Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CoolTown Studios

CoolTown Studios - crowd sourcing information seems like an awesome way to bring all the talents and ideas of CityMaking into the retail and development arena. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Video on demandNathan Shedroff on Design

I recently discovered Nathan Shedroff, who is a pioneer in experience and sustainable design Chair, MBA in Design Strategy Program, California College of the Arts (CCA).
His inspiring talk at Compostmodern 09 , sorry I could not feed it directly , you will have to click on the link below the picture to view it.
Hi website is really interesting to anyone interested in Experience Design or Sustainable Design: 

The Sartorialist: CIty Style Dressing

I found this book on a friends table the other day - I was bowled over Scott Schuman's  take on living style as seen in the great cities of the world.
Making sense of the flood of information we receive it takes experts with a true design sense to give us direction and a sense of style - beyond the moribund and ceaseless change of commercial fashion. Even he embraces fashion and fashionability, Scott extracts trends and ideas as he celebrates the unique attributes of the people he photographs - it is people and their lives that make cities and how they dress and express themselves is what creates interest and the "spoors" of time as it changes  and mutates and leaves it traces on us and our surroundings.
He is quotes in Wikipedia :
"I thought I could shoot people on the street the way designers looked at people, and get and give inspiration to lots of people in the process. My only strategy when I began The Sartorialist was to try and shoot style in a way that I knew most designers hunted for inspiration."
Like many others I have become a fan and peruse his blog regularly to glean insight on how we shape ourselves and thus our surroundings by the choices we make.
The Sartorialist

Monday, January 11, 2010



I know you have enjoyed street food in Singapore, in Chiang Mai in London and Cape Town.......
"From Akume in Togo to Pho in Vietnam, street food constitutes up to 40% of the daily diet of urban consumers in the developing world.

The simple, yet, exotic flavours also make street food cuisine an increasingly popular dish in the West - with markets, recipe books and even restaurants specialising in dishes from the streets of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Yet, the rich cultural importance of street food is fragile.

Globalisation and urban development threaten these age-old traditions and, despite street food’s vital importance to local communities, there are serious health issues to contend with.

Consumers International (CI) is working to preserve street food life, so that local consumers, street food sellers and inquisitive travellers can enjoy these great dishes safely. 
 explores the wonderful variety of dishes on offer, bringing the recipes, the vendors and the customers to life."
For example... In South Africa, Durban’s eThekwini Municipality produced an encouraging model.

For years, raids and confiscations strained relations between street traders and the authorities.
A review of these crackdowns revealed the need for a more efficient and humane approach that would combine law enforcement with vendor education.
This produced a new strategy focusing on health and hygiene, and not only involved the street vendors, but also the...
  • eThekwini Business Support Unit
  • municipal environmental health services
  • police, and
  • local transport authority.

BUNNY CHOWS - street food - South African Style

BUNNY _CHOW : A South African original - makes a great street food - for those of you who dont know it - or want a way to remember it when you cant get it see the recipe in this article 
"Street food – it’s such a great concept. Something cheap and readily available, sold on the streets in a portable format, and eaten by the average local. ThinkLeberkaese rolls in Austria; grilled corn on the cob in Morocco;falafel or shawarmathroughout the Middle East; frites with mayonnaise in Belgium; poutine in Canada; tacos in Mexico; chilli dogs andcorn dogs in the USA; and arepas in Venezuela.
In South Africa, we have the usual collection of generic international street food like hamburgers, fried chicken, or fish and chips, but here and there you will find some truly South African food being sold on the streets, like Durban’s home-grown favourite:bunny chows.
There is some discussion as to the origin of this steet food which broadly consists of curry ladled into a scooped-out loaf of bread. One theory is that it originated at a restaurant in Durban’s Grey Street when, in the early 1900s, caddies from the Royal Durban Golf Club were unable to get enough time off over lunch to dash to predominantly Indian Grey Street to pick up a curry for lunch. The caddies would ask their friends to bring back curries for them and because there were no polystyrene containers back then, the shopkeepers sent the curry in holowed out loaves of bread. There was also no disposable cutlery, so the bread was useful as a tool to dip into the curry and use instead of a fork. This theory might also explain the rather unusual name: the shopkeepers on Grey Street were called banias (an Indian caste of merchants), and “bunny” could be a corruption of this. Another similar theory is that bunny chows originated as a means for the (mostly Indian) labourers to take lunch onto the sugar cane plantations of Kwa-Zulu Natal in the days before disposable containers."  Get the  full recipe:Bunny chows – street food, South Africa style


Richard Sennett writes about cities, labor, and culture. He teaches sociology at New York University and at the London School of Economics.

Richard writes lucidly about the properties of open and closed cities and some ideas how they can be made He has contributed to  "Endless City" (see Readings) by the Urban Age -  a worldwide investigation into the future of cities:

"The cities everyone wants to live in should be clean and
safe, possess efficient public services, be supported by a
dynamic economy, provide cultural stimulation, and
also do their best to heal society's divisions of race, class,
and ethnicity. These are not the cities we live in. Cities
fail on all these counts due to government policy,
irreparable social ills, and economic forces beyond local
control. The city is not its own master. Still, something
has gone wrong, radically wrong, in our conception of
what a city itself should be. We need to imagine just
what a clean, safe, efficient, dynamic, stimulating, just
city would look like concretely – we need those images
to confront critically our masters with what they should
be doing – and just this critical imagination of the city is
weak. This weakness is a particularly modern problem:
the art of designing cities declined drastically in the
middle of the twentieth century. In saying this, I am
propounding a paradox, for today's planner has an
arsenal of technological tools – from lighting to bridging
and tunnelling to materials for buildings – which
urbanists even a hundred years ago could not begin to
imagine: we have more resources to use than in the past,
but resources we don't use very creatively. "

THE URBAN TRACE - Some thoughts on New Cape Quarter Mall - Somerset Road Cape Town
If the traces of the past are retained while constructing the future around them by being lived in by some of those building them, then both are enhanced.
If we copy the past in the present  then both result in  a hollowed out and empty future and both degraded.
The traces of the past are "spoors" (tracks) leading to the future, i.e. the future is constructed on the foundation /ground of the past in the present and and lived in the future.
The more authentic and centered then life is richer and more complex the present will be and the richer and more life-giving the future will become.