Hong Kong, the city without ground

April 14, 2013
By City Space Architecture

Hong Kong Guidebook

For miles and miles, you can walk through the city of Hong Kong without ever once putting a foot on the ground. All day you can get everywhere you need to go, taking care of any errand you might have on your list, all while separated from the streets and surface of the city. This is possible thanks to the network of elevated walkways and underground tunnels that have gradually developed in the city – both formally and informally – over the past 50 years.

It's an impressively widespread pedestrian infrastructure, linking people to the waterfront city's wide array of transportation options. And as a forthcoming book contends, it's also a new kind of civic space and even a new form of citymaking. Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook, available since September 2012 from ORO Editions, considers the city through the lens of these above- and below-ground walkways, creating the first-ever maps showing the extent and variety of these networks.

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Berkeley is a "creative class mecca"!

April 14, 2013
By City Space Architecture

2013-04/creative-class-map.jpg

Richard Florida, famous for his notion of the "creative class", and his colleague Sara Johnson, use data from the American Community Survey to look at the geography of class — split into creative, service and working class. The recent post on San Francisco also provides data on the broader metropolitan area, and it’s possible to zoom in on Berkeley.

All but six census tracts in Berkeley are primarily creative class, and even in those that are primarily service class, the lowest concentration of creative class residents is 35% — in South Berkeley. According to Florida’s map, the second and fourth highest creative class concentrations in the San Francisco metropolitan area are two of the tracts in the Berkeley hills, both of which have over 80% creative class. 

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Publics and their spaces

March 30, 2013
By City Space Architecture

USA pavilion Venice Biennale 2012

People and groups around the world are increasingly producing their own everyday urbanism: their activities bring incremental improvements to streets, blocks and neighbourhoods through use, small-scale informal urban design and spontaneous interventions of micro-urbanism. Often the results are temporary but they can have a great impact on residential communities. They utilize existing spaces or require minimal investment, infusing places with value and meaning.

Often results are temporary but they have a great impact on residential communities, against a small investment, because of their immediate ability to infuse places with value and meaning.

Architects, engineers, urban designers and planners, can be part of these processes that link design and top-down planning with bottom-up activism for the common good, looking for commons-based solutions. But it is necessary to change point of view and to establish a new approach to urban design, a new strategy based on people and everyday spaces.

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