Recycling has never been this fun. This past January, the beautiful seaside city of Valparaiso Chile celebrated music, dance, culture and community with the Festival of the Arts. One of the stand-out events of the Festival was the unveiling of a Recycling Plaza designed by Ciudad Emergente (Emerging City (CEM)) and commissioned by the National Cultural Art Council (CNCA).
Here’s our weekly review rounding up the best stories and ideas in public space from cities around the world. This week we bring you articles about Casablanca’s new tramway, lessons from Singapore’s “people first” planning strategies and a TED Talk by the creator of the Inside Out Project, JR.
By Michèle Champagne
When it comes to highly-regulated spaces on Amsterdam’s splintering city edge, the community artist opts for something illegal: a vegetable garden. After all, gardens traditionally bespeak innocence, and what better way to defy regulations and moral prejudices than with a community-run garden in the city’s west-side neighbourhood called Bos en Lommer. The name is Dutch for “forest and shade,” and it’s no symbolic coincidence the word “forest” derives from “foreigner” as the area is known for its Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese residents. As official and overt anti-immigrant sentiment rises in the Netherlands, community-driven turned cross-cultural gardens seem like small but needed gestures.
Even during the summer months Montreal’s urban core can feel a little cold and hard at times. Sentier Urbain has taken it upon itself to lighten things up and spread a little bit of green around the downtown. The organization has not simply planted a few trees or set up shop in one location. Instead, it has developed a series of gardens throughout the city, each with a different theme.
Just over a year ago, I heard about a group in downtown Toronto called Not Far From the Tree. Its mission sounded interesting, but I didn’t quite get it until I rolled up my sleeves and got more involved.
I was told that they match up volunteers with private homeowners who want help picking the fruit from the trees and vines growing on their property. The fruit that is picked is split into three portions: for the homeowner, the volunteers, and a local foodbank.
For a month every summer, Paris central is transformed into a beach. Now in its tenth year, Paris Plages is a haven in the city with streets along the Seine closed to traffic and lined with white sand. This year, the sheer scale of the project is amazing with ten times more sand than in previous years that stretches nearly two kilometers along the river’s right bank. Continue reading
This summer Pado and Rodrigo Machado, artists who use urban refuse found in public spaces as their raw materials, left their Sao Paulo homes to pay Toronto, Canada a visit. While they were in town, creating under their collective name ‘Urban Trash Art,’ they helped transform an empty alleyway that became a pulsing center for partiers, design enthusiasts, performers and other artists.
Here’s our weekly review rounding up the best stories and ideas in public space from around the world. This week we bring you innovative urban libraries from around Europe, user-created public spaces in Hong Kong, sustainable cooling systems in Stockholm, and New York City street furniture that encourages dialogue.