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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Gentrification, Displacement and the New Housing Bubble in Berlin

Carl Legien Siedlung in Berlin (Built: 1928-1930; Architect: Bruno Taut)

Carl Legien Siedlung in Berlin (Built: 1928-1930; Architect: Bruno Taut)

By Ares Kalandides*

You probably feel tricked: Before moving to Berlin your friends told you that finding a place to stay would be a piece of cake. But it turns out to be a rather unpalatable one. You’re still looking and still staying at that dump? No worries. Thousands of other Berliners are in the same state of affairs. Nobody tricked you. In the past few years the city just went from plenty to scarce. But why? Continue reading

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Notes from a research trip to Crete (3 of 3)

IMG_20141015_121157By Jonas Rehmet

(you can read part 1 here and part 2 here)

As I return on my travel to the North-side of the island and continue to the West of the island, I visit many more agritourism entities that offer agricultural activities apart from only traditional housing. Two highlights of this research trip are Vamos traditional village and the Milia Mountain Retreat. Continue reading

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Notes from a research trip to Crete (2 of 3)

IMG_20141012_104017By Jonas Rehmet

(You can read Part 1 of this post here)

On the way to my next stop in the  Lassithi region, I pass by many unfinished building along the road and the former coastal fisher village Chersonisos which today is the epicenter of all-inclusive party tourism for the Dutch and English market. I get an idea of what has dominated the perception of tourism on Crete for many years. Although such mass tourism is often seen as an opportunity of income, it is also perceived as imminent threat which does more evil than good. Fortunately my research takes me again to the hinterland to the Country Hotel Velani. Continue reading

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Notes from a research trip to Crete (1 of 3)

Airplane crete by Jonas Rehmet

I am sitting in a half-empty airplane to my childhood’s holiday destination, Crete,  going through papers, notes and documents on Crete and agritourism. While the stewardess collects the remains of my breakfast with the typical omnipresent smile of flight attendants, I am wiping off last coffee stains off the stacks of paper and open up my guidebook on Crete. I am curious what awaits me on this research trip about knowledge exchange in agritourism on Crete. Continue reading

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Fake country-of-origin products and the limits to place branding

DSCN1054 by Ares Kalandides Yesterday, a small, inconspicuous object caught my attention. It was a cup of yoghurt in the supermarket fridge. Blue and white, decorated with meanders, carrying the brand name “Elinas” (i.e. Greek as in ‘the person from Greece’) it was clearly recognizable as Greek yoghurt. The only problem is that it wasn’t, which was clearly stated on the package: “Greek style yoghurt, made in Germany”. Looking around I spotted a feta-like cheese called “Salakis” and a Halloumi (also with some Greek-sounding brand name). None of the above products were Greek, but were all manufactured in Germany. And whereas feta is a protected designation of origin product, Greek yoghurt and the Cypriot halloumi are not. I think that this example gives us some interesting information about place brands and I would like to share my thoughts with you. Continue reading

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Renovating Kensington

Kensington Aug'14 (Renard Teipelke) 6

By Renard Teipelke

This August I visited London for the second time. I have been to the city the first time in 2011. During both visits I was staying in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (at a friend’s place and in a hostel). However, this time I did not spend several days running around the whole city to get a glimpse of the touristic abundance London has to offer. Instead, I spent much time strolling around in Kensington. I have to admit that I love this neighborhood. As most of you might know: Kensington and Chelsea are in the league of the most exclusive districts worldwide. Oligarch families, Middle Eastern oil dynasties, French ‘emigrants’, and Britain’s upper classes live door by door in this borough (here). Surprisingly then that I love it, isn’t it?

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Open Data – What Now? 7 Ideas for Your City

2cfe22p Kopieby Valentin Schipfer

Everbody talks about smart cities while nobody really knows what hides behind it. Is it about open data and communication technologies or about mobility? Is it about energy-efficient buildings or social innovations? Or is it an integrated blend of those. This year’s Alpbach Technology Forum drew its crowd into the Tyrolean mountains in Austria. The visitors were keen to shed light on these and many other questions. Scientific, sometimes personal, sometimes political, sometimes boring statements were made. Intense discussions flared up, especially around open data and privacy. The big gap between the conservative, European view on this ambivalent topic and the joyfully experimental one of the Americans became visible once again. At the end of the day, even Paul Horn, professor at the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University had to admit that his city is still at the beginning, when it comes to topics such as, open data projects. Therefore I decided to report in this blog entry on how open data hopefully contributes to making our cities smarter.

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Fake Hipster Neighborhoods

Shoreditch & Hoxton Aug'14 (Renard Teipelke) 3

By Renard Teipelke

At some point the change happened. Often it is very hard to recall when it had all started. The derelict neighborhood has become hip. It does not need to be about gentrification all the time. Let’s focus on hipster neighborhoods of all shades – creative, independent, booming, alternative, bustling, ecologic, rebelling, gay, innovative, tech, etc. …these are all empty catchphrases for today’s mainstream place marketing; but at the same time, these words can also be very well-chosen to describe an up-coming neighborhood which experienced a turn-around from decline to renaissance. While my latest experience with the hipster neighborhood was in the districts Shoreditch and Hoxton, northeast of London’s inner city (London Borough of Hackney), you can probably also think about various other examples.

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