Visualisation of Airbnb Through the Years

Kor Dwarshuis visualised Airbnb boom in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and New York since the foundation of Airbnb to 2017.

The maps show the striking increase in the numbers as well as the distribution and clustering of the Airbnb flats in these cities.

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The maps also pose a question of the commodification of the couch as well as the scale of the unregulated holiday lets in these major cities.

It is also quite fun to explore 🙂 Click here to see more.

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Another Embodiment of Housing Crisis: Co-living Spaces

Helen Lock wrote for CityMetric on recent trend of co-living and its discontents.

Co-living buildings provide small apartments or rooms as well as communal spaces such as a library, restaurant, or co-working space. Freelancers or entrepreneurs can get work done, then sign off and mingle with people doing the same thing in the evening.

But my knowledge of housing is what I’ve learnt from my own expensive, mould-laden, experiences of renting, and I was initially quite taken with the idea. I am, after all, a target demographic for the model: freelance, young, jaded by private renting and unlikely to ever own my home.

Instead of worrying about those concerns, I could embrace being, “mobile” and “experience-led” along with lots of other people in the same situation that is, if I were to put all my trust in the developers I’ve spoken to. “People don’t care about ownership, nowadays,” I’ve been told several times by people, who, by nature of their very profession, own a lot of property. (CityMetric)

The article points out important issues regarding this trens such as its connections with precarious work and housing problems young, urban, professionals are facing.

While there are some positives in the model, such as the social aspect, it’s hard to shake the feeling that these options represent a sticking plaster fix to two converging problems: precarious work and not enough decent, spacious, affordable places to live.

Co-living spaces also benefit, in my opinion, from the current trend of seeing anything associated with words like “start-up” and “tech” as inherently exciting and good – and therefore not requiring much scrutiny. Housing experts say that  building standards in such spaces are often lower than normal. (CityMetric)

It shows a different version of commodification of urban space by packaging various everyday experiences in these establishments as well as providing very limited living spaces with higher costs.

The article provides some insights about these issues, see the article for details here.

 

Does Your Street Smell Like Food or Sound Like Nature ?

How do we experience cities, streets, squares?

How they sound? How they smell?

Good City Life creates experience-based maps for the cities, well at least for London, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Seattle, …  Good City Life team wants to challenge “the corporate rhetoric of the smart cities movement”:

To change the corporate rethoric of the smart cities movement, there is the need to study how people psychologically perceive the urban environment, and to capture that in a quantitative fashion. (Good City Life)

There are two maps available online: Chatty Maps and Smelly Maps

Chatty Maps shows how a street sounds. Covent Garden (London) sounds like human or Kingsway (London) sounds like traffic. It is quite a database for soundscape of a city!

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Smelly Maps is the second amazing map the Good City Life team created. Check St Nicolas Avenue (New York) out. It smells 98% food 🙂 Wow, hell of an experience 🙂 Ouch, the Tower Bridge (London) smells like emissions, not so good 🙂

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Thank you the Good City Life team for creating such amazing maps for us 😉

 

Labadie Collection: Hidden Treasures Now Online!

A very timely collection has been released online by University of Michigan, Labadie Collection, reminding the US its resistance history!

We are excited to share with everyone these Labadie Collection posters. Acquired over the past 100 years, they range in topics from anarchism (our strongest collecting area) to civil liberties, anti-colonialism, anti-war/pacifism, feminism, labor, youth and student protest, ecology, Occupy, and more. Due to their format, until now, we have only been able to provide very limited access. Our hope is that they will get more use now that everyone can view them. (UMICH)

Good job UMICH, click here to amaze yourselves 😉

Wait.. What!? Steampunk-themed Condo!

Well,  I must admit, I love steampunk!

The first thing to say is that this is not steampunk, but a farce Victorian themed selling campaign.

The project is No.15 Renwick, which is located in New York city near Hudson Squareç. The location is defined as the last underdeveloped corner of Manhattan by Observer.

hudson square 01 Hudson Square Rising: Last Corner of Undeveloped Manhattan Starts Rezoning Process Monday

Image Credit: Observer

The project is self-avowed as steampunk to attract rich hipsters to this ’boutique’ condo development.

A new luxury development called 15 Renwick in New York is giving built form to steampunk. That’s right, steampunk: that dark, Victoriana-obsessed cousin of Renaissance festivals and Star Trek conventions is now a theme for condos. I’m sorry to report that it gets worse: Steampunk is the entire pitch for the building. (cityLab)

The condo’s campaign uses the theme to attract residents and buyers by also using the ‘characters’:

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I have to say that I am quite curious about the responses to such campaign as well. Especially to steampunk boxer!?

Do these characters make you want to live in such an apartment building? Do you want to be like one of these characters? Does the imaginary life they are presenting attractive?

The sales of the units have even been launched by a costume party. It is a striking example showing how far using theming can go in promoting urban spaces. The campaign packages a themed life for the residents with every detail. Let’s check cityLab’s analysis of one of the visuals the project uses:

Let’s take stock of what this rich hipster’s boutique life entails:

—Tome with quill and ink, for writing one’s paper Tumblr
—Vast cape draped over the chair
—There is definitely an airship out the window
—Not just a carafe of cognac, but an artfully spilled goblet
—That hair tho
—Marble bust on an Isamu Noguchi coffee table
—Are those shields? (cityLab)

Seriously, are those shields?

No further questions..

The Skyline of New York City

This incredible timelapse video of artist Patrcik Vale while drawing the skyline of New York.

When one watches a video by illustrator Patrick Vale, documenting in time lapse the incredibly detailed line drawings he makes of New York City’s skyline, the sense of the city’s architectural diversity as a whole emerges. Much like its people, the city is put together with a sense of both planning and randomness. (untapped cities)

Colossus by Pat Vale from BigAnimal on Vimeo.

To follow Patrick:

on Instagram – instagram.com/patrickvaleartist/
on facebook – facebook.com/pages/Patrick-vale/249898771731468

Segregation 2.0: We live side by side, but…

New York condo which seperates the entrances for the ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ residents has sparked a discussion of contemporary patterns of spatial segregation in the cities we live in.

Luxury Apartment Building Will Have Separate Door For Poor Residents

A luxury condo building on New York City’s Upper West Side has gotten clearance from the city to have a separate entrance, or a “poor door,” for low-income tenants, according to the New York Post.

Extell, which is building the 33-story complex, will build a specific door for the 55 affordable housing units it’s including in order to be allowed to build a bigger building. The low-income units, which are available to people making 60 percent of median income or less, will also be in a segment that only contains affordable apartments and that faces the street while the luxury apartments will face the river.

Details can be found in New York Post article (City OKs UWS development with ‘poor door’ for residents) and Business Insider articles (New York City Approves Controversial ‘Poor Door’ In Luxury Condo An NYC High Rise Is Putting In Separate Entrances For Rich And Poor Renters)

The New York condo is not the only example for poor doors. Such practice can be found in London condos, as well. See Poor doors: the segregation of London’s inner-city flat dwellers

Multimillion pound housing developments in London are segregating less well-off tenants from wealthy homebuyers by forcing them to use separate entrances.

One Commercial Street development

(Image Credit: Sarah Lee)

The image shows the One Commercial Street apartment’s ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ entrances. No need to mention which one is for whom.

This practice is a part of building affordable housing units in central areas of the cities where the land rents are at the highest points. In that sense, Owen Hatherley’s commentary in Guardian shows the contradictions of relying on private developers for affordable housing: ‘Poor doors’ show why we can’t rely on developers for affordable housing

Reformism in local government has a Faustian history, often involving shady deals, compromised principles and unexpected outcomes as much as successful attempts to establish social justice in cities.

On the other hand, this vertical segregation is not always part of affordability problematic. For example, Metropol Istanbul Project in Istanbul builds segregated enterances for VIPs and other residents. In the case of this project, it is not aimed to have any ‘affordable units’ (although affordability of the units in previous examples can also be questioned).This project is under-contruction now, and it is designed to have ‘VIP’ entrance for the residents who live on the upper floors than 30. This is going to be a segregation between the residents who will use common entrance together with home office users of the tower and the VIPs who will have their own special entrance.

(Image Credit: guncelprojebilgileri.com)

In that sense, we have segregation within the already-segregated-spaces, and so on.

The question can be posed here as why we are so willing to live in such ‘segregated’ or ‘special’ places;

and what was Maggie saying again, “economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul“.