Tag Archives: cities

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The new IKEA in Vienna is going to be amazing


And not just amazing visually, either. There are a number of new and better ways this new IKEA will be operating in Austria’s capital. To really get an appreciation for it, see this: IKEA is building a big new store in Vienna with no parking | TreeHugger

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In Detroit, Tiny Homes are in vogue (and for good reason)


This is a fascinating article on the use of tiny homes to help those without a place to call their own: In Detroit, Tiny Homes Are More Than a Lifestyle Trend – POLITICO Magazine

I think for many cities, apartment buildings are the way to go. More importantly, I think cities need to wake up to the problem of unaffordable housing and strive to make living in the city achievable and satisying for those that live there. If that means high rises in one city and tiny homes in another, then what works best is what should be aimed for. Here’s to livable and affordable places to live.

(Image from the article. It’s a nice place. Very IKEA, but that’s ok.)

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How climate change is going to benefit Buffalo

Lloyd Alter makes the case here: Boosting Buffalo as a climate change haven | TreeHugger

I have to admit that Buffalo is primed for people who will try to escape both the effects of climate change and do so in a way that doesn’t cost them a fortune. Buffalo will offer all of that. But so do other Rust Belt cities. It will be interesting to see which if any of them truly do see a resurgence as climatic problems plague other cities. I’m hopeful for Buffalo that it is one of them.

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You’ve heard of Pompeii and Troy, but have you heard of the lost city of Merv?


If not, then you might want to read of the city that was wiped out by Genghis Khan with the result of 700,000 deaths. That’s a gruesome statistic, but this is a fascinating story:  Lost cities #5: how the magnificent city of Merv was razed – and never recovered | Cities | The Guardian.

It’s part of a series on Lost Cities, which includes Troy and Pompeii and much more.

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How Toronto looks from the City of Buffalo

Torontoians will find this interesting: Toronto’s astonishing growth: Will it matter to Buffalo? – The Buffalo News.

This was a key passage:

For Buffalo, the question now is whether Toronto’s “reimagining” might seep south of the border, as well. Smaller cities in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe are booming, too, thanks in part to Toronto’s spillover. And Toronto and Buffalo, incorporated two years and 100 miles apart, kept pace with each other until the 1950s, said the University of Toronto’s Bourne, who used to assign a project comparing the cities’ trajectories to his undergraduate students.

That history is interesting, Bourne said, because while Buffalo and Toronto share important characteristics, they suffered opposite fates: Buffalo shrinking with the sunset of the Erie Canal and Rust Belt manufacturing, and Toronto swelling when the Quebec separatist movement made it the favored home for Canada’s banks.

As late as the 1970s, Torontonians considered Buffalo a nightlife destination. Many of their restaurants still closed on Sundays and maintained separate male and female entrances.

Torontonians “would come to shop, they would come for jazz – Buffalo was the hive,” said UB’s Foster, who lived in Toronto for more than three decades. “But then people started going the other way, and that hasn’t changed.”

Years ago going to Buffalo for shopping was still a thing in Toronto: not sure it is now. Perhaps some people still go to watch the Buffalo Sabers play hockey. Perhaps the linkages between the two cities will become stronger over time and there will be a good proportion of Torontoians making Buffalo a destination again.

For Torontoians considering going to Buffalo, I recommend this piece in the New York Times.

(Image linked to the New York Times piece)

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The limits of minimalism…

Might be here: Under 200 Square Foot Studio Apartment in Hong Kong | Apartment Therapy.

Cozy and minimal is fine, but this is basically the space you find in a big camping tent. I am sure some people can adopt just fine, but I don’t know if I could live in such a space for long. I also wonder if this is the direction we are heading for cities other than Hong Kong. Higher property costs and lower incomes might cause this to happen in other cities. I don’t look forward to that.

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What is hostile architecture?

You can find a description of hostile architecture here, but the best way to describe it is to show it, as Vice does here: Photos of the Most Egregious ‘Anti-Homeless’ Architecture – VICE. Once you see these photos, you will find you see examples of it everywhere in the places you frequent.

Most hostile architecture is aimed at homeless people. Sometimes it is obvious, like spikes installed on flat surfaces. Other times, it’s more subtle, like arm rests in the middle of benches. (Prevents homeless people from lying down on them.)

One of the problems with hostile architecture is that it allows us to pretend homeless doesn’t exist. If we don’t see homeless people, it’s easier to image they aren’t there. A lesser problem is that cities become more unliveable for all, because hostile architecture for anyone is hostile architecture for everyone.

We need more livable cities. And we need more support for homeless people. Hostile architecture is not the solution.

P.S. Not all hostile architecture is aimed at people. Some of it, like spikes on top of outdoor ledges, is aimed at pigeons. I’ll leave that for another post.