The latest issue of Metropolis is focussed on the city of 2010:

“Forget the flying car, the personal jet pack, the bubble condo on the Moon. It’s not going to happen–not for the vast majority of us, anyway. Here’s what is going to happen–what’s already happening–in controlled design experiments around the world. Trains are becoming a lot faster. Information technology is telling us more about where we are and what’s happening around us. Skyscrapers are getting crazier looking. Green technology is making places cleaner and healthier. Builders of monolithic structures are figuring out that their designs need to be flexible, that today’s forward-looking design is tomorrow’s aesthetic hangover. The city of the near future is closer than you think.”

I keep thinking how timid we were in projecting CarFreeLondon as being achieved in 2020…

Place and space

Couple of things:

I’ve started to re-read “Space is the machine” by Bill Hillier; and I’d forgotten the brilliant quote at the start by Sheep:

“…I thought that all that functional stuff had been refuted. Buildings aren’t machines.”

“You haven’t understood. The building isn’t the machine. Space is the machine.”

I’ll be back in London for the Bill Mitchell talk, so maybe see you there.



If I may be permitted a Joi-Ito-style namedrop and photo, I spent an hour this afternoon with Will from iSociety at MarksBarfield Architects. They designed the London Eye, and have a new project SkyHouse that plans to reinvent high-density living. As well as having a wonderful, wide-ranging chat with David Marks (above) and Steve, who is their IT guru – it made me realise just how much I miss architecture…

Can we fix it?

Jonathan Glancey get all used-universe on us:

“Today, many of us are unable, or unwilling, to change a fuse or even patch a bicycle tyre, much less repair a locomotive or build a ship. We are fast becoming a nation ignorant of how things are made or work even as the nation’s infrastructure crumbles around us. Who cares? What excites us, as the opening of the new-look Birmingham Bull Ring proves, is the passive consumption of shiny new gewgaws, most produced abroad, rather than the making of the practical machinery that gets us to our glamorous new shops in the first place.”

»Guardian: Can we fix it? No we can’t

The soft city

Dan on “The Knowledge”: a test that London taxicab drivers have to take:

“You do it once, that’s it – it covers an insanely large area of London, from Stretford in the east to Acton in the west, way north to way south – all the main roads, and main locations. From then on, it’s all practice, reinforcing your knowledge of the city by driving it, reinforcing certain routes just as neural networks do.”

» Cityofsound: Buses and taxis