Interesting read and comments. I am by no means anti-change or development but Londoners really need to wake up and start engaging with the city they live in. So much of London is losing its soul! Many of the city’s great spaces are being sanitised and commercialised and becoming “this could be anywhere” type places. The proliferation of chains like cafe rouge, starbucks, tesco, all saints with their “cookie cutter” approach is killing what once made the city stand out from the crowd.
Soho is London’s bohemian heart. Britain’s pop industry was born there, the film industry was run from it, and Foyles led the bookshops filling Charing Cross Road. Prostitutes lined the streets until the 1990s, when it became London’s gay thoroughfare. Late-night drinking dens and cafés served them all in a sometimes sleazy but potent atmosphere. But now, in a pattern repeated in similarly cherished neighbourhoods across Britain, the independent businesses which dominate its warren of streets are suffering. Blander public taste, corporate encroachment and pre-Olympics paranoia have put Soho under siege.
The Times launched a public campaign today to highlight the inadequate and often missing cycling facilities in UK cities. They are calling on the Government and Local Autorities to build cities with cycling facilities that are safe and make cycling an enjoyable experience. Read more and pledge your support here!
Just back from a great fireworks show on the banks of the Thames! I love New Years Eve…such a great celebration of humanity and a wonderful reminder of the fact that we can achieve so much if we work together!
Sweet video profiling the guerrilla gardening work of Steve Wheen, a.k.a. The Pothole Gardener (featured previously on Gardens in Unexpected Places here and here) in London. I love his whimsical creations.
Related street enhancement: Juliana Santacruz Herrera uses yarn to fill in — and brighten up —potholes in Paris. My post about her handiwork can be found here.
To celebrate the 1951 Festival of Britain, the Southbank Centre have created a lively urban environment on the London Southbank, centred around four different ‘lands’ - Land, Seaside, Power and Production and People of Britain.
Far from feeling contrived, the whole space feels natural and vibrant. The massive mix of spaces, structures and activities, combined with a clever use of texture and sounds, stimulates the senses! It is thronged in the evenings with both locals and tourists - visible evidence of its success. It is a must visit for anyone in London and the roof top bar is THE place to watch the sun set over London!! More pictures to follow!
Public bicycle sharing schemes such as Barcelona’s “Bicing” program or London’s “Boris Bikes” save lives and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study on Friday.
Bike schemes are becoming increasingly popular in cities around the world, with more than 360 already running, but their main aim is usually to ease congestion rather than boost health.
Researchers at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona found in a study, however, that around 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide pollution are averted and some 12 lives saved each year by Barcelona’s scheme, which was introduced in March 2007.
“Active transport policies such as bike sharing systems promote physical activity among the population and are a good means to improve public health and also reduce expenses in public health services,” said David Rojas-Rueda, whose study was published in the British Medical Journal.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week and says this could be done by walking for 30 minutes five times per week, or by cycling to work every day.
The researchers said this initial assessment suggested it was important “to encourage cities to change car use by cycling and stimulate the implementation of bike sharing systems in cities to improve the health of the population.”
Check out the rest of the article, including details about London and Barcelona’s bike share systems, here. For an overview of the rapid growth of bike sharing programs around the world take a look at National Geographic’s recent article, ‘Bike share Schemes Shift Into High Gear’. Ride on!
In a bid to genuinely promote and facilitate cycling, Munich is mandating that any new residential buildings will need to have one bike parking spot for every 40 square metres of living space! The city is also prescribing the parking space needed for each bike, 1.5 square metres of room.
The draft London Plan is less committal, recommending 1 bicycle space per 1 or 2 bed unit or 2 per 3 or more bed unit!
Love this! Its such a cool idea. London’s beautiful waterways are completely underused and under appreciated. This is a great idea to get people out exploring their city!
The Floating Cinema invites you on board as it navigates the waterways of the Host Boroughs this summer. Created by Hackney-based architects Studio Weave and artist duo Somewhere (Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie), this extraordinary customised narrow boat hosts a varied and vibrant programme of free on-board screenings, quirky canal tours, talks and workshops. The Floating Cinema will also present larger scale outdoor film events for canal side audiences and informal drop-in Open Thursdays where you can meet the crew, relax and watch rare films selected especially for the Floating Cinema by artists Somewhere. The Floating Cinema is a continuation of UP Projects’Portavilion programme of temporary pavilion commissions, this time for the waterways of east London.
When a negative event leads to a positive outcome!
A disenchanted architect called Anthony Lau invented Cyclehoop after his bike was nicked in London! I think they are amazing! A quick, easy and cheap way to retrofit London with bicycle spaces! Many London and other county boroughs are now installing them (I spotted one around the corner from me)!
This summer a derelict petrol station on Clerkenwell Road will be transformed into a hand-built cinema celebrating the extravagance and ceremony of the picture palace.
Primarily constructed using donated and found materials; The Cineroleum will be an improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema’s golden age. Popcorn, paper tickets, elaborate signage and flip-down seats will collectively recreate the familiar excitement of cinema-going.
Enclosed by an ornate curtain strung from the forecourt roof, The Cineroleum will host screenings from sundown four nights a week. With a programme of off-beat classics that celebrate the social experience of watching the big screen, stars from Buster Keaton to Barbarella will flicker, dance and shoot their way over The Cineroleum screen. Just as the drive-ins of 1950’s America brought cinema out from its enclosures and into suburbia, The Cineroleum will be a street-side cinema that is truly exposed to the city.
The project has been conceived and built by a collective of young artists, designers and architects committed to the creative re-use of urban spaces. With 4,000 petrol stations currently lying derelict in the UK, this pilot project demonstrates the potential for their transformation as exciting and unusual spaces for public use.
For more information, press inquiries or to be involved in the construction of The Cineroleum, please email email@example.com.