Food for anti-capitalists perhaps: Damon Rich lectures on the destruction of cities for profit at the AA London. Nomen est omen, an old man once said. Rich, currently working for the City of Newark, is the founder of  the Center for Urban Pedagogy, whose main activity seems to be raising awareness of the built environment – our neighbourhoods and cities – as an important and quite perfect educational tool because of how it relates to and communicates with people – or something like that. Think user participation and lots of colourful models. Also, he designed an exhibition focused on the… Read More

Design as Politics goes UK: february 3rd, Wouter Vanstiphout will give a lecture at London’s at least somewhat legendary AA School of Architecture. Rem, Zaha and Cedric Price went there – nuff said, right? Since everybody likes violence (even jolly, well-mannered Brits supposedly) the lecture will re-visit the relationship between riots and urban planning, the subject of an earlier lecture series held at the Delft faculty of architecture. Expect (pictures of) destruction, racism, French gangster rap, radical geographics, police aggression and modernism at its worst – all PG-rated so bring your kids too! If you’re attending, make sure to visit the Broadwater… Read More

Forget Dubai – Tehran is where it’s at. With Archis/Volume preparing an alternative guide to Iran’s largest city, local resident Ali Hoseini-Khamenei ranking 26th at Forbes’s list of most powerful people of 2010, and it actually being the least expensive capital in the world, you must learn more about it as quick as possible. Luckily, the Nai (in collaboration with Volume) knows what to do: organize a debate! January 20th, 20:00, NAi Dependance, Ali Madanipour as key speaker, Wouter Vanstiphout as moderator/debater – click here for more info. For those who can’t make it: don’t worry, another debate will be held later this… Read More

Whoa. Everything you always wanted to know about the Israel-Palestine situation but were afraid to ask: the Atlas of the Conflict. Co-written by  Malkit Shoshan (PhD student of the chair of Design as Poltics), Willem Velthoven (of Mediamatic) and Nat Muller, the book painstakingly maps what seems to be the conflict of conflicts  – it is being represented in over 500 drawings. Mediamatic throws a launchparty december 21st in Amsterdam – speeches by some cool people are included. Click here (PDF!) for a 15 page sample of the atlas.

Thought the vote against the European constitution in France and the Netherlands hasn’t changed anything? Lost belief in the power of the referendum? Think twice: in an act of heroism and characteristic bluntness at the same time, Dutch design firm MVRDV changed the shutters  on its design for an apartment building in Lyon, France, after the negative vote: the building now spells out the first article of the European constitution when the shutters are closed. Sort of like erecting statues of presidents after they’ve been overthrown by the people, no? Beware though, your vote changes shutter designs in French suburbs.

The pointless and ruthless 1942 shooting of a caring mother in Bambi being only part of a series of horrific deaths in Walt Disney films, violence has now also entered the company’s picture-perfect real estate reality: on november 24th a 58-year old resident of Disney’s master-planned fairytale Celebration was found murdered in his home, and another one shot at the police and then killed himself a few days later. The (94 per cent) white community is obviously shocked – and you can’t really blame the architecture for any misconduct this time. Right? It’s a safe bet to say the murder weapon… Read More

Bordering the brilliant and the insane: running for governor of California and proposing to ban all convicted pedophiles to a self-sustaining island. Plus –  attempting to make it sound more feasible by including a detailed plan of how to do this, too. Only in California.

Edible Estates: ‘Attack on the Front Lawn’ is a project by Fritz Haeg. In this ongoing initiative unused spaces and domestic front lawns are transformed into edible gardens. Each garden is designed to fit its owners needs and desires, the geographical climate as well as its community and history. Currently there are eight gardens across the US and the UK. Click image to watch video:

Downsizing Detroit

In late March a star urban planner named Toni Griffin will begin (…) the most ambitious urban makeover in American history — the downsizing of Detroit. More > Meanwhile young entrepreneurs (35 and under) are creating local business opportunities and are trying to make the community more livable, according to independent foreign movie house owner Nathan Faustyn. More > Click on the image to watch the video: