Places to Live – Cities and Towns 6

I found the last three articles in the “Cities Series”  difficult to write because I wanted to get it right. So, I thought I would change it up this week with some blurbs on different kinds of Places to Live. 

Willowbrook Apartments, Los Angeles 

Designed by Los Angeles Architect Michael Lehrer, these seven small but airy homes have been designed for disabled veterans living on the LA streets. Every two of the 300 sf units share an entry patio and are mirrored back-to-back for efficient construction. There is a community meeting area and a laundry room. See photo above.

East Rancho Apartments, Los Angeles 

East Rancho Apartments

Also from Michael Lehrer, this 3200 sf duplex built on a small in-fill lot for 10 formerly homeless teens in South LA. The design team created a bright, colourful, optimistic space that considered the service agency’s vision of its clients as “at promise” rather than “at risk”. The residents have private space but share bathrooms, a living space, and shaded balconies all on a beautifully landscaped lot.  

Zoncuantla Apartments, Veracruz

Zoncuantla Apartments, Veracruz

Hardly  social housing, I know! However, this kind of project helps drive imaginative solutions to effective land use – even when that land is cliffside. This four-apartment block sits on an 8600 sf lot, uses a little less than 50% of the land surface, thus preserving over 50% for green space. Planted: thirty-one trees and about eight other plants every 10 sf. Site development allows for maximum rainwater absorption to help maintain the ecosystem of the surrounding rainforest. 

Mighty Buildings  

A 3-D Printed Home by Mighty Buildings

Mighty Buildings claims that this house in Desert Springs, California is the world’s first 3-D printed net zero home. Printed in Oakland, California the Light Stone walls have four times the strength of conventional concrete, weigh 30% less, and produce less carbon dioxide. Mighty Buildings claims that it reduces construction waste 99%, partly by recycling 60% of 3-D printing materials. It also claims that it can build a home in half the time it takes traditional house builders. 

And then there is Solarpunk  

Singapore – an aesthetic ambition?

Now this may be out there! Solarpunk is about the future and the belief that humans can live in harmony with the planet. Local communities thrive, diversity is embraced, and the planet Earth becomes a green Utopia. Essayist and public philosopher, Hanzi Freinacht, posits that to change environmental direction, it is not enough to be motivated by fear of pollution and climate change. And, that there has to be more than a moral mission such as saving the animals. 

Freinacht believes we need an aesthetic ambition – a vision of beauty, good taste; a sense of creativity and inspiration. So what has this got to do with places to live? Freinacht argues that the aesthetic ambition can move the Western middle-class towards  the kinds of lifestyle and economic changes that the climate crisis requires. If you are not sure what this looks like – think Singapore pictured above. 

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”.

William Morris, Arts and Crafts Movement circa 1860 

Lisbon – A City on the Rise?

March 7, 2023

Lisbon’s seven hills and waterfront make it visually spectacular. The second oldest capital in Europe, the city has energy. Busy streets and squares, full restaurants, and vibrant night life – the city pulsates. And, the population seems young. All signs of a city on the rise? Earthquake A 1755 earthquake destroyed 85% of the city […]

Cities and Towns, The Affordable Housing Problem

February 8, 2023

People living on the street have come to symbolize the global housing crisis but they are only the tip of the iceberg. While the examples of Finland and Houston demonstrate a focussed plan pursued diligently can resolve the housing situation for the chronically homeless, addressing the affordable housing problem is much more complex.  Defining Affordability […]

I Love to Dance

January 29, 2023

I love to dance. This is not something new for me. I can’t remember when I didn’t like to move to the music. My first memories of watching others dance come from my childhood in Cape Breton where I would watch the adults square dance. Then, there were the step dancers who would often accompany […]

Cities and Towns 8, A City is About People

January 19, 2023

Kings Cross, once a thriving industrial and transport centre in London, was effectively closed  off  to the public by the end of the 20th century.   Then in 1996, the decision was made to move the British terminus for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St-Pancras. The landowner saw a re-development opportunity for […]

NEOM - the Wall

Cities and Towns 7, Cities and Towns Evolve

January 8, 2023

I have postulated that cities and towns evolve. That towns and villages first grow in areas where the basics to support life were plentiful. Typically, that means good agricultural land and good access to water. Other valuable considerations include safety, and resilience. The bonus – access to trade routes.  Walt Disney and the Fully Formed […]

Christmas Poem 2022

December 22, 2022

A Visit from Saint Nicholas A Poem by Jonathan Potter – December 2022 ‘Twas the first mask-free Christmas, when all through the stores  The vaccinated children were spewing their spores;The shoppers were eagerly starting to riotAs the introverts longed for some quarantine quiet. The public healthcare workers were tracing the pathOf the flu and RSV, […]