The Turkish Villagers’ Whistle Language

Turkish villagers have a secret language. They use a sophisticated system of whistling known as “bird language.” The high-pitched whistles help villagers communicate across long and mountainous distances.

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Walk, Cycle, Run: Glasgow in Motion

The Urban Big Data Centre works on the cycling, walking and running activities of people living in Glasgow in the project of Glasgow in Motion:

By 2030, over 90% of the UK population will live in urban areas. It’s more important than ever to understand how we live, work, and travel in our cities. Imagine you could know the most popular cycling route to work, the quality of air on your journey, or how pedestrians respond to weather. Through Glasgow in Motion, you can view and interact with data through time, to better understand movement and other factors that affect Glasgow residents every day.

It is a great project which returns the collected data to the use of citizens after anonymizing it. The interactive map shows busy and popular routes for walking, running and cycling. The range of data presented goes back to 2013 and the mst recent data is from 2016.

Check here for the details and exploring the interative maps.

Measuring Magic: It is All About Love Dear!

As folks of great Earth, Wind and Fire told us, it is All About Love, and Fred Kent of the Projects for Public Spaces cannot agree more!

Places exude a kind of magnetism, a draw that brings people closer together—lovers and strangers, alike. Whether sharing a kiss, or simply sharing a bench, there are endless examples of closeness and affection all brought about by great public spaces.

This affection isn’t just icing on the cake; it’s a basic human need. “It’s a big idea, affection,” observes PPS founder Fred Kent, “because it’s everywhere. Every community, every culture, every human being has a need for affection, for engaging with people, for connecting with people.” As our recent Healthy Places report reveals, social support and interaction provides important benefits to mental wellbeing and feelings of safety. Meanwhile, social isolation contributes to depression, stress, and can also undermine a community’s resilience in the face of disaster.

But affection relies on a deep sense of comfort. People must feel physically and mentally at ease before they open up to show signs of love and friendship. (Project of Public Space)

Check this great article on what makes public spaces places for people!

Or you can just listen the folks below.

The trees and the birds
And if there ain’t no beauty
You gotta make some beauty
Have mercy
Listen to me, y’all

 

Stories Behind: The Statue of Tombili and the Cats of Istanbul

Tombili was one of the many street cats in Istanbul. A statue was erected to honour her and this is the story behind it.

Cities in Turkey, and Istanbul as the largest one, is famous with cats roaming free. Although the cats live o streets, it is hard to call them strays or feral cats. They co-habit with people for centuries. They are part of urban culture in the cities in Turkey. Recently an award-winning documentary on the lives of cats in Istanbul was in cinemas.

Individuls and sometimes municipalities take care of the needs of these beloved animal neighbours by feeding them and taking case of their health issues. For winter times, some individuals, NGOs and some municipalities locate cat houses on streets to help them to survive in colder days.

Tombili was a beloved cat citizen of Istanbul and roamed free on her street for almost 10 years. She became an internet celebrity when his famous pose is posted on the net. Tombili means chubby in Turkish and she is called as Tombili by her fellow humans for obvious reasons. A statue was erected on her favorite spot for her memory after her death.

Image may contain: cat

The Famous Photo of Tombili (Tombili Facebook Page)

People loved her so much. She became a mascot for the street with her laid back lifestyle. After her death, people started a petition to honour her and collected more than 17000 signature, which let them to erect the statue in October 2016. I am not quite sure if it is the only street cat statue in the world, but it took an attention from the media all over the world.

 

 

Unfortnately, not everyone values the friendship between Tombili and fellow humans. The statue was stolen in November in the same year, almost in a month. It sparked an outrage in the public and on the internet. Social media outlets were flooded with anger from people condemning the culprits.

Kadikoy municipality, the council which erected the statue twitted “It is stolen” with a crying cat emoji:

The thieves could not be indifferent to this massive outcry, and returned the statue to its place within a week. The statue is now on Ziverbey Street, Kadikoy, where it belongs. Tombili is still in her neighbours’ lives with this statue.

The Tombili statue on Ziverbey Street (Image Credit: Tombili Facebook Page)

And this is the story of Tombili and her legacy.

Tombili (Image Credit: Anadolu Kedisi / Huffington Post)

1 city, 26 maps, a whole lot of Barcelona!

Barcelona is an amazing city in many ways!

It has an interesting history of urban development as well. Museu D’Historia De Barcelona released an interactive map cobining 26 maps of the city through its history. It overlaps loads of infomation about the urban development starting from 150 AD to 2010.

In 1859, the medieval-era walls that had surrounded Barcelona since the 13th and 14th centuries had already started to come down. In this year, the city approved an expansion plan proposed by Spanish urban planner Ildefons Cerdà, which was hailed as “one of the most revered international examples of modern planning and urban design” by Judith Urbano, an architecture professor at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. It laid the foundations of modern Barcelona. (CityLab)

Check the website here!

A Home in A London Museum: Robin Hood Gardens’ Legacy

It is not news that Robin Hood Gardens in London is being demolished and redeveloped. The discussion behind has many sides such as redevelopment in favour of capitalisation, loss of affordable units in London, loss of an iconic housing project, redevelopment vs refurbishment and the problem of blaming the projects instead of runing-down estates as in many cases it is a problem of factoring rather than spatial design issues.

Victoria and Albert Museum decided to exhibit a part of Robin Hood Garden. The move is interesting and eeri at the same time.

… a 26-foot-high chunk of the building, comprising one duplex apartment, will now enjoy a strange second life. It’s going to be scraped off the building’s carcass and preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Britain’s national art and design collection, where it will go on display in the public galleries (possibly in an East London branch that’s due to open in 2021). A remnant of Britain’s great 20th century social housing experiment will end up not as somewhere to live, but as a museum exhibit. (CityLab)

The Museum will be exhibit the part at the Venice Architecture Biennale by reessembling it for a Biennale exhibition. THe curator of the exhibition also points out the strange way of exhibiting an architectural piece:

Olivia Horsfall Turner, co-curator of the exhibit, said she expected it to stop people in their tracks. “It is obviously something that is very strange – it will look quite bizarre to see this fragment in Venice less than 50 years after it was constructed.” But she hoped it would prompt people to look again at the architects’ original ideals and how “they can inform and inspire current thinking”. (Guardian)

The Robin Hood Gardens, 2010 (Image Credit: David Levene / Guardian)

As O’Sullivan put clearly, this is far from being a conservation attempt:

At least the V&A’s façade plan will preserve some partial memory of what the place looked like—and maybe spark some debate—even as it serves to embody the evisceration of London’s public housing. But conserving a building’s skin while destroying its heart isn’t historic preservation. It’s taxidermy. (CityLab)

 

 

(Image Credit: Architectural Journal)

Stories Behind: Mary Barbour and The Legendary Rent Strike

I am starting new series called “Stories Behind” focusing on the stories behind statues on the streets.

The series starts with a brave woman, Mary Barbour, whose statue was erected in Govan, Glasgow today at the International Women’s Day.

The early 1900s were the times of overcrowding and poor living conditions in Glasgow. The rent strikes were against rent increases up to 25%.

Yet the Glasgow Women’s Housing Association, established before 1914 to fight for better housing conditions, soon galvanised growing discontent over the increases by calling for a city-wide rent strike … . Early support from the areas closest to the shipyards, such as Govan and Partick, where tens of thousands were crammed into poorly maintained tenements, soon spread across much of the city. By September 1915 around 20,000 households were on rent strike in Glasgow alone, and the protests were spreading to other parts of the west of Scotland and beyond. (theconservation)

Mary Barbour was a leading figure in these epic rent strikes in Glasgow in 1915. They form eviction resistance groups, mainly women, which were dubbed as “Mrs Barbour’s Army”. (commonspace) This is how they organised the strike and prevent evictions:

one woman with a bell would sit in the tenement close, watching while the other women living in the tenement went on with their household duties. Whenever the Bailiff’s Officer appeared to evict a tenant, the woman in the passage immediately rang the bell, and the other women put down whatever work they were doing and hurried to where the alarm was being raised. They would hurl flour bombs and other missiles at the bailiff, forcing him to make a hasty retreat.  It is said they even pulled down his trousers to humiliate him! (Remember Mary Barbour)

As a result of the successful fundraising Remember Mary Barbour Campain, the statue was erected and commemorate her legacy and as a constant reminder of the legendary rent strike in Glasgow. It was a very crowded commemoration with several groups of people gathered around the statue.

Some stories are never forgotten. After a hundred years, Mary Barbour’s statue now stands at Govan Cross. Well-deserved Mary.

 

(Image credit: Top Eveningtimes / Bottom Personal Archive)

The Alexandra Road Estate: An Interesting Experiment

The Alexandra Road Estate: An Interesting Experiment

Municipal Dreams

In the sixties, London was swinging and Harold Wilson had promised a new Britain forged in the ‘white heat’ of a technological revolution.  That may have been hype but something of it resonates when you look at Camden’s Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate – Alexandra Road or even Rowley Way to its friends.  There was hope in the air and Camden was well placed to capture it.

The Metropolitan Borough of Camden was formed in 1964 and comprised the former boroughs of Hampstead, Holborn and St Pancras – respectively intellectual, wealthy and radical. It was also the third richest borough in London in terms of rateable value.(1)  Add the politics of a young  and ambitious Labour council, for whom ‘the main aim was more housing – beginning and end’ and conscious of its flagship role, and that made for some of the most exciting council housing of modern times.(2)

Rowley Way © Martin Charles Rowley Way in…

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BEAUTÉ BRUT: Collegio del Colle, Urbino

 

Collegio del Colle, Urbino (PU), 1962-1965

Collegio del Colle is located in the hills of Urbino. It is the first one of four university colleges realized by De Carlo between 1973 and 1983. The sloping terraces follow the land shapes. De Carlo tries the interpenetration between the shapes of architectural volume and the morphology of Urbino. This section represents a cell, which is composed by two bedrooms in two different floors.
This group of building is mainly made of exposed bricks; the main structure and the cantilevered elements are made of reinforced concrete. Even if his architecture is a natural inclination of the hills, the materials he used underline their strong presence in the landscape. (Claretta Mazzonetto)

The early “collegio del colle” is formed by a central nucleus with collective services, surronded by several groups of small residential cells, lying on a hill near the city of Urbino. Concrete and brick constructive elements are in harmonic contrast with the landscape. The following three groups of “collegi” (vela, aquilone, tridente), were added between 1973 and 1983, creating a organic ensemble. (Francesco Di Bella)

 

Giancarlo De Carlo, Oscar Ferrari · Collegi Universitari a Urbino

 

Giancarlo De Carlo (1919-2005) has been one of the most influential figures of the Italian architectural scene of the second half of the twentieth century. A protagonist of the architectural debate since the mid-1940s, De Carlo visited Urbino for the first time in 1951, invited by the dean of the university, the writer Carlo Bo, who, in the following year, commissioned him the renovation of the ancient seat of the atheneum in the historic center of the city. Such a commission marks the starting point of the long relationship that ties the life and work of the architect to the city of the Marches: the collaboration first with the university and then with the municipality is kept alive up to last years before De Carlo’s death. (detailsinsection)

 

Giancarlo De Carlo, Oscar Ferrari · Collegi Universitari a Urbino

Giancarlo De Carlo, Oscar Ferrari · Collegi Universitari a Urbino

Giancarlo De Carlo, Oscar Ferrari · Collegi Universitari a Urbino

Giancarlo De Carlo, Oscar Ferrari · Collegi Universitari a Urbino

dormitory and cafeteria

 

Image Credits: sosbrutalism, istate, organiconcrete, wikimedia, spatialagency, divisare,

 

And That’s How the Tube Map Was Born!

We all love metro maps, which is clear regarding the franchase produced with them. Mugs, ties, tot bags,….

But, how the idea came to life is a different story.

Small Thing. Big Idea., a TED series “celebrates the lasting genius of everyday objects so perfectly designed that they changed the world around them”, presents the creation of one of the greatest maps of all times : the metro maps!

Click here to watch! Enjoy!