institute of Architects’ 2008 Design Awards (for its low cost – under $1m – construction) and the President’s Award for Design of the Year 2008 (Singapore’s highest design award).

This jungle home is a unique, site-specific and incredibly fun response to its urban setting.

Pics via World Architecture News.

10756_2_Elok House - Additional 2

10756_3_Elok House -  Additional 3

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 18, 2009 in architecture, building


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Traffic! by Benny Chan


Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a small obsession with traffic, maps and urban design, so it’s no surprise that I love Los Angeles: the ultimate car city.

I just spent half an hour reading a brilliant, if somewhat old, post on urbanist blog cityofsound discussing a recent (and, it must be said, outrageous) article in The Economist about how electric cars should simulate the noise of a conventional fuel combustion engine for safety and aesthetic reasons.  The article really makes you wonder what a world without cars might be like.  To emphasise his point about how preposterous personal transportation has really become, he links to some amazing photos by photographer Benny Chan.  GOOD has a picture show with more, but I’ve posted some of my faves here, depicting rivers of concrete snaking through the LA suburbs.








Tags: , , , , , ,

Robert Overweg’s Reality


Today we’re featuring the work of Dutch photographer Robert Overweg, who has taken some pretty interesting urban photographs of late.  But these are not shot on the streets of Amsterdam or Zurich: in fact, all his images are taken from virtual environments – mainly computer games.

Robert sees ‘virtual environments’ as the new public spaces, and aims to document them on his new site, Shot By Robert.  In doing so, he asks questions about copyright, popular culture and whether experiences in the visual world – which are becoming as much a part of reality as day-to-day life – are the property of the copyright holder or the person who actually has the ‘experience’.

British photographer Robbie Cooper would agree that the virtual environment has the ability to become a new reality – just take a look at his ‘My Game Face‘ gallery via the New York Times, where he captured kids’ faces as they played violent video games, thanks to his RED camera. Spookey.

power tower



Leave a comment

Posted by on July 8, 2009 in looking, photography


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Building: Bellemo & Cat

I often dream about designing my own house, free from any constraints or notions of normality or practicality. Mine is a world without council restrictions and pesky budgets, nor someone telling me that I can’t build my walls out of perspex, grow grass on my balcony, or spray-paint my house green.

Welcome to Polygreen, the personal house and showcase of architects and real-life partners Bellemo & Cat. Surrounded by a landscape of 19th-century warehouses in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote, this is a bold, joyful family residence and showcase for the couple’s design aesthetic and innovative thinking.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 26, 2009 in architecture, contemporary


Tags: , , , , , ,