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Tokyo Totem | トーキョー・トーテム
"This publication is the result of a collaboration between international and Japanese authors and makers from various disciplines, ranging from art to social science and from urban studies to design. What they have in common is their interest and fascination with cities, and in particular Tokyo’s urban culture.

This eclectic group grew from an international urban research and exploration workshop on Tokyo organised by Amsterdam-based studio Monnik and hosted by Tokyo’s SHIBAURA HOUSE exactly 3 years ago, on 30 October 2012. Everybody’s efforts resulted in the essay’s, maps, photo essay’s, collage’s, poem’s, manga’s, illustrations and observation’s that have been collected in this book that is hard to categorize. It is called a guide, not because it helps you to find places to see, or places to eat or drink, but because it helps you to read and see the city differently. Each contribution let’s you experience a different city. You may look at the city through the eyes of a bathhouse connoisseur, a host, an architect, a topographer, a flaneur, a konbini anthropologist, a foreigner, an artist or a child. In a way each author is a guide, and thus this guide book is reality 46 guidebooks. Amongst your ‘guides’ are social design researcher Atsushi Miura, Tokyo Urban Basin Society president Norihisa Minagawa, architect Julian Worrall, architect Julian Worrall, artist Arne Hendriks, editor Kohei Fukazawa, architect Yasutaka Yoshimura, visual artist Jan Rothuizen, urbanism professor Christian Dimmer, anthropologist Gavin H. Whitelaw, bathhouse connoisseur Greg Dvorak and many others.

Learn more about this book, and check out the general information, table of contents, introduction and some selected sample material from the book. And come to the book launch and the opening of the Tokyo Totem on October 30th."

[See also:

"Tokyo Totem, the ultimate guide for the befuddled Tokyoite, has finally come to the rescue"
https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/blog/tokyo-totem-the-ultimate-guide-for-the-befuddled-tokyoite-has-finally-come-to-the-rescue-040416

https://www.ideabooks.nl/9784904894286-tokyo-totem-a-guide-to-tokyo

"Among cities, Tokyo in particular seems to baffle foreigners. This subjective guidebook to the spectacular Japanese metropolis intends to help you navigate and read the city in a way that evokes both a sense of adventure and a feeling of belonging. A whole spectrum of seasoned urban explorers invites you to look, read, and experience Tokyo differently, offering insights and imaginative perspectives to understand the city, its facets, and wealth of features. From a tour of Roppongi’s uneven topography, konbini food offerings, and exploring bathhouses, to following the rhythm of temporal urban totems, this densely packed book guarantees an alternative take on Tokyo."

https://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-Totem-Guide-English-Japanese/dp/4904894286

"This publication is the result of a collaboration between international and Japanese authors and makers from various disciplines. What they have in common is their interest and fascination with cities, and in particular Tokyos urban culture. Everybodys efforts resulted in the essays, maps, photo essays, collages, poems, mangas, and observations that have been collected in this book that is hard to categorize. It is called a guide, not because it helps you to find places to see, eat or drink, but because it helps you to read and see the city differently. Each contribution lets you experience a different city. You may look at the city through the eyes of a bathhouse connoisseur, a host, an architect, a topographer, an artist, or a child."]
tokyo  japan  books  exploration  multimedia  mixedmedia  citie  urban  urbanism 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Sayaka Murata - Wikipedia
[See also Convenience Store Woman:
https://groveatlantic.com/book/convenience-store-woman/
https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/sayaka-murata-eerie-convenience-store-woman-is-a-love-story-between-a-misfit-and-a-store
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/books/review-convenience-store-woman-sayaka-murata.html ]

"Sayaka Murata (村田沙耶香 Murata Sayaka) is a Japanese writer. She has won the Gunzo Prize for New Writers, the Mishima Yukio Prize, the Noma Literary New Face Prize, and the Akutagawa Prize.

Biography
Murata was born in Inzai, Chiba Prefecture, Japan in 1979. As a child she often read science fiction and mystery novels borrowed from her brother and mother, and her mother bought her a word processor after she attempted to write a novel by hand in the fourth grade of elementary school.[1] After Murata completed middle school in Inzai, her family moved to Tokyo, where she graduated from Kashiwa High School (attached to Nishogakusha University) and attended Tamagawa University.[2]

Kashiwa High School
Her first novel, Jyunyū (Breastfeeding), won the 2003 Gunzo Prize for New Writers.[3] In 2013 she won the Mishima Yukio Prize for Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (Of Bones, Of Body Heat, of Whitening City).[4] In 2016 her 10th novel, Konbini ningen (Convenience Store People), won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize,[5] and she was named one of Vogue Japan's Women of the Year.[6] Konbini ningen has sold over 600,000 copies in Japan, and in 2018 it became her first book to be translated into English, under the title Convenience Store Woman.[7]

Throughout her writing career Murata has worked part-time as a convenience store clerk in Tokyo.[8]

Writing style
Murata's writing explores the different consequences of nonconformity in society for men and women, particularly with regard to gender roles, parenthood, and sex.[9] Many of the themes and character backstories in her writing come from her daily observations as a part-time convenience store worker.[8] Societal acceptance of sexlessness in various forms, including asexuality, involuntary celibacy, and voluntary celibacy, especially within marriage, recurs as a theme in several of her works, such as the novels Shōmetsu sekai (Dwindling World) and Konbini ningen (Convenience Store Person), and the short story "A Clean Marriage."[10][11] Murata is also known for her frank depictions of adolescent sexuality in work such as Gin iro no uta (Silver Song)[12] and Shiro-iro no machi no, sono hone no taion no (Of Bones, of Body Heat, of Whitening City).[13]"
srg  japan  japanese  sayakamurata  howwewrite  conveniencestores  tokyo  asexuality  celibacy  marriage  gender  sexuality  nonconformity  parenthood  genderroles 
january 2019 by robertogreco
LTWP | Tokyo and the Mini-Map
[also here: https://github.com/ltwp/ltwp/blob/master/writing/tokyo_mini_map.md
https://tinyletter.com/gnamma/letters/gnamma-6-a-breather-tokyo-and-the-mini-map ]

"I went to Japan for the first time recently with my friend Nathan, after a decade of mounting interest credit to a boyhood of manga, Miyazaki, and Nintendo. Much of what we enjoyed was just walking around.

Tokyo in particular was dazzling in its balance of vastness and minute detail. Its differences from LA, the large city that I know best, are acute. I had been warned by friends that finding things in Japan, no less Tokyo, required patience, as there is no over-arching city structure, streets are rarely named, Google Maps spotty, and directions given completely relative. (Google Maps did prove immensely useful for getting within a ballpark.) Meanwhile, Los Angeles, while not completely a modernist’s dream, is mostly grids and scaffolded by well-labeled arteries. I regularly wish Google Maps could give me directions in the just-precise-enough way that Angelinos do: “take the 105 to the 110 North and get off at Figueroa… go up a bit, past the school, then it’ll be on your right.” In LA, these major roads provide a fairly immutable reference grid for the city. Tokyo residents must have their own techniques for finding things to the necessary fidelity of their city.

I picked up Fumihiko Maki’s City with a Hidden Past at Tsutaya Books in Daikanyama and ate it up as Tokyo revealed itself. The book has some history on land use and the growth patterns that shaped Edo-Tokyo. Knowing just a bit about land use, expansion, and topography make a city richer and more legible.

Modern Tokyo addressing can get you within a block of what you’re looking for; sub-block specificity, including which door on which floor of which unmarked apartment building, still requires tenacity. (Kudos to the Japanese Post.) In chapter 5, the author notes that the denser the neighborhood, the more the street gets used as personal space, and more “neighborliness” is often exhibited. (Note this was written before super-dense high-rises existed.) The denser the neighborhood, too, the harder to locate things tucked away. We found that, when seeking something nearby, people were excited to help and occasionally went to lengths to help us locate it.

[image]

Maki’s book discusses the crucial distinction between street as ground versus street as figure across urban and architectural scales. Central Tokyo feels very much the former. Details of careful homesteading fill your visual space while tiny, unlabeled streets function as just a vessel. In Los Angeles, it’s the opposite—the grand, charactered avenues and freeways navigate a sea of monotone housing. (The Hollywood and East side hills don’t quite fit this paradigm, though.)

[image]

Maki’s book discusses the crucial distinction between street as ground versus street as figure across urban and architectural scales. Central Tokyo feels very much the former. Details of careful homesteading fill your visual space while tiny, unlabeled streets function as just a vessel. In Los Angeles, it’s the opposite—the grand, charactered avenues and freeways navigate a sea of monotone housing. (The Hollywood and East side hills don’t quite fit this paradigm, though.)

[image]

Chapter 3, on the Japanese sense of place and microtopology, notes that the orienting landmarks of Tokyo are hills, shrines, department stores, convenience stores, and perhaps historic sites. I started to collect the mini-maps I found across our Japan trip, as reference ephemera to see what things were chosen as orientation markers, and how large a scale was deemed necessary to make a place findable again. Schools, Museums, and recognizable chain brands are indeed frequent, as are the through lines of train tracks and rivers. Hills have largely been folded into placenames proper. Streets and buildings bounce between foreground and background in the maps, and in some the streets are actually labeled. Not all have North pointed up. There is a lot of variety, but nearly all are tightly cropped. Some mini-maps even expect that their location be found virtually only by a visual of the local urban topology. Directions become completely relative: dependent on your ability to find a landmark, know which way is North, and remember where you got off the train.

[image]

Nearly anyone who has played videogames, and the vast swath of the wealthy world that has used GIS navigation software, is accustomed to using a mini-map for local or superlocal orientation and contextual construction. The crucial decisions of what’s included in the map depend on expected audience, common references, and necessary fidelity: the same decisions we make giving directions in any city.

Peter Turchi, in Maps of the Imagination, writes about prototypical use of the digital mini-map:
A common premise of [video] games is that they show the player only a very limited portion of physical ‘space’ at any one time. The key to success is […] to find your way through the [landscape], which is revealed only in fragments, creating mystery and suspense.

Navigating a city isn’t a video game (though Pokémon Go and Geocaching challenge that). However, getting around a new city—especially one without legible large-scale structure—can feel like exploring the unknown as one moves between points of comprehension (intersections, plazas, landmarks).

From the ground, every city exposes itself in pieces, and the urbanite’s mental map accumulates with time and observation. Now that I am back in Southern California, my mental map of Tokyo is but a patchwork of mini-maps, subway lines, and locally understood spaces—all quickly stagnating until the dynamic replenishment of future conversations, more maps, and, hopefully, another trip.

— Lukas
3 August 2018"
srg  tokyo  japan  maps  2018  mapping  losangeles  lukaswinklerprins 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Everyday life in bygone days in Tokyo, 1966 昭和東京 - YouTube
"A German camera crew filmed this record of family life in Tokyo 45 years ago. The children go off to school and father works in the factory. It was the start of the industrial boom in the so-called Showa time. Labour was still cheap. TV sets were hand soldered. Many parts were still manufactured in small home industries. Finally the family gathers again in their tiny homes. Futons behind the wall doors. A time Japanese are still nostalgic about."
japan  tokyo  srg  1966  video 
october 2018 by robertogreco
What It Would Take to Set American Kids Free | The New Yorker
"My trip coincided with the publication of “The Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Plea: Let Kids Play!” in the Times Magazine, a masterful bit of parental trolling whose comment section reached a symbolic two thousand and sixteen entries before it was closed. The dozens of adventure playgrounds in Tokyo offer, as a public amenity, what Mike Lanza (the “anti-helicopter parent” in question) says he created in his private Menlo Park, California, back yard: a challenging and unscheduled place for physical play that is largely free of parental supervision. Lanza is far from alone in believing that American children have a play problem. Take a look at Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids blog, which is peppered with reports of cops and child-protective services being called when parents leave their kids to play unsupervised. Lanza’s own book, “Playborhood,” describes the kids-can’t-play problem as both a social one and a spatial one. Without broader community support, such back-yard attempts at free play like his are doomed to become exercises in vanity. Look at them on the roof! My kids are more resilient than yours!

The overprogrammed, oversterilized, overprotected lives of (some of) America’s youth are the result of a nexus of changes to work life, home life, and street life that have made bringing up babies into a series of consumer choices, from unsubsidized day care forward. It is the public realm—where the Tokyo playgrounds operate—that needs to change for American children to have unstructured afternoons and weekends, for them to bike and walk between school and the playground, to see packs of kids get together without endless chains of parental texts. Kawasaki City, where Kodomo Yume Park is located, created its own Ordinance on the Rights of the Child, in 2001, which includes an article promising to make “secure and comfortable places for children.”

But independence requires infrastructure. Hanegi Playpark was founded in 1975 by Kenichi Omura, a landscape architect, and his wife Shoko Omura, an English teacher. They translated the key book on adventure play into Japanese and then travelled to Europe to meet with the woman who was their prime mover from the nineteen-fifties on: Lady Allen of Hurtwood. Lady Allen had seen the first such “junk playground” in Emdrup, outside Copenhagen, where it became a refuge for youth then under German occupation. She spent subsequent decades as a “propagandist for children’s play.” In Tokyo, a low crime rate and a society accustomed to community ownership of public space has created, around Hanegi and approximately thirteen other such parks, a city where there is more room for innocent error.

The road to Kodomo Yume Park (which means “children’s dream”) was narrow and winding, and there was no sidewalk for much of the way. And yet it was safe, because the tiny cars knew to look for pedestrians and cyclists, and drove at slower speeds. There were people in the houses and stores along the route, and few of the buildings were more than three or four stories tall, offering “eyes on the street” as well as adults who might be appealed to for help. The neighborhood, like the adventure playground, operated as a safety net, ready in case of trouble but not often deployed. A mother who was camped out at Yume Park with five children, the youngest a three-month-old, told me a story—hilarious for her—that would have been a nightmare for me. Her two-year-old, who had observed his five-year-old brother being sent to the corner to buy bread, decided he could do the same, and turned up at the shop with an empty wallet. I looked around at the protected bike lanes, the publicly funded playground workers, and the houses where people are home in the afternoon. Do I wish that my kids—who are five and nine**—**could roll on their own from school to the park, meet friends, and appear on the doorstep at 5 p.m., muddy, damp, and full of play? I do, but then I think of the Saturdays dominated by sports schedules, the windswept winter playgrounds, the kids hit by cars in crosswalks, with the light. It isn’t the idea of my kids holding a hammer or saw that scares me but the idea of trying to make community alone.

At the adventure playgrounds, the kids build the equipment they need under the hands-off supervision of play workers trained to facilitate but not to interfere. I’ve read the diary of the first play worker, John Bertelsen, who ran the adventure playground that Lady Allen visited at Emdrup. His account of the day-to-day in 1943 sounds quite similar to what I observed in 2016.
At 10:45 am today the playground opened . . . We began by moving all the building material in the open shed. Bricks, boards, fireposts and cement pillars were moved to the left alongside the entrance, where building and digging started right away. The work was done by children aged 4 to 17. It went on at full speed and all the workers were in high spirits; dust, sweat, warning shouts and a few scratches all created just the right atmosphere. The children’s play- and work-ground had opened, and they knew how to take full advantage of it.

The do-it-yourself rule is, to a certain extent, self-limiting, as towers built with simple tools are shorter than those ordered from catalogues. I saw plenty of children up on roofs—the rule was, if you can climb up without a ladder, relying on your own strength and ingenuity, it’s O.K. In a documentary on The Land, a Welsh adventure playground, a play worker describes the difference between risk and hazard: a risk you take on knowingly; a hazard is unexpected, like a nail sticking out of a board. The play workers are there to remove hazards and leave the risks.

Journalism about adventure play tends to emphasize the danger, but these spaces actually need to be seen as exceptionally porous community centers, in which lots of social activities, for parents and children, occur. “Risky play” is a way for children to test their own limits, and because the parks are embedded in residential communities they can do so at their own pace. Hitoshi Shimamura, who runs the organization Tokyo Play, told me that he has sessions to teach parents to use the tools, because their fear derived from their own lack of experience. Kids also need time to ease into the freedom and figure out which activity most appeals to them. If adventure play were to become permanent in New York, it would do better as a permanent fixture in a neighborhood than as a weekend destination. At a temporary adventure playground set up by Play:Ground on Governors Island this summer, a sign on the fence read, “Your children are fine without advice and suggestions,” though legally, children under six had to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The “adventure” can be with water, with tools, with real fire, or just with pretend kitchen equipment, allowing the parks to appeal to a broad array of children, and over a longer period of time. What this means, in practice, is a range of activity during days, weeks, or even years. In the morning, adventure playgrounds become settings for an urban version of a forest preschool, where small children learn the basics of getting along outdoors. In the afternoon, they become a place for older kids to let off steam between school and homework; many communities in Tokyo play a public chime at five in the afternoon—a mass call that is it time to go home. On the weekends, Yume Park might ring with the hammers of children, but for teen-agers there are other options: a recording studio with padded walls; a wooden shed piled with bike parts for the taking; a quiet, shaded place for conversation. Bertelsen wrote in his diary,
Occasionally, complaints have been made that the playground does not possess a smart enough appearance, and that children cannot possibly be happy playing about in such a jumble. To this I should only like to say that, at times, the children can shape and mould [sic] the playground in such a way that it is a monument to their efforts and a source of aesthetic pleasure to the adult eye; at other times it can appear, to the adult eye, like a pigsty. However, children’s play is not what the adults see, but what the child himself experiences.

One of my favorite moments in Tokyo occurred late one afternoon at a smaller adventure playground, Komazawa Harappa, a long sliver of space in a tight residential neighborhood, masked from the street by a simple hedge. Three kids fanned the flames in a fire pit; a baby padded about a dirty pool dressed in a diaper; two small boys, hammering on a house, had remembered to take their shoes off on the porch. But not everyone felt the need to be busy. Two teen-age girls had climbed up on the roof of the play workers’ house, via a self-built platform of poles and planks, and seemed deep in conversation. Suddenly, they began to sing, their clear voices ringing out over the open space."
alexandralange  children  unschooling  deschooling  community  2016  infrastructure  parks  playgrounds  adventureplaygrounds  risk  risktaking  hazards  japan  parenting  openstudioproject  messiness  johnbertelsen  kenishiomura  ladyallen  emdrup  copenhagen  tokyo  kodomoyumepark  srg  urban  urbanism  play  lenoreskenazy  hanegiplaypark  tools  dirt  order  rules  mikelanza  supervision  safety  independence  us  shokoomura  diy  risklyplay  lcproject  tcsnmt  sfsh 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Yes, You Can Build Your Way to Affordable Housing | Sightline Institute
"Houston, Tokyo, Chicago, Montreal, Vienna, Singapore, Germany—all these places have built their way to affordable housing. They’re not alone. Housing economist Issi Romem has detailed the numerous American metro areas that have done the same: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, and more. Many more. They have done so mostly by sprawling like Houston.

In fact, Romem’s principal finding is that US cities divide into three groups: expansive cities (sprawling cities where housing is relatively affordable such as those just listed), expensive cities (which sprawl much less but are more expensive because they resist densification, typified by San Francisco), and legacy cities (like Detroit, which are not growing).

Romem’s research makes clear that the challenge for Cascadian cities is to densify their way to affordability—a rare feat on this continent. Chicago and Montreal are the best examples mentioned above.

In Cascadia’s cities, though, an ascendant left-leaning political approach tends to discount such private-market urbanism for social democratic approaches like that in Vienna.

Unfortunately, the Vienna model, like the Singapore one, may not be replicable in Cascadia. Massive public spending and massive public control work in both Vienna and Singapore, but they depend on long histories of public-sector involvement in housing plus entrenched institutions and national laws that are beyond the pale of North American politics. No North American jurisdiction has ever come close to building enough public or nonprofit housing to keep up with aggregate housing demand. This statement is not to disparage subsidized housing for those at the bottom of the economic ladder or with special needs. Cascadia’s social housing programs provide better residences for hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise be in substandard homes or on the streets.

But acknowledging the implausibility of the Vienna model for Cascadia may help us have realistic expectations about how large (well, small) a contribution public and nonprofit housing can make in solving the region’s housing shortage writ large. Accepting that reality may help us guard against wishful thinking.

Because adopting a blinkered view of housing models is dangerous. Adopting the view that Vienna, for example, is the one true path to the affordable city—a view that fits well with a strand of urban Cascadia’s current left-leaning politics, which holds that profit-seeking in homebuilding is suspect and that capitalist developers, rather than being necessary means to the end of abundant housing, are to be resisted in favor of virtuous not-for-profit or public ventures—runs the risk of taking us to a different city entirely.

In the political, legal, and institutional context of North America, trying to tame the mega-billion-dollar home building industry—and the mega-trillion dollar real-estate asset value held by homeowners and companies—in order to steer the entire housing economy toward a Viennese public-and-nonprofit model may end up taking us not to Vienna at all but to a different city. It might end up delivering us to San Francisco. So . . ."
housing  houston  tokyo  chicago  montreal  vienna  singapore  germany  economics  policy  cascadia  sanfrancisco  seattle  phoenix  atlanta  chrarlotte  dallas  lasvegas  orlando  raleigh  sprawl  northamerica  us  canada 
september 2017 by robertogreco
The Future of Cities – Medium
[video (embedded): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOWk5yCMMs ]

"Organic Filmmaking and City Re-Imagining

What does “the future of cities” mean? To much of the developing world, it might be as simple as aspiring to having your own toilet, rather than sharing one with over 100 people. To a family in Detroit, it could mean having non-toxic drinking water. For planners and mayors, it’s about a lot of things — sustainability, economy, inclusivity, and resilience. Most of us can hope we can spend a little less time on our commutes to work and a little more time with our families. For a rich white dude up in a 50th floor penthouse, “the future of cities” might mean zipping around in a flying car while a robot jerks you off and a drone delivers your pizza. For many companies, the future of cities is simply about business and money, presented to us as buzzwords like “smart city” and “the city of tomorrow.”

I started shooting the “The Future of a Cities” as a collaboration with the The Nantucket Project, but it really took shape when hundreds of people around the world responded to a scrappy video I made asking for help.

Folks of all ages, from over 75 countries, volunteered their time, thoughts, work, and footage so that I could expand the scope of the piece and connect with more people in more cities. This strategy saved me time and money, but it also clarified the video’s purpose, which inspired me to put more energy into the project in order to get it right. I was reading Jan Gehl, Jane Jacobs, Edward Glaeser, etc. and getting excited about their ideas — after seeing what mattered to the people I met in person and watching contributions from those I didn’t, the video gained focus and perspective.

If I hired a production services outfit to help me film Mumbai, it would actually be a point of professional pride for the employees to deliver the Mumbai they think I want to see. If some young filmmakers offer to show me around their city and shoot with me for a day, we’re operating on another level, and a very different portrait of a city emerges. In the first scenario, my local collaborators get paid and I do my best to squeeze as much work out of the time period paid for as possible. In the second, the crew accepts more responsibility but gains ownership, hopefully leaving the experience feeling more empowered.

Architect and former mayor of Curitiba Jaime Lerner famously said “if you want creativity, take a zero off your budget. If you want sustainability, take off two zeros.” It’s been my experience that this sustainability often goes hand-in-hand with humanity, and part of what I love about working with less resources and money is that it forces you to treat people like human beings. Asking someone to work with less support or equipment, or to contribute more time for less money, requires a mutual understanding between two people. If each person can empathize for the other, it’s been my experience that we’ll feel it in the work — both in the process and on screen.

Organic filmmaking requires you to keep your crew small and your footprint light. You start filming with one idea in mind, but the idea changes each day as elements you could never have anticipated inform the bigger picture. You make adjustments and pursue new storylines. You edit a few scenes, see what’s working and what’s not, then write new scenes. Shoot those, cut them in, then go back and write more. Each part of the process talks to the other. The movie teaches itself to be a better movie. Because organic is complicated, it can be tricky to defend and difficult to scale up, but because it’s cheap and low-resource, it’s easier to experiment. Learning about the self-organizing, living cities that I did on this project informed how we made the video. And looking at poorly planned urban projects reminded me of the broken yet prevailing model for making independent film in the U.S., where so many films are bound to fail — often in a way a filmmaker doesn’t recover from — before they even begin.

Jane Jacobs said that “cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” I’ve worked on videos for companies, for the guy in the penthouse, for nobody in particular, in the developing world, with rich people and poor people, for me, for my friends, and for artists. I’m so thankful for everybody who allowed me to make this film the way we did, and I hope the parallels between filmmaking and city building — where the stakes are so much higher — aren’t lost on anyone trying to make their city a better place. We should all be involved. The most sustainable future is a future that includes us all.

“The Future of Cities” Reading List

(There’s a longer list I discovered recently from Planetizen HERE but these are the ones I got into on this project — I’m excited to read many more)

The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs
The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser
Cities for People and Life Between Buildings by Jan Gehl
The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan Rose(just came out — incredible)
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World by Wade Graham
Connectography: Mapping The Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas
Low Life and The Other Paris by Luc Sante
A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook
Streetfight: Handbook for the Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-Term Change by Mike Lydon & Anthony Garcia
Living In The Endless City, edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic

“The Future of Cities” Select Interviewees:
David Hertz & Sky Source
Vicky Chan & Avoid Obvious Architects
Carlo Ratti: Director, MIT Senseable City Lab Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
Edward Glaeser: Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University Author of The Triumph of the City
Helle Søholt: Founding Parner & CEO, Gehl Architects
Ricky Burdett: Director, LSE Cities/Urban Age
Lauren Lockwood, Chief Digital Officer, City of Boston
Pablo Viejo: Smart Cities Expert & CTO V&V Innovations, Singapore
Matias Echanove & Urbz, Mumbai
Janette Sadik-Khan: Author, Advisor, & Former NYC DOT Commissioner
Abess Makki: CEO, City Insight
Dr. Parag Khanna: Author of Connectography
Stan Gale: CEO of Gale International, Developer of Songdo IBD
Dr. Jockin Arputham: President, Slum Dwellers International
Morton Kabell: Mayor for Technical & Environmental Affairs, Copenhagen
cities  urban  urbanplanning  urbanism  bikes  biking  cars  singapore  nyc  losangeles  janejacobs  jangehl  edwardglaeser  mumbai  tokyo  regulation  jaimelerner  curitiba  nantucketproject  carloratti  vickchan  davidhertz  hellesøholt  rickyburdett  laurenlockwood  pabloviejo  matiasechanove  urbz  janettesadik-khan  abessmakki  paragkhanna  stangale  jockinarputham  slumdwellersinternational  slums  mortonkabell  urbanization  future  planning  oscarboyson  mikelydon  anthonygarcia  danielbrook  lucsante  remkoolhaas  dayansudjic  rickyburdettsethsolomonow  wadegraham  charlesmontgomery  matthewclaudeljeffspeck  jonathanrose  transportation  publictransit  transit  housing  construction  development  local  small  grassroots  technology  internet  web  online  communications  infrastructure  services  copenhagen  sidewalks  pedestrians  sharing  filmmaking  film  video  taipei  seoul  santiago  aukland  songdo  sydney  london  nairobi  venice  shenzhen  2016  sustainability  environment  population  detroit  making  manufacturing  buildings  economics  commutes  commuting 
december 2016 by robertogreco
What It Would Take to Set American Kids Free - The New Yorker
"“Play freely at your own risk,” a well-known sign at Tokyo’s oldest adventure playground, Hanegi Playpark, reads. All three elements—play, freedom, risk—are in ample evidence at Kodomo Yume Park, a newer addition to the city’s play infrastructure. There’s an open space where young kids are building a village with their own hands, and a mesa of dirt, donated by a construction company, that has been riddled with canyons and holes. I was in Japan to visit adventure playgrounds for book research, and at every playground, at some point, a child poured a bucket of water down a trench, just to see where it would flow. News articles about adventure playgrounds tend to focus on the hammers and the saws, but for many urban children simply mucking about can be a pleasurable way of spending an afternoon. I was reminded of my own younger brother, who never found a stream or puddle too small to fall into. If Hanegi Park had been down the street, he would always have known where to go looking for mud.

My trip coincided with the publication of “The Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Plea: Let Kids Play!” in the Times Magazine, a masterful bit of parental trolling whose comment section reached a symbolic two thousand and sixteen entries before it was closed. The dozens of adventure playgrounds in Tokyo offer, as a public amenity, what Mike Lanza (the “anti-helicopter parent” in question) says he created in his private Menlo Park, California, back yard: a challenging and unscheduled place for physical play that is largely free of parental supervision. Lanza is far from alone in believing that American children have a play problem. Take a look at Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids blog, which is peppered with reports of cops and child-protective services being called when parents leave their kids to play unsupervised. Lanza’s own book, “Playborhood,” describes the kids-can’t-play problem as both a social one and a spatial one. Without broader community support, such back-yard attempts at free play like his are doomed to become exercises in vanity. Look at them on the roof! My kids are more resilient than yours!

The overprogrammed, oversterilized, overprotected lives of (some of) America’s youth are the result of a nexus of changes to work life, home life, and street life that have made bringing up babies into a series of consumer choices, from unsubsidized day care forward. It is the public realm—where the Tokyo playgrounds operate—that needs to change for American children to have unstructured afternoons and weekends, for them to bike and walk between school and the playground, to see packs of kids get together without endless chains of parental texts. Kawasaki City, where Kodomo Yume Park is located, created its own Ordinance on the Rights of the Child, in 2001, which includes an article promising to make “secure and comfortable places for children.”

But independence requires infrastructure. Hanegi Playpark was founded in 1975 by Kenichi Omura, a landscape architect, and his wife Shoko Omura, an English teacher. They translated the key book on adventure play into Japanese and then travelled to Europe to meet with the woman who was their prime mover from the nineteen-fifties on: Lady Allen of Hurtwood. Lady Allen had seen the first such “junk playground” in Emdrup, outside Copenhagen, where it became a refuge for youth then under German occupation. She spent subsequent decades as a “propagandist for children’s play.” In Tokyo, a low crime rate and a society accustomed to community ownership of public space has created, around Hanegi and approximately thirteen other such parks, a city where there is more room for innocent error.

The road to Kodomo Yume Park (which means “children’s dream”) was narrow and winding, and there was no sidewalk for much of the way. And yet it was safe, because the tiny cars knew to look for pedestrians and cyclists, and drove at slower speeds. There were people in the houses and stores along the route, and few of the buildings were more than three or four stories tall, offering “eyes on the street” as well as adults who might be appealed to for help. The neighborhood, like the adventure playground, operated as a safety net, ready in case of trouble but not often deployed. A mother who was camped out at Yume Park with five children, the youngest a three-month-old, told me a story—hilarious for her—that would have been a nightmare for me. Her two-year-old, who had observed his five-year-old brother being sent to the corner to buy bread, decided he could do the same, and turned up at the shop with an empty wallet. I looked around at the protected bike lanes, the publicly funded playground workers, and the houses where people are home in the afternoon. Do I wish that my kids—who are five and nine—could roll on their own from school to the park, meet friends, and appear on the doorstep at 5 p.m., muddy, damp, and full of play? I do, but then I think of the Saturdays dominated by sports schedules, the windswept winter playgrounds, the kids hit by cars in crosswalks, with the light. It isn’t the idea of my kids holding a hammer or saw that scares me but the idea of trying to make community alone.

At the adventure playgrounds, the kids build the equipment they need under the hands-off supervision of play workers trained to facilitate but not to interfere. I’ve read the diary of the first play worker, John Bertelsen, who ran the adventure playground that Lady Allen visited at Emdrup. His account of the day-to-day in 1943 sounds quite similar to what I observed in 2016.
At 10:45 am today the playground opened . . . We began by moving all the building material in the open shed. Bricks, boards, fireposts and cement pillars were moved to the left alongside the entrance, where building and digging started right away. The work was done by children aged 4 to 17. It went on at full speed and all the workers were in high spirits; dust, sweat, warning shouts and a few scratches all created just the right atmosphere. The children’s play- and work-ground had opened, and they knew how to take full advantage of it.

The do-it-yourself rule is, to a certain extent, self-limiting, as towers built with simple tools are shorter than those ordered from catalogues. I saw plenty of children up on roofs—the rule was, if you can climb up without a ladder, relying on your own strength and ingenuity, it’s O.K. In a documentary on The Land, a Welsh adventure playground, a play worker describes the difference between risk and hazard: a risk you take on knowingly; a hazard is unexpected, like a nail sticking out of a board. The play workers are there to remove hazards and leave the risks.

Journalism about adventure play tends to emphasize the danger, but these spaces actually need to be seen as exceptionally porous community centers, in which lots of social activities, for parents and children, occur. “Risky play” is a way for children to test their own limits, and because the parks are embedded in residential communities they can do so at their own pace. Hitoshi Shimamura, who runs the organization Tokyo Play, told me that he has sessions to teach parents to use the tools, because their fear derived from their own lack of experience. Kids also need time to ease into the freedom and figure out which activity most appeals to them. If adventure play were to become permanent in New York, it would do better as a permanent fixture in a neighborhood than as a weekend destination. At a temporary adventure playground set up by Play:Ground on Governors Island this summer, a sign on the fence read, “Your children are fine without advice and suggestions,” though legally, children under six had to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The “adventure” can be with water, with tools, with real fire, or just with pretend kitchen equipment, allowing the parks to appeal to a broad array of children, and over a longer period of time. What this means, in practice, is a range of activity during days, weeks, or even years. In the morning, adventure playgrounds become settings for an urban version of a forest preschool, where small children learn the basics of getting along outdoors. In the afternoon, they become a place for older kids to let off steam between school and homework; many communities in Tokyo play a public chime at five in the afternoon—a mass call that is it time to go home. On the weekends, Yume Park might ring with the hammers of children, but for teen-agers there are other options: a recording studio with padded walls; a wooden shed piled with bike parts for the taking; a quiet, shaded place for conversation. Bertelsen wrote in his diary,
Occasionally, complaints have been made that the playground does not possess a smart enough appearance, and that children cannot possibly be happy playing about in such a jumble. To this I should only like to say that, at times, the children can shape and mould [sic] the playground in such a way that it is a monument to their efforts and a source of aesthetic pleasure to the adult eye; at other times it can appear, to the adult eye, like a pigsty. However, children’s play is not what the adults see, but what the child himself experiences.

One of my favorite moments in Tokyo occurred late one afternoon at a smaller adventure playground, Komazawa Harappa, a long sliver of space in a tight residential neighborhood, masked from the street by a simple hedge. Three kids fanned the flames in a fire pit; a baby padded about a dirty pool dressed in a diaper; two small boys, hammering on a house, had remembered to take their shoes off on the porch. But not everyone felt the need to be busy. Two teen-age girls had climbed up on the roof of the play workers’ house, via a self-built platform of poles and planks, and seemed deep in conversation. Suddenly, they began to sing, their clear voices ringing out over the open space… [more]
japan  children  tokyo  parenting  alexandralange  2016  adventureplaygrounds  risk  helicopterparenting  diy  johnberthelsen  ladyallen  1943  lenoreskenazy  mikelanza  kenichiomura  shokoomura  play  playgorunds  risktaking  helicopterparents 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Dream cities: the New York that never was, the playgrounds we don't have.
"And finally: How many people sent me this article from the New York Times Magazine on "the anti-helicopter parent"? Many many, including my own father. What is he trying to tell me? It's a masterful troll, but one which, unfortunately, leaves out much historical and contemporary context on the role of playgrounds in urban life.

As it happened, the day it popped up online, I happened to be visiting one of Tokyo's dozens of adventure playgrounds, which offer all the community, risk and autonomy of Mike Lanza's Menlo Park backyard, without the misogyny, gender stereotypes and high price. At the adventure playgrounds, the kids get to make the equipment they need, under the hands-off supervision of play workers trained to facilitate but not interfere. Rather than emphasizing only risk (though I saw plenty of children up on roofs), the adventure playgrounds are open for all kinds of play: with water, with tools, with real fire and pretend kitchen equipment. Articles on adventure play tend to emphasize the danger, but these spaces actually need to be seen as exceptionally porous community centers, in which lots of types of social activities, for parents and children, occur. One playworker told me he had sessions for parents in how to use tools, because their fear derived from their own lack of experience.

For there to be a real revolution in American children's lives, leading to greater independence, it can't come down to individual consumer choices and Lanza's mom-shaming. Independence requires a whole infrastructure of changes, from protected bike lanes to publicly-funded playground workers, to eyes on the street in the afternoon to less homework. Did I wish my kids could roll, on their own, from school to the park, meet friends, and appear on the doorstep when the clock chimed five, muddy, damp, full of what they played? (There are literal chimes at 5 p.m. in Tokyo.) But one sanitized backyard, in one of the wealthiest towns in America, won't make that happen. It's going to take a village, public funding, and broad cultural change."
alexandralange  parenting  adventureplaygorunds  playgrounds  publicspace  tokyo  japan  children  play  cities  mikelanza  menlopark  2016  adventureplaygrounds  learning  fear  risk  risktaking  communitycenters  lcproject  openstudioproject 
october 2016 by robertogreco
Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices - FT.com
"The city had more housing starts in 2014 than the whole of England. Can Japan’s capital offer lessons to other world cities?

It was the rapidity of what happened to the house next door that took us by surprise. We knew it was empty. Grass was steadily taking over its mossy Japanese garden; the upstairs curtains never moved. But one day a notice went up, a hydraulic excavator tore the house down, and by the end of next year it will be a block of 16 apartments instead.

Abruptly, we are living next door to a Tokyo building site. It is not fun. They work six days a week. Were this London, Paris or San Francisco, there would be howls of resident rage — petitions, dire warnings about loss of neighbourhood character, and possibly a lawsuit or two. Local elections have been lost for less.

Yet in our neighbourhood, there was not a murmur, and a conversation with Takahiko Noguchi, head of the planning section in Minato ward, explains why. “There is no legal restraint on demolishing a building,” he says. “People have the right to use their land so basically neighbouring people have no right to stop development.”

Here is a startling fact: in 2014 there were 142,417 housing starts in the city of Tokyo (population 13.3m, no empty land), more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m), or the 137,010 houses started in the entire country of England (population 54.3m).

Tokyo’s steady construction is linked to a still more startling fact. In contrast to the enormous house price booms that have distorted western cities — setting young against old, redistributing wealth to the already wealthy, and denying others the chance to move to where the good jobs are — the cost of property in Japan’s capital has hardly budged.

This is not the result of a falling population. Japan has experienced the same “return to the city” wave as other nations. In Minato ward — a desirable 20 sq km slice of central Tokyo — the population is up 66 per cent over the past 20 years, from 145,000 to 241,000, an increase of about 100,000 residents.

[Chart: Change in house prices and population]

In the 121 sq km of San Francisco, the population grew by about the same number over 20 years, from 746,000 to 865,000 — a rise of 16 per cent. Yet whereas the price of a home in San Francisco and London has increased 231 per cent and 441 per cent respectively, Minato ward has absorbed its population boom with price rises of just 45 per cent, much of which came after the Bank of Japan launched its big monetary stimulus in 2013.

In Tokyo there are no boring conversations about house prices because they have not changed much. Whether to buy or rent is not a life-changing decision. Rather, Japan delivers to its people a steadily improving standard, location and volume of house.

In many countries, urban housing is becoming one of the great social and economic issues of the age. (Would Britain have voted for Brexit if more of the population could move to London?) It is worth investigating, therefore, how Tokyo achieved this feat, the price it has paid for a steady stream of homes, and whether there are any lessons to learn.

Like most institutions in Japan, urban planning was originally based on western models. “It’s similar to the United States system,” says Junichiro Okata, professor of urban engineering at the University of Tokyo.

Cities are zoned into commercial, industrial and residential land of various types. In commercial areas you can build what you want: part of Tokyo’s trick is a blossoming of apartment towers in former industrial zones around the bay. But in low-rise residential districts, there are strict limits, and it is hard to get land rezoned.

Subject to the zoning rules, the rights of landowners are strong. In fact, Japan’s constitution declares that “the right to own or to hold property is inviolable”. A private developer cannot make you sell land; a local government cannot stop you using it. If you want to build a mock-Gothic castle faced in pink seashells, that is your business.

In the cities of coastal California, zoning rules have led to paralysis and a lack of new housing supply, as existing homeowners block new development. It was a similar story in 1980s Tokyo.

“During the 1980s Japan had a spectacular speculative house price bubble that was even worse than in London and New York during the same period, and various Japanese economists were decrying the planning and zoning systems as having been a major contributor by reducing supply,” says André Sorensen, a geography professor at the University of Toronto, who has written extensively on planning in Japan.

But, indirectly, it was the bubble that laid foundations for future housing across the centre of Tokyo, says Hiro Ichikawa, who advises developer Mori Building. When it burst, developers were left with expensively assembled office sites for which there was no longer any demand.

As bad loans to developers brought Japan’s financial system to the brink of collapse in the 1990s, the government relaxed development rules, culminating in the Urban Renaissance Law of 2002, which made it easier to rezone land. Office sites were repurposed for new housing. “To help the economy recover from the bubble, the country eased regulation on urban development,” says Ichikawa. “If it hadn’t been for the bubble, Tokyo would be in the same situation as London or San Francisco.”

Hallways and public areas were excluded from the calculated size of apartment buildings, letting them grow much higher within existing zoning, while a proposal now under debate would allow owners to rebuild bigger if they knock down blocks built to old earthquake standards.

All of this law flows from the national government, and freedom to demolish and rebuild means landowners can quickly take advantage. “The city planning law and the building law are set nationally — even small details are written in national law,” says Okata. “Local government has almost no power over development.”

“Without rebuilding we can’t protect lives [from earthquakes],” says Noguchi in Minato ward, reflecting the prevailing view in Japan that all buildings are temporary and disposable, another crucial difference between Tokyo and its western counterparts. “There are still plenty of places with old buildings where it’s possible to increase the volume.”

Constant rebuilding helps to explain why housing starts in the city are so high: the net increase in homes is lower. Like our next-door neighbours, however, a rebuild often allows an increase in density.

All of this comes at a price, not financial, but one paid in other ways. Put simply, the modern Japanese cityscape — Tokyo included — can be spectacularly ugly. There is no visual co-ordination of buildings, little open space, and “high-quality” mainly means “won’t fall down in an earthquake”.

Some of Tokyo’s older apartment buildings give industrial Siberia a dystopian run for its money. The mock-Gothic castle is no flight of fancy: visit the Emperor love hotel, which (de) faces the canal in Meguro ward. Most depressing of all are the serried, endless ranks of cheap, prefab, wooden houses in the Tokyo suburbs.

“The Japanese system is extremely laissez-faire. It really is the minimum. And it’s extremely centralised and standardised. That means it is highly flexible in responding to social and economic change,” says Okata.

“On the other hand, it’s not much good at producing outcomes suited to a particular town in a particular place. It can’t produce attractive cities like the UK or Europe.” Okata wants to hand much more power to local government.

And yet. At the level of individual buildings, if you block from your vision whatever stands next door, Tokyo fizzes with invention and beauty. It is no coincidence that the country where architects can build has produced a procession of Pritzker prize winners.

Japanese urbanism, with its “scramble” pedestrian crossings, its narrow streets, its dense population and its superb public transport is looked to as a model, certainly in Asia, and increasingly across the rest of the world as well.

Most of all, Tokyo is fair. The ugliness is shared by rich and poor alike. So is the low-cost housing. In London, or in San Francisco, all share in the beauty, but some enjoy it from the gutter; others from high above the city, in the rationed seats, closer to the stars."
japan  tokyo  sanfrancisco  london  us  uk  housing  population  property  construction  development  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  cities  california  zoning  homeownership  policy  england  economics  propertyrights  density 
august 2016 by robertogreco
61 Glimpses of the Future — Today’s Office — Medium
"1. If you want to understand how our planet will turn out this century, spend time in China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil.

2. If you’re wondering how long the Chinese economic miracle will last, the answer will probably be found in the bets made on commercial and residential developments in Chinese 3rd to 6th tier cities in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet.

4. Touch ID doesn’t work at high altitude, finger prints are too dry.

5. You no longer need to carry a translation app on your phone. If there’s someone to speak with, they’ll have one on theirs.

6. A truly great border crossing will hold a mirror up to your soul.

9. The art of successful borderland travel is to know when to pass through (and be seen by) army checkpoints and when to avoid them.

10. Borders are permeable.

12. The premium for buying gasoline in a remote village in the GBAO is 20% more than the nearest town. Gasoline is harder to come by, and more valuable than connectivity.

13. After fifteen years of professionally decoding human behaviour, I’m still surprised by the universality of body language.

14. Pretentious people are inherently less curious.

15. Everything is fine, until that exact moment when it’s obviously not. It is easy to massively over/under estimate risk based on current contextual conditions. Historical data provides some perspective, but it usually comes down to your ability to read undercurrents, which in turn comes down to having built a sufficiently trusted relationship with people within those currents.

16. Sometimes, everyone who says they know what is going on, is wrong.

17. Every time you describe someone in your own country as a terrorist, a freedom is taken away from a person in another country.

18. Every country has its own notion of “terrorism”, and the overuse, and reaction to the term in your country helps legitimise the crack-down of restive populations in other countries.

17. China is still arguably the lowest-trust consumer society in the world. If a product can be faked it will be. Out of necessity, they also have the most savvy consumers in the world.

18. After twenty years of promising to deliver, Chinese solar products are now practical (available for purchase, affordable, sufficiently efficient, robust) for any community on the edge-of-grid, anywhere in the world. Either shared, or sole ownership.

20. When a fixed price culture meets a negotiation culture, fun ensues.

21. The sharing economy is alive and well, and has nothing to with your idea of the sharing economy.

25. Chinese truckers plying their trade along the silk road deserve to be immortalised as the the frontiersmen of our generation. (They are always male.)

29. The most interesting places have map coordinates, but no names.

30. There are are number of companies with a competitive smartphone portfolio. The rise of Oppo can be explained by its presence on every block of 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th tier Chinese cities.

32. People wearing fake Supreme are way more interesting than those that wear the real deal.

33. An iPhone box full of fungus caterpillar in Kham Tibet sold wholesale, is worth more than a fully specced iPhone. It’s worth 10x at retail in 1st/2nd Tier China. It is a better aphrodisiac too.

35. One of the more interesting aspects of very high net worth individuals (the financial 0.001%), is the entourage that they attract, and the interrelations between members of that entourage. This is my first time travelling with a spiritual leader (the religious 0.001%), whose entourage included disciples, and members of the financial 0.01% looking for a karmic handout. The behaviour of silicon valley’s nouveau riche is often parodied but when it comes to weirdness, faith trumps money every time. Any bets on the first Silicon Valley billionaire to successfully marry the two? Or vice versa?

37. For every person that longs for nature, there are two that long for man-made.

38. Tibetan monks prefer iOS over Android.

40. In order to size up the tribe/sub-tribe you’re part of, any group of young males will first look at the shoes on your feet.

42. After the Urumqi riots in 2009 the Chinese government cut of internet connectivity to Xinjiang province for a full year. Today connectivity is so prevalent and integrated into every aspect of Xinjiang society, that cutting it off it would hurt the state’s ability to control the population more than hinder their opposition. There are many parts to the current state strategy is to limit subversion, the most visible of which is access to the means of travel. For example every gas station between Kashi and Urumqi has barbed wire barriers at its gates, and someone checking IDs.

43. TV used to be the primary way for the edge-of-grid have-nots to discover what they want to have. Today it is seeing geotagged images from nearby places, sometimes hundreds of kilometres away.

44. Facebook entering China would be a Pyrrhic victory, that would lead to greater scrutiny and regulation worldwide. Go for it.

45. The sooner western companies own up to copying WeChat, the sooner we can get on with acknowledging a significant shift in the global creative center of gravity.

48. Green tea beats black tea for acclimatising to altitude sickness.

49. The most interesting destinations aren’t geotagged, are not easily geo-taggable. Bonus points if you can figure that one out.

50. The first time you confront a leader, never do it in front of their followers, they’ll have no way to back down.

51. There is more certainty in reselling the past, than inventing the future.

55. Pockets of Chengdu are starting to out-cool Tokyo.

56. To what extent does cultural continuity, and societal harmony comes from three generations under one roof?

58. If you want to understand where a country is heading pick a 2nd or 3rd tier city and revisit it over many years. Chengdu remains my bellwether 2nd tier Chinese city. It’s inland, has a strong local identity and sub-cultures, and has room to grow. Bonus: its’ only a few hours from some of the best mountain ranges in the world.

60. The difference between 2.5G and 3G? In the words of a smartphone wielding GBAO teenager on the day 3G data was switched on her town, “I can breathe”."
janchipchase  2016  travel  technology  borders  authenticity  pretension  curiosity  china  tibet  japan  eligion  culture  capitalism  wechat  facebook  android  ios  tokyo  chengdu  future  past  communication  tea  greentea  certainty  monks  translation  nature  indonesia  nigeria  brasil  brazil  india  shoes  connectivity  internet  mobile  phones  smartphones  sharingeconomy  economics  negotiation  touchid  cities  urban  urbanism  location  risk  relationships  consumers  terrorism  truckers  oppo  siliconvalley  wealth  nouveauriche  comparison  generations 
july 2016 by robertogreco
How do greenhouse gas emissions compare in cities around the world? — Hopes&Fears
"On the week of the COP21 climate summit, we ranked 13 urban metropolises with regard to their carbon footprints."
greenhousegasses  environment  emissions  sydney  losangeles  toronto  beijing  bangkok  london  nyc  capetown  madrid  tokyo  buenosaires  oslo  kathmandu  cities 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Martin Roemers - Metropolis | LensCulture
"Dutch photographer Martin Roemers won the 1st prize in the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2015 for his series, Metropolis, which documents street life in "mega-cities", defined as urban areas that are home to more than 10 million inhabitants. Here we present an extended slideshow of this project, as well as an interview with the photographer."

[via: http://globalvoices.tumblr.com/post/133898896954/archatlas-metropolis-martin-roemers ]
martinroemers  photography  streetphotography  2015  cities  urban  urbanism  global  kolkata  lagos  pakistan  bangladesh  cairo  nigeria  egypt  karachi  dhaka  mumbai  india  guangzhou  china  istanbul  turkey  jakarta  indonesia  buenosaires  argentina  manila  philippines  basil  brazil  riodejaneiro  mexicocity  mexicodf  mexico  nyc  sãopaulo  london  tokyo  japan  df 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Kenya Hara Unveils Rejected 2020 Tokyo Olympics Logo Proposal | Spoon & Tamago
"In September the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Committee announced that they would scrap Kenjiro Sano’s logo amid plagiarism claims and redo the entire process. But when they did that they also effectively scrapped the other 103 proposals, each created by professionals who spent a decent amount of time and resources perfecting their concept.

Now, renowned designer and one of the foremost faces of Japanese design, Kenya Hara, is speaking out. And in doing so, he has released his proposal from the Hara Design Institute.

“Removing the curtain from the design competition will help graphic design become more widely understood,” says Kenya Hara, explaining why he decided to publish his team’s propals. “It will serve as a valuable resource in contemplating our future Olympics logo.” He notes that the Olympics symbol and “Tokyo 2020” have been obscured so as to avoid any copyright claims.

Hara’s proposal is one that symbolizes “our planet making great strides,” “a beating heart” and the “summit.” The two planetary logos reference the sun, the moon and an arena where humans can transcend any bickering and come together for the great games.

In today’s world of design planning it’s no longer sufficient to simply come up with a beautiful logo. Various applications and forms of communication must also be considered. And in that sense, Hara’s design team has created a remarkable proposal that adaptable to various needs.

But in a surprising and rather confounding decision, the Olympics committee has opened up the new round of proposals to the public, allowing anyone over 18 to submit their idea. They’re accepting entries through December 7, 2015. The competition will undoubtedly bulge into a marathon with thousands of runners. We stand with designer Kenya Hara in hopes that this next race, whatever it turns out to be, is more transparent."
kenyahara  design  graphicdesign  logos  olympics  via:tealtan  graphics  japan  tokyo  2020 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Tokyo Bookstore Only Stocks One Title at a Time
"Morioka Shoten in Ginza features a new solitary book every week, accompanied by related artworks and items

A new bookstore opened earlier this year in Ginza, Tokyo that takes the unique approach of only stocking one title at a time. A different book is featured every week at Morioka Shoten and it is accompanied by related items such as artworks and photographs.

This concept sets the store apart from others, offering a curated approach that combats decision fatigue and makes browsing a lot quicker by recommending a single title for customers to purchase and read.

The bookstore’s owner, Yoshiyuki Morioka, came up with the idea after organizing a series of popular readings and book signings for single publications at his other, traditional bookstore. He was inspired to open a dedicated space where a single book could take center stage. The second branch of Morioka Shoten was created by design and engineering firm Takram, who led the graphic design and copy writing for the Ginza store’s visual identity.

The book of the week is displayed on a table in the small boutique, along with Morioka’s personal work desk and a vintage chest of drawers that is used as the store’s counter. The minimalistic aesthetic of the space matches perfectly with its concept. There are no other items of furniture, and the concrete walls and ceiling are coated with white paint, while the concrete floor has been left bare.

Pieces of art that relate to the currently spotlighted book are displayed around the store for customers to enjoy, for example, ceramic jewellery and objects by Mayumi Kogoma were on show because they were inspired by Kenji Miyazawa’s novel Porano no hiroba."

[See also: http://www.takram.com/morioka-shoten-ginza-branch/

"Morioka Shoten Ginza Branch

takram worked on graphic design and copy writing for visual image of ‘Morioka Shoten Ginza Branch’

On May 5th, ‘Morioka Shoten Ginza Branch’ has opened in Ginza, Tokyo. With the concept of ‘a bookstore with a single book,’ the store is a second branch store for ‘Morioka Shoten.’ takram led the graphic design and copy writing for the new store’s visual identity."
books  bookstores  booksellers  publishing  retail  noticings  2015  yoshiyukimorioka  moriokashoten  curation  tokyo  japan  ginza  decisionmaking  minimalism  audiencesofone 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Takaharu Tezuka: The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen | Talk Video | TED.com
"At this school in Tokyo, five-year-olds cause traffic jams and windows are for Santa to climb into. Meet: the world's cutest kindergarten, designed by architect Takaharu Tezuka. In this charming talk, he walks us through a design process that really lets kids be kids."
takaharutezuka  tezukaarchitects  architecture  2007  schooldesign  design  kindergarten  japan  tokyo  schools  education  children  fujikindergarten 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Minato-ku Bicycle Recycling Department | VSCO GRID | VSCO Journal™
"Lee Basford is a graphic designer, artist, and photographer who in the past year has experienced monumental changes, including a move from England to Tokyo, Japan, to marry his sweetheart. Before relocating, Lee worked as an art director and designer at Fluid. Now, working independently under the studio name Humankind, Lee is currently designing and art directing for clients globally. He also recently began writing and photographing for Papersky magazine in Japan and Nowhere Fast, an online bicycle magazine, in England. With an extensive portfolio under his belt, including work done for companies such as Sony, UNIQLO, Nike, Capcom, EMI, and Sega, Lee has had the honor of seeing his work featured in numerous books and design journals.

Lee’s latest article for Nowhere Fast highlighted a bicycle recycling shop in Tokyo, Japan. “If you lock your bike in the wrong place for too long in any Japanese city, you are probably going to get a ticket slapped on it, informing you that it will be removed at a later date. For the unfortunate, once they’re taken, any unclaimed bicycles will only be kept for a limited time before being recycled or worse, destroyed. About 85% of Japanese own bikes; so there’s a lot of them around and a constant supply for the bike police.”

Referred by a friend, Lee went to the Minato-ku Bicycle Recycling Department in search of an economically priced bicycle for his own daily use. Comprised of a team of three bike lovers and led by Tomita-san, who started the project 14 years ago, this small but highly resourceful shop has recycled over 4,000 bikes to date. These men take pride in the fact that they never buy anything new, using only recycled parts to keep their program self-sufficient. With two rooms stacked and sorted in every direction with seat posts, saddles, wheels, frames, brake cables, and more, no space is left unused in this small workspace. Tools are organized neatly and efficiently, and tiny parts are meticulously placed in containers and buckets. Working hard to strip down and rebuild bikes, the team pieces together around 100 bikes each month that are then sold at a discounted price on the second Sunday of every month. To read more about the project, check out Lee’s complete article.

All of images below were processed using VSCO Film®. View more of Lee's photography on his VSCO Grid™."
bikes  biking  tokyo  japan  repait  vsco  photography  2013  leebasford  recycling 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Yamanote Eki-Melo
"The Yamanote Line is the most famous and well-travelled train line in Tokyo. Each station on the Yamanote plays a song (eki-melo, "train melody", 発車メロディ or "hassha melody") when trains are about to depart, differing by platform, direction and station.

Click any post to listen to that station's eki-melo!"

[via: https://twitter.com/debcha/status/553661667439935488 ]
japan  sounds  sound  trains  chimes  yamanote  eki-melo  tokyo 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Where Roads Collide — re:form — Medium
"Like an organic art form growing from commuter demands, local politics, and the brains of engineering teams, traffic interchanges are mesmerizing in their complexity. With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas, car use is growing in countries once dominated by bicycles, motorbikes, and overcrowded buses.

Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the bizarre of global traffic management."
freeways  transportation  cars  losangeles  milwaukee  dallas  buenosaires  hongkong  bangkok  tokyo  shanghai 
july 2014 by robertogreco
BOOKLET LIBRARY - By Cover
"These are titles available at Booklet Library.

Booklet Library is shaped by the authors, artists, and publishers who contribute their work. Our interest is in the support, provision, and promotion of a more fair cross-section of independent publications, and of (visual) difference in Tokyo.

Booklet Library is available to the public at

3-15-3 Yoyogi
Shibuya , Tokyo
〒151-0053"
art  artbooks  books  design  tokyo  japan  via:soulellis  booklets  srg  artistsbooks 
may 2014 by robertogreco
YouTube Space Los Angeles - YouTube
"The flagship location for YouTube Space is designed especially for creators to produce video content, learn new skills, and collaborate with the YouTube creative community."

"Nonprofits: Calling all nonprofits! Produce your next video campaign at YouTube Space LA. Eligible organizations may apply to shoot and edit using Space resources.

Collaboration days: Work with at least one other channel to submit a script or treatment for a collaboration video and earn cash to use towards your production. Offered the last week of every month.

Residencies: For creators with an ambitious project, but without the resources to execute it. Propose an innovative production idea to earn large-stage and set construction resources."

[spaces also in London, Tokyo, NYC]

[via: http://www.thenerdyteacher.com/2014/03/if-i-had-sledgehammer-thoughts-on.html ]
losangeles  youtube  videoproduction  lcproject  nyc  london  tokyo  openstudioproject  youtubespace  residencies 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Thin Places, Where We Are Jolted Out of Old Ways of Seeing the World - NYTimes.com
"TRAVEL, like life, is best understood backward but must be experienced forward, to paraphrase Kierkegaard. After decades of wandering, only now does a pattern emerge. I’m drawn to places that beguile and inspire, sedate and stir, places where, for a few blissful moments I loosen my death grip on life, and can breathe again. It turns out these destinations have a name: thin places.

It is, admittedly, an odd term. One could be forgiven for thinking that thin places describe skinny nations (see Chile) or perhaps cities populated by thin people (see Los Angeles). No, thin places are much deeper than that. They are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.

Travel to thin places does not necessarily lead to anything as grandiose as a “spiritual breakthrough,” whatever that means, but it does disorient. It confuses. We lose our bearings, and find new ones. Or not. Either way, we are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world, and therein lies the transformative magic of travel.

It’s not clear who first uttered the term “thin places,” but they almost certainly spoke with an Irish brogue. The ancient pagan Celts, and later, Christians, used the term to describe mesmerizing places like the wind-swept isle of Iona (now part of Scotland) or the rocky peaks of Croagh Patrick. Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.

So what exactly makes a place thin? It’s easier to say what a thin place is not. A thin place is not necessarily a tranquil place, or a fun one, or even a beautiful one, though it may be all of those things too. Disney World is not a thin place. Nor is Cancún. Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves."



"Mircea Eliade, the religious scholar, would understand what I experienced in that Tokyo bar. Writing in his classic work “The Sacred and the Profane,” he observed that “some parts of space are qualitatively different from others.” An Apache proverb takes that idea a step further: “Wisdom sits in places.”

The question, of course, is which places? And how do we get there? You don’t plan a trip to a thin place; you stumble upon one. But there are steps you can take to increase the odds of an encounter with thinness. For starters, have no expectations. Nothing gets in the way of a genuine experience more than expectations, which explains why so many “spiritual journeys” disappoint. And don’t count on guidebooks — or even friends — to pinpoint your thin places. To some extent, thinness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Or, to put it another way: One person’s thin place is another’s thick one."



"Many thin places are wild, untamed, but cities can also be surprisingly thin. The world’s first urban centers, in Mesopotamia, were erected not as places of commerce or empire but, rather, so inhabitants could consort with the gods. What better place to marvel at the glory of God and his handiwork (via his subcontractors: us) than on the Bund in Shanghai, with the Jetsons-like skyscrapers towering above, or at Montmartre in Paris, with the city’s Gothic glory revealed below.

Bookstores are thin places, too, and, for me, none is thinner than Powell’s in Portland, Ore. Sure, there are grander bookstores, and older ones, but none quite possesses Powell’s mix of order and serendipity, especially in its used-book collection — Chekhov happily cohabitating with “Personal Finance for Dummies,” Balzac snuggling with Grisham.

Yet, ultimately, an inherent contradiction trips up any spiritual walkabout: The divine supposedly transcends time and space, yet we seek it in very specific places and at very specific times. If God (however defined) is everywhere and “everywhen,” as the Australian aboriginals put it so wonderfully, then why are some places thin and others not? Why isn’t the whole world thin?

Maybe it is but we’re too thick to recognize it. Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked."

[See also (via litherland) http://jarrettfuller.tumblr.com/post/62312770603/making-thin-places-and-in-between-spaces ]
thinplaces  buddhism  spirituality  travel  2012  ericweiner  place  cathedrals  churches  nature  newdelhi  jerusalem  rumi  turkey  nepal  boudhanath  katmandu  shanghai  paris  montmartre  powell's  portland  oregon  bookstores  divine  god  nyc  istanbul  kongkong  airports  tokyo  japan 
december 2013 by robertogreco
TORAFU's Haunted Play House At The Museum Of Contemporary Art In Tokyo | Yatzer
"Some projects are so engaging and fun that you wish you could be a child again. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo is staging a summer exhibition for children entitled GHOSTS, UNDERPANTS and STARS and Torafu Architects (Koichi Suzuno, Shinya Kamuro) have created the most stunning and imaginative Haunted House ever."

[See also: http://torafu.com/ ]
ncmideas  art  children  hauntedhouse  museums  torafuarchitects  tokyo  glvo 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Place Pulse | Mapping Urban Perception
"Place Pulse aims to quantitatively recognize which areas of a city are perceived as wealthy, modern, safe, lively, active, unique, central, adaptable or family friendly.

With enough user participation, Place Pulse can identify which neighborhoods in Bangkok are perceived better than neighborhoods in New York City or to examine how the distribution of a certain perception in Mexico City compares with that same perception in Tokyo.

For curious researchers, the Place Pulse dataset can even be used to study the association between urban perception and other datasets, such as violent crime, creativity or economic growth."
maps  mapping  urbanism  architecture  crowdsourcing  data  research  cities  place  placepulse  césarhidalgo  deepakjagdish  danielsmilkov  tokyo  nyc  mexicocity  mexicodf  bankok  streetview  googlesteetview  df 
july 2013 by robertogreco
When Tokyo Was a Slum – The Informal City Dialogues
"Alongside the futuristic visage of skyscraper Tokyo, a human-scale city lies along rambling roads, where mom-and-pop stores sell soap and sandals, and private homes double as independent shops engaged in local trades like printmaking and woodworking.

This is incremental Tokyo, the foundation upon which the world’s most modern city is built.

Like much of the city, these small hamlets were smoldering ash pits 70 years ago, reduced to rubble by the bombs of Allied forces during World War II. When the war ended, Tokyo’s municipal government, bankrupt and in crisis mode, was in no condition to launch a citywide reconstruction effort. So, without ever stating it explicitly, it nevertheless made one thing clear: The citizens would rebuild the city. Government would provide the infrastructure, but beyond that, the residents would be free to build what they needed on the footprint of the city that once was, neighborhood by neighborhood."



"These mixed-use habitats and low-rise, high-density neighborhoods emerged by default, not design. But though the city didn’t plan them, it considered them legitimate and supported them. Sewage systems, water, electricity and roads were later infused into all parts of Tokyo, leaving no neighborhood behind, regardless of how slummy or messy it looked. Even the traditionally discriminated-against Burakumin areas were eventually provided access to state-of-the-art public services and amenities.

The notion that infrastructure must be adapted to the built environment, rather than the other way around, is a simple yet revolutionary idea. The Tokyo model, combining housing development by local actors and infrastructure from various agencies, explains why that city has some of the best infrastructure in the world today, not to mention a housing stock of great variety and bustling mixed-use neighborhoods.

The House Is a Tool

The relationship between the city’s urban form and its vibrant economy is best illustrated by the idea of homes as tools of production. Many of the houses built in the postwar period in Tokyo were based on the template of the traditional Japanese house, in which a single structure can serve as a shop, workshop, dormitory or family house — and possibly all of those things at once. Official statistics illustrate the scale of the home-based economy. As late as the 1970s, factories employing fewer than 20 employees accounted for 20 percent of the workers and 12.6 percent of the national output in Japan. In Tokyo alone, 99.5 percent of factories had fewer than 300 workers and employed 74 percent of all factory workers, according to economist Takeshi Hayashi. What these numbers tell us is that the Japanese miracle was built not only by large-scale factories, but also relied on a vast web of small producers that often worked from their neighborhoods and their homes."



"For the people who live in Dharavi, this is not only the best possible outcome, it’s their only option. Most residents of Dharavi cannot possibly afford to move to other parts of Mumbai. Their futures will rise or fall with the fate of their neighborhood, which is why the Tokyo model, which values and cultivates neighborhoods like theirs, is probably their best hope for economic and social advancement.

That prosperity, however, depends on the local authorities heeding the lessons of Tokyo. Neighborhoods like Dharavi are already served by various NGOs and foundations. The residents are doing their part. The only missing piece is the support of city authorities, whose attitude toward such settlements sets back the city of Mumbai as a whole.

What’s more, the Tokyo model is simply an elegant one that follows the path of least resistance, allowing order and mess to naturally combine as they would without top-down intervention. It’s hard to imagine a better example of “development” in its most holistic dimension: Houses, neighborhoods, economies and communities all rising in concert with one another. The environment is deeply connected to processes of collective growth, because people, objects and lived spaces are all knit together by the impulse to constantly improve and transform. Through this process, with very little capital, we see how user-generated neighborhoods invest in the idea of growth and mobility, where self-interest and successful urbanism are one and the same."

[Tagging this with Teddy Cruz because it reminds me of his study of Tijuana and his recommendation that we learn from patterns of growth and development there.]
postwar  mixeduse  lowrise  density  mimbai  takeshihayashi  cities  organic  organicism  home-basedeconomy  production  manufacturing  factories  openstudioproject  cafes  homeoffice  homefactory  homeworkshop  homes  infrastructure  redevelopment  development  dharavi  slums  mobility  economics  middleclass  collectivism  technology  neighborhoods  asia  informality  informal  cottageindustries  2013  urban  urbanism  growth  change  government  tokyo  japan  history 
july 2013 by robertogreco
B&B: Good drinks and good reads in Shimokitazawa | PingMag : Art, Design, Life – from Japan
[Wayback: https://web.archive.org/web/20151028003033/http://pingmag.jp/2013/04/22/bandb/ ]

"Times are changing for publishing. E-books are here to stay and publishers are trying out a range of digital strategies to entice new customers. The music industry was one step ahead and the large retailers like Tower Records and HMV have all felt the pain of declining business, replaced by iTunes and Amazon. Bookstores are likewise looking at an uncertain future.

Well, one answer to how bookstores can continue to bring in readers to shop may lie in a new type of bookseller that has opened in Shimokitazawa, the laid-back Tokyo neighborhood just west of Shibuya.

The formula is visible in the name: B&B. British readers might be forgiven for thinking the shop is actually a cheap form of accommodation (bed and breakfast), but the two b’s are even better than that — “Book & Beer”, two things we at PingMag certainly love. Having coffee and tea for sale in bookstores has been the norm in other parts of the world for years now, but B&B has opted for a more alcoholic version. There is a proper bar with beer on tap, meaning customers can browse while sipping a chilled bevy or read a purchase with a beer in hand.

But this isn’t just about drinking (there are countless bars in Shimokitazawa, after all!). The books are also highly curated, selected per theme and genre by the staff to match the concept of the store. In other words, the entire place is like a magazine.

We sat down with B&B owner Shintaro Uchinuma to chat about the Shimokita’s latest hangout."
bookstores  books  cafes  2013  pingmag  tokyo  japan  openstudioproject  booksellers  shimokitazawa  bookshops  retail  bookfuturism  b&b  publishing  ebooks 
april 2013 by robertogreco
The individual defines the large scale. A city of parts. - Non-Intentional Landscape
"The individual defines the large scale[36]. A city of parts[37]. And depending on your viewpoint each entity has the characteristics of a “whole” as well as a “part”[38]. One does not live beside, but within the Tokyo landscape of gardens, a place of growth, of maximized spontaneity[39]. The individual action of gardening is personal and deliberate – a form of use-related behaviour which addresses human(e) needs through an act of creation which is not deliberately designed (‘professional’) landscape architecture/art[40] [41].

Paralleling the no-center development of Edo, everyday Tokyo takes shape as an accumulation of the activities of individuals or groups making the most of the individuality of distinct place [42] but with a horizontal solidarity that (unlike the all encompassing city visions of Europe) forms (in amorphous aggregate) Tokyo’s non-intentional landscape of not only flowers, green and edibles but memories and meanings, traditions and social norms, relationships and support (this idea is a social psychological extension of the notion of city making as landscaping present in the Edo period[43]). The living urban fabric is maintained by an enormous number of daily small-scale interventions that are an essential part of the process of organic repair[44]."
cities  urban  urbanism  chaos  messiness  complexity  japan  tokyo  organisms  2013  chrisberthelsen  yoshinobuashihara  scale  parts  landscape  architecture  landscapearchitecture 
january 2013 by robertogreco
The Zero Yen House and other unimaginable habitats of Kyohei Sakaguchi | Spoon & Tamago
"As an architecture student at Waseda University in the late 90s Kyohei Sakaguchi encountered a structure that would forever shape his future career. It wasn’t Oscar Niemeyer’s Brazilian National Museum, nor was it Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation. Not even Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower. It was a home built on a budget of zero yen on the bed of Tokyo’s Sumida River. …"
neo-nomads  nomads  2012  homeless  lowcost  housing  houses  zeroyenhouse  tokyo  japan  design  architecture  kyoheisakaguchi 
january 2013 by robertogreco
Mapping the World's Most Seductive Shrines to Coffee - Claire Cottrell - The Atlantic
"We've rounded up some of the most beautiful purveyors of coffee around the world in virtual guide form, meaning not only have we included the eye candy you know and love, but we've also added addresses and handy links to Google Maps."

[Little Nap Coffee Stand - Tokyo, Japan]
2012  toronto  switzerland  basel  porto  portugal  silverlake  hungary  busapest  brooklyn  bluebottlecoffee  sanfrancisco  oregon  portland  tokyo  sweden  denmark  telaviv  paris  poland  nyc  losangeles  us  japan  architecture  design  intreriors  openstudioproject  glvo  srg  coffee  cafes 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Pinboard: bookmarks for jannon tagged 'tokyo'
[For future reference, 'jannon' has a nice collection of Tokyo references.]
tokyo  bookmarks  japan 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Sugared & Spiced
":What is Sugared & Spiced?
A food + travel blog based in Shanghai.

When and why did it get started?
August 2010. For the love of eating, photographing, and sharing.

What camera do you use?
Ricoh GRD4.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Shanghai?
Hard to say, but you can check my list of “favorites” to get some ideas.

How do you eat so much?
One simply does not resist good food.

Are you fat?
Plump like a watermelon.

Do you get paid to eat?
Nope, but I do get invited to taste, and if that’s the case I always put a note upfront in red for your information.

How should I navigate this blog?
For restaurants in Shanghai, use archives by cuisine, by time of day, by location, and by price. For restaurants and travel entries outside of Shanghai, click on any of the city names on the righthand column under “travels”."
lcproject  cafes  bali  beijing  hongkong  tokyo  seoul  taipei  srg  blogs  china  food  asia  shanghai  travel  thirdspaces  thirdplaces  openstudioproject 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Hypercities
"Built on the idea that every past is a place, HyperCities is a digital research and educational platform for exploring, learning about, & interacting with the layered histories of city and global spaces. Developed though collaboration between UCLA & USC, the fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories. Using Google Maps & Google Earth, HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.

A HyperCity is a real city overlaid with a rich array of geo-temporal information, ranging from urban cartographies and media representations to family genealogies and the stories of the people and diverse communities who live and lived there. We are currently developing content for: Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, Rome, Lima, Ollantaytambo, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Tehran, Saigon, Toyko…"
seoul  shanghai  tokyo  saigon  telaviv  berlin  ollantaytambo  lima  rome  chicago  nyc  losangeles  storytelling  googleearth  googlemaps  usc  ucla  atemporality  timetravel  hypercities  visualization  research  history  geography  maps  mapping  cities  urban 
april 2012 by robertogreco
雨の日の宝物 (Rainy day treasures) Print Pamphlet - a set on Flickr
""......These safe and slow pathways are perfect for tiny feet and their larger commute-weary companions. Dense greens and colourful scented collages reside at the height and scale of little eyes and noses. Irrepressible hands thrive on the mixture of gravel, sand, grass, rocks, sticks and fallen fruit that compose Tokyo carpets. In summer developing ears drink in crickets, cicadas and neighbourhood rustlings...."

A small study on the child's perception of the street.

This document traces the everyday treasures of a rainy day walk to the local sento in suburban Tokyo. It is part of a broader and slightly wonky research and practice agenda on the hand made, everyday creativity, play, and usable environments."
tokyo  education  emergentlearning  emergentcurriculum  mapping  maps  informallearning  deschooling  unschooling  books  2012  slow  creativity  play  discovery  learning  urbanism  urban  children  chrisberthelsen 
march 2012 by robertogreco
In Which We Regularly Play Ping-Pong With The Princess Masako - Home - This Recording
"Every linguistic foible, every longing glance out a cab window at dusk — if my mother doesn't say it, then I feel it. We are in someone's else's movie."

"Being the only Caucasian in a room, you almost feel invisible because you are so visible. When you're in Mexico or someplace, at least they want your paper dollars. But here, we are uncouth, smelly, hairy. We have swine-flu. Our currency is inferior and our history is short. Yet the Japanese also love Sid Vicious, cowboys, birthday cakes, bagels.

It's such a confusing dynamic."
2012  lenadunham  cultureshock  travel  tokyo  sofiacoppola  japan 
february 2012 by robertogreco
hand-made play » Archive » Understanding the Child-Scale City (Excerpt)
"This document that this excerpt is from is one story of the everyday treasures of a rainy day walk. It is part of a broader and slightly wonky research and practice agenda on the hand made, everyday creativity, play, and usable environments.

What is the child-scale? How can we begin to understand it? How can this experience inform building and design ideas and practice?

Play is intensely important. Start developing an idea of (non)designing for playing. The walk that this extract depicts brought forth ideas of grain/granularity of street surfaces (materials), balance and tracing (paths, curbs), humble events, routine/ritual, liquid (refreshment, ballistics, power)… for a start."
discovery  exploration  urbanism  urban  architecture  design  thechildinthecity  child-scale  education  learning  unschooling  play  mapping  maps  japan  tokyo  cities  children  a-small-lab  chrisberthelsen 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Made Better in Japan - WSJ.com
"For decades, Japan simply imported the wares of foreign cultures, but recession has led to invention. The country has begun creating the finest American denim, French cuisine and Italian espresso in the world. Now is the time to visit."

"During the robust economy of the '80s, Japan's exports ruled, and the country would import the best that money could buy from the rest of the globe, including Italian chefs and French sommeliers. Which made Japan an haute bourgeoisie heaven where luxury manufacturers from the West expected skyrocketing sales forever.

But now 20-plus years of recession have killed that dream. Louis Vuitton sales are plummeting, and magnums of Dom Pérignon are no longer being uncorked at a furious pace. That doesn't mean the Japanese have turned away from the world. They've just started approaching it on their own terms, venturing abroad and returning home with increasingly more international tastes and much higher standards…"

[See also Stateside: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/adam-davidson-craft-business.html ]
daikisuzuki  engineeredgarments  hyperspecialization  hospitality  hotels  apprenticeships  tiny  small  quintessence  shuzokishida  restaurants  kansai  tokyo  hitoshitsujimoto  realmccoy's  nylon  magazines  jeans  craft  coffee  denim  detail  perfection  food  fashion  lifestyle  economics  luxury  japan  scale 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Remix Your City - Fresh Push Play by HIFANA - YouTube
"Armed with their Fresh Push Play iPhone App, HIFANA took to the streets of a once again bustling and vibrant Tokyo to sample the city sounds, followed by an electrifying live set at night performed with only iPhone and iPad. We invited a small group of fans to the exclusive Yakatabune boat party on Tokyo Bay and recorded their performance."

[See also: http://www.wk.com/campaign/remix_your_city AND http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fresh-push-play/id450761414?mt=8 ]
sound  urbanism  urban  recording  iphone  ipad  via:javierarbona  cities  tokyo  japan  hifana  music  remix  applications  ios 
january 2012 by robertogreco
An HSR Country is a Centralized Country | Pedestrian Observations
An interesting read on high speed rail and the development it spurs. "What this suggests is that HSR does not create centralization so much as reinforces it when it already exists. The Shinkansen made the rest of Japan more dependent on Tokyo, and the TGV has made most of France more dependent on Paris." The author considers the US, but surely the UK would go the way of France and Japan also.
development  railways  highspeedrail  france  japan  us  polycentricity  via:blech  trains  rail  paris  tokyo  centralization  shinkansen  highspeed 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Outside the mainstream | independent project spaces and artist-run initiatives in Japan | culture360.org
"Japan has major contemporary art museums, but also very interesting smaller independent art initiatives and exhibition spaces, which play an important role in the creation of discourse in the field of contemporary art. It is particularly difficult to start and run such initiatives in Japan, usually reliant on the commitment of dedicated individuals. This article aims to give an insight into some of those non-commercial art spaces. How is it to work in such a space? How are they financed? And why do these people put their energy and money into such projects?"
glvo  japan  art  tokyo  ongoing  youkobo  cas  osaka  itoshima  studios  studiokura  residencies  independent  2011  lcproject 
november 2011 by robertogreco
The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami - NYTimes.com
"“I live in Tokyo,” he told me, “a kind of civilized world — like New York or Los Angeles or London or Paris. If you want to find a magical situation, magical things, you have to go deep inside yourself. So that is what I do. People say it’s magic realism — but in the depths of my soul, it’s just realism. Not magical. While I’m writing, it’s very natural, very logical, very realistic and reasonable.”

Murakami insists that, when he’s not writing, he is an absolutely ordinary man — his creativity, he says, is a “black box” to which he has no conscious access. He tends to shy away from the media and is always surprised when a reader wants to shake his hand on the street. He says he much prefers to listen to other people talk — and indeed, he is known as a kind of Studs Terkel in Japan…"
harukimurakami  writing  2011  howwecreate  howwework  1Q84  books  interviews  running  japan  tokyo  travel  culture  literature 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Knee High Media
"Knee High Media was founded in 1996 by Lucas Badtke-Berkow. The company has been the brain and creative mechanism behind some of Japan’s most innovative and influential magazines: culture magazine TOKION (1996), kids magazine MAMMOTH (2000), travel magazine PAPER SKY (2002), free paper METRO MIN (2002) and botanical magazine PLANTED (2006). Besides creating unique magazines Knee High Creative also edits and produces websites, shops, clothing, events, advertising and branding."
design  web  japan  advertising  publishing  kneehighmedia  tokyo 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Works of GOD - a set on Flickr
"Commissioned by a-small-lab, a small research lab in Tokyo which focuses on creativity.

This book features 21 poems, short stories, drawings, conceptual pieces by a number of angsty 20 year olds.

May offend (probably will). Features racist, sexist, and other -ist content. All tongue in cheek but nevertheless harsh.

Please don't view this if you are going to have a problem with it."
chrisberthelsen  japan  tokyo  culture 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Mammoth School | Knee High Media Japan
From Google Translate:<br />
<br />
"School and Mammoth, Mammoth's proposed concept for children continue to lead the future. Magazine, WEB, be linked to events, and explores a new STANDARD for education. These are the basic principles of a mammoth school. Learn from both parents and children, to disseminate the ideas that we will foster a rich opportunity.<br />
(1) PLAY to LEARN what there is to learn to play inside.<br />
(2) HANDS on LEARNING lead to a deeper understanding of experience to stimulate the mind and body.<br />
(3) GREEN LEARNING connection with the earth, learn how to live eco-friendly.<br />
(4) BILINGUAL CONVERSATION create an environment to learn from each other adult and children."<br />
<br />
[See also Knee High Media: http://www.khmj.com/contact ]<br />
<br />
[via: http://a-small-lab.com/projects/look-a-round ]
design  children  education  japan  tokyo  magazines  glvo  bilingual  green  learning  environment  handsonlearning  play 
september 2011 by robertogreco
urbanology: bazaarchitecture, streetlife, hoodism, i-city, & more
"The Institute of Urbanology aims at learning from its environment while contributing to its improvement. Its research is intended to be directly relevant to the localities where it works as well as anyone interested in urban development and neighborhood life.

Urbanology is defined as the understanding of incremental developmental processes and daily practices in any given locality through direct engagement with people and places. The institute contributes to the debate on urban development by engaging with local community groups, creating new concepts, implementing projects and recommending strategies and policies.

The Institute sharpened its methodology through years of fieldwork in New York, Bogota, Tokyo, Istanbul, New Delhi, Goa and Mumbai. It has offices in Dharavi, Mumbai and Aldona, Goa. In Dharavi, the Institute studies homegrown practices in the fields of housing, artisanship and trade, and physical and theoretical spaces where these fields converge…"
urbanology  bogotá  mumbai  nyc  tokyo  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  design  art  culture  architecture  goa  newdelhi  istanbul  dharavi  aldona  economics  ecology  systems  matiasechanove  rahulsrivastava  urbz 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Small Places of Anarchy in the City: Three Investigations in Tokyo | This Big City
“Tokyo, a city of parts where the individual defines the large scale shows the elimination of the hierarchical city, quietly dismissing accumulated forms of power in favour of a situation in which everyone is free to realize their possibilities. Tokyo makes it possible for slim segments of the population to generate their own environments in scattered oases of a vast metroscape. What emerges here is the idea of the city of unimposed order, consisting of communal self-determination on one hand and individual freedom on the other. Here authority is practical, rather than absolute or permanent, and based in communication, negotiation.

Small places of anarchy are zones of human-scale action, attachment and care. They can:

1) Replace state control with regards to an aspect of city life.

2) Take away that aspect from the requirement of majority rule.

3) Promote unimposed order as the style working…"
tokyo  japan  chrisberthelsen  cities  anarchism  anarchy  diy  gardening  urbangardening  urbanfarming  flatness  chaos  yoshinobuashihara  order  selfdetermination  authority  maps  mapping  adaptability  unschooling  deschooling  urban  urbanism  glvo  negotiation  communication  environment  place  meaning  meaningmaking  activism  scale  human  humanscale  2011  horizontality  horizontalidad 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Freaky field guide: Tokyo's top 10 mythical beasts | CNNGo.com
"You won't find these bizarre creatures in any zoo, but they're watching over us all right"
myths  tokyo  japan  classideas  beasts 
september 2011 by robertogreco
tezuka architects: ring around a tree
"japanese practice tezuka architects has completed 'ring around a tree', a dual-purpose annex building at fuji kindergarden - designed by the duo in 2007 - in tachikawa, tokyo, japan. sited adjacent to the existing school, the structure functions as both english-language classrooms and as a waiting station for school buses."
japan  tokyo  tezukaarchitects  fujikindergarten  trees  design  architecture  schooldesign  landscape  2011  kindergarten  schools  education  takaharutezuka  2007 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Apple - Pro - Profiles - W+K Tokyo Lab
"W+K Tokyo Lab is a new music label concept launched by Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo in 2003. Our mission is to bring new experiences that can only be created in Tokyo through a unique global mix of music, visuals, and other forms of creative expression through a DVD and CD. Tokyo attracts some of the world’s most innovative creative collaborators. We are passionate about the development of new ideas with our creators and connecting them to a new audience. Simply put, it is about good music, fresh visuals, and new concepts of creative expression."

[Now available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-6eB01J5r8 AND http://www.apple.com/ca/fr/pro/profiles/wk/ ]
design  technology  art  music  wk  wktokyolab  tokyo  apple  animation  japan  hifana 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Steins;Gate - Wikipedia
"The story of Steins;Gate takes place in Akihabara and is about a group of friends who have customized their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they perform different experiments, an organization named SERN who has been doing their own research on time travel tracks them down and now the characters have to find a way to avoid being captured by them. Steins;Gate has been praised for its intertwining storyline and the voice actors have been commended for their portrayal of the characters."
games  japan  interactivefiction  storytelling  timetravel  manga  xbox360  videogames  classideas  writingprompts  visualnovels  edg  srg  scifi  sciencefiction  akihabara  tokyo  anime  if  cyoa 
july 2011 by robertogreco
MoMA | Talk to Me BETA | prettymaps, Beijing, Manhattan, and Tokyo
"Polymaps, Mapnik, and TileStache software

prettymaps are interactive maps that integrate data from freely available sources into multidimensional renderings of different places. The application pulls geographic data from open-mapping projects—including street-level data from OpenStreetMap, land-formation data from Natural Earth, and place-specific data from Flickr—and plots them atop one another. Users can view the maps at varying degrees of detail, zooming from a view of the world to a view of a single neighborhood. They are visually striking, with cities transformed into colorful abstractions, but the shapes are recognizable for anyone already familiar with the terrain."
prettymaps  maps  mapping  beijing  manhattan  nyc  moma  tokyo  polymaps  mapnik  tilestache  cities  2011  talktome  aaronstraupcope 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Ring Around a Tree - Architecture - Domus [Looks like something new at Fuji Kindergarten.]
"In “Philosophical Investigations,” Wittgenstein writes that what children and foreigners have in common is the absence of knowledge of language & a set of codified rules. This leads them—in the first instance—to learn through the senses and the body. To give the children more freedom to move around the school, the directors of the Fuji Kindergarten requested Tezuka to design spaces without furniture: no chairs, desks or lecterns. As a result, “Ring Around a Tree” offers an architecture where there are no measures taken to constrain space, in order to liberate the body.

The space created by Tezuka seems to have just two floors, but for the children the building has 6 floors w/ volumes that are one meter high. The compressed spaces, which can only be reached by crawling, further the freedom of movement & ability to use the body as a means of learning."

[Via: http://bobulate.com/post/7560943445 ]
[More about Fuji Kindergarten: http://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:fujikindergarten ]
fujikindergarten  tokyo  schooldesign  wittgenstein  space  tezukaarchitects  body  architecture  design  kindergarten  japan  schools  education  takaharutezuka  2007  bodies 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Robot Flâneur: Exploring Google Street View
"Robot Flâneur is an explorer for Google Street View. Select a city to start exploring.

Follow the instructions or just go full screen for an urban screensaver of your choice."
photography  cities  urban  maps  mapping  jamesbridle  robotflaneur  london  sanfrancisco  manhattan  nyc  sãopaulo  paris  johannesburg  tokyo  mexicodf  df  berlin  exploration  screensavers  mexicocity 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Miyashita Park by Atelier Bow-Wow | Spoon & Tamago
"Up until very recently, depending on where you were on the spectrum of social politics, Miyashita Park was either a safehaven for those rejected from society, or a neighborhood blight that is breeding ground for trouble.

But on April 30th a brand new Miyashita Park opened to the public and, despite the same name, it is unrecognizable to anyone who knew it prior to its reincarnation. What used to be home to hundreds of homeless, the blue tarpaulin, cardboard boxes and tents that comprised their dwellings are now nowhere to be seen. What used to feel like a space so far-removed from civilization it felt like a different country, has now, perhaps by force, been integrated into the hip mega-district that is Shibuya. More on that here.

With funding from Nike and blueprints provided by renowned architects Atelier Bow-Wow, a brand new space for the local community, equipped with everything from skating ramps to rock-climbing walls, has been put in place.…"
atelierbow-wow  architecture  urban  parks  playgrounds  play  miyashitapark  design  landscape  japan  tokyo  shibuya 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Kirai – Un geek en Japón by Héctor García — Torre parecida a Tokio Sky Tree en un grabado de siglo XIX
"En este grabado ukiyo-e de Kuniyoshi Utagawa se puede ver una misteriosa estructura en el horizonte cuya silueta se asemeja misteriosamente a la de la actual Tokyo Sky Tree.

[Image] Grabado de 1831 creado por Kuniyoshi Utagawa.

[Image] Aspecto de Tokyo Sky Tree cuando se termine su construcción a finales de este año. Medirá 634 metros siendo la segunda estructura más alta del mundo.

Varios historiadores creen que la torre del grabado de Kuniyoshi Utagawa no existió en la realidad, fue un añadido creativo producto de la imaginación del artista. Resulta que en aquella época estaba prohibido construir nada que fuera más alto que el castillo de Edo, además, este grabado es la única prueba de la “existencia” de tal torre.

¿Predijo Kuniyoshi Utagawa la construcción de Tokyo Sky Tree hace casi 200 años?"
towers  tokyo  history  designfutures  designfiction  retrofuture  1821  2011  japan  tokyoskytree  kuniyoshiutagawa  wattstowers 
april 2011 by robertogreco
The Deal with SNOW Magazine - JeanSnow.net
"I’m just not particularly inspired by the creative output of this country these days. This feeling has been growing over the past year, and although I’ve constantly tried to explain it as “just me,” thinking that I’d just been here for too long and that my constant focus on this particularly topic had maybe burned me out on it — and hey, that may really be the case — I do feel like there’s a serious lack of exciting development happening here. That’s not to say there aren’t some amazing creators doing some amazing things, but it’s no longer enough for me to want to base the entirety of my writings on — especially the kind that I do on my own time."
jeansnow  writing  passions  cv  snowmagazine  japan  tokyo  change  keepingitfresh  timeforachange  yearoff 
january 2011 by robertogreco
pass the baton tokyo vintage shop
"pass the baton - this vintage shop promotes a new idea of recycling : pass on things that you truly love. the idea is that if an object is used and not needed anymore, people can pass it along without making new goods

(and potential waste). so that each new owner can create their own new memories. 'pass the baton' is a new personal culture marketplace in japan, a country where the idea of buying used items is not really appreciated. this could change quickly, the bricks-and-mortar flagship store in the center of tokyo offers buyers and sellers a fashionable forum for exchange. as a member of the 'pass the baton' initiative, people can sell as simply as one would at a flea market, but with the added dimension of optioning proceeds to charity. 50% of the proceedings are distributed to the seller. the seller will then contribute a part or all of proceeds to one of several social action groups through the non-profit organization charity platform (NPO)."
reuse  used  nonproduct  charity  vintage  retail  tokyo  glvo  japan  secondhand  beausage  resa;e  readymade  lcproject  unproduct 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Tokyo Shure
"Tokyo Shure was founded in June 1985 while school-refusing children were increasing. Keiko Okuchi founded it as a space where any child can be her/himself and make with support of parents of school refusing children and other citizens. Nowadays, Tokyo Shure is known to as one of the oldest free schools."
japan  education  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  tokyo  tokyoshure  learning  democratic  freeschools  schools  schooling  testing  competition  competitiveness  alternative  agesegregation 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Hitotoki — About [Nice touce in the Design Notes—see the quote below. Click through for (small) images.]
"The Hitotoki logo is composed of four hankos, traditional Japanese personal stamps. Each was carved in stone by Eiko Nagase, kissed, inked, and pressed to tissue paper, resulting in what you see above.

The hankos can be seen as city blocks, the space between them the little pockets we carve out for ourselves. Each hanko silloutte is an abstracted katakana character cor­responding with the inlaid roman script. hitoOur 435-page identity style guide allows for creative re-positioning of the blocks to fit the logo into different layout contexts. Sadly, the application of the “Bevel and Emboss” filter is strictly prohibited."

[Update 17 July 2013: Link now redirects to Hi [sahi.co], so here's the Wayback link: http://web.archive.org/web/20130117051029/http://hitotoki.org/about/ ]
humor  storytelling  tokyo  geotagging  cities  hitotoki  narrative  blocks  stamps  hankos  katakana 
august 2010 by robertogreco
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