Posts tagged urbanism

How Deliveroo’s ‘dark kitchens’ are catering from car parks

Deliveroo, dark-kitchen, urbanism, JIT, shipping-container, on-demand, outsourcing, distribution, fo

A tatty car park under a railway line is squeezed between a busy road, an industrial site and a semi-derelict pub covered in graffiti. It’s one of the grittiest parts of east London and probably the last place you would imagine some of the trendiest eateries in the country to be preparing meals. But the grimy spot is just a short moped ride from the gleaming office towers of Canary Wharf and upmarket docklands apartments, and is therefore the perfect location for the latest idea from Deliveroo, the food courier service. It is setting up dozens of “dark kitchens” in prefabricated structures for restaurants that want to expand their businesses without opening expensive high street premises. Ten metal boxes of a similar size to a shipping container are on this site in Blackwall. They are fitted with industrial kitchen equipment, and two or three chefs and kitchen porters are at work in each, preparing food for restaurants including the Thai chain Busaba Eathai, the US-style MeatLiquor diners, the Franco Manca pizza parlours and Motu, an Indian food specialist set up by the family behind Mayfair’s Michelin-starred Gymkhana. The boxes have no windows and many of the chefs work with the doors open, through which they can be seen stirring huge pans or flipping burgers. Outside there are piles of spare equipment, mops in buckets, gas cylinders for the stoves and large cans of cooking oil.


Skateboarding History in 100 Video Clips

Skateboarding, skating, urbanism, skateboarding studies, history


Kingpin reports on the collection of videos that Professor Iain Borden has compiled in his re-write of his seminal academic work on Skateboarding. His new book ‘Skateboarding and the City’ will be published in 2018 and has been brought up to date and also made interactive. In accompanying the book Iain has put together a playlist with classic clips from skateboarding’s past. The playlistis an amazing resource for skateboarding fans and you will find yourself clicking through old favourites and undiscovered gems.

Skateboarding History in 100 Video Clips

A Brief History of City Charters

Medium, urbanism, smart cities, charter cities

Most cities, as Cohen points out, are comfortable staying — nay, even consolidating the 2.0 status quo. He holds out Singapore as an example. On the contrary, Vienna, Barcelona, Medellin, and Vancouver seems to be playing with a greater appetite for genuine co-creation. Still, most of what’s going on seems to be playing at the edges. There isn’t much evidence that the capabilities of smart city technology are being leveraged to truly re-think what local government is for, and create a new legal framework for governing. If we want power in government to flow in different directions, we need to re-do the plumbing.


What can we learn from Songdo IBD, a $35 billion, 1500 acre model for future smart city?

Medium, urbanism, korea, smart cities, Songdo

In South Korea, 35 miles away from Seoul, Songdo IBD, which is probably the smartest city in the world, has been built ground up near Yellow Sea. 1500 acre, with more than $35 billion investment, it is a utopian pilot land for developers to invest enormously in technologies, so what experience does this ambitious prototype provide us for future smart cities?


Tom Vanderbilt Explains Why We Could Predict Self-Driving Cars, But Not Women in the Workplace

futurism, culture, change, futures, myopia, history, technology, chronocentrism, zepplins, urbanism

People in the innovation-obsessed present tend to overstate the impact of technology not only in the future, but also the present. We tend to imagine we are living in a world that could scarcely have been imagined a few decades ago. It is not uncommon to read assertions like: “Someone would have been unable at the beginning of the 20th century to even dream of what transportation would look like a half a century later.” And yet zeppelins were flying in 1900; a year before, in New York City, the first pedestrian had already been killed by an automobile. Was the notion of air travel, or the thought that the car was going to change life on the street, really so beyond envisioning—or is it merely the chauvinism of the present, peering with faint condescension at our hopelessly primitive predecessors? The historian Lawrence Samuel has called social progress the “Achilles heel” of futurism. He argues that people forget the injunction of the historian and philosopher Arnold Toynbee: Ideas, not technology, have driven the biggest historical changes. When technology changes people, it is often not in the ways one might expect: Mobile technology, for example, did not augur the “death of distance,” but actually strengthened the power of urbanism. The washing machine freed women from labor, and, as the social psychologists Nina Hansen and Tom Postmes note, could have sparked a revolution in gender roles and relations. But, “instead of fueling feminism,” they write, “technology adoption (at least in the first instance) enabled the emergence of the new role of housewife: middle-class women did not take advantage of the freed-up time … to rebel against structures or even to capitalize on their independence.” Instead, the authors argue, the women simply assumed the jobs once held by their servants.


Urban exploration as deviant leisure

deviant leisure, recreational tresspass, exploration, urbex, commercialism, urbanism

Clearly, recreational trespass and other “urban interventions” in and of themselves do little to challenge the status quo of late capitalist urbanism. Rather ironically, if unsurprisingly, the proliferation and popular awareness of urban exploration has contributed to a tightening of the very spatial controls that recreational trespassers seek to subvert. For instance, people sneaking onto construction sites merely for the sake of doing so is now something that security contractors actively seek to prevent through heightened security measures. Furthermore, there is little that is inherently “transgressive” about recreational trespassers’ thrill-seeking. In fact, within our current cultural conjuncture, such practices might well be more accurately conceived of as hyper-conformist (see Moxon, 2011; Raymen and Smith, 2015).

Masdar City

build it and they might come, Masdar, top down, urbanism, flat pack futures, city planning, UAE

The Masdar City model seems difficult to reproduce: too isolated, too expensive, too empty. The embryo town appears rather as a symptom of the obsession of a state with regard to its future. What will become of this territory, once the hydrocarbon reserves underneath its soil are depleted? In response, the frenzied builders attempt to inscribe life in a permanent fashion on a land that seems hostile to human existence. It is about facing the fear of death by building quickly (an “instant city”), to help transition to an Emirates that is a techno-ecological leader. Masdar City is meant to be the laboratory. Opening soon

Urban guides for cyberflâneurs

Maria Popova, Adam Greenfield, Ben Hammersley, utopia, urbanism, architecture, review, books, urbane

Upon opening A smart Guide to Utopia, the first statement you read claims that cities are the true natural habitat of the human race: “Cities are where we are best, where individuals become communities.” Even if we don’t agree with such a manifesto, it is bold enough to catch our attention and hold our interested while discovering the 111 projects from across Europe presented in the book. Nearly all the projects can be described under the motto of tactical urbanism and bottom-up practices. Each chapter starts with a brief essay — “open your mind” — on the future of the city by a selection of writers and researchers including Ben Hammersley, Maria Popova and Adam Greenfield.

Extended Senses & Invisible Fences

machine perception, AI, machine readable, humanities, Cities, cities, technolgy, urbanism, urban, An

Amidst the swirling maelstrom of technological progress so often heralded as the imminent salvation to all our ills, it can be necessary to remind ourselves that humanity sits at the center, not technology. And yet, we extrude these tools so effortlessly as if secreted by some glandular Technos expressed from deep within our genetic code. It’s difficult to separate us from our creations but it’s imperative that we examine this odd relationship as we engineer more autonomy, sensitivity, and cognition into the machines we bring into this world. The social environment, typified by the contemporary urban landscape, is evolving to include non-human actors that routinely engage with us, examining our behaviors, mediating our relationships, and assigning or revoking our rights. It is this evolving human-machine socialization that I wish to consider.