Urban challenges in this week’s round up

In last seven days we saw many stories about urban issues ranging from Africa and London to your house and bacterial world. Here are several best reads.

  • By the end of the century Africa’s population will count for 40% global population. This means that much more attention has to be paid to Africa right now and especially it’s urbanisation. Christopher Marcinkoski talks just about that – current wave of speculative urbanization in Africa. Middle class new towns, industry-sector new towns, tourist/luxury enclaves are all disconnected from the major population.
  • The Guardian’s Rowan Moore talked, yet again, about architecture of Silicon Valley‘s companies. His long piece covered Apple, Google, Facebook campus’ designs by the brightest startchitects in the world.

We are only just beginning to see the ways in which it [Silicon Valley] can change the landscape of cities. – Rowan Moore

  • Liz Diller in a short interview to Dezeen, explained how architects could be more proactive and bring on the table new ideas without being asked to. She talked about Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed project The Shed – A New Center for Artistic Invention and how it came to be.
  • Another text on The Guardian explored pseudo-public spaces in London. These are completely private spaces disguised as public. They have their own rules (which are kept secret) and a private security instead of police. Pseudo-public spaces exist not only in London, although it is mostly Atlanticist and North American type of spaces, but they exist everywhere – from Lithuania to Tokyo.

It involves local government and the private sector working together in such a way that it is really undermining our democratic rights over the city.

  • Want something even more scary? Then read about how Roomba (a autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner) is going to sell your house plans to other tech companies. And it is not the only device in your house you should be careful with. There are many other Internet of Things gadgets which are following your every step and gathering information about your private living environment.
  • If these Earth’s urban problems are too annoying, you can delve into another world – bacterial urbanism. Archinect shared a story from Quanta Magazine where biophysical forces are described as universal zoning rules for the biofilm cities.

Enough of scary stuff for this week. Cover image is of a biofilm from Quanta Magazine.


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