Berlin’s East Side Gallery: Urban Art & Old Memories

In December 2015, I spent several days in Berlin, Germany. It’s a beautiful city; but December is not its finest month. It was dark and dreary. Still, in a particularly Berlin way, it was also cozy, creative and colorful: bicycles strewn about, Christmas markets in full swing, and plenty of hot wine and cold beer to warm… Read More Berlin’s East Side Gallery: Urban Art & Old Memories

Colorful cities: a little paint, a lot of pride

It’s amazing what a little color can do to warm up a  neighborhood, such as Buenos Aires’s La Boca neighborhood in Argentina, the multicultural Bo-Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa, or San Francisco’s Haight Street in the US. Or painting a city’s centre as a canvas, such as in Valparaiso, Chile, Venice, Italy, or Guatapé, Colombia (image, left). Urban colors can… Read More Colorful cities: a little paint, a lot of pride

Not your average city bench: street furniture goes funky

Cities are places for not just for work, but also leisure. And designers understand this, offering creative alternatives to the classic city bench in public spaces. For example, how about waterfront hammocks, or swings while you wait for the bus? Or for lazy Parisian summer days, resting on a floating barge floating on The Seine? Or in… Read More Not your average city bench: street furniture goes funky

Amsterdam & Utrecht: beautiful bicycle parking

Amsterdam is running short on bike parking, despite efforts to continuously expand it, creating a ‘problem’ that few city planners could dream of. This cycling mecca has too many rush hour commuters clogging up its bike lanes, and not enough bike parking once they hop off.  To tackle Amsterdam’s bike parking challenge, the city uses old shipping barges turned floating cycle-parking garages, builds underground two-tiered parking at… Read More Amsterdam & Utrecht: beautiful bicycle parking

Re-using resources in cities: a Dutch case-study in Rotterdam

Dense urban environments have significant resource-saving potential and serve as good platforms for climate change mitigation. This study reviewed an initiative to improve use of energy and water in Rotterdam, highlighting factors important for success including exchanges in close geographic proximity and private-sector participation. Over half of the global population now live in cities. In… Read More Re-using resources in cities: a Dutch case-study in Rotterdam