Tag: Amenities

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Three New Islands for Seoul

Here’s a glimpse of what Seoul has planned for its waterfront: three new recreation islands.

It is hoped that this project will become a vibrant cultural and entertainment destination, and ‘buoy the city’s spirits’.

The development will feature three islands -- Vista, Viva and Terra -- each with its own distinctive theme and purpose, from a festival hall, to a base for water sports and leisure. The group of islands combined will cover 9,995 square meters.  The developers intend the project to boost use of the waterfront area.

See the pictures here.


Nice Photos of the HIgh Line

Take a look.


Yet Another View on Arts Trends

Memphis College of Art President Jeff Nesin responded to Joe Cortright's view that the arts product and marketing need a major overhaul, given the fact that arts participation is declining.

"Why marketing or product?  Maybe there's a shift, perhaps technological, perhaps cultural, probably both, that we need to acknowledge.  I was more interested in the last paragraph of that post about what is trending upwards. This piece
from the New York Times' chief music critic suggests that there could be growing interest among the young."



Declining Arts Participation

What is bad news for the arts can also be bad news for cities.

Arts Participation 2008: Highlights from a National Survey features top findings from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, conducted by the NEA in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau.  And the findings are not encouraging.

There are persistent patterns of decline in participation for most art forms. Nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults – or an estimated 78 million – attended an art museum or an arts performance in the 2008 survey period, compared with about 40 percent in 1982, 1992, and 2002. i ii

  • Attendance at the most popular types of arts events – such as art museums and craft/visual arts festivals – saw notable declines. The U.S. rate of attendance for art museums fell from a high of 26 percent in 1992-2002 to 23 percent in 2008, comparable to the 1982 level.

  • Between 1982 and 2008, attendance at performing arts such as classical music, jazz, opera, ballet, musical theater, and dramatic plays has seen double-digit rates of decline.

  • Fewer adults are creating and performing art. For example, the percentage of adults performing dance has lost…


Nuevo Laredo’s Word Station

The dramatic plunge in murders in Nuevo Laredo was the subject of a recent NPR story.  Apparently, warring drug cartels called a truce, and things instantly got better.  Unfortunately, the truce in Nuevo Laredo is now causing problems in Juarez, documented in last week's New York Times.

While accepting the inevitability of cartels, new Mayor Ramon Garza is working hard to change the city's image.  According to the NPR story, "the crown jewel of his year-old administration is the old train station. It's called Estacion Palabra, or "Word Station." In a leap of imagination, Garza has transformed the old passenger train station into a sleek and sunlit literature center."

(The comments on this story are worth reading.  Do we rejoice for Nuevo Laredo when the presence of cartels is accepted, and crime moves to the next town?)


The Content Campus

Opened last month, L.A Live, with its two concert halls, an ESPN Zone/broadcast studio, a bowling alley, movie theaters, ten restaurants, Grammy Museum, and condos, is being called a "content campus" by Business Week.  Its developers call it an entertainment campus. The complex cost $2.5 billion and is in downtown LA next door to the city's convention center and near Staples Center.  Two hotels are planned to complete the project.

I've been thinking for some time about the next generation of civic amenities.  We actually did some interesting work on this at the CEOs for Cities national meeting in Pittsburgh last spring.  The reinvention of civic amenities also underlies at least part of the discussion on anchor institutions.  This morning I got a new year's message from Paul Holdengraber, the brilliant producer of New York Public Library Live!, and was reminded of his exciting presentation at the CEOs for Cities meeting in San Jose where he attempted to challenge and stretch the role of anchor institutions in the civic life of communities.

L.A. Live isn't it, of course, although it's an interesting commercial expression of mixed use fun.  What would a real content campus look like?  And is…


Dark Sky Park

Congratulations to Scotland for having the forethought to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy (IYA), marking the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope with Galloway Forest Park announcing its plans to become Europe’s first “dark sky park.”

The Bldgblog reports that the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) web site contains everything that "locations with exceptional nightscapes" need to know to submit their application to be certified as "International Dark Sky Communities (IDSC), International Dark Sky Parks (IDSP), and International Dark Sky Reserves (IDSR).” Currently, there is only one dark-sky community in the world (Flagstaff, AZ), and just two dark-sky parks (the first, Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah, and the slightly less well-known Cherry Springs State Park in northern Pennsylvania). There are no actual reserves yet; indeed, the concept is still being thrashed out in partnership with UNESCO (who issued their own Starlight Reserve framework in 2007).


Workspring Makes Top 10

Steelcase's Workspring makes Springwise's top ten list for 2008. Debuting in Chicago and host to part of our last National Meeting, Workspring is a new urban amenity that offers a fresh setting for collaboration.


Is Fun an Economic Development Strategy?

The things that make a city delightful -- like parks, historic sites, museums and beaches - disproportionally attracted highly educated individuals and experienced faster housing price appreciation, according to "City Beautiful," a paper published this month by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia economists Gerald A. Carlino and Albert Saiz.

Does that suggest a different approach to stimulus spending?

The Boston Globe reported on the study today.  "Social scientists had long studied the growth of cities, but in the 1990s they started to notice something puzzling: Cities like Seattle and Austin were booming as new-economy hubs for no apparent reason other than the fact that the people responsible for the greatest innovations in high technology had chosen to live in places that were bike-friendly, had good music scenes, and allowed them to show up to business lunches in jeans," reported the Globe.  "Elsewhere, downtown enclaves in cities like Philadelphia and Providence had also begun to rebound, with new condominiums and coffee bars, even as the fundamentals of the local economies around them seemed to change little. What puzzled the experts was why, if the 'American central city generally did not 'come back' in the 1990s,' as Carlino and…


Libraries in Demand

The Chicago Public Library is on pace for a record number of items in circulation this year, thanks to soaring food and gas prices.  In July, CPL saw a 28% rise in the number of items "out."  Can we expect to see further consolidations and closings of big format bookstores?  I was in Border's yesterday (as I am almost every day), and it's hard to understand the business model of the Borders cafe jammed with people drinking one cup of specialty coffee and reading unpurchased books and magazines as if they were at a library.