Accra’s Backyard Greenhouse

Accra from above by Jason Armstrong With tree-lined avenues and hilltop views, the ACP Estate in Accra already feels greener than much of Ghana’s fast-growing, densely populated capital. It has the appearance of a comfortable suburb: leafy, peaceful and wholesome. But the yard of Florence Benson is more than just green. It also boasts a […]

Posted in: Africa and Middle East, Environment, Public Space, Society and Culture by Nathan Midgley Comments Off on Accra’s Backyard Greenhouse , , ,

The Treehouse of Roosevelt Road

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the fig tree that has taken root atop a dilapidated building on Temple Street in Hong Kong. 800 kilometres to the northeast, across the Taiwan Strait, there is something even more spectacular: an enormous tree that grows straight through an otherwise ordinary shophouse. You can find the […]

Meet the Fig Tree

It’s a fun exercise to think of how long it would take for reclaim our cities if humanity were to disappear overnight. How many months until Dubai is returned to the desert? How many hurricanes until New Orleans becomes part of the Gulf? Here in Hong Kong, nature’s plan is well underway. In a city […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Environment, Heritage and Preservation by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Meet the Fig Tree , , , , ,

Design for Hong Kong

Sometimes it seems as though everyone knows Michael Leung — even the owner of a Kwun Tong dai pai dong, who chats amiably with the young designer as he sits down for lunch. “We made a zine about him,” Leung explains later. “He’s really proud of it.” Scratch the surface of Hong Kong’s creative scene […]

City Goats

Cats, dogs, squirrels, pigeons, rats, even raccoons — these are the animals I associate with the city. Not goats. Then I went to Delhi. There are more than 864 million goats in the world, around 140 million of which live in India. More than a handful of those have found their way to the streets […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Environment, Public Space, South Asia by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on City Goats , , , ,

How to Rethink Our Streets

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard, Montreal, Spring 2011 Urban design proposed for the boulevard, February 2012 Last year, my team and the planning service of Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles borough worked to rethink the design of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard. It is located east of downtown Montreal, where it crosses old districts from the early 1900s and suburbs from the 1960s. It was […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Canada, Environment, Transportation by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on How to Rethink Our Streets , , ,

The Underground City

If you live in Montreal, you’ll eventually be asked the question: “Which way is the underground city?” You will probably be walking along Ste. Catherine Street, the city’s main shopping artery, where H&M and Zara jostle for space with strip clubs and hot dog joints. Or maybe you will be making your way through the […]

In the Forest, in the City

All photos by JJ Acuna from the Wanderlister To get to the Asia Society’s Hong Kong Centre, you must go up. Up from the MTR through shopping mall escalators, up the steep slope of Justice Drive, towards skyscraping apartment towers and the jagged ridge of Victoria Peak. So it’s a surprise that when you finally […]

Roadsworth’s Legacy

Eight years ago, I was crossing Fairmount Avenue near my apartment in Montreal’s Mile End district when I noticed a strange addition to the zebra crossing beneath my feet: barbed wire. Not actual barbed wire, but a painted rendition of it along the edge of the crosswalk, half in yellow, the other half white, both […]

A Nation Slips Beneath the Sea

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/36515698[/vimeo] Sweep your eyes across any world map or globe and, unless you squint closely on the ocean expanse just west of India, they can be easy to miss: a chain of about 1,200 tiny islands marching almost in a straight line, from the Lakshadweep Islands to the north and the Chagos Archipelago to the […]

Posted in: Environment, Film, Politics, South Asia, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on A Nation Slips Beneath the Sea , , , , ,

Too Many Pedestrians, Not Enough Space

When Hong Kong urban planner Peter Cookson-Smith steps out of his office in Wan Chai, he doesn’t like what he sees. “You go out into the street and find yourself walking on the road because the pavements are so crowded,” he said. “People just want to walk in an unobstructed way, but there are railings […]

A Fire on Mount Royal

The temperature was edging below zero when the first drug dealer approached. “You want something?” he asked, peering at us from under the hood of his jacket. We said no and he wandered away, casting us a suspicious glance over his shoulder. Soon, half a dozen men were eyeing us. “What you doing here?” shouted […]

Inside Foster’s Plan for West Kowloon

When Norman Foster won the international competition for the master plan of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong last spring, I was disappointed. I thought it was plug-and-play urbanism, a crowd-pleasing design that had too much in common with so many interchangeable urban neighbourhoods that have sprung up in the past 20 years. […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Environment, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Inside Foster’s Plan for West Kowloon , , , ,

Ma Yansong’s Organic Architecture

Mississauga was as close to a blank slate as Beijing-based architect Ma Yansong could hope for. For more than twenty years, the sprawling city in the suburbs of Toronto has been searching fruitlessly for an identity. Its first attempt came in 1987, when a national design competition produced a post-modern City Hall that resembled a […]