Rio, bikes and imagery

picture 1

by Daniel Wagner

“Biscoito Globo $1 Real!” was once the most shouted phrase in Rio de Janeiro’s beaches some time ago. Through the hands of thousands of individual sellers walking up and down the beaches, this low-profile biscuit with time became part of the imagery of the city. It is now sold in souvenir shops for tourists, its picture on T-shirts and bags, its brand became kind of mixed with the brand of the city itself. Since the 1940’s, Rio has steadily built this image of a relaxed, beautiful, bathed by the ocean, under a warm sun big city type. This image became the main city brand and helped shape carioca’s lives and personality. Also it did a huge push on the tourism industry going as far as help to bringing the Football World Cup and the Olympic Games to the city only two years apart. Continue reading

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Optimism in Crisis: Necessary? Useful? Honest?

Vientiane, Lao PDR (Teipelke, 2014)By Renard Teipelke

The defining features in Caracas, Detroit, and Metro Manila are different. But no matter if it concerns crime, bankruptcy, or disaster risks, the defining features are strongly related to urban crises. While some cities enjoy a status quo from which urban development can evolve in a relatively smooth and prosperous way, a majority of cities is struggling with a setting which leaves little space for hope that the near feature will bring significant improvements. Working in (mostly secondary) cities in Southeast Asia, I am asking myself how much one can or has to approach urban development from an optimistic perspective? Continue reading

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São Paulo, bikes, buses and prosecution

Picture 1by Daniel Wagner*

“In the end, the agenda is the stupidity of the automobile. 500 new cars are sold in São Paulo every day. So a lot of things should be done in the direction of discouraging individual means of transportation and encouraging public transportation. However, there is already a general conscious that the automobile became a well-known stupidity. The world is at war over oil, yet you burn oil to ride a 700 kgs piece of junk with a 70 kgs asshole inside it. Something is very wrong.” Paulo Mendes da Rocha, architect and urban planner, 2006 Pritzker laureate

“We are not in Amsterdam!” Shouted a woman driving a car. “Where will my rich clients park their cars?” Questioned a salesperson of a fancy beauty salon. Outraged arguments against São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad – from the Worker’s Party (PT) – reached a peak when a known neo-con journalist started to call the mayor the “Maniac of bikes” and compared his policies to improve bicycle use in the city with a terrorist attack: “a version of ISIS on two wheels” was written when bicycle lanes started to sprout throughout the streets of this 22 million people metropolis. Continue reading

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Colloquium “Housing in Berlin”/ Kolloquium “Wohnen in Berlin”



*please scroll down for the call in German*

Call for participations
Supply of urban accommodation is becoming a major issue on city council agendas.
Also in Berlin, rising rents, new building projects, ecological challenges of urban development and the widespread tendency for living spaces to become divided and separated into areas defined by different social groups are all bringing new challenges. This phenomenon is not only a benchmark in several local government debates but also increasingly being taken up in various scientific studies. The research landscape is shaped by varying approaches of the different disciplines.

With the Interdisciplinary colloquium “Housing in Berlin“ we aim to foster on-going exchange between often disconnected approaches and reference points, quotations and opinions  towards urban planning, architecture,  the real estate and housing business, geography, social science and other disciplines. The goal of the colloquium is to develop an on-going interdisciplinary exchange on housing related questions in regard to urban development.
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INPOLIS / Nemona Placement presents the Fashion Sourcebook for Berlin

Bildschirmfoto 2015-03-04 um 13.44.16A fashion network for professionals and production

“There is a lack of infrastructure in Berlin fashion business” this is probably one of the most frequently mentioned statements when it comes to the development of Berlin as a fashion location. Especially in the field of fashion production and services are deficits in networking.
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The Invisible Hand of the City Strikes Back!

Febbraio 12, 2014, by Bewyl from their collaboration "Ragtag - Contemporary Witness"

Febbraio 12, Naples 2014, by Bewyl from their collaboration “Ragtag – Contemporary Witness”

by Valentin Schipfer By growing irregularly and ring-wise from the inside out, urban charme has been created where no place equals each other: The old european cities are beautiful examples for what happens when citizens interact in an uncoordinated way and coincidence acts as the main city-planner. In nowadays industrial cities informal footpaths are the height of pleasure when it comes to this uncoordinated interaction. In cities of emerging countries it’s still happening more often: resulting in whole informal settlements and roads crowded with streets vendors ekeing a living. But have you ever realized that, no matter in which city, corners exist where uncoordinated interaction leaves traces of instant history? Continue reading

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The Liberal First-Mover Advantage

Dubai Culture (, 2014)By Renard Teipelke

In a previous article (here), I have discussed the bombastic growth plans of the airports in Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi. With regard to their proximity and location within desserts, I have hinted at the lack of locational advantages these transport hubs have in comparison to competitors like Mexico City, Los Angeles, or Bangkok. The economic indicators predict a sustained growth for Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi – or the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – in the coming years. Each of these places is battling for the leading ranks in various economic sectors (oil refinery industries, international air travel, offshore financing, real estate business, etc.). More recently, they have also started to compete in the fields of culture and politics by building museums and art galleries, as well as hosting prestigious sport events and high-level political conferences. Continue reading

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Unlimited Growth of Gulf Airports: The Sky Has a Limit?!

2014_05_04_Rückreise (6) - Abu DhabiBy Renard Teipelke

If you happen to travel between Europe, Africa, and Asia, you will nowadays very likely stopover and transfer in one of the big airport hubs of the Middle East: Dubai, Doha, or Abu Dhabi. Strategically located between numerous political and economic centers, these three cities enjoy a relatively simple geographical advantage. Together with their oil wealth, geopolitical importance for countries such as the United States, and their easy-handling government constellation of the city state*, Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi made their way up from backward rural monarchies to successful natural resource producers and – more recently – to the logistical hubs in a globalized post-xyz world. Based on this foundation, the three cities’ position amongst the top network knots in the world is not disputable. Besides, the main economic statistics do support the perspective of past, present, and future growth (I, II, III). Continue reading

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New Ways on how Cities are buying Technologies and Services

From the series "Vertical Horizons" by Romain Jacquet Lagrèze

From the series “Vertical Horizons” by Romain Jacquet Lagrèze

by Valentin Schipfer

Each week another one million reasons arise which ultimately consolidate cities as the main sceneries of the 21st century’s world population. One million – that’s the number of people moving from rural to urban areas every seven days. At this breakthrough pace eight new cities of the size of New York are born each year. This is accompanied by challenges like growing amounts of garbage, shortage of space, too many citizens and last but not least empty treasuries of the municipalities. The start-up and Vienna’s public portal want to offer solutions to a world of upheaval.

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Ugly as the (Not So) Logical Norm?

Tokyo (Renard Teipelke, 2014) - 1

By Renard Teipelke

Take a look at the above picture. What do you see? A high-rise building, residential or mix-used. Is it an architectural icon? Well, it probably passes as “ugly” or at least “generic” in most readers’ view. There have been many years when I have been asking myself: Which reasonable and educated architect with a feeling and/or understanding for the aesthetic could possibly come up with such a ‘design’? While I already knew that in most cases the cause for such ugliness lied in the investors’ superficial logic of big profits at low costs, it took me a couple of years to accept one key fundamental aspect: High-rise buildings like the one above are the global norm in most big cities. Continue reading

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