Urban Planet: Pop-Up Shops, Stadium Neighbourhoods, Women in Mumbai

Urban Planet is a daily roundup of 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.

• Pop-up stores are often used by entrepreneurs to create buzz over a short time period. But in San Francisco, the city government has recognized the value of these spaces in revitalizing retail deadspace. Partnering with pop-up incubator SQFT, San Francisco is adding a pop-up library, yoga studio, and cafe to the Mid-Market area. While the neighbourhood is central, transit accessible and relatively affordable, it suffers from crime, blight, and homelessness. It is hoped that the pop-ups will bring additional foot traffic to support existing business and allow burgeoning entrepreneurs to access to spaces usually out of reach. (GOOD)

• At first glance, Stadiums tend to seem have their role as a (grey-ish) public space fairly set in stone. They’re they home to our sports teams, the venue for big acts as they come through town, and bring together various crowds in conventions and festivals. The Louisiana Superdome served another, arguably vital, purpose as a shelter for residents throughout Hurricanes George, Ivan, and most notably, Katrina.

When their resident baseball team, the Nankai Hawks, were purchased and moved to Fukuoka in 1988, the Japanese city of Osaka was left with a big hole to fill. A 31,379-seat hole to be exact. With the other Osaka teams already in their own stadiums, the centrally-located Osaka Stadium was sold to a developement company, who turned the playing field into a model home showcase.

The whole structure was eventually taken down in 1998 and over the course of the next decade, became the home of Namba Parks, a commercial complex with multi-terraced greenspaces flowing over the numerous shops and restaurants.

• What makes the safest intersection for all road users? It’s a question planners, designers and engineers have been tackling for years. In the Netherlands, experiments with a bike lane/turn lane yielded poor visibility for cyclists and too many conflicts. As this video via Momentum Magazine explains, Dutch standard junctions create safe passage for cyclists and pedestrians by carving out corner curbs to keep cyclists separated from both vehicles and pedestrians when turning or crossing an intersection.

• In Mumbai, a city of 13 million, at any given time of day you are likely to find more men on a street than women. Women here are considered to have the most independent lifestyle of any city in India, yet they rarely occupy public spaces. In their recent book, “Why Loiter? Women & Risk on Mumbai Streets”, sociologist Shilpa Phadke, architect Shilpa Ranade, and journalist Sameera Khan explore women’s relationship with public space in Mumbai. “Loitering [is] a fundamental act of claiming public space. [Women should be able to] loiter without purpose and meaning, loiter without being asked what time of the day it is, and why we are here.” To improve public space for women, the authors recommend improved street lighting, more public toilets for women, increasing the accessibility of parks and welcoming street vendors to increase the number of eyes on the street. (Metropolis Magazine)

Image from PictureDay

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