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Crowdfunded Urbanism – Breaking new ground in civic participation.

by Valentin Schipfer

To be honest, I have never parted with Euros for any crowdfunding project until today. I suppose ideas on www.kickstarter.com , www.indiegogo.com or similar platforms have not yet convinced me enough. Probably I did not enthuse and identify myself sufficiently. Lately though, I have crashed into various crowdfunding projects which definitely caught my attention. Each of them substantially contributes to the urban development of city quarters and manages to forgo investors or real-estate tycoons. In this blog entry I am going to demonstrate how some of the first civic crowdfunded projects become reality through consumers who collectively invested in the same idea. (more…)

Has Austria become a case for the psychoanalyst?

Felix Austria by Thomas Draschan,2011

Felix Austria by Thomas Draschan,2011

by Valentin Schipfer

What does a nation stand for? A question almost as hard to answer as the most fundamental question about the meaning of life. On behalf of Austria’s Federal Ministry of Economy the policy consultant Simon Anholt from Great Britain dared to tackle this question in a project called, Nation Brand Austria for 750.000,- Euros. Since 2011, the beginning of this project, he underlined that it would be nothing like the creation of just another logo or another advertising campaign. Anholt, the godfather of the term Nation Brand and the creator of the Nation Brand Index, instead was focused on a comprehensive communication strategy. But how does it look like in detail? (more…)

Pick of the day: A 140-Acre Forest Is About to Materialize in the Middle of Detroit. On the atlanticcities.com by Sarah Goodyear

The area that will become the Hantz Woodlands. Photo by Joseph Murphy/Bassett & Bassett

The area that will become the Hantz Woodlands. Photo by Joseph Murphy/Bassett & Bassett

After nearly five years of planning, a large-scale attempt to turn a big chunk of Detroit into an urban forest is now underway. The purchase of more than 1,500 vacant city-owned lots on the city’s lower east side – a total of more than 140 acres – got final approval from Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder last week.

Read the whole article by Sarah Goodyear.

Pick of the day: 5000 Payphones Relive New York City’s Gritty 90s. On popupcity.net by Daniel Rotsztain

Recalling-1993-1

“The popular image of New York City today is of a shiny global capital — a sleek and modern, 24-hour city with a booming economy and internationally influential art and design scene. How quickly the world has forgotten New York’s gritty reputation only 20 years ago. New York’s urban form hasn’t changed much since 1993 – but the culture sure has. In the 80s wealth quickly drained into the leafy suburbs, leaving behind a hollow, dirty and rough cityscape largely inhabited by socially marginalized people and fringe cultures. New York City in the 80s and 90s was a place of crime, rats, sex shows, police, drugs and punks: a place most people didn’t want to be.”

Read the whole article by Daniel Rotsztein: http://popupcity.net/culture/5000-payphones-relive-new-york-citys-gritty-90s/#ixzz2erOipHgF

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Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial

Not Data but Wood for Smart Cities.

LCT Tower - wood construction.

LCT Tower – wood construction.

by Valentin Schipfer

What about building skyscrapers with 30 floors made out of nothing else than wood? If you had asked me two years ago, I probably would have started giggling about this silly question. Today, I know that it possible. The Austrian architecture office Cree by Rhomberg planned the LifeCylce Tower with up to 90 percent improved CO² balance and many other ecological perks. (more…)

Superkilen: Putting an urbanistic soul into Copenhagen’s problem child

by Valentin Schipfer

Together with ideas from 62 different nations Copenhagen turned a former undefined, urban strip into a vivid, permanent, open-air exhibition. Where riots got out of hand in recent years, youngsters play basketball alongside elderly chess players now. The district, also called Nørre-bronx, is one of the capital’s poorest quarters. A group of (landscape) architects and artists (BIG, Superflex, Topotek1), recognizing the extremely diverse cultural mix of residents as an asset, decided to create a new spatial identity. A mono-functional transit space became a contemporary place fostering identities. (more…)

An entrepreneurial journey on European bikes from African flying toilets to Indian block parties.

Sanitation problems.

Sanitation problems.

by Valentin Schipfer

Who can’t stand reading nor hearing nor watching something about the Eurozone crisis no more – except me? I don’t think that I am alone with that. Newspapers, TV, internet blogs and all other types of media can’t get enough of it here in Europe. That’s why I decided not to dedicate this entry to Europe but to cities from the southern hemisphere. Shaken by different types of crises, their inhabitants rather invent ideas for ways out than complain about their situation all day long. So here is a small selection of short but motivating stories about urban innovators fighting their own way out of their country’s crises. (more…)

Guerilla Tactics vs. Boredom and Stupidity!

Typical graffiti from Sao Paulo

Typical graffiti from Sao Paulo

by Valentin Schipfer

Did you know that some years ago the megalopolis São Paulo in Brazil had banned commercial advertising in the city? Since stone-age cave-painting we know, there has always been kind of a natural urge of humanity for signs and symbols in public space. That’s why after the ban in São Paulo graffiti increased exponentially. Nevertheless the city continued to exist and 70 percent of city residents find the ban beneficial . Some times I wish the landscapes of European cities strip too all of its billboards – at least the boring ones. Fortunately, some advertising agencies have discovered more creative modes to utilize urban public space. My first example on how this is done comes from Berlin. (more…)

From Augmented to Integrated Urban Realities

Share your view real-time!

Share your view real-time!

by Valentin Schipfer

When I blogged about augmented reality apps more than a year ago, I’ve already thought that our society was finally entering futuristic, sci-fi realities. This entry will show you that I was wrong, that my assumption was nothing compared to how urban realities will be experienced soon.

(more…)

Second Hand Spaces – Recylcling Sites Undergoing Urban Transformation

Former temporary use in Vienna - the so-called Fox House

Former temporary use in Vienna – the so-called Fox House

by Valentin Schipfer

It all began at Vienna’s Ur3anize! Festival which lasted for a week in October this year. There I attended an evening discussion on temporary use of abandoned or vacant urban spaces. The two guys and discussants from Bremen/Germany impressed me the most. Why? Only some years older than me (probably around 30-35) they are leading Bremen’s new public agency for temporary use, the so called ZwischenZeitZentrale. Apparently there are no bounds to their imagination. The book, which will be reviewed in this short entry, sheds light on the young trend of temporary use – also including vivid examples from Bremen. (more…)

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