Monthly Archives: August 2008

Response to UK’s public drinking ban

Punk in Drublic

In the UK a ban that would prohibit drinking in public spaces is being protested by throwing a party in a public park.

It is fascinating that it is illegal to drink in most public spaces in the states, but simply putting a bag over your drink or a publicly sanctioned event makes it alright.

These quotes from this Guardian article made me think about Sennett’s book The Uses of Disorder and the Fall of Public Man.

The longer these bans are imposed, the more each of us refuse to take responsibility for public space, and stop resolving our own issues, leading to a more antisocial society. This is not a campaign for drunkenness, it’s for the public right to engage in our own space.

The police should be concerned with people breaking the law, not with these so-called preventative measures. Cultural issues are not solved with blanket bans, but by political and social engagement for which we need a vibrant public sphere.

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The Art of the Urban Farm Dance Party

Work Architecture Company, winners of the Young Architects Program, installed an urban farm inside the courtyard of P.S.1 in Queens for their weekly summer dance party. What a seemingly random amalgamation of things; dance party, art and urban agriculture. Leave it to P.S. 1.

(from NyTimes)

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Filed under Elsewheres, public space

Indy Does it Again

Sports teams are like crack-cocaine to city administrators. They seem to see them as the quick fix to harsh economic realities, building new stadiums to attract or retain teams as economic investments. Rarely does the investment change the harsh reality, but it does put a buzz in the air. Still, taxpayers are typically left paying the bill long after the life of the stadium. This is the case in Indianapolis as they open the Indianapolis Colts new Lucas Oil Stadium and get ready to demolish the Hoosier Dome, which is yet to be paid for.

Regardless of the cost, the new stadium is going to be a great asset for the city as it continues to grow and expand its urban identity. There are certainly valid criticism of architecture too, but generally I think that it works well. Putting a monolithic structure in modern downtown is no small feat and the siting and building design do well to integrate it as much as possible with the rest of the downtown. Hopefully mixed use developments will continue to emerge in the areas around the stadium.

Really though, I just can’t wait for the Colts to show the Bengals how a professional football team should conduct itself, no offense Cincinnati.

An architectural review from the Indianapolis Star


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JR Changing Face of Favelas

(from wooster)

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More Urban Play

More urban play from a masters industrial design student at Central Saint Martin.

71% of adults used to play on the streets when they were young. 21% of children do so now. Are we designing children and play out of the public realm?

This project is a study into different ways of bringing play back into public space. It focuses on ways of incorporating incidental play in the public realm by not so much as having separate play equipment that dictates the users but by using existing furniture and architectural elements that indicate playful behaviour for all. (via pixelsumo)

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Complex Ish

The only complex shit about this art installation by Paul McCarthy is the safety device that failed to work when a storm hit the Paul Klee Center in Bern, Switzerland. Titled Complex Shit, the inflatable dog turd blew away, brought down a power line, and broke a window before landing in the grounds of a children’s home.

From the Telegraph

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Urban Play

I have mentioned the ideas DIY Urbanism here before, but recently came across an interesting project by Droog Design in the Netherlands. Its called Urban Play and is described as a catalyst to inspire creativity in the public domain. The event includes a number of individuals and groups who have come up here before including GRL, You Are Beautiful and a few others.

The site is short on content right now, but it does feature a statement from one of Cincinnati’s cultural “elite”, Aaron Betsky, who says,

Urban Play is designed to take back the street… to give us the tools that let us install ourselves, our friends, our families, our games and our desires in what should be the space we all own collectively. Urban Play is the most promising experiment in not urban design, but designing the urban I have seen so far.

There is a more in-depth overview of the project at the ExperimentaDesign site which mentions

Individuals are taking it upon themselves to physically alter their cities to make them more creative, interactive, personal and fun. What we are witnessing is an unparalleled level of creative urban intervention which represents the intersection of the latest genre of street art and the beginnings of open source urban design.

It is this idea of open source urban design that really caught my attention. This idea suggest that what is commonly considered vandalism can also be a civic endeavor. For all the private property rights advocates out there I know you’ll have a blast with this one, but rest assured, or don’t rest, that these ideas are becoming more intrinsic to the emerging urban culture. Without tolerance for these types of activities cities will have a difficult time remaining competitive. People want to be involved, but they don’t want to sit at the table and speak the language of yesteryear just to be heard.

This comment by curator Scott Burnham sums it up perfectly for me.

While some social attitudes have previously dismissed urban intervention as a form of vandalism, at the heart of this current wave of DIY urban design is in fact a deeply sophisticated movement driven by artists and designers who want to expand our relationship between creativity and the city.

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