Viewing the Emergent City and Its People


1001 Street Chairs of Cairo

From Domus

“Sidewalk Salon: 1001 Street Chairs of Cairo is a portrait of the capital of Egypt as seen through the lens of the thousands of curious chairs that dot the sidewalks of Cairo.

With a documentary photographic approach, the project seeks to present the creative practices of design that occur on the sidewalks along with the unplanned interventions in the public space that give Cairo its distinctive character.

Collateral Landscape – seeing it as it is!

Milan-based architect and photographer Antonio Ottomanelli maps the forces unleashed following the events of September 11, 2001, which cast distant realities — Kabul, Baghdad, Sadr City, Herat, Dokan, New York City, Gaza — into a “state of entanglement”.

From  domus


  • Top: Residential Zone, Haifa Street,Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011. Above: Durul aman new Parliament House, Durulaman, Afghanistan, September 2010
  • Durul aman new Parliament House, Durulaman, Afghanistan, September 2010

An architect by training, Ottomanelli looks to the inhabited landscapes as a register of human activity, consisting of both destruction and reconstruction. The representation of the landscape is critical but not judgmental; conflict is expressed not through bullet-holes and bomb craters but through images of brand-new gated communities and pristine parliamentary buildings. These places are not the theatre in which the plot unfolds but rather a cast of actors in themselves. The position of the images is not fixed and will change throughout the duration of the exhibition. Selected photographs are accompanied by descriptions of the landscapes, hand-written by the local guides who accompanied Ottomanelli during his reconnaissances.Joseph Grima (@joseph_grima)

Al Zawraa residential zone, Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011


Through 23 June 2013
Antonio Ottomanelli: Collateral Landscape
Triennale Design Museum

Viale Alemagna 6, Milan



Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011

Khulafa Street, Baghdad, Iraq, October 2011

Manhattan, Financial District, NYC, NY – USA, September 2012

Kaso Mall – Court Street, Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011

High Line – West Village, NYC, NY – USA, September 2012

Panoramic viewpoint, Dokan, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011

  • Panoramic view, Dokan, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011
  • Panoramic view, Dokan, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, April 2011
Manhattan, Financial District, NYC, NY – USA, September 2012

Painting over the Present—

While these are attractive pictures in themselves , to me they represent another variant of “`Township Porn” that takes a particular view of South African life and uses it to become an emblem for the artist. As far as it seems to me from the few pictures here – those are hardly representative life in South African cities – there are many diverse views possible – both ‘better” and “worse”. I am in no way denying that South African cities are unjust and unequal – but I believe there is a middle ground emerging that is more variegated adn more real thatn thee pictures show.  From domus


I began this project 16 years after the end of apartheid rule in South Africa. As a photographer, I have explored the transformation of society and aspects of change as a general theme. In this particular essay I have focused on the environments occupied by some of South Africa’s poorest people. It would seem that although wealth and power have shifted hands since the first democratic elections in 1994, many of the benefits of these shifts have failed to filter down to the grassroots level.

The photographs focus on the interiors and exteriors of people’s homes. They are intentionally static in their composition in order to accentuate the minutiae of the occupants’ day-to-day dwelling places.

The bright colours captured in these photographs act as visual trinkets to momentarily distract the viewer from deeper harsh realities. However, although they encourage denial, they are also suggestive of resilience, hope and, sense of humanity that remains in these poverty-stricken communities.

These photographs were taken in small towns, townships and cities throughout South Africa. It has been surprising to find that although the areas differ in many ways, there are almost always individuals who seemingly refuse to be subsumed into the starkness that surrounds them.Graeme Williams

See more

Ghostly Condos of New York

“I’ve seen Kelly Ripa there. Two little kids were playing with Legos on the treadmill next to her, and there was nobody else.” — NYT

If you thought China or Dubai are the only places where you enter a multi million dollar condominium just purchased for that unruly son / daughter or a mistress, or laundering money.., hold on… Why is that all sold out prime luxury condo building in New York only occupied 10% with concierge, room service and all?

From Archinect

gurunsi earth houses of burkina faso

From designboom

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © scott worthington



the small country of burkina faso near the border to ghana may not have many resources or economic wealth, but with the plentiful raw materials
available the kassena people make some of the most culturally rich and architecturally beautiful villages, such as this one in tiébélé, built using
traditional gurunsi vernacular. the dwellings occupy a community of just over one hectare in area, and are made of a sun-dried mix of clay, soil,
straw and cow droppings moistened to a perfect mortar, mixed by foot to create strong pottery-like structures. these techniques actually preceded
the well known mud-brick constructions of indigenous peoples in the area. layer upon layer are added when needed, maintaining the necessary wall
thickness to withstand rainstorms and extreme temperatures. short walls are used as urban landscaping elements, provide a buttressing support,
and offer supplementary places to sit or work.


the most amazing feature, however, is the intricate ornamentation that covers almost every square inch of the dwellings, painted with colored mud
and chalk that tell an expressive story of the ancient tribe’s culture. the motifs can illustrate just about anything from objects used in normal daily life,
to religion and beliefs, to decorative patterns that distinguish one house from the other. the artwork is then embossed with rocks and etchings that
highlight the designs and give a truly unique character. the material, along with small openings usually located closer to the ground assist in comfortable
interior temperatures. the construction is made with abundant resources found on site that can be re-applied endlessly.



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © scott worthington



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © rita willaert



kassena village, tiébélé, burkina faso
image © scott worthington


The view from Above

From Urban TImes

Navid Baraty is no ordinary photographer. Inspired by the geometric patterns and noticeable attention to detail ofTokyo’s streets as seen from a skyscraper, he decided to take his work to greater heights — literally. Baraty’s Intersection series is the result of ascending to the heights of skyscrapers in NYC and Tokyo and leaning over the edge to get the perfect shot. His style is unique in the sense that most urban photography takes place at thestreet level, while Baraty has created his own vertigo-inducing style.

I had the opportunity to discuss via email with Navid what inspires his work and what he plans to do next.

Ash Blankenship: What originally inspired you to take up photography as a profession?

Navid Baraty: My interest in photography began in a class in Junior High where we walked around the playground taking photos and then developed our photographs in the school darkroom. I went on to get my degree in electrical engineering and worked as an engineer for about three years before deciding to switch gears and pursue my artistic passion. In my three years of working as an engineer, I dreaded every day of work and always found myself shooting in my spare time. I felt so much happier and creative when I was behind the lens. I decided to get more serious with my work, started doing editorial assignments for publications and eventually made the leap to becoming a professional photographer.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: What inspired your work on the Intersection series?

NB: The idea for my Intersection series first came to me after lunch one afternoon in 2009 in a Tokyo skyscraper. I looked down at the street below and noticed an amazing scene of geometric patterns dotted with umbrella-wielding pedestrians. I really couldn’t believe how geometric it all looked from above. It was almost as if someone designed the Tokyo street with my vantage point in mind. I realized that all the perfectly parallel lines, precise angles and thoughtful proportions were really a reflection of Japanese culture and its meticulous attention to detail and artistic presentation.

When I moved to NYC in 2010, I wanted to continue this series and see what New York looked like from above. Everyone walks around Manhattan looking up at the city, but very few get to look down. When you watch NYC from above, you really get a sense of the energy and flow of the city–the constant stream of yellow taxis lining the avenues, the waves of pedestrians hurriedly crossing at the change of traffic signals, little figures disappearing into the subway stations, the chorus of honking horns and sirens. It’s all so rhythmic.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: Can you explain the process for photographing the Intersection series?

NB: There’s been lots of wild speculation as to how I create these photos. Some people think I have a side job as a helicopter pilot or window washer. One website assumed I was walking around Manhattan with a camera attached to a kite. Some have even called me Spiderman. I actually just take all of these from building rooftops and lean over the edge. A lot of times I have to very securely wrap the camera strap around my arms and extend my arms way over the edge to get the overhead angle that I’m looking for. I’m never concerned for my own personal safety, but do have a huge fear of dropping my camera or a lens over the edge.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: The Intersection series is of New York City and Tokyo. Do you have plans to extend the series to other cities?

NB: Absolutely! I’d love to do the series in as many cities as possible. I’m also revisiting some of the locations that I’ve shot in NYC and doing the series at night. The feeling of a city changes completely from day to night. I’ve realized, however, that not every city makes for equally interesting Intersection shots. If there’s a void of tall skyscrapers, as I found when I visited Paris a couple months back, the shots just don’t have the same dramatic effect.

NYC Intersection

NYC Intersection

AB: What advice can you offer to amateur urban photographers?

NB: Experiment with different angles and perspectives. Take lots of photos. Never stop shooting and take your camera with you everywhere. While patience and persistence are keys to great photos, so much of photography really is about being in the right place at the right time. You want to be sure you have your camera when that happens.

Tokyo Intersection

Tokyo Intersection

Baraty’s Intersection series has been featured in National Geographic, The Daily Mail (UK), and other publications. He was the grand prize winner of the California Academy of Sciences Photo Competition in 2011 and received honorable mentions by both PLANET Magazine (2010) and the International Photography Awards (IPA 2011).

You can learn more about Baraty’s work on his website, or follow him on Twitter @navidj.

All photographs courtesy of Navid Baraty.

Following a fading line

From Chennai to Gokarna, a survey of India’s coastline reveals a diverse and fascinating landscape, changing fast due to the country’s growing industrialization: here are some of its multi-layered stories. A photo-essay from Gokarna by Selvaprakash via DOMUS

Cochin, Kerala, India. Sea wall

The coastline of India is 7500 kilometres long and there are nearly 250 million people living within a distance of about 20 kilometres from the shore. This massive expanse of linear land comprehends a wide variety of ecosystems, cultural and culinary traditions, fishing practices and natural resources. It is a diverse and fascinating landscape that tells the story of thousands of years of negotiation and cohabitation between man and nature. The fast growing industrialisation, however, is transforming the coast into an increasingly anthropised landscape and the balance of this ancient dialogue is quickly changing — with dramatic costs for both the people and the environment.

Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu, India. Fishermen protest near the proposed nuclear plant on World Fisheries Day. Local fishermen contributed money from their meagre daily earnings to support this protest against the nuclear plant

Selvaprakash has started his project of documentation of this fading world in 2008. He has travelled from Chennai to Gokarna to record the multi-layered stories that the Indian coastline tells. From the protests against the establishment of a nuclear plant in Koodankulam to the devastating consequences of the cyclone Thane on 30 December 2011, Selvaprakash’s photography grants care and attention to the details of a complex human and political narrative.

Ennore,Tamil Nadu, India. The sea is extremely violent in this area. A woman looks at the angry waters from her partially destroyed house

Read and see more:

City of Darkness: The most densely populated place on Earth

By   From Smartplanet was this and intimation of the life of cities to come – Blade Runner without Harrison Ford?

For residents of Kowloon Walled City, life was anarchy.

As many as 50,000 residents, many of which were squaters, were crammed into the 6-acre settlement that once served as a Chinese military outpost. And while the British claimed jurisdiction of the town in Hong Kong after a handover in 1898, the city was largely left alone.

Without health regulations or law enforcement, the community, which comprised of 350 densely packed high-rise buildings, served as a refuge for drug dealers, criminals and gangs. In time, the virtual absence of government oversight lead to a society ruled by powerful mafiosos known as Triads.

By the 1950’s, the city became an epicenter for triad-controlled brothels, casinos, and opium dens. Even the neighborhood doctors and dentists were shady, with many unlicensed practictioners choosing to set up shop locally so that they can operate without fear of prosecution. If the police ever did venture inside, it was only in large heavily armed groups.

Still, reports and testimonials indicate that generally the locals lived peacefully. Photos published in the book “City of Darkness,” which chronicled life within the city, showed children playing on rooftops not too far away from adults taking in the fresh air high above the constant buzz of illegal activity. In fact, the city’s rooftops actually served as an important gathering place, enabling nieghbors to bond and help one another endure the miserable conditions.

That’s because even from such a remote viewpoint, the squaler was unavoidable. Dwellings were built entirely without the help of architects and many apartments were so small (about 250 squre feet) that garbage, TVs, water tanks were stored on rooftops. The lack of building codes and regulations also meant homes had poor foundations and few or no utilities. Outside, the network of staircases and passageways on the upper levels was so extensive that pedestrians can cross the entire city without ever touching solid ground.Conditions improved in the 60s and 70’s when a police crackdown led to over 2,500 arrests and the confiscation of over 4,000 pounds of drugs. Charities, religious societies, and other welfare groups were gradually introduced and the Hong Kong government began to provide water supply and mail services.

Despite these efforts, Hong Kong officials decided in 1987 to demonish the city, athough many residents resisted the forced evictions.

However, by April 1994, Kowloon Walled City was no more.

Photos provided courtesy of Greg Girard / City of Darkness

See more

Hectic Cityscape Photography

Stephanie Jung is a photographer who questions the planning of large cities.Like the shots of Tokyo and Japan reveals that in the rest of the article, it is looking at pictures of overprints to accentuate the pace of the city. From Fubiz™

See more

The Surreal Cityscape – Black and White Photography by Martin Stavars

From Photography Blogger


Martin Stavars is a master at capturing an incredible tonal range in his images. When combined with his ability to seek out powerful compositions in his cityscapes, the results are phenomenal. I’ve long been a fan of his use of long exposures to capture movement among his stationary subjects.


Martin now travels the world to capture his intense and powerful cityscapes – includingLondonHong KongParis, and Tokyo.


Martin describes his work below:



“I’ve always been fascinated by landscapes – places that are absolutely desolate, where I can stay one on one with nature. For me, the growing joy right before pressing the shutter button as well as the possibility of interacting with the world filled with inspiration is as important as the creative act itself. This initial fascination has rapidly grown into obsession that eventually took control over my life.



Lately, my interests widened to cityscapes, where I pursue qualities characteristic to nature – harmony and peace. As it is getting harder to find traits like that in our more and more hectic world, while taking pictures in the biggest cities in the world I had to develop the most important virtue of a photographer – patience. That is one of the reasons why there are usually no people (or only their silhouettes) on most of my photographs. But such character of my work is also a result of other factor. Whereas taking pictures with the main focus on a person involves emotions that are relatively easy to define, depicting an empty street or portraying pulsing nature usually requires qualitatively different feelings that have to fill in for the missing elements, thus making such photograph something more than a simple document.”

Martin Stavars

Martin Stavars

Martin Stavars

To see more of Martin’s beautiful work, you can visit his portfolio site, or keep up to date with his travels via his Facebook page.

silent world imagines cities at the end of the world

the ‘silent world’ photographic series by lucie & simon uses neutral density filters and long exposure photography to eliminate people and cars from busy cities and streets
‘tian’anmen square’ (2010)
C-print, 200x256cm

in their series ‘silent world’, paris-based, franco-german artistic duo lucie & simon use tricks of the photographic trade

to render the world’s busiest cities free of cars and even people.

neutral density filters allow photographers to limit light entry without closing the aperture or increasing the shutter speed.
the higher the F-stop reduction, the greater the effect, allowing for super-long exposures which make moving objects like people and cars
essentially invisible, while only immobile structures remain. extremely high level filters are used by NASA to analyze star patterns.

in the ‘silent world’ images, lucie & simon leave just one or two people visible in the photograph:
‘small intrusions [whose] disconcerting presence disrupts the majestic calm of the streets and squares.’

‘xizhimen ring road’, beijing, china (2012)
0’59 video, plasma screen, 80x110x30cm

‘silent worlds’ (2012)

See more

You’ve got Astronaut mail!

Pretty awesome to have seen the whole Earth’s surface in detail like this – out of this world  photography !

NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock who is currently aboard the International Space Station shares pictures of the Earth he snaps with the world through Twitter. Known to his nearly 68,000 Twitter followers as Astro_Wheels, Wheelock has been posting impressive photos of the Earth and some of his thoughts ever since he moved into the space station in June, five months after it got Internet access.
















Perfect reflection of sunlight in the eastern Mediterranean 

All Images by Astronaut Douglas Wheelock


Miracles Happen to those who believe!


In search of Joburg’s condemned buildings

From Daily Maverick what’s next?

After three people were crushed in a Johannesburg building last week and the city committed to clearing condemned properties, GREG NICOLSON went in search of Jozi’s best dilapidated architecture. It’s a potent symbol for a voyeur of change.

On the corner of Twist and Wolmarans Streets in Joubert Park, Johannesburg, sits Lorna Court. Its facade has faded and the paint’s chipped. The doors on the balcony terraces have come off their hinges and the windows are broken.

Inside, debris covers the floor like a carpet and each room, bar the security guard’s, is blackened by smoke. On the fifth floor, the roof has caved in and weeds grow in rooms overlooking the park.

Seven years ago, says the guard who lived in the building, a man was fighting with his wife and used a gas funnel to set her alight. The building went with her and has been condemned ever since.

It’s a telling example of the city’s neglected beauty. After another Johannesburg building caved in on three people in search of scrap metal last week, I set out to catalogue some of the city’s most beautiful but condemned architecture.

Lorna Court, a block of apartments encapsulating all Johannesburg’s supposed potential to become the next Manhattan, stands for many as a symbol of the City of Gold’s decline.

Literary presenter Victor Dlamini said: “No one will ever know for sure what precipitated this exodus from this once hallowed city, but overnight, once prestigious office blocks and gleaming restaurants were left vacant, haunted by their quick fall from glory. Parking spaces that had once been reserved for shiny chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royces were left to rot and decay as the offices were abandoned. The rush to flee the city led to a plethora of suburban office and residential developments in places like Sandton and Fourways.

“The departure of the city’s business for the suburbs had a devastating effect on the inner city as rents collapsed and restaurants, fine shops and nightlife spots closed in quick succession. The departure of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange from its imposing building on Diagonal Street was probably the symbolic moment when the inner city became a ghost town.”

Photo: Inside Lorna Court, apartments have been gutted by fire and weeds grow on the top floor. It remains a symbol of the city’s potential for rejuvenation. DAILY MAVERICK/Greg Nicolson.

Buildings across the city serve  as testament to the city’s glamorous past and current neglect. Opposite the Gauteng Legislature stands  the imposing Rissik Street Post Office, built in 1897 and destroyed by a blaze in 2009. Behind a street fountain, the building’s gutted insides are visible through missing windows that climb towards the timeless clock tower. The building, unlike many others in Joburg, is undergoing developments.

Take a short walk down Rissik and the ground floor of apartment and office blocks have been concreted closed, with an occasional colonial building title hanging over a door, offering a glimpse of a half-destroyed building. On the brick wall of one condemned building, a Johannesburg Art City billboard towers over the street, next to floors of smashed windows.

After many of the moneyed residents fled, a list of opportunist developers, inspired officials and nostalgic community groups tried to “rejuvenate” what has always been and still remains a contested African city of capital and culture, a mimic of its European counterparts while at the same time a hub in the continent’s production.

In his state-of- the-city address, Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau lauded the new Maboneng precinct as a sign that the inner city is opening itself to those excluded after its “decline”. Optimists also point to Braamfontein, where developers have focused on delivering affordable accommodation to students and young professionals. The streets are generally clean and the areas developed by South Point offer a comfortable entry to the city for those who normally tread in the suburbs.

Heading east down Smit Street, a Tudor-style brick home stands on a corner before the Hillbrow Community Health Centre. Circled by overgrowing grass, it’s one of the few standalone homes so close to town. Tiles on part of the roof are missing and cracks run through the once-solid brick structure. On the footpath, behind a fence shielding the house from pedestrians, three men sit sniffing glue. Two begin to fight.

Photo: A Tudor-style brick home and other inner-city shops and buildings in decline. DAILY MAVERICK/Greg Nicolson.

The lone house seems a symbol of change and contest. It’s a walk away from the lauded Braamfontein developments, across a bridge from the streets between Bree and Noord taxi ranks (dirty but not dilapidated), down the road from Hillbrow and a short drive from the Maboneng precinct. It’s an obvious choice for a smart developer, a potent symbol for a voyeur of change. DM

Delhi, Where Shall I Find You?

From [polis]

I walked through the bustling gullies of old Delhi, from Chandni Chowk to Jama Masjid and then to Ballimaran. This area was part of the walled city of Shahjahanabad founded by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan, who built the Taj Mahal. The city was a symbol of Mughal cultural and architectural wealth. In 1857, during the first armed revolution against British rule, soldiers destroyed 80 percent of the palaces here.

Today, the area is crowded with rickshaw pullers, kebab sellers, biryani makers, goats and a few cows. The dynasties are gone; the nobility has vanished. What remains are dilapidated buildings, and dangling serpentine electric cables.

Among the poets and artists that the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, assembled at his court was the great Urdu and Persian poet Mirza Ghalib. In a letter to a friend in 1861, Ghalib wrote:
The city has become a desert… by God, Delhi is no more a city, but a camp, a cantonment… No fort, no city, no bazaars, no watercourses… Four things kept Delhi alive – the fort, the daily crowds at the Jama Masjid, the weekly walk to the Yamuna Bridge, and the yearly fair of the flower-sellers. None of these survives, so how could Delhi survive? Yes there used to be a city of this name in the land of Hindustan.

I intruded into the fallen minarets, libraries and palaces of a bygone era, asking myself: Delhi, where shall I find you?

Aslam Saiyad is an animation instructor and freelance photographer from Mumbai, India. He also volunteers for the Borderless World Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with children in conflict areas.

Credits: All photos by Aslam Saiyad

Urban Photography – A view on its values

Not all urban photographers are o voyeurs of poverty – journeying to Khayelitsha or crossroads in Cape Town on a “reality tour” some provide values that go beyond the simplistic snapshots of barefoot children and cardboard and corrugated iron shacks – this post by Katia Savchuk  in [polis] 

In reflecting on how to better portray a city through photographs, I am inspired by the work of Brendan Bannon, a Nairobi-based photojournalist that I interviewed for an article on ethical travel photography. Tired of photographing only refugee camps and health crises for his editors, last April he put out Daily Dispatches to paint a fuller portrait of Nairobi. His warm, quiet photographs are brimming with dignity — you don’t realize how skewed the typical portrayals of African cities are until you see his counterpoint.

see & read more

Urban Earth: Mumbai | Raven-Elison & Askins via landscape+urbanism

Changing how we see the city on landscape+urbanism

Urban Earth, with studies in Mumbai, Mexico City, and London:  Their approach:“walking across some of Earth’s biggest urban areas, to explore their spatial realities for the people who live there and challenge dominant media discourses regarding the places in which most of us now live.  The idea is to walk a transect across an urban area, taking a photograph every ten steps.” (84)
The concept reminds me of Christopher Girot’s essay ‘Vision in Motion’ in the Landscape Urbanism Reader (Waldheim, 2006), on the role of new representational techniques and the ability to document the interstitial, non-destination spaces, echoing Conan, the ‘black holes’ in the urban fabric that   “…have become the dominant feature of peripheries and urbanized countries… need to consider these long non-entities as probably equally significant as the most celebrated vistas…”(Waldheim 2006, p.100)
Each frame becomes a story which is fascinating on it’s own although nothing you would typically document in the day to day.  Here’s a random image of London from their Flickr stream…


And the transect is also interesting as an experience, alluding to Girot’s new representational techniques, as seen in this great video of the stitched together for Mexico City:
(from Ecological Urbanism, Mostafavi & Doherty, eds. 2010, p.84-93)

Visualizing Landscapes: In the Terrain of Water via F.A.D

From F.A.D. Free Association Design by b.milligan reposted from PLACES : How we see and record water is integral to how we value and use it : An exhibition by ANURADHA MATHUR with some really beautiful and insighful drawings and reperesentaions

For millennia water has been celebrated and ritualized in everyday practices across cultures. Today it is increasingly central to design and scientific discussions about global sustainability, as we seek innovative solutions to the challenges of rising seas, atmospheric pollution, extended drought and aquifer depletion.

”] (more…)

back to transportation basics, illustrated via SustaibaleCItiesCollective

From Chuck at myurbanist : how transportation really works when all else fails – human powered

Wheels and the human body go places in ways we have often forgotten.  Innovative, human-propelled transport, often with goods attached, knows no bounds.

Courtesy of photographs assembled first-hand last week, the proof is in, accompanied by the health benefits championed by urbanists today.

Want to leave the car behind?

Here are several visual hints for upcoming trips to and from your neighborhood hardware store, market, farm stand or beverage purveyor.

GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe01 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe02 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe03 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe04 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe05 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe06 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe07 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe08 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe09 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe11 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe12 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe13 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe14 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe15 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe16 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe17 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe18 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe19 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe20 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe21 GettingAroundAfrica_ChuckWolfe22
About Chuck Wolfe

Charles R. Wolfe, M.R.P., J.D. is an attorney in Seattle, where he focuses on land use and environmental law and permitting, including the use of innovative land use regulatory tools and sustainable development techniques on behalf of both the private and public sectors and the successful redevelopment of infill properties under federal, state and local regulatory regimes. He is an accomplished speaker and author on growth management and innovative zoning, “transit-oriented development”, and brownfield/sustainable development topics, regularly participates in regional and national seminars and serves as a reporter for the national publication, Planning & Environmental Law. He is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington, where he teaches land use law and a range of planning and development courses to planners and future design professionals and is a contributor to major research efforts addressing urban center, transit oriented and brownfield redevelopment. Additionally, Chuck serves as Vice Chair, Fund Development for the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Seattle District Council, is a Member of the Boards of Futurewise and Great City, and is a King County Trustee of the Cascade Land Conservancy. He contributes regularly on urban development topics for several publications including The Huffington Post,, and He blogs regularly at


Do we really all see the same? -crowd sourced photographic monuments by corinne vionnet

From Designboom – I am not astonished – we are all programmed the same these days – the more different we think we are the more we are the same- so we to take the same photos!

‘monument valley’ 2009
all images courtesy of the empty quarter gallery

swiss/france based artist corinne vionnet has sent us images of her collection of travel portraiture.
through online crowd sourcing of photogenic landmarks from around the world, vionnet has compiled
several meta-portraits of around 100 images into one. exposing the consistency of how these landmarks
are composed photographically but also visually capturing the ephemeral feelings of tourists into
seemingly surreal landscapes.

the project serves as a study of not only the technical means available to source this material
but also provides a means to analyze why so much of the same material exists. perhaps there
are unspoken rules about how we collectively photograph and remember the time spent in
foreign environments or simply that so many people want ownership of the same monument
that we decide on similar visual experiences. vionnet says “I feel the photographs of these
monuments also attest to the admiration that is brought to them. they share the excitement
and emotion of the unique time spent in their midst for each of us.”

whichever be the case individually, the work provides an inspiring view of human creation
and the documentation of it over time.

‘kinderdijk’ 2007


City Beautiful: Inside Out (via Encountering Urbanization)

More pics of JR’s work here from Amy on Encountering Urbanisation

City Beautiful: Inside Out Cities don't generally hide confrontation. The friction from millions of bodies, minds, and diverse beliefs in close quarters creates the energy for both innovation and conflict. While the city wears much on its sleeve,  so many stories remain untold. But a new art project promises to expose some of them – the city is a confrontational canvas exhibiting faces that might be overlooked much of the time, but have exceptional things to tell us. [capt … Read More

via Encountering Urbanization

Putting a Face to Impoverished Areas _ JR via Protein

Hows this for facing up to urban problems Protein

“Parisian guerilla street artist JR is this years TED conference winner. With his installations focusing mainly in run-down and low-income areas, JR pastes large-scale close-up images of members from that community attempting to put a human face to impoverished areas.”

“Taking this message he has collaborated with TED on Inside Out, a global art project aimed at transforming ideas of personal identity into artistic work. Anyone can upload a black and white portrait, then these images are made into posters and sent back to the individual so that others can create their own street art.”


Failed Cities – The Ruins of Detroit via The Economist

Posted on The Economist website recently this interview “Up from the ashes”

YVES MARCHAND and Romain Meffre, two self-taught French photographers, have always been fascinated by ruins. After seeing photos of the formerly prosperous North American town of Detroit in 2005, they realised it would be a perfect place to work.

Detroit was one of most important American cities in the 20th century. But over the past generation it has suffered perhaps the worst economic downturn of any American city. Schools, libraries, theatres hotels and concert halls that were once sources of pride now stand empty and unloved. Some are being torn down, others are merely crumbling with neglect. Others still, especially in the downtown area, have been purchased by millionaires with plans for renovation, but the process has been a slow one.”

Yet Detroit is slowly rising from its ashes. Marchand and Meffre say there are plans to convert quite a few of the downtown buildings into lofts and luxury condominiums in the next ten years. But parts of the city are clearly breathing their last gasp. Marchand and Meffre’s book “The Ruins of Detroit“, originally a series for Time magazine, records the lost city of Detroit for posterity. The two photographers spoke to More Intelligent Lifeabout their inspiration for this book.


The Rolling Stones // Dominique Tarle (via Visual Therapy)

When we were young………

The Rolling Stones // Dominique Tarle In 1971, French photographer Dominique Tarle hung out with The Rolling Stones for six months in Villa Nellcôte in the South of France. Tarle documented the Stones recording, relaxing and partying throughout the summer in this pretty intimate photo collection. More images on page 2… source … Read More

via Visual Therapy Unveils New Record-Breaking Gigapixel Panoramic Photo of London

I recently came across this:

After three days of shooting, ten thousand photos taken, and a huge amount of work, the London 80 Gigapixel Panorama is finished and onlin

Prague, Czech Republic, November 16, 2010 – A newly published 360-degree photo of London takes the

crown as the largest spherical panoramic photo in the world. The image of London, at,

has a total resolution of 80 gigapixels, or 80 billion pixels. Shot by photographer Jeffrey Martin over a period

of three days from the top of the Centre Point building at the crossroads of Oxford Street and Tottenham

Court Road, the image reveals the highest-resolution view of any city that has ever been captured. From this

vantage point – 36 stories up in the air – an astonishing number of landmarks, houses, skyscrapers, shops,

offices, and streets are visible. Countless people at street level are observable, as well as thousands of

windows, many of which reveal glimpses of life inside. In short, it is a portrait of London, the likes of which

has never been made before.