Posts tagged with "UNESCO":

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Thirteen percent of museums worldwide could shut forever due to coronavirus

Monday, May 18 marked International Museum Day, and to celebrate the occasion, UNESCO along with the International Council of Museums (ICOM) came bearing not-so-festive news. Together, the organizations released the key findings culled from two separate-yet-interrelated studies examining the devastating impacts that the coronavirus crisis has wrought on museums and cultural institutions across the globe. UNESCO detailed the most sobering findings in a press statement, noting that 90 percent of museums worldwide, roughly 85,000 institutions in total, had closed—or have continued to close—their doors to the public during the pandemic. Thirteen percent of still-shuttered museums will likely never reopen. And while numerous museums have shifted to virtual programming and tours during the course of the crisis, only five percent of museums in Africa and in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) were able to maintain public engagement through online offerings. “Museums play a fundamental role in the resilience of societies. We must help them cope with this crisis and keep them in touch with their audiences,” said UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay. “This pandemic also reminds us that half of humanity does not have access to digital technologies. We must work to promote access to culture for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and isolated.” Interestingly, the total number of museums worldwide has increased by 60 percent to 95,000 since 2012, which, as UNESCO pointed out, “demonstrates the important place that the sector has taken in national cultural policies over the past decade.” Only 1.5 percent of museums worldwide, however, are located in Africa or in SIDS. UNESCO and ICOM will publish the full results of the studies in the near future while “continuing their collaboration to support museums worldwide, with the help of Member States and networks of museum professionals.”
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Copenhagen named 2023 World Capital of Architecture

The Danish capital of Copenhagen, host city for the 28th World Congress of Architects (which will be convened by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in 2023), has also been named as the second UNESCO World Capital of Architecture. Rio de Janeiro, host city of the 2021 World Congress, will begin its (delayed) reign as the inaugural World Capital of Architecture starting next year. The designation is a relatively new one established in 2019 by UNESCO in partnership with the UIA to coincide with the long-running global event, held triennially by the United Nations-recognized, nongovernmental organization. The 27th World Congress in Rio, to be held this July, was pushed back to July 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The first World Congress was first held in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1948, and has since taken place in a diverse range of cities throughout the decades including Moscow (1958), Prague (1967), Mexico City (1978), Cairo (1985), Beijing (1999), Berlin (2002), and Seoul (2017). The UIA World Congress has only convened once in the United States, in Chicago, in 1993. The 2023 World Congress in Copenhagen will mark the first time the event has been hosted by a Nordic city. “Copenhagen ranks as one of the most liveable and loveable cities in the world and is aiming to keep this title,” reads the World Congress 2023 event page. “As host for the UIA World Congress, Copenhagen provides a unique combination of culture, tolerance, global connectivity, well-functioning public transport, green spaces, and high-quality architecture.” Per English-language Danish newspaper the CPH Post, between 10,000 and 15,000 people are expected to attend the event, themed Design for a Sustainable Future. It's an appropriate one considering Copenhagen’s admirable goal to be completely carbon-neutral by 2025. “The hosting of the World Capital of Architecture allows us to show all the good that Copenhagen can do,” Franciska Rosenkilde, the city’s culture and leisure mayor, told the Post.
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Marie Antoinette’s private garden at the Palace of Versailles will get an extensive restoration

Receiving an average of 7,700,000 visitors each year, the home and gardens of the Palace of Versailles, in Versailles, France, has become one of Europe’s most visited tourism destinations since its opening in 1631, but that also means major portions of the well-trodden, 2,000-acre property are in dire need of renovation. Since becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, plans have come and gone to restore the palace grounds to their original condition, but have been stalled each time in light of the difficulty of determining its true “original condition.” At long last, a restoration of at least one portion of the property has recently begun, and will soon be completed with an estimated price tag of $2 million. Bosquet de la Reine (the Queen’s Grove), a sizable plot of land that was once the private garden and frequent sanctuary of Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France before the French Revolution, will be restored to the condition it was believed to have in 1776, the year of its completion. During her residence on the property in the mid 18th century, Antoinette hired the French architect Michel-Barthélemy Hazon to redesign the plot west of the orangery in a style unlike the majority of the obsessively manicured grounds, opting instead for a rougher-edged, English-style garden with meanderings paths in which she could independently wander and contemplate. The garden had gradually become overgrown in her absence, and a storm that uprooted over 15,000 trees from the entire property rendered it even wilder than originally intended. Using archaeological research and original documents, the restoration will revert the garden to its original condition, including reintroducing original plant species as well as reproductions of the sculptures and furniture elements that were once scattered across the site. With the entirely of the Palace of Versailles closed to the public due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the restoration team has already planted period-accurate tulip trees at its center and, according to the property’s website, will be followed by a replanting of the various plant species along the perimeter before being completed in 2022.
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Plans to transform Australia’s Cockatoo Island into permanent art site rejected

Off the southern coast of Japan is a small island town named Naoshima, hailed as the country’s “art island” for hosting Tadao Ando-designed museums and large outdoor sculptures by artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Walter De Maria, and George Rickey. Since adopting its recent cultural status in the last decade, the quaint island town of 3,000 permanent residents now receives more than 700,000 visitors annually. Australia nearly has a ‘Naoshima’ of its own in Cockatoo Island, an even smaller body of land off the coast of Sydney that UNESCO proclaimed as a World Heritage Site in 2010 and, in coordination with the Biennale of Sydney, has temporarily hosted large-scale installations by artists including Ai Weiwei and Cai Guo-Qiang within its historic industrial buildings. In an attempt to solidify the island’s new-found cultural role, the Cockatoo Island Foundation Limited was established last year to transform Cockatoo Island into a permanent art site. Like Naoshima, the group envisioned Cockatoo Island as a site of multiple indoor and outdoor works of art with plenty of landscaping left over to benefit native biodiversity. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the group contains prominent art world figures, including Danny Goldberg and Tony Berg, that have guaranteed to put $80 million towards the project if the federal government would chip in another $190 million. “There is absolutely no personal commercial benefit in this,” Berg told the Herald. “We have this vision for something really fantastic to happen on Cockatoo Island, make it a place of excitement, but if at the end of the day, the review and the government say that is not the way they want to go, we will pack up our stuff and go away.”

The proposal, however, was recently rejected by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the organization that currently owns the island, stating that the move could negatively affect the site's historical presence. “When we were set up 20 years ago,” Joseph Carrozzi, chairman of the trust, told the Art Newspaper, “the concept of the trust was to protect, rehabilitate and preserve the historical sites. We want the government to say the trust should have an ongoing role in managing these sites because they are unique. We want all the assets to be fundamentally community assets, and (used) for the purpose of telling the story of Australia in a very specific way[...] rather than a commercialized enterprise.”

The island is currently locked in an ongoing tension between its historic past and its potential future as a haven for contemporary art. At the very least, Cockatoo Island will continue its participation in the Biennale of Sydney, including its 22nd iteration taking place throughout the city starting March 14.
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Change.org petition seeks to save half-imploded Dallas office tower

Forget football, frozen margaritas, and the Texas State Fair. It would appear that the one thing capable of truly bringing the entire city of Dallas together is a failed mid-rise demolition. In the seconds following a much-anticipated planned implosion of the former Affiliated Computer Services tower on February 16, it became abundantly clear that 300 pounds of dynamite wouldn’t be enough to bring the dogged 11-story building completely down. Located north of downtown Dallas off of the Central Expressway, the otherwise forgettable 1970s-era office tower in question is being razed to make way for a $2.5 billion mixed-use development dubbed The Central. But the demolition went awry, leaving the building’s concrete-and-steel core standing a distinctive tilt that's not too dissimilar from a certain Tuscan bell tower. Just like that, Dallas gained itself an instant, internet-famous photo backdrop. Now Dallasonians—tongues firmly planted in cheeks—are rallying to save the half-demolished building now known as the “Leaning Tower of Dallas.” A “dank meme"-seeking Dallas resident has even launched a Change.org petition calling for the inclined tower to be bestowed with Texas Historic Landmark status as well as UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Reads the petition:
Over the past few days, The Leaning Tower of Dallas has become the city's largest cultural icon. After making national headlines, we are finally famous for something other than the JFK Assassination. Unfortunately, the demolition will be completed soon to make way for even more hideous shops and condos for the bourgeois residents of Uptown Dallas.
As of this writing, over 900 people have signed the petition, which is directed toward Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Historical Commission executive director Mark Wolfe, and noted reprieve-giver President Donald Trump, among others. In all fairness, there is some cultural significance to the Affiliated Computer Services tower. Although owned by Xerox in its final years, the building was once home to the Southland Corporation, the parent company behind one of Dallas’s greatest contributions to modern society: 7-Eleven. While obviously unserious in its intent, the petition does serve as a sort of battle cry against The Central, a dense and upscale project that will ultimately span 30 acres. As reported by The Dallas Morning News, the first phase of development will include a 17-story office tower, two hotels, two large apartment complexes, a 3.5-acre park, and 110,000 square feet of retail, entertainment, and restaurant space. Dallas architecture firms GFF and BOKA Powell are both involved in the project, as is New York-based Perkins Eastman.

Project developer De La Vega Development plans to break ground during the third quarter of this year—that is, provided that the remaining portion of the tower fully comes down when a crane and wrecking ball finish the job at some point this week.

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Digital archive for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House now online

Six months after the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House was designated the first and only UNESCO World Heritage site in Los Angeles, The City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has launched an extensive digital archive for the home spanning from 1918 to the present day. “Now everyone interested in Frank Lloyd Wright may view documents previously available only to scholars,” said Jeffrey Herr, DCA’s Hollyhock House curator, in a press release at launch. “Always stretching technology, Frank Lloyd Wright would be delighted with digital technology and the increased dissemination of his work."
Over 500 drawings, blueprints, and related items of historical documentation are now publicly accessible for the first time, giving the public another method of exploring the home following the debut of its Virtual Accessibility Experience and the self-guided tours available to the public four days a week. The online archive adds a significant amount of history concerning the many renovations, restorations, architectural details, furnishing, and the building additions on the 36-acre property. “The Department of Cultural Affairs is thrilled for the opportunity to make this archive material available to those interested in Aline Barnsdall's vision and Frank Lloyd Wright's work,” said Danielle Brazell, general manager of the DCA, in a press release. “Viewing the collection gives anyone interested in the history of the property a deeper understanding.” While highlights include schematic site maps and perspective renderings from the architect himself, the public archive also contains plenty of minutia for the Wright-obsessed, including an electrical schedule blueprint and plenty of corbel details. The home was completed in 1921 for the art collector and socialite Aline Barnsdall, who gave it up to the city shortly afterward in 1927 under the condition that the California Art Club could use the site as its headquarters through a fifteen-year lease. After the club relocated in 1942, the site was renamed Barnsdall Park and has since hosted several public events and exhibition spaces, including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG).
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Detroit Design 139 showcases how Detroiters are reshaping their neighborhoods

Detroit has always been a design-forward city, a fact made official back in 2015 when they were designated a UNESCO City of Design, the only in the United States. A center of architectural innovation, futuristic automotive design, boulevards meant to rival the Champs-Élysées, and one of the U.S.’s foremost collections of art, the city in recent years has gotten more attention for its bankruptcy, corruption, and mass foreclosures and vacancy.  But, as Olga Stella, executive director of Design Core Detroit, a partner organization which “champions design-driven businesses and their role in strengthening Detroit’s economy,” points out, “Detroit is not and never has been just one thing.” Throughout its expansive 139 square miles, many are working to create neighborhoods and a city that works for them. Design doesn’t just happen at the rarefied scale of a Beaux Arts museum, it happens in and by communities who work to create a city they want to live in. These projects are being celebrated at the second iteration of Detroit Design 139 (DD139), a serial exhibition co-organized by the City of Detroit, Design Core Detroit, and developer Bedrock. Members from each organization, as well as nine others, served on the advisory board. The projects were selected by a jury of design notables, both from Detroit and other cities, including New York City Public Design Commission executive director Justin Garrett Moore and Detroit-based equitable development strategist Lauren Hood. With the main showcase at street level in downtown Detroit in a Bedrock-owned building, as well as at three partner locations throughout the city, celebrates 70 projects under five thematic headings that, according to the organizers and jurors, embody DD139’s 2019 theme of "Inclusive Futures".  “All of us working on design problems and projects should be holding ourselves to higher standards,” said Melissa Dittmer, Bedrock’s chief design officer, of the ethos of inclusion ostensibly showcased in the exhibition, which features projects built in the last two years or to be built in the next three. The projects were laid out rather blandly like a well-executed science fair or a real-life PDF, with posters along temporary slatted walls and the occasional model or video. Stella said that, historically, “In a city that doesn’t have a lot of capital [the question of] ‘how are we going to pay for it?’ was guiding decisions, not design solutions,” noting that it was a developer-driven process, with Maurice Cox, Detroit’s outgoing planning and development director. (Cox was also on the advisory committee of DD139.) Dittmer says there was a need for new building to begin “prioritizing the process as much as the outcomes,” something many of the projects exhibited; for example a cafe-laundromat combo, The Commons, designed by the local firm LAAVU in a process which founder and chief design officer Kaija E. Wuollet explains, began by collectively creating a strategic plan to inform the design, building, and operations. The choice in amenities was guided by neighbor requests and they act as not only a space in their own right, but a revenue stream for the non-profit MACC Development, which provides literacy programs, coworking space, artistic opportunities, and other community resources right within the building. This was a recurring theme: neighborhood-focused and neighborhood-led design solutions are a strength of Detroit now and could be what shapes the city's future. But, another recurring theme that the MACC project implies is that due to a dearth of government support, many private organizations have had to pick up the slack. That said, some public programs were featured in the exhibition, perhaps among the most noteworthy for designers, the Michigan ArcPrep program, a public school architecture initiative led by the University of Michigan's Taubman College. Even restaurants were in the exhibition. In community engagement workshops, residents in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood expressed a desire for more places to eat and more Black-owned businesses. With the help of a Motor City Match grant, Norma G’s was opened by Lester Gouvia. Kaitlynn Hill, one of the project’s architects from Hamilton Anderson Associates, said she saw this as “a community-based project,” as much as a commercial enterprise. Other Detroit mainstays made the cut for the exhibition. The legendary Pewabic Pottery, whose distinctive glazed tiles that adorn high-rise facades and fireplaces alike are still made in small batches in Detroit, had recently undergone an expansion with the help of inFORM Studio. While the expansion added more workspace, it also helped Pewabic—which is organized as a non-profit—further advance their public mission. Like the original 1903 structure, this new building is close to the residential street. In addition to a shop, museum, and classroom space, there is also an open courtyard with a large mural that hosts events or allows passersby to come in and chill for a bit. In addition, Pewabic goes into communities with portable kilns, keeping design heritage alive and inviting others to participate in it. Many cultural projects were featured, including a skatepark-slash-sculpture park and public mural initiatives. One particularly intriguing project highlighted was the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit 67, which investigated the legacy of Detroit’s 1967 rebellion in a “community engagement” project by collecting oral histories, producing an exhibition, and providing grants to “placemaking” projects. Some of the projects include an LGBT-focused community garden, an outdoor theater space focused on the Black, Latinx, and Arab communities of Detroit, and a memorial to those who lost their lives around the time of the uprising. There were a number of environmentally-focused projects, both grassroots and large scale, a balance and comparison that was interesting to see. Some included academic research on stormwater management interventions, the Zero Net Energy Center, rain gardens, and an upcycled windmill Projects with international design pedigree also appeared: David Adjaye and New York’s Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates have designed a pavilion and other structures for the Ralph C. Wilson Centennial Park, which, when it’s open, will be part of a network of riverside parks and greenways in an area that was once home to abandoned manufacturing plants. The park is currently overseen by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy However, on a tour through the Dequindre Cut, a rail-trail connected to the riverfront, on a Sunday when it was clearly being enjoyed by many, it was mentioned by an employee of the Conservancy that many houseless people formerly lived on the trail. In fact, this was mentioned many places, but inquiries made into where those people went and whether these “inclusive” projects accounted for housing access for those they were displacing remained mostly unanswered. While houselessness is declining in Detroit and new projects like the short-term housing Pope Francis Center (not exhibited) are on their way to reality, police have also been known to sweep away the belongings of the houseless, even in the dead of winter. If this park is for everyone, what about those who called it home?  In this second iteration of DD139, the choice was made to include projects from other UNESCO Cities of Design, like Saint-Étienne, France, and Montreal, which are using design to address many of the same challenges faced in Detroit. The organizers hope that this can help create a dialogue and show the fact that Detroit, though a unique situation, is not alone, and that everything from new elder caregiving studies in Singapore to canal projects in Mexico City could help Detroit think through its own unique challenges. However, how every project fit in seemed unclear. A project, the Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center, to help give homes and resources such as jobs and healthcare to houseless youth and those at risk of houselessness, especially LGBTQ+ kids who make up as much as 40% of this country’s houseless population, are undeniably necessary, ameliorative projects. However, on the poster for a banal mixed-use and mixed-income housing development the description of why the project is inclusive reads: “The project has gone through extensive design iterations, city vetting, and community engagement processes to ensure it captures neighborhood feedback. Meetings around the community were offered in both English and Spanish, with translators and/or translation equipment at every meeting, making it as accessible as possible for community members.” Is this not the bare minimum we should expect? Pair that with the bare minimum in architectural quick-build tastelessness by the Philadelphia firm SITIO and one has to wonder what sort of definition of “design” is at play here.  Some projects are more design-y than others. Pewabic Pottery, the Symbiotic Landscape watershed restoration, a digital mapping project that proposes using architectural and urban interventions to fight Detroit’s “digital divide”—these all make design part-and-parcel of their mission, and they're realizing that mission. An entrepreneurship incubator or a bakery in a mixed-use development, Core City, which some Detroiters I spoke with expressed distrust of, might be interesting, or at least tasty, but is it necessarily a “design” solution? Is a building in and of itself using design to address these so-called civic challenges, let alone being inclusive by and through design? This vagueness of mission and indeterminate take on the role of design in some projects points out a bigger issue. The project’s main sponsor and proponent, one of the three partner organizers, Bedrock, has undeniably reshaped downtown Detroit, perhaps in ways, some residents might see as for the better. From the design-forward Shinola Hotel to the forthcoming first foray by the fast-fashion retailer H&M to the revamp of the 475-foot-tall Book Tower, a magnificent and delirious example of early 20th-century architecture that has sat unoccupied for a decade, downtown Detroit is increasingly lively (and increasingly expensive). And, fitting with the exhibition's theme, “Creating unique, inclusive experiences through real estate is Bedrock’s mission,” claims a Bedrock press release. Yet, as the Detroit Free Press has recently revealed, Bedrock has gotten huge swaths of downtown property at little cost, with many incentives and tax breaks, and with an unheard of lack of financial oversight. Also, Bedrock has leveraged their power to strong-arm Michigan’s OSHA into looking away from their safety violations while “lecturing” inspectors on how to do their jobs. Is creating buildings without protecting working people inclusive? In addition, while Bedrock has been touting their successful bid to redevelop the site of the so-called “fail jail,” turning this long-vacant lot into usable space, this deal was negotiated with Wayne County by allowing Rock Ventures, another Dan Gilbert organization and Bedrock’s parent company, to construct that county’s jail, presumably without sullying Bedrock’s name. How can one claim to not only celebrate inclusive design but create "inclusive experiences," while supporting the creation of one of the United States’ most powerful and inarguably racist tools of social and mortal death?  Perhaps the theme, "Inclusive Futures", says it all: a virtuous-sounding word like “inclusive” can itself often be so inclusive as to be virtually meaningless, a rhetorical throwaway. Because what is “inclusion”—and what “inclusive futures” are possible—without equity, without reparations, without an effort to shift the balance of political and economic power? While many grassroots projects and even larger scale ones featured in DD139 are compelling, worthy, and deserve the spotlight, with the ongoing efforts of the exhibition’s primary sponsor Bedrock to stymy state oversight, build jails, and get land cheaply, you wind up not only with misplaced good intentions—you get design washing. DD139 is on view in Detroit through September 30th. You can read more about the projects here.
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Eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of The 20th Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, a 382-page nomination document. The eight major works span fifty years of Wright’s career and represent the first modern architecture designation in the country on the prestigious list. The designation was announced during the World Heritage Committee meeting on July 7 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The property consists of eight buildings, including Unity Temple (1909, Oak Park, IL), the Frederick C. Robie House (1910, Chicago, IL), Taliesin (1911, Spring Green, Wisconsin), the Hollyhock House (1921, Los Angeles, CA), the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House (1937, Madison, Wisconsin), Taliesin West (1938, Scottsdale, Arizona), Fallingwater (1939, Mill Run, Pennsylvania), and the Guggenheim Museum (1959, New York). UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) recognizes landmarks or sites for having cultural, historical, or scientific relevance throughout the world. The international importance of a potential World Heritage Site celebrates places of “outstanding universal value.” The process to be added is strict, with locations needing to meet certain criteria, such as being an example of human creative genius. Wright is widely considered to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century. In its nomination, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy stressed Wright’s architecture as a response to functional and emotional needs, the evolving American lifestyle, and rooted in nature’s forms and principles. The Wright nomination has been in development for more than 15 years. Spearheaded by the Chicago-based Conservancy, the nonprofit organization facilitates the preservation and stewardship of the remaining structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. "Each of these buildings offers innovative solutions to the needs for housing, worship, work or leisure," wrote members of the World Heritage Committee in a press release announcing the designation. "Wright's work from this period had a strong impact on the development of modern architecture in Europe." Wright’s buildings will be the 24th American site on the World Heritage List, which includes over 1,000 sites around the world. The U.S. Department of State’s press office released a statement expressing pleasure about the decision, though in 2018 the Trump administration withdrew from UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias. A majority of American sites on the list are national parks, as well as Thomas Jefferson’s neoclassical Monticello and the University of Virginia.
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Reports claim fire has left Notre Dame structurally unsound, needs reinforcing

More woes have surfaced for Notre Dame. Architect and former UNESCO official Francesco Bandarin reported in The Art Newspaper that the cathedral is structurally unsound following the fire that destroyed its roof and spire this April. The architecture's complex structural system, comprising an array of flying buttresses, columns, and counterweights, was designed to function as a cohesive whole, but after this spring’s tragic blaze, which led to a partial collapse of the vaults, the building is “not stable and urgently needs reinforcing." Bandarin wrote that a model, developed by engineer Paolo Vannucci at the University of Versailles, showed that Notre Dame’s walls could collapse if confronted with wind speeds over 55 mph. For reference, the cathedral could previously handle winds exceeding 130 mph. While much focus has been given to the lost Viollet-le-Duc–designed spire (itself a 19th century reconstruction), Bandarin said Notre Dame's most urgent need is reinforcing both the walls and rib vaults in order to support the new roof, which the French Senate just ordered to be rebuilt as close to the original as possible.
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Detroit Design 139: Inclusive Futures

CALL FOR ENTRIES

The 2019 Detroit Design 139 exhibition is asking all Interested participants to submit up to three (3) projects, policies or concepts that represent inclusive design in housing, economy, neighborhoods, public spaces or city systems located in Detroit’s 139 square miles or in another UNESCO city of design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission. To submit work or for more information click HERE

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 30th, 11:59 pm

EXHIBITION: September 9th - 30th

INCLUSIVE FUTURES

As the nation’s only UNESCO City of Design, Detroit has a unique opportunity to utilize inclusive design in order to create a more equitable and sustainable future for both our city and those around the world. By prioritizing diverse experiences, accessible opportunities, and collaborative relationships, Detroit will show how inclusive design develops goods, systems, services, buildings, communities, and urban spaces that work for everyone.

 

Throughout history, cities have been shaped by significant design decisions made by a few, for the many. These design solutions were meant to solve issues relevant to a city’s specific time period and were often made by experts without meaningful input from the people impacted by these plans. As a result, urban design solutions have often resulted in unintended consequences for subsequent generations. This repetitive cycle of top-down design outcomes – divisive highway infrastructure, failed public housing, anti-pedestrian streetscapes and under-utilized public parks – can be found in cities around the world. In response to the vision laid out in Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design Action Plan, Detroit Design 139 proposes that through inclusive design, Detroiters (designers and non-designers alike) can prioritize the importance of both PROCESSES and OUTCOMES for all future projects throughout Detroit’s 139 square miles. Through exhibitions, events, and shared conversations, we will explore inclusive design strategies that break this repetitive cycle of creating future problems by acknowledging all aspects of our shared history in order to solve long-standing urban issues. With this approach, we will focus on creating multigenerational design solutions that result in INCLUSIVE FUTURES for everyone.

 

FOCUS AREAS

In September 2019, Detroit Design 139 will showcase inclusive design projects, policies and concepts throughout the built and natural environments of Detroit and other UNESCO Cities of Design. The program will be structured around five focus areas that emphasize learning from the past in order to inform a successful approach to the inclusive design process. Each focus area will consider the entire spectrum of human diversity and individual experiences – in the past, present and future – but with dramatically different outcomes.

    • ECONOMY - What is the role of design in a more inclusive economic future? Where should these economic centers be located to provide the most opportunity for all? What are the new design models for economic development? These projects will spark discourse on the current and future design trends for economy-based space. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, light industrial development, future work environments, adaptive re-use demonstrations, comprehensive retail masterplans, shared office models, etc.
    • CITY SYSTEMS - How do we develop inclusive systems, services and infrastructure for our future city? How do we make the most of our shared urban assets while planning for a more sustainable future? How do we make it easier for people to move freely, safely and efficiently throughout our city? These projects will look at the visible (and invisible) inclusive infrastructure projects that will bring people, neighborhoods, industries, places and things closer together in a cohesive future urban environment. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: sustainability strategies, wholistic infrastructure, stormwater management, alternative mobility systems, shared digital technology networks, vacant land ecosystems, future streetscapes, etc.
    • HOUSING - How do we design inclusive housing? How do we make it affordable and sustainable? These projects will consider the future of housing, changing lifestyles and inclusionary growth. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, affordable and market rate housing typologies, alternative housing models, etc.
    • PUBLIC SPACE - How do we design inclusive public space, regardless of scale? What does inclusive and accessible public space look like? What activities are offered in those spaces? These projects will demonstrate the importance of public space as an inclusionary network within and throughout the city. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: vacant land re-use strategies, community gardens, neighborhood land networks, parks, plazas, waterfronts, etc.
    • NEIGHBORHOODS - What does a more inclusive future offer our communities? Is it possible to live, eat, shop, work, learn and relax within the same neighborhood? How can we design new residential developments without displacing current residents? These projects will explore strategies for inclusive neighborhoods that integrate diverse living options, neighborhood retail opportunities, walkable streets and welcoming public spaces. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: community masterplans, large-scale neighborhood developments, form-based code, community-oriented adaptive re-use, shared community assets, future streetscapes, neighborhood retail, commercial corridor revitalization strategies, etc.

FORMAT

Submissions for each of the above five focus areas should provide at least two of the items listed below:

    • VISUALS. What best illustrates your project, policy, or concept? Potential content could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, model images, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.
    • NARRATIVES. What is your project’s inclusive design story? To help us illustrate your narrative, potential content could include publications, short films, video, radio, photography, diagrams, illustrations, poetry, or other means of storytelling about an individual project or a focus area topic.
    • PROCESSES. For this exhibition, the inclusive design process is just as important as the outcome. Potential content may include drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations or other digital media about a project’s inclusive design process or a focus area topic.
    • HISTORICAL ANALYSIS. To support each focus area, we also will be accepting comprehensive urban, architecture, or planning analysis of historic Detroit design projects. The projects must illustrate grand design decisions that solved historic problems while creating future problems for the next generation. Potential historic analysis could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, written research, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.

For examples of work from the 2017 exhibition visit the Detroit Design 139 website.

ELIGIBILITY

All submitted projects, policies and concepts must be completed within the past three years, currently in process, or planned to commence before 2021 and located either within Detroit’s 139 square miles or another recognized UNESCO City of Design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission. Projects displayed within past DD139 exhibitions are ineligible.

 

DETROIT DESIGN 139 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

In 2015, Detroit was awarded the first UNESCO City of Design in the United States, joining a worldwide network of cities committed to utilizing design as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy. In celebration of that designation, design advocates from across the city came together in 2017 to demand a higher design standard for all future projects within the city’s 139 square miles. In pursuit of that ideal, these advocates curated the inaugural Detroit Design 139 exhibition around ten guiding design principles. The first exhibition, “Detroit Shapes Design” showcased 41 projects that represented a future Detroit populated with thoughtful projects that honored the city’s design legacy, while pushing the city towards becoming a leader in world-class design excellence.

Crafted to benefit all Detroiters, the ten guiding design principles are:

    1. Empower design as a means to improve the quality of life for all people.
    2. Advance a thoughtful design process rooted in meaningful community engagement.
    3. Seek creative solutions to solve longstanding urban issues.
    4. Honor context and history through contemporary design.
    5. Activate the public realm.
    6. Promote community cohesion and aesthetic diversity.
    7. Impress the value of design on all projects and all audiences – emphasizing equity, design excellence and inclusion.
    8. Explore new ways to live, work and play together in the 21st-century city.
    9. Celebrate Detroit’s design legacy, while contributing to the city’s design future.
    10. Balance function and beauty.

To submit your work for years exhibition click HERE

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Rio de Janeiro named first UNESCO World Capital of Architecture for 2020

Rio de Janeiro has officially been named UNESCO’s first World Capital of ArchitectureCreated in partnership with the International Union of Architects (UIA), the designation will take effect in 2020 and will shine a spotlight on the Brazilian city’s local institutions and projects that offer urban solutions to the greatest issues of our time. According to UNESCO, the World Capital of Architecture will serve as an international annual forum to discuss global problems through the lenses of culture, heritage, urban, planning, and architecture. Throughout 2020, Rio de Janeiro will host a series of events organized under the theme: “All the worlds. Just one world.” The UIA will also host its triannual World Congress during the year-long event. Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO’s assistant director-general of culture, said UNESCO and UIA have combined forces to establish the World Capital of Architecture in an effort to preserve architectural heritage around the world through the urban context. “The aim is to create new synergies between culture and architecture in an increasingly urban world, in which cities are hubs for ideas, trade, culture, science, and social development,” he said. “Through this initiative, our ambition is to ensure that these cities are also perceived as open and creative spaces for exchange, invention, and innovation.”  
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United States withdraws from UNESCO (again)

As of January 1, 2019, the United States has officially withdrawn from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one of the world’s best-known global cultural heritage and preservation organizations. The withdrawal was first announced in October 2017 after UNESCO recognized the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian World Heritage Site amid fierce resistance from the United States and Israel. The old city of Hebron is home to, among other relics and cultural sites, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a sacred religious site known as the Cave of Machpelah to Jews and as the Sanctuary of Abraham to Muslims. At the time, the United States and Israel complained that the UN was engaging in “anti-Israeli bias” stemming from the recognition of Palestine as a member state of the UN in 2011. Previously, the UN had criticized Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, according to Al Jazeera. When the UN elevated Palestine to membership status in 2011–during the Obama administration—the United States stopped paying its membership dues to UNESCO in protest. By 2017 the past-due fees had grown to $570 million, The Washington Post reported, and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to initiate the process of formal withdrawal from the organization. As of 2019, the outstanding balance due to UNESCO has risen above $600 million. Following the withdrawal, Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, said, “At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations leading these issues.” The current episode marks the second time the United States has left UNESCO, following President Ronald Reagan’s withdrawal from the group in 1984 in an effort to thwart the recognition of Soviet historical sites. The United States rejoined the group in 2002 under President George W. Bush following the attacks of 9/11 amid a push to boost international solidarity by the U.S. The United States now hopes it can participate as an “observer state” on “non-politicized issues,” including the protection of World Heritage sites. The body is due to take up this new role for the United States when it next meets in April 2019.