Smart Talks

Client: Zuidvleugel Year: 2013
Output: Notebook with Principles for Smart Innercity Development.
Project: De Zuidvleugel – a cooperation between the municipalities of The Hague, Rotterdam, the city regions of Holland Rijnland, Drechtsteden, Midden-Holland, Stadsgewest Haaglanden, Stadsregio Rotterdam and the Province of South-Holland – promotes the sustainable development of the existing urban area of the southern part of the Randstad. SmartCityStudio investigates together with Doepel Strijkers what successful instruments have been recently developed by local authorities to create qualitative inner city projects in times with less resources. The investigation revolves around successful innovative cross-sectoral planning methods and best practices of open planning concepts that engage citizens, entrepreneurs and developers in the process. Smart Talks focuses on five urban projects in the Hague, Rotterdam, Gouda, Alphen a/d Rijn, Dordrecht. Five intensive workshops with the municipality will each be followed by five Smart talks with the aldermen of the cities on the effects of Smart planning methods on decision making. The project will be concluded with the publication of a useful ‘notebook’ and a final public symposium with the aldermen in October 2013. Picture: One of the casestudies: Laakhaven, the Hague, between the railway and the canal, source: DSO, gemeente Den Haag.

Canvas of Light

According to Vivid Sydney: “Sydney will once again be transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas when Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark from 24 May – 10 June 2013. Colouring the city with creativity and inspiration, Vivid Sydney highlights include the hugely popular immersive light installations and projections; performances from local and international musicians at Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Ideas Exchange featuring public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers.”

New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner officially opened the fifth annual Vivid Sydney festival by lighting the sails of the Sydney Opera House to unveil a stunning visual feast of colour, movement and lighting artistry, with 3D-mapped light projections. The greatly expanded Vivid Sydney this year includes the lighting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the transformation of the Darling Harbour into a water theatre.
“The Vivid Light footprint has tripled in size and for the first time Sydney’s Harbour Bridge will come alive with a spectacular installation created through a collaboration between Vivid partner Intel Australia and Sydney’s 32 Hundred Lighting, with support from North Sydney Council, in an interactive programmable lighting installation on the bridge’s western face, controlled by the public from a touch screen located on the Luna Park boardwalk.
With a record number of applications to be part of Vivid Light, one-third of all light installations are from overseas artists, demonstrating the unique platform Vivid Sydney offers to engage with the best of the global creative economy and foster international business opportunities. “Vivid Sydney is where technology, commerce and art intersect—delivering real business outcomes. With 37 per cent of Australia’s creative industries located in NSW, supporting creative industries through events like Vivid Sydney is key to the NSW Government’s strategy to grow the NSW economy,” Mr Stoner said.
“In 2012 Vivid Sydney attracted more than 500,000 spectators and we anticipate numbers will reach well over 550,000 in 2013, injecting around $10 million in new money into the NSW economy.”
Have look at the timelapse video that shows the Canvas of Light that has been projected on the Sydney Opera House: [vimeo vimeo.com/66892937 w=600&h=450]

Sources: Vivid Sydney Picture: The Guardian Video: Vivid Sydney

Clear Art Space

Tomorrow the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will reopen after it has been closed for over a decade. Already weeks before the official opening by the queen the museum has been praised for its exhibition concept and the architectural design by Cruz and Ortiz. The exhibition concept brings art and objects of a certain era together and provides a time travel through the history of the Netherlands. The exhibition spaces are airy and clearly set out. Curators of various collections had to limit their objects for display and no accompanying text next to the world famous paintings is over 60 words. But what is most revealing is the complete lack of digital information screens. After more than two decades of museum concepts with an overkill of information technology, touch screens and computers the Rijksmuseum does the opposite: No screens and limited information. Wim Pijbes the director of the ‘Rijks’ clearly foresaw that he could never compete with the ubiquitous smartphone and the endless resources of information visitors have access to. This might be an omen for public space design, traffic information design and urban interiors in the future. Less is more. Information is already in the palm of everyone’s hands. Resources: SmartCityStudio.com Picture: NRC / Olivier Middendorp.

Favela Showcase

According to Rioonwatch: “Non-governmental organizations in Rio’s favelas that work with art, culture, sport and civic engagement provide structures that allow young people to escape a career of crime and, by actively showing that drugs, violence and crime are far from dominant elements in favela culture, challenge dominant stereotypes in mainstream society. These are some of the findings of Underground Sociabilities, an inter-institutional research project from the London School of Economics with AfroReggae and CUFA. Sociability refers to the “play-form of social life and the joy and imagination that accompany the experience of the social.”

“The study examines favela life and focuses on how bottom-up NGOs can “rewrite favela environments and establish lines of communication and exchange between marginalised communities and mainstream society.”
“Led by London School of Economics social and cultural psychology professor Sandra Jovchelovitch, the ethnographic and multi-method study based on extensive fieldwork in Cantagalo (South Zone), City of God(West Zone), Madureira and Vigário Geral (North Zone), was conducted between October 2009 and April 2010. The research identifies various facets of favela life: life stories marked by hardship, suffering and hard work; the centrality of the drug trade; the police as the only face of the state; family as central yet unstable; the importance of religion & faith and conviviality & enjoyment; and the necessary role played by organizations that provide support structures and protect against marginalisation.”
“Strong social cohesion in favelas and the paradox that although residents live in fear of the drug gangs and police, they feel safer in their own communities than in the city and are reluctant to cross favela/asphalt borders are striking findings that point to the stigma and discrimination faced by favela residents. According to Underground Sociabilities, NGOs provide models of resistance, providing the possibility for self-development and pushing positive favela representations into the mainstream.”
“Both AfroReggae and CUFA promote social inclusion through a variety of cultural and social activities. They were founded in the 1990s at the height of violence in Rio’s favelas and work to provide opportunities, transform social realities through culture, mediate conflicts and communicate to wider society. Members include hip hop artists (CUFA was founded by MV Bill) and former drug gang members who frequently speak of their experiences and the route to positive self-fulfillment offered by the organizations and their activities.” Sources: Rioonwatch.org, Video: London School of Economics, Picture: Favela Santa Marta by Rogier van den Berg

Shared Space

Shared space creates safer and more attractive streets. The concept of shared space is based on the idea that less traffic design, like traffic lights, asphalt and curbstones, creates more cautious drivers. The concept of Shared space has been introduced by a Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman. His Shared space concept has put the relation between traffic behavior and the design of public space on the cities’ agenda. Shared space concepts have been materialized successfully in many cities. The Guardian of last year reported on Exhibition Road in London: “The first thing to say about the remaking of Exhibition Road in London is how sane it largely is. Its concept is unimpeachable – to make a thoroughfare lined with famous museums and other institutions into a place more pleasant for the 11 million pedestrians who visit them each year. Its execution is well-judged, apart from the not-small detail that blind people find it alarming. Yet it has taken 18 years since something along these lines was first put forward, plus £29.2m, a court case and endless consultations, to get to this point. How difficult can it be to lay a pavement? Very, it would seem. The road was first developed following the Great Exhibition of 1851 and has the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, Imperial College, the Royal Geographical Society and the Goethe Institute along its length, not to mention the Polish Hearth Club and a curious, spiritual-modernist-ish building that houses the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like many spaces made in the aftermath of expos and world fairs, it has always had an uncertain air: it is wide and straight, which gives it a sense of purpose, but the biggest museums present only their side entrances to it, while strips of what were originally private houses blur its identity. Is it a grand avenue of culture, a convenient side street or residential? If it is the first, it is too variegated; if the last, it is too broad”…….”Its big idea, which originated with Moylan, was to create a “shared space” whereby pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles all occupy the same surface, without kerbs or barriers to separate them. It seems risky, but the theory is that if walkers and drivers can see that they are occupying the same space, they will behave more responsibly.”…..”The overall effect is of generosity and calm. Crowds can flow more happily over the paving and the route from South Kensington tube to the great museums, which was always a tricky one unless you took a long subway, is now a pleasure. The road is a place where you might want to be, rather than just a means of getting someone else. It is not fussy and prescriptive, as public space improvements often are.” Sources: The Guardian, Exhibition Road, Wikipedia. Picture: e-architect.co.uk

 

Creative spaces for safety

In the summer of 2007 the ‘Coalition Project 1012’ started. This collaborative project initiated by the municipality, intends to reduce crime and to contribute to the economic upgrading of the postcode area 1012, the Red Light District in Amsterdam. 1012 is located in the heart of historic Amsterdam and is a major attraction for visitors from home and abroad. In order to maintain and improve this condition the Red Light District should be diversified. One of the applied strategies is a street-oriented one. Quite some red light windows and coffeeshops will dissappear after negotiation with the owners. To upgrade the street, ‘streetteams’ will be established who together with the inhabitants and entrepreneurs will make a vision for the street or a cluster of streets. Together with parties who already have position in the area a strategy to buy property has been set up. This property gets another function. Successful is to attract the creative industry. This sector feels at home within urban and ‘rawer’ conditions and are not scared off by the dubious industry which is just around the corner. The 1012 project already added several interesting creative spaces to the Red Light District like Ultra de La Rue Creative Space on the picture below. In the Rua General Jardim in São Paulo a similar strategy upgraded a  prostitution street with the addition of a school for architecture, the Escola de Cidade and the Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil. This resulted in a weird mix of functions and people on the street, but above all it established a safer and more attractive street in downtown São Paulo.

Trade trash for food

According to Co.exist: “To eliminate landfills and encourage local agriculture, a new program lets residents exchange their recyclable trash in exchange for credits with nearby farms. Mexico City is turning its trash into food. The government’s environmental agency recently launched the Mercado de Trueque, a barter market where recyclable materials are exchanged for fresh food to support the city’s farmlands. “This innovative program is designed to show citizens directly and tangibly how what we call trash becomes raw materials. If solid waste is properly separated, it still has value,” writes the Ministry of Environment (in Spanish). The market accepts glass, paper and cardboard, aluminum beverage cans, PET plastic bottles, and returns “green points” redeemable for agricultural products grown in and around Mexico City, including lettuce, prickly pears, spinach, tomatoes, plants, and flowers. “The intention is to encourage and support the producers of soil conservation in order to raise public awareness of the local supply,” writes the Ministry. “It’s important to consume local products to avoid large shipments of goods, reduce the carbon footprint, generate fair trade and maintain agricultural lands south of the city. “Collecting and sorting recyclables is already a big business in some developing countries, but it’s not a habit for many households. Drawing a direct link between sorting and exchanging waste and a sustainable food supply may bring a new awareness into the mix. The first market, held on one Sunday this March, sold out, exchanging nearly three tons of 60 agricultural products for trash.”

Street revitalization

On the 13th of October the Nieuwe Binnenweg in Rotterdam, one of the longest shoppingstreets in the Netherlands, reopened. After a period of refurbishment of public space, renovation of facades and attracting new entrepreneurs an impoverished street becomes an attractive city street again. What has been done to succesfully revitalize a run down street in the city?

Renovating shops and attracting entrepreneurs                                                         As part of the revitalization of the Nieuwe Binnenweg in Delfshaven entrepreneurs who want to invest in the quality, appearance, safetymeasures or location of their store on the Nieuwe Binnenweg have the opportunity to apply for a subsidy. Entrepreneurs can apply for a subsidy for 55% of their renovationcosts up to a maximum of € 15.000, – (excluding VAT) per application. As entrepreneurs want to move along the Nieuwe Binnenweg for being part of one of the ‘branded themes’ like fashion, food or adventure they can apply for up to 55% of their relocationcosts to a maximum of € 7.000, – (excluding VAT).

An active campaign, branding the street and a phonenumber                                 An active campaign and the branding which positions the run down street in the niche of creatives which live in the neighbourhoods around the street gained recognition which encouraged entrepreneurs to add to the concept. The type of shops which opened since the project started in 2008 are for example: a vintage tableware shop, an organic supermarket, an halal butcher, a furniture shop, an energy saving shop and LED advice, an eco design shop, south american fashion shop, an ice cream shop, a hip coffee shop and many more. Besides the campaign there is a phonenumber to call for if you are interested. That helps excited entrepreneurs to avoid bureaucracy.

Refurbishment of public space                                                                                   The refurbishment of public space add to the comprehensive concept which has been the objective. It consists out of the replacement of paving, pavement, street furniture and lighting. The paving was for example tarmac, but has been changed into clay brickwork. Also the tram tracks are updated, a little further apart, placed in such a way that the new trams of Rotterdam easily can pass eachother. The tramstops are raised and slightly expanded. The amount of electricitypoles for the tram has been reduced from 70 to 38 pieces

 

Tidal Pool

Just below the citywalls of St.Malo at the shore of the Atlantic Ocean a tidal pool offers a place to swim also when it is low tide. With high tide the pool fills itself. Combined with a diving board it is assured of success and a attraction for the city. During daytime visitors of the beach and the pool cross the city carrying towels and flippers.