Category: Urban Design & Landscape Architecture

Photo credit: Arlene Nathania

Elbtreppen: Zaha Hadid’s New Elbe Promenade in Hamburg

  Elbtreppen is a recently accomplished riverbank project by Zaha Hadid Architects that spans along the Niederhafen Port at River Elbe, the river that divides Hamburg into roughly two equal regions, located between Landungsbrücken and Speicherstadt (Baumwall), two of the oldest urban spots and tourist magnets of this port city.     “The Niederhafen was once a significant commercial port in… Read more →

Water Sensitive Urban Design: A Reconciliation Between Water and Cities

By creating ‘water sensitive cities’ it is possible to address the major challenges of water shortage, flooding and pollution. This film, commissioned by the Landscape Institute and based on work by CIRIA, Arup and AECOM, explains the concept of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and argues the case for designing ‘with’ water when planning any new development.

WSUD is an integrated solution to flooding, droughts and water quality, which promotes a more rational and frugal use of water alongside the creation of beautiful and resilient places. WSUD is about looking beyond the idea that a pipe in the ground is the best option for dealing with rain water — it is about prioritising all elements of the water cycle when designing and developing new places. WSUD reduces flooding, harnesses the potential of flood water, cuts the demand for potable water and improves water quality — all measures which make the water supply chain more sustainable.

Landscape Institute UK (Find out more about the Landscape Institute’s work on water via this link). 

Pastures Along the Rhine, Düsseldorf

City Grazing: The Embryo of Sustainable Living

There was a joke saying that ambiance in a well-done developed city is actually similar to living in a countryside, but with different affluence. It won’t be too sophisticated and high-tech like Tokyo, too commercialized like New York, as fashionable as Paris, vastly expanding like Shanghai, or having 24/7 hustle bustle economy like Hong Kong and Singapore. It will be far from… Read more →

Amanda Burden: Public spaces have power

When we think of cities, we think of buildings and skyscrapers and stray cats. For Amanda Burden, who spent 12 years as New York City’s director of urban planning, they’re primarily about people. They’re about where people go and where they meet — that’s the core of how cities work. And for the people, even more important than the buildings are the public spaces in between them. Those, to Burden, are what makes the cities come alive.

The central question she asks is, “What makes a public space work? What is it about unsuccessful places that keeps people away?” Burden, it turns out, was trained as an animal behaviorist, but she uses those skills to study how people interact with their spaces.

TedBlog

 

As New York’s chief city planner under the Bloomberg administration, Amanda Burden led revitalization of some of the city’s most familiar features — from the High Line to the Brooklyn waterfront (Ted). She exposes several different models of public open spaces in New York City, including the High Line, in order to illustrate which one works and which one does not, how people experience outdoor activities in those spaces, underlining that public spaces indeed have power.

 

Facets of Alster Lake, Hamburg

 

The Alster is a right tributary of the Elbe in Northern Germany. It has its source near Henstedt-Ulzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, flows somewhat southwards through much of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and joins the Elbe in central Hamburg. In total, the Alster is 56 km (35 mi) long and has an incline from 31 m to 4 m above sea level. Its drainage basin is about 587 km(227 sq mi), being regarded to most beautiful and widest scenery of nature in Hamburg.

The Alster Lake is Hamburg’s most important waterscape and landscape feature, which is divided into two parts, Inner Alster (Binnenalster) and Outer Alster (Außenalster). While the Elbe river is a tidal navigation of international significance and prone to flooding, Alster is a non-tidal, slow-flowing and in some places, seemingly untouched idyll of nature, in other places tamed and landscaped urban space. In the city center, the river forms two lakes, both prominent features in Hamburg’s cityscape.

 

History

Hamburg was founded at the mouth of the Alster river in the 9th century and used it as a port. The water was used to flood the moats of the fortifications. The Alster has been dammed since 1190, originally to power a watermill. In 1235 a further dam was built for a second mill, which changed the shape of the river to be like a lake. In the 15th and 16th century, an Alster canal was built to connect Hamburg with Lübeck. The canal was about 8 km (5.0 mi) long and built from the Alster to the Beste, a tributary of the Trave river, at Sülfeld. Because of the difficulties in holding water, especially near marsh areas, the 91 km (57 mi) long waterway from Hamburg to Lübeck was navigable from 1529 to 1550 only. Hamburg expanded along the shores of the Alster, and several locks were constructed to make the river navigable. Until the 19th century water transport with barges were used up to the town of Kayhude. The barges—transporting building material, fuel, and foods—were staked or hauled.

 

Ecological and Economic Value

The Alster is the most favorable spot for the Hamburgers to do water sports, sightseeing, recreation, and park-sauntering in the city centre. It is navigatable some 9 km upstream from the mouth. Alster Touristik GmbH (ATG), a subsidiary of the Hamburger Hochbahn, provides public and touristic transport on a fleet of Alster ferries in the city of Hamburg. Along the entire course within Hamburg, rowing or paddle boats are available for rent. In general, the Alster is assessed to be clean, even though the section below the lock at Rathausschleuse and closer to the port may have the occasional floating debris. Hamburg’s Alster and its lakes and canals are famous for its white swans, cared for out of public funds since the 16th century.

 

Text source: Wikipedia

Photo credit: Iwan Baan

The Elevated High Line Park, New York

High Line Park, or The High Line,  is a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of dilapidated New York Central Railroad called the West Side Line (Green & Letsch, 2014). In 1934, as part of the West Side Improvement Project, the High Line opened to trains, to transport meat and dairy products… Read more →

Photo credit: West 8

Jenfelder Au: A Climate Resilience Project in Hamburg, Germany

Water has been critical to where cities originate their development, and to the standard of living of their inhabitants (L. Mumford, 1961). However, too much or too little water can have devastating consequences (Iain White, 2013). According to Iain White in his article about regional ecology and resilience, maximized use of hard surfaces that generate run-off and by the development of… Read more →

Photo credit: Arlene Nathaia

Emerging Mutualistic Relationship Between Parklets and Neighborhood Businesses

Urbanist William H. Whyte says, “There is an elemental point about good spaces: supply creates demand. A good new public space builds a new constituency. It gets people into new habits – such as alfresco lunches – and induces them to use new paths…” A Concept of Pedestrian Overspills Parklets are essentially small plots of pedestrian overspill, could be in a… Read more →