The Depressing Industrial City of Norilsk | Via
The city was founded in 1935, as a slave labor camp, and later as a settlement for those working in mining and metallurgic operation. Located at the foot of the 1,700-meter high Putoran Mountains, where occurs some of the largest nickel deposits on earth, Norilsk is a hotbed for mining and smelting industries. The city contains the world’s largest heavy metals smelting complex, producing more than 20 percent of the world’s nickel, 50 percent of its palladium, more than 10 percent of its cobalt, and 3 percent of its copper. Norilsk’s exports make up more than 2 percent of Russia’s GDP.
The average life expectancy of the workers is ten years shorter than the national average. Residents suffer from numerous respiratory diseases, and the incidents of cancer, blood and skin disorders is high. Only 4% of adults in the city are healthy.
it’s obvious that those who live and work in Norilsk do so for the money, but even those who voluntarily came here to make money are eager to escape. But leaving the city is not easy, especially for the older residents on pension, and with a family and apartment. Property prices are low in Norilsk, which means they cannot sell and leave the city, because even if they did, it’s impossible to buy anything with the money in other regions.
They live, work, spend and reproduce for the mining company. The town’s isolation means they pour their wages into company-owned shops and facilities. The money goes back to the company, and eventually people pass away.
The architecture of despair.
The Story of Kowloon Walled City | Via
The early phases of the Walled City were characterized by predictable building typologies and the buildings were constructed on the principle of squatters’ rights, with random construction on spots of available land by whoever got there first. Alleyways and passages evolved—unplanned—into the established ‘map’ of the city, which would remain until it came down. A basic electric supply existed, increasingly burdened by illegal connections that frequently overloaded the system, and the few standpipes supplied the only water. As the need to accommodate the ever growing residential and commercial populations forced it to in the 1960s, the building typology of the Walled City made the leap from two- to three-story residential structures to taller, six- to seven-story ones. This represented an important threshold, because at these greater heights the buildings unavoidably became more complex and required greater labor to realize, reinforced concrete, more investment, and so on.
Olowalu, Maui, Hawaii
Olowalu Town is a traditional neighborhood development located on a coastal site along the western shores of Maui, Hawaii. By referencing the natural surroundings, the plan aims not only to enhance the existing community but also to complement the beauty of the surrounding environment. Ecologically sustainable design was also at the forefront of the discussions, and became crucial to the development of the plan.
The community’s layout, structures, density and land uses all contribute to creating a compact and pedestrian-friendly environment. The basic organizational pattern divides the site into three distinct neighborhoods, each of which will provide residents with the basic amenities for daily life within walking distance of their homes. In addition to the individual neighborhoods, two town centers will feature facilities and amenities for the larger community, including retail and commercial spaces, civic buildings and public open space. A wide range of housing types will also be available, including a substantial provision of much-needed affordable housing.
A main element of the plan was the incorporation of local ecological features. Most significantly, the development of the master plan was strongly influenced by the “ahupua’a,” the traditional Hawaiian transect. DPZ adopted and updated this transect, which marries traditional settlement patterns with sustainable ecological strategies. Additionally, the neighborhood boundaries are defined by a cultural preserve that runs north-south across the entire site, from the West Maui mountains down to the Au Au Channel. Each neighborhood comprises a delicate and intimately-scaled system of blocks, buildings and streets oriented towards the water or towards the mountains, providing views deep into the site by way of pedestrian and/or green linkages for a maximum number of residents. This rich public realm will encourage public use and interaction between all residents and will contribute significantly to the community’s livability, vitality and environmental health.
By using these site-specific design techniques, the plan presents an approach to building a beautiful, high-quality human habitat that enhances a stunning landscape. In this regard, Olowalu Town strives to use its finely-crafted urban fabric and well-defined public realm to be a model urban community for Maui and a destination for the region at large.
In 1962, geographer Roger Tomlinson, then working for Spartan Air Services, met a Canadian government official named Lee Pratt on an airplane. That meeting eventually led to the development of the Canada Geographic Information System, considered to be the first GIS. “Now in the data age, GIS has since come to influence nearly every sphere of spatial understanding and has helped define a new concept of geography,” writes Jessica Camille Aguirre in the Smithsonian Magazine.
GIS for the win