World Wide Wednesday: “Tesco Towns”, security cameras, and the world’s greenest buildings

Each week we will be focusing on blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

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• What would a socially equitable city look like? The Polis Blog sheds some light on this complex question in a fascinating series entitled “The Just Metropolis”. In the Polis Blog’s second group post, 9 contributors write of their vision for a just city. They tackle the issues from multiple perspective, from the role of art in cities to social housing to the rule of the law.

The LA Times looks at Medellín, Colombia’s architectural renaissance. Home to 3.5 million, Medellín has been ambitiously investing in large-scale civic architecture for the last 10 years. Thanks to this public infrastructure initiative, libraries, schools and parks now dot some of Medellín’s roughest neighbourhoods. According to the Times, “these projects are the capstones of a broader civic rebirth that has seen murder rates tumble nearly 90% from their highs of the early 1990s.”

• Last week’s attempted car bomb attack in New York’s Times Square has prompted city officials to call for the expansion of an already controversial city-wide surveillance system. Called the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, the system tracks “suspicious behaviour” in real time. It uses an integrated network of private and public cameras, sensors, and analytical software and is capable of collecting license plate numbers and video of pedestrians.

• The American Institute of Architects has announced a list of the 10 best green buildings completed in the past year. FastCompany hosts a slideshow of the 10 winners. The King Abdullah University, Saudia Arabia’s first LEED certified project and Rhinebeck, New York’s Omega Center for Sustainable Living (arguably the greenest building in North
America) are two highlights of the series.

•  According to the Guardian UK, “Tesco Towns”–towns built almost entirely by the supermarket giant–are the newest phenomena acting on the UK’s urban landscape. In what has been termed “supermarket-led mixed-use development”, construction is currently underway on a number of towns that are to include hundreds of Tesco homes, “a Tesco school, a Tesco swimming pool and, of course, a local Tesco superstore”.

photo of Tesco store in Tonton from victuallers2 / Roger on Flickr

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