Category: Uncategorized

Open House London, 2017: A Tour of the Capital’s Council Housing

Municipal Dreams

The most important buildings in London – those with the greatest social significance for the mass of its people and those which have made the greatest visual impact on the capital – are council houses. In 1981, at peak, there were 769,996 council homes in the capital and they housed near 31 percent of its population.

It’s partly this ubiquity and familiarity that means most council estates don’t make it into Open House London, the capital’s annual celebration of its built heritage taking place this year on the weekend of the 16-17 September. And, then – let’s be fair here – there’s the fact that not all municipal schemes have represented the very best of architecture and design.

Housing protest Housing crisis and protest

But there’s another process in play – the marginalisation of social housing and its contribution to the lives of so many. We are asked to forget all that social…

View original post 2,860 more words

Martin Crookston, ‘Garden Suburbs of Tomorrow? A New Future for the Cottage Estates’

Municipal Dreams

Martin Crookston, Garden Suburbs of Tomorrow?  A New Future for the Cottage Estates (Routledge, 2016)

I’ve used Martin Crookston’s book in the library so I’m delighted there’s now a cheaper paperback edition to make it available to a wider readership.  I’m even more pleased, truth be told, to have a free review copy but I can say honestly that hasn’t affected my judgment of what I think is a very good, useful and important book on the future of council housing.


Crookston’s endeavour is to make sure it has a future and he focuses especially on the cottage estates or ‘Corporation suburbia’.  These are a neglected, frequently disdained, component of a proud council housing record – lacking the glamour and ‘iconicity’ of some architect-designed estates and blocks perhaps but representing in his opening words ‘a mammoth achievement’.

‘Mammoth’ is uncontroversial.  By Crookston’s reckoning they account for around one sixth of England’s homes and around…

View original post 2,228 more words

10 Myths about London’s Housing Crisis

The repair, renewal amd refurbishment of social housing estates has repeatedly been demonstrated to cost significantly less than their demolition and replacement, with none of the damage to the environment.


This text was commissioned from ASH by the Guardian’s Housing Network, which subsequently refused to publish it. This is the second time an ASH piece has been commissioned and refused by the Guardian, which since Katharine Viner took over as editor in March 2015 has moved further and further to the political right, and whose articles on housing have increasingly resembled press releases for the councils, mayors, housing associations, property developers, builders, real estate firms and architectural practices feeding at the housing table – so we weren’t surprised. The last two years has shown ASH that there is nothing the mainstream press would publish that we would consider writing, and nothing we would write that they would consider publishing. Here is the text as rejected.

  1. There is no housing crisis, if by crisis we mean something out of control. The shortage of housing and the corresponding boom in UK house prices…

View original post 599 more words

Cooperative Cities?

From community land trusts and community gardens to low-income housing co-ops and credit unions  —  shared equity strengthens and expands community-led  democratically-controlled initiatives working to build an urban economy based on values of social and racial justice, ecological sustainability, cooperation, mutualism, and democracy.

Sounds good, right?

To hear more, join CEANYC (the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City) on April 22 between 1-3pm at Artists Space (55 Walker Street — Manhattan) for a panel discussion on community resistance and creativity. Learn about the long history of solidarity economy efforts in New York City and ideas for continuing to fight and build.


Memory as Urban Infrastructure

The New York Public Library has a layered material history in the city. It arose on the site of the old Croton Reservoir, a critical infrastructure for the city… When the library was established, it was built on a reservoir model. It was meant to serve as a comprehensive repository of knowledge. But there is a conceptual shift happening today moving away from libraries as catch-all repositories toward libraries as nodes in a larger network. Each institution has to figure out the unique role it can play in strengthening that network: through technical and financial contributions, community participation, and their particular collecting, preservation, and outreach strategies — the unique work they do as libraries. 

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 11.37.46 AM


Preservation is one of the highest forms of good citizenship

(By David W. Dunlap – urban treasure at the NY Times)

With the recent death of John Belle, New York City has lost an architect who conveyed a genial joy in resuscitating the masterworks of his predecessors. That made him an appealingly modest figure in a room full of big architectural egos, since he was at his best when his own interventions were least obvious.

New York has also lost a link to the intellectual crucible of the 1960s, when Jane Jacobs and others demanded that architects stop obliterating the past and, instead, take time to understand the many ways in which people were well served by older buildings and neighborhoods.


How Can Louisiana Build Back Smarter?

How to design and adapt to threats of “500 Year Storms” that happen all the time?


Louisiana flooding / Los Angeles Times Louisiana flooding / Los Angeles Times

The flooding that hit Louisiana last week affected hundreds of thousands of people over 1,000 square miles. The intense storm claimed 13 lives, and some 30,000 needed to be rescued. Over 60,000 homes have been destroyed, and 100,000 have registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance so far. According to the agency, the Louisiana flooding was a 500-year flood event, meaning there was just a 0.2 percent chance of this happening this year. However, this is the 8th 500-year flood event since May, 2015, which beg the questions: With climate change, are flood risk estimates now completely unreliable? And if super-storms are the new normal, what can communities do to build back smarter and make themselves more resilient to the next unexpected, disruptive event?

Wes Michaels, ASLA, a partner with Spackman, Mossop and Michaels, a Louisiana-based landscape architecture firm, said: “More rain…

View original post 1,108 more words

Sure We Can!

Sure We Can,a community-based recycling center and sustainability hub in Brooklyn’s rapidly gentrifying Bushwick neighborhood, is launching the #60MillionCans campaign to secure its future. The support raised through this #60MillionCans campaign will help Sure We Can secure its location and improve its operations.

To take part or learn more, contact Sure We Can at or here:

Sure We Can started as a redemption center working to foster social inclusion of canners, the people who roam the streets of New York collecting discarded bottles and cans, and returning them to recycling centers for the 5cent deposit. Sure We Can creates an atmosphere of trust, respect and participation in the community, supporting the recycling of valuable materials while educating about the importance of recycling, dignifying the work while creating opportunities for the community. At SWC, people from all walks of life are welcome under the principle that everyone has something valuable to contribute.



Updates from Rebuild by Design

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 10.05.37 AM

Join Rebuild by Design for a full day of programming to celebrate our collective accomplishments as we look to build resilient communities in the Sandy-affected region and elsewhere, in the years ahead.

20 Cooper Square, NYC

Friday June 3 9:15am-5pm


For any questions about the event contact

9:15AM Registration & Breakfast
9:45AM Opening Remarks
10:15AM – 11:45AM Two Years Later – Updates from Each of the Rebuild by Design Projects

  • Lower Manhattan – Carrie Grassi, NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and Jeremy Siegel, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group
  • Hunts Point – Julie Stein, NYC Economic Development Corporation and TBD
  • Meadowlands – David Rosenblatt, NJ Department of Environmental Protection and Chris Benosky, AECOM
  • Hoboken – David Rosenblatt, NJ Department of Environmental Protection and Kenneth Spahn, Dewberry
  • Long Island – Kris Van Orsdel, NYS Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and Georgeen Theodore, Interboro
  • Staten Island – Alex Zablocki, NYS Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and Pippa Brashear, SCAPE/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
  • Bridgeport – David Kooris, Department of Housing and David Waggonner, Waggonner + Ball 

11:45AM – 12:15PM Discussion with Grantees moderated by Mary Rowe, Senior Fellow, Project for Public Spaces and partner of Rebuild by Design

  • Carrie Grassi, NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency
  • David Rosenblatt, NJ Department of Environmental Protection
  • Kris Van Orsdel, NYS Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery
  • David Kooris, Department of Housing

12:15PM-1:00PM Lunch
1:15PM – 2:15PM Implementing Resilient Infrastructure: Lessons Learned from Rebuild by Design moderated by Scott Davis, Visiting Fellow at RAND – Panel
What are the challenges governments face when implementing large-scale resilient infrastructure post Hurricane Sandy and how can we encourage innovative, interdisciplinary projects elsewhere?

  • Kris Van Orsdel, NYS Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery
  • Jessica Grannis, Georgetown Climate Center
  • Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of Hoboken

2:15PM-2:30PM Break
2:30PM-3:45PM Community Engagement Best Practice Sharing – Breakout Discussion
This session will explore community engagement practices and strategies used in the past two years. Select community members will present their experiences and a guided discussion will follow. Community Participants include:

  • Juan Camilo, Hunts Point
  • Victoria Cerullo, Staten Island
  • Carter Craft, Hoboken
  • Danny Peralta, Hunts Point
  • James Rodriguez, Lower East Side
  • Jennifer Vallone, Lower East Side

3:45PM-4:00PM Break
4:00PM-5:00PM Beyond Sandy: Scaling Lessons Learned to Other Regions – Panel
Cities around the world are facing new climate realities and many have looked to the Rebuild experience for inspiration. How can we best capture our ongoing learnings to help other regions? Panelists will discuss what they look to learn from our region as we move from design to implementation.

  • Marion McFadden, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development
  • Allison Brooks, Executive Director, Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC)
  • Michael Berkowitz, President, 100 Resilient Cities

Reception to follow.
For any questions about the event contact
Rebuild by Design is in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities. Rebuild by Design would like to thank The Rockefeller Foundation and all of our funders for their ongoing support.

Outside Architecture's Profile Photo

Our first group visit to East Harlem

Amazing work – any updates?

Greening The Gap

On September 13th, we visited the East Harlem study area for the first time as a group. We were introduced to the neighborhood’s streets and green spaces by staff of the non-profit organization Trees New York, and met with different members of the community. What follows is a description of our visit and first impressions of the neighborhood.


1. P.S. 96 Tree Garden

Our first stop was P.S. 96 on East 120th Street at Third Ave. Standing in front of the school we admired the work of Trees New York and their volunteers. A once empty and gloomy sidewalk and building façade now flourish with a row of street trees and a mini garden. Standing in the shade of the trees we had the opportunity to learn more about the mission of TreesNY from Cheryl Blaylock, their Director of Youth Programs, and how important public participation is for the…

View original post 638 more words