Film Review: ‘City Visions’ #1
Sep28

Film Review: ‘City Visions’ #1

Magdalena Melon | 29 September 2014 ‘Cathedrals of Culture’ If buildings could talk, what would they say about us? Under the direction of Wim Wenders, Cathedrals of Culture attempts to throw light on this question by offering six renowned filmmakers a chance to select a building that means something special to them, and allowing them to pose as the narrators who communicate the soul of their buildings.  This could have proved...

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Manufacturing the future

The New Industrial Revolution: consumers, globalization and the end of mass production by Peter Marsh; Yale UP, 2012. 320 pp Reviewed by Martin Earnshaw | 7 March 2013 Even the ghosts of England’s past oppose HS2 it seems. On 10th February 2013 the Observer ran a bizarre story about how HS2 might go through a historic battle site from the War of the Roses. The fact that the actual location of the battle is unknown is beside the point...

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India, China: Talk of the town
Feb19

India, China: Talk of the town

By Austin Williams | Feb 19, 2013 As an architect living in Suzhou, just outside Shanghai, I have become blasé about the skyline being transformed before my very eyes.   The classic view of Shanghai’s towering waterfront may not represent great architecture, but it’s impressive all the same… and constantly improving. In most cities across China it is the same story: high-speed construction activity, modernisation, transformation and...

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Aug02

CHINA The progress of an emerging superpower undergoing the largest urbanisation project in human...

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Driving the world to destruction?

‘Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability’ by Daniel Spurling and Deborah Gordon, Oxford University Press, 2010. 322pp Reviewed by Austin Williams | 10 April 2010 Musing about Easter Island, Jared Diamond famously asked “what were they thinking when they chopped down the last tree?” Diamond’s polemical book “Collapse”, written five years ago (but based on a 1995 article), argues against the unthinking exploitation...

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Two Cases for the (Floods) Defence

‘Atlas of the New Dutch Water Defence Line’ (010 Publishers) & ‘Facing up to rising sea levels (Building Futures, RIBA) Reviewed by Austin Williams | February 2010 Contrary to the implication in its title, the Atlas of the New Dutch Water Defence Line has nothing to do with global warming and flood management. The book is a historical assessment of the network of watercourses known as the Nieuwe Hollandse...

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FILM: Milk

‘Milk’ directed by Gus Van Sant, 2009 Reviewed by Thomas Gartrell | 20 February 2009 Hands up… until the film opened, I didn’t know what Milk was about – let alone who Harvey Milk was and what he stood for. So I was annoyed when a friend gave away the ending just before I went to see it. But rest assured, it takes nothing away from Milk to know in advance that its main character, American gay-rights...

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Nudging: The very Antithesis of Choice

‘Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness’ by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein; Penguin, 2008. 224pp Reviewed by Martyn Perks | 19 December 2008 Organ donation is a contentious issue. As it stands in the UK, losing a close relative can suddenly mean a difficult decision on whether or not to donate their organs, especially if they did not indicate any prior consent. There are moves towards...

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Design Like You Give A Damn

‘Design Like You Give A Damn: Architectural Responses To Humanitarian Crises’ by Architecture for Humanity (Eds), Thames & Hudson, 2006. 336pp Reviewed by Austin Williams | 9 September 2006 Cameron Sinclair’s long-awaited book begins with a personal journey of social and ethical awareness, which has taken him from a lowly ‘CAD monkey’, as he describes himself, to a fully-fledged professional humanitarian. He now heads...

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Ken’s planning for London?

Austin Williams | 27 February 2006 The Greater London Authority Act of 1999 that paved the way for Ken Livingstone’s reincarnation as the mayor of London was the longest piece of legislation passed by parliament since the Government of India Act in 1935. At that time, in the guise of enhancing local democratic autonomy, the imperial Governor General retained total authority over administration, legislation and finances of his fiefdom....

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