Hawker City

Not long ago, I was wandering around Kwun Tong trying to find an Indonesian restaurant. I arrived outside its front door only to find the shutter drawn, with a notice from the Urban Renewal Authority announcing that the property had been acquired for redevelopment. Then I looked around: nearly every storefront on the street was […]

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 […]

From Industry to Art at Warp Speed

It’s a familiar story: old industrial area becomes creative hub. What makes OCT Loft different is that the entire process took just six years — and it’s on the vanguard of Shenzhen’s transformation from factory town to Chinese creative superpower. In the mid-1980s, a swath of farmland in the newly-established Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was […]

Guerilla Warfare in Everyday Space

Tin roofs of a hawker’s bazaar in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong When I first came across Charles Labelle’s ongoing Buildings Entered project, I was intrigued by the questions it raised about how we relate to the spaces we inhabit. This led me to think about one of the things that has most fascinated me since […]

The Greater Grid

Straight as an arrow: triptych along Lake Shore Drive, Chicago Last year, Manhattan celebrated the 200th anniversary of its vaunted grid street system, the rectilinear net that stretches from First Street in what’s now the East Village to 155th, in Washington Heights. And any assumption this was too dry a subject for most New Yorkers […]

Posted in: History, Maps, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on The Greater Grid , , , ,

Escalating Fury

It’s as predictable as the tide. Every morning, thousands of commuters stream down the Central Mid-Levels escalator, bound for offices, buses and crowded subway cars at the bottom of the hill. Then, at 10:30am, the escalator reverses itself. Now the crowds flow uphill. Helpers return from the market with bags full of choi, the lunch […]

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 […]

Building a Better Street Market

Photo by Shichao Zhao When a blaze in the Fa Yuen Street market killed nine people last November, it was Hong Kong’s street hawkers that took the fall. Even before arson investigators had discovered the source of the fire, the government’s Hawker Control Officers ordered market stalls to remove their awnings and reduce the size […]

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 , , , ,

On the Waterfront: Central Ferry Piers, Cheung Chau Praya

This is the last in a series of three posts about Hong Kong’s waterfront public spaces. Read the first one here and the second here. The promenade that runs for 850 metres along the Central ferry piers is one of the best public spaces in Hong Kong. I suspect this partly by accident. In the […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on On the Waterfront: Central Ferry Piers, Cheung Chau Praya , , , , , ,

On the Waterfront: Tsim Sha Tsui

For a city defined by its harbour, Hong Kong has done a remarkable job of blocking people off from it. Highways, private development, cargo yards and storage depots take up more than 60 percent of Victoria Harbour’s shorelines. The rest of the harbourfront is a higgledy-piggledy network of disjointed promenades, some better than others. Luckily, […]

“Urbanized”: Democracy and Design

[youtube width=”400″ height=”250″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jpN8kI0-pY&t=2s[/youtube] Gary Hustwit clearly wanted his new documentary, Urbanized, to get more people talking or writing about cities. But he might not have expected the very literal way that admirers at Field Notes, a stationery company, would help facilitate that goal — by supplying notepads branded with the film’s logo to audiences attending […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Film, Politics, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on “Urbanized”: Democracy and Design , , , , ,

Réaménager la ville avec de simples idées : Petite Italie, Montréal

Alors que les débats sont parfois lourds dans l’administration municipale lorsque vient le moment de voter des budgets d’aménagement, l’on constate qu’en quelques années, Montréal a réussi à altérer l’image de plusieurs de ses rues commerciales avec des idées simples et peu dispendieuses. Après avoir passé les derniers mois à débattre et à préparer des […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Public Space by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on Réaménager la ville avec de simples idées : Petite Italie, Montréal , , ,