Friday, June 20, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: City Lighting and Green Roofs

Excellent post today by Richard Layman in his blog Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space on Lighting as an element of urban design and community identity.

The six categories of light:
  • urban lighting (streets, public areas)
  • buildings and objects
  • American Sign Museum in Cincinnati
  • art (indoor and outdoor)
  • events and festivals
  • information
  • advertising

Among Layman's many examples of creative urban lighting to support urban design goals are:  church steeples, rivers, erecting a chandelier in a theater district, neon entries like Reno's, illuminations in Calgary and lighting master plans in cities like San Diego and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's initiative to use architectural lighting in the "City of Light" to boost tourism.  

This last is controversial after the International Dark Sky Association took it to task.  For me that has to be the last word because protecting wildlife, as the DSA does, always trumps architecture in my book.

Thank you, Richard, for a thought-provoking piece.

And at Inhabitat this week, mcdonalds-goes-green-in-singapore with a vegetative roof designed to provide space for local wildlife and on Sauvie Island near Portland,  this 540-square-foot-oregon-home provides home for a family of four and sports a lush green roof.  Originally worker housing from the flooded shipyard worker village of Vanport, the cottage was floated down the river to its current resting place, where it shares the 5-acre property with a large green house, chickens, beehives and more as the family continues its journey toward self-sufficiency.

Sauvie Island 540 square foot green house

McDonald's, Singapore

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Keep Newport Hills Weird with Puffballs

In the "weirdness" sweepstakes, the contenders are decidedly un-weird in their choice of symbols:  Vermont's is an outline of their state.

Berkeley's is generic:

And Austin's, the original, is downright predictable and a bit of a sell-out: token tie-dye and the subheading: "support your local businesses." 

"Keep Portland Weird"appears in the opening credits of "Portlandia,"  and had its origins in 2007 when the owner of Music Millenium imported it from Austin.  There's even an extensive article about the KPW movement in Wikipedia, from which I take the following facts:

In a "weirdness" contest with Austin, Portland emerged the clear winner, taking nine of twelve total categories.
So What makes Portland weird?  Things you'd never see in Newport Hills, that's what.  For example, 
the Zoobomb cycling events
artist Adam Kuby’s Portland Acupuncture Project, as well as
the popularity of yarn bombing
  Another is the "Horse Project".

"The first "Keep Portland Weird festival" was held in October 2007 at the Central Library, and among the participants were the Portland Ukulele Association, Free Geek, and the Portland Area Robotics Society. Another took place in November 2009.

If you launched a campaign to keep your community "weird", what are the top five symbols you'd choose?  I've only come up with one so far.  Here's a possible contender for Newport Hills.  An egg-shaped topiary outside the beloved Chevron gas station.