Urbanism

Rick Poynor
Exposure: Wintery Forest by Yang Yongliang
Building the new China


Rob Walker
Human-Scale Intervention
How Rotten Apple’s human-scale design interventions use built-environment cast-offs to enhance the built environment


Rob Walker
Watch Where You Walk
Everybody is pro-walking these days. But here’s a project that reveals the value of stopping and looking.


Rob Walker
Infrastructure Field Trips
The Macro City conference in the Bay Area includes "field trips" to examine "overlooked networks of infrastructure that surrounds us," firsthand.


John Thackara
Cloud Commuting
A two-year project in Belgium proposes new relationships between people, goods, energy, equipment, spaces, and value. Its design objective: a networked mobility ecosystem.


Alexandra Lange
Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories
A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.



Alexandra Lange
Art On Campus
A review of the renovated Blaffer Art Museum and James Turrell's latest skyspace, "Twilight Epiphany."



Alexandra Lange
L.A. Loves Deborah Sussman
A Kickstarter for an upcming exhibition on the wotk of Deborah Sussman in Los Angeles.


Alexandra Lange
Where We Work
A Kickstarter for co-working space Makeshift Society points to the light, space and tools creative freelancers need to be productive.


Alexandra Lange
Rural Vacation | Urban Questions
Driving Vermont's rural routes I began to wonder: Why does this town get a brand-new energy-efficient supermarket, and that one a minimart-slash-video store-slash-bank?


Rob Walker
Looking Better, All The Time
Alexandra Horowitz' book On Looking offers a framework, and specific tactics, for smarter seeing.


Alexandra Lange
Every Little Thing
Cranbrook: A campus where the designers have thought of everything.


Alexandra Lange
The Fork and the World: Design 101
If you had to explain design to the uninitiated, where would you start?


Alexandra Lange
What It Costs (to Buy a Bench, to Extend a Curb)
Participatory budgeting lets communities put their own urban priorities in order.


Alexandra Lange
Instagramming Around Australia
Lessons from contemporary Australian architecture, plus what I saw on Instagram.





Alexandra Lange
Patterns of Houston
How do you critique the urbanism of Houston? Look for patterns.



Observed
Celebrate World Toilet Day
2.6 billion people don't have access to a toilet. For them poop can be poison.


John Thackara
From Autobahn to Bioregion
A review of the projects submitted to the Audi Urban Future Award.


Alexandra Lange
Having Fun at the Museum
Blocks, rocket ships, playgrounds and balls: the hidden meaning of playthings at the Museum of Modern Art.



Alexandra Lange
Art Matters to Architecture
In Indianapolis, a restored Milton Glaser mural allows us to see its Brutalist home as its architect intended: with color!


Alexandra Lange
The Shape of Lunch
"Lunch Hour NYC," a new exhibition at the New York Public Library, defines the midday meal as an urban invention.





Julia Novitch
Public Space and Citizenship: An Interview with Elihu Rubin
Public spaces can be charged politically because they enable citizens to gather, to represent themselves and to transmit messages.


Alexandra Lange
Against Kickstarter Urbanism
You can Kickstart an edible spoon, but not a city.


Alexandra Lange
Fixing South Street Seaport: Is New Architecture Enough?
Fighting over Ben Thompson's postmodernist landmark Pier 17 at South Street Seaport. Should it stay or should it go?


Alexandra Lange
Carlo Scarpa, Quilter
Olivetti and Doges: How Carlo Scarpa updated the Venetian treasure chest.


Alexandra Lange
City of Shoes: Is Urbanism Scalable?
Can Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh scale his online shoe business into a city?


Alexandra Lange
Reassembling the American Dream
"Foreclosed" at the Museum of Modern Art asks what people really like about suburban living. And then, Can they do that with less?



James Biber
Vestige(s) of Empire
Comparing the repurposing of two monuments to lost Empire: London's Commonwealth Institute and Berlin's Palast der Republik.



David Stairs
Demythologizing Design: Another View of "Design with the Other 90%: CITIES"
David Stairs reviews "Design with other 90%:Cities"



Phil Patton
Audi Urban Future Summit 2011
Report on one of the latest conferences to take on the global theme of the city


Alexandra Lange
Who Are We Competing For?
At the "Zoning the City" conference, planners insisted cities were in competition? But why are we so focused on the people who want to leave, rather than those who want to stay?


Alexandra Lange
Lessons from the High Line
How can the High Line become a new paradigm, and not a dead end?



Mark Lamster
Majority Report
Review of Design with the Other 90%: Cities


Alexandra Lange
Tell Me a Story, ‘Urbanized’
A city is not a font or a toothbrush, so why, in Urbanized, does director Gary Hustwit treat them the same way?


Alexandra Lange
What Makes Architecture Useful?
At Experimenta Design 2011, the buildings of Lisbon make the best argument for the ongoing usefulness of good design.


Alexandra Lange
Reading in Public
A new book club with an unusual topic: architecture and design.



Phil Patton
Boosting the Urban IQ
Summary of National Building Museum's "Intelligent Cities" symposium


Alexandra Lange
An Atlas of Possibility
The Institute for Urban Design's By the City/For the City project provokes crowd-sourced possibilities for New York's future.



Alexandra Lange
On GOOD: Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?
If you want parents to use public transportation, first you have to fix the car seat.


Alexandra Lange
Bad Faith Towers
Atlantic Yards trades titanium dream for prefab reality.


Alexandra Lange
The Moms Aren’t Wrong
Why planning cities for children would make them better for us all.


John Thackara
The Service Ecology of a City
Milan has approved a new Territorial Government Plan (Piano di Governo del Territorio) in which public services, and the way they are planned, are at the centre of the whole project.


Alexandra Lange
New City Reader: Sidewalk Sale
How Atlantic Yards became Barclays Center and disappeared from Brooklyn in the process.



Maria Popova
CEOs for Cities Community Challenge: Robust Public Life
A CEOs for Cities conference held in Detroit in November 2010 sought to define and quantify the magnetic force of a metropolis.


John Thackara
Leave Nothing But Footsteps
“Take nothing but memories” Kalack concludes “and leave nothing but footsteps”.



William Drenttel, and Julie Lasky
Reasons Not to Be Pretty: Symposium on Design, Social Change and the “Museum”
In April 2010, 22 designers, historians, curators, educators and journalists met at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy to discuss the museum’s potential role in relation to design for social change. This is a report on their conversation.



Alexandra Lange
Archpaper Review: Our Cities Ourselves
Does one size fit all, even when it is oh-so-hot bikes and buses?



Alexandra Lange
Culture Shed: Where’s the Neighborhood?
CultureGrrl 
offers a critique of the NEA grant for Culture Shed, the Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group design for a Kunsthalle with retractable roofs over at Hudson Yards.



Alexandra Lange
The Personality of Parks
Until Pier 6 at 
Brooklyn Bridge Park opened, my only experience of parks as a parent had been of neighborhood parks





Jane Margolies
Rising Currents
Report on "Rising Currents," an exhibition of New York City design solutions to the flooding predicted by climate change experts, which will be on view at the Museum of Modern Art, March 24–August 9, 2010.



Bradford McKee
New Grub Street
Interview with photorapher Jonas Bendiksen following the opening of his exhibition "The Places We Live."



Jeff Speck
New Words on the Block
Jeff Speck reviews the Street Design Manual of the New York City Department of Transportation.



Michael Bierut
When Design Gets in the Way
When it comes to fulfilling simple human desires, can design get in the way? A call for more incrementalism in design.



John Thackara
Cities, Design and Democracy: Conversation with Sunil Abraham in Cluster
John Thackara and Sunil Abraham sit down for an in-depth interview with Cluster Magazine.



Observed | February 22

The depressingly rapid decay of a neglected piece of ambitious modern architecture. [MB]

“One badly kept secret is that hardly any art school graduates go on to become professional artists. If you have decided to be one of them, give yourself a pat on the back. Next, develop a reputation as a team player.” Artists on pain, struggle, and eventual success. Also, um, stamina! [JH]

Iconic furniture = timeless investments? The Evening Standard thinks so! [JH]


Observed | February 21

The alienating personal technology device of the Victorian age: umbrellas. [MB]

Dutch author and illustrator Dickl Bruna, creator of the exquisite series of Miffy books, has died. [JH]

Students in Norway consider the future of prison design. [JH]

Are the decorative arts making a comeback because of 3D printing? [JH]

“Instead of asking what the design should look like, I wish we’d asked, ‘What can we do for you?’” What Robert Hammond learned from the High Line. [MB]

"Design is not an object or thing. Design is not taste.” An interview with Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic. [MB]


Observed | February 20

The Batbot Xtreme takes toy design to another level. [MPL]

Gerald Haltom‘s original 1958 sketches for the peace symbol. [MB]

Ugly buildings always photograph better at night (and other confessions of a former design magazine editor). [MB]

How Steven Heller redefined the design world. [MB]

Happy President‘s Day...? Ten times that Trump stirred up the design and architecture world. (And counting.) [MPL]


Observed | February 17

As the White House aims to stifle climate science, cities cooperate globally and plan locally, standing up to climate change. [BV]

The crude, vulgar, and celebrated art of Jean Dubuffet. [MPL]

Donald Judd on the relationship of artists and politics, 1970. [MB]

The most despised piece of furniture in the world has a name: Peggy. [MB]


Observed | February 16

The Statue of Liberty was modeled after an Arab woman. [MB]

Pratt Institute President Tom Schutte is the recipient of the 21st Rowena Reed Kostellow Award. [JH]

Why symbols matter. [MB]

Detroit, Design and the Future of Work—Detroit’s first exhibition as a UNESCO City of Design  [BV]

A Bug‘s Life meets Mulan and takes the form of this chair. [MPL]

Why do we have Wingdings and Dingbats? This short video explains all! [MB]


Observed | February 15

In the New Yorker this week, Design Observer contributor Rob Walker reviews the new Netflix series on design. [JH]

Charles and Ray Eames: a remembrance. [JH]

Fast Company‘s list of 2017‘s most innovative companies is out! [MPL]

What does industrialization look like? Take an aerial view.. [MPL]

Vasjen Katroi, a designer in Albania, makes a poster a day for a year. [JH]

Can corporate culture be designed? [JH]



Jobs | February 22