Cambridge, Temporarily

Kendall Square now… Kendall Square as it could be? One of the beautiful things about an academic planning exercise is that you can indulge in a little flight of fancy. A recent exercise at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design let people imagine a temporary urban intervention in one of Cambridge’s famous squares. A “square”, in […]

“Give Them Bread and Circuses, and TV Ads on the Subway”

The usual assortment of passengers on the train: cellphone fiddlers, ad-gazers and the lone reader With typical New China audacity, even hubris, Shanghai authorities opened up more than 100km of subway tracks on a single day this past December, nearly doubling the metro system in a single stroke. This puts it well on its way […]

Three Amigos: Dupont Street Edition

An empty factory at 1000 Dupont Street. Its glassy aloofness beckons at the edge of downtown As mentioned in my previous post, Dupont Street is something of a physical and psychological demarcation line, a former industrial artery running along the CP tracks separating downtown and midtown, between “there there” and nowhere in particular. It’s a […]

Posted in: Architecture, Canada, Society and Culture by Siqi Zhu Comments Off on Three Amigos: Dupont Street Edition

Eight Thousand Meters Around the Block

Dupont Street, photo by Jack Lo P Blessed Toronto is probably one of the best cities in the world for city running–the streets follow a flat and mostly predictable grid, and there are just enough people on the street to maintain a sembalance of visual interest and security. I’ve tried to run in places like […]

Posted in: Canada by Siqi Zhu 4 Comments ,

Ghetto in the Sky

Suburban Toronto at night. Photo by Dennis Marciniak In 1970, Toronto was in the throes of Apartment Fever; nearly 40 years later, we are paying for it, and dearly. It seems like a cruel joke for a city that tries so hard to become a centre of good design, but concrete evidence of this mid-century […]

Barcelona: A Week in Snippets

Expats Even without knowing anything about Barcelona, I knew this was no place for the indie-minded traveller looking for the pristine virginland or the earnest college student bent on “finding himself”. Being neither, I nevertheless found myself fleeing to the English-speaking sanctuary that is the Elephant bookstore, wondering aloud if this jet-lagged, high-strung boy had […]

One City, Two Faces: Roppongi Hills

The geography of Tokyo can be read into as a metaphor for its social stratification. There are the lowly pockets of Shitamachi, or the Low City, that lie on the literally low flood plains closer to the shore and the rivers. West of here are the few rarified districts of the Yamanote, a name that […]

One City, Two Faces: Tsukiji Market

The hardest thing for me as a kid growing up in the vastness of suburban Tokyo was to imagine a place different from my own—I was merely one amongst the tens of millions who lived on lands far from the city centre and dominated by the postwar glass-and-concrete aesthetic, and who, via Tokyo’s impeccably efficient […]

Transit Myth-Making, One Button at a Time

The true mark of a city that has shed its pimply adolescent past and gained preeminence is the development of a larger-than-life personality, a personality that is based on layers of collective memories, recollections, human dramas real and ficticious, observed and enacted by oneself. A story of one’s adventures in Camden Town will almost certainly […]

Three Years Later, Moving Along

Toronto Mayor David Miller. Photo by Rannie Turingan. Those seeking thrill from Toronto’s municipal politics were, unfortunately, left disappointed by last Monday’s election. In a city that at times seems to be in love with the status quo, the re-election of incumbent mayor David Miller was hardly surprising, and the campaign seemed at times bereft […]

Posted in: Canada, Politics by Siqi Zhu Comments Off on Three Years Later, Moving Along

Savage Beauty

  Manufactured Landscapes follows Edward Burtynsky’s photographic exposition of unprecedented human transformation of the landscape. Edward Burtynsky’s China photos explore what has always been a veritable fount of intriguing images.  Recalling Antonioni’s 1972 Chung Guo China, which in a coolly detached manner examined the ordinary, everyday facet of a society that was nevertheless rife with political […]

Nuit Blanche 2006, Toronto

A whole night of street art comes to Toronto.

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada by Siqi Zhu Comments Off on Nuit Blanche 2006, Toronto , , ,