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Monday News Roundup

Aug 02, 2010

Blueprints for a Better ‘Burb (NYTimes)
That the Murphys, the couple recently arrested for spying for the Russians from Montclair, N.J., were described by a flabbergasted neighbor as “suburbia personified” is telling, an observation that perfectly sums up our collective notion that the suburbs are chock full of white, middle-class families, both nuclear and normal.

But that prevailing vision contradicts the reality of suburbia today.

Another Step Toward Green Design (Forbes)
With help from star architect William McDonough, a ”green products” institute is born.

Small Shoots, Big Shades: Beautiful Tropical Bamboo Home (dornob)
A climate-specific design for Costa Rica by an architect for his mother, this is a unique dream home that combines local building traditions, modern techniques and an extreme sensitivity to connecting the interior with the wild and wonderful outdoors around the house.

The G-List – the top green buildings since 1980. Why so different from Vanity Fair’s “most important works of architecture since 1980“?

Frank Lloyd Wright the Villain? (The Overhead Wire)
The author talks about his belief that Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Ford were the greatest villains of the 20th century in their encouraged suburban development taking us away from the beneficial village community and pushing us to rely too heavily on automobiles and suburban development.

Saving Seattle’s trees one bird at a time(SeattlePI)
Seattle City Light contractors cut back trees to create clearance for power lines on the edge of Kiwanis Ravine on Thursday July 29, 2010 in Magnolia. The City of Seattle hopes to preserve the city’s tree canopy and preserving the nearby colony of great blue heron are part of the plan. No heron were nesting in the trees cut by the workers.

The future of cities and transportation (GOOD Magazine)
Bus rapid transit systems and “complete streets” are great. But to design urban transportation systems that are truly sustainable, we have to think much further ahead.

LA pushing to become nation’s mass transit leader (Associated Press)
The region famous for jilting the street car to take up a love affair with the automobile is trying to rekindle its long ago romance with commuter rail.

The Mark of a Great City Is in How It Treats Its Ordinary Spaces, Not Its Special Ones (Urbanophile)
But leave the tourist district behind and check out the average street, the average building, the average design. Too often you will find that those are of another order altogether. It’s as if there are two separate cities. One place is the city of special events and tourists, existing inside a cordon sanitaire (whose boundaries are marked with gateways perhaps?) indicating its unique status. The other place is the city as it is actually lived in and experienced in everyday life. This latter city, that is to say, the vast majority of the city, is too often neglected. The gulf between the special and the ordinary proclaims the hollowness of these places.

Superfront (UrbanOmnibus)
SUPERFRONT is a venue for architectural experimentation. Three and a half years ago, Mitch McEwen — a curator, urban designer and unlicensed architect — walked by a dilapidated storefront in Bed-Stuy in the shadow of the elevated LIRR tracks, and went about applying her passion and energy into transforming it into a gallery and project space devoted to “promoting architecture for an interdisciplinary world.