Amfora

2 06 2011

by Vlado Kabat

Growing and expanding cities is a common phenomenon since tearing down the city walls which surrounded the settlements. Cities usually expand both vertically and horizontally.I found an interesting article about ambitious project -expanding under the ground of Amsterdam.

This project called Amfora is approved by the city council and is supposed to be started in 2018. From my own experience I can say, that the city is quite overcrowded, full of tourists and as many other metropolis, it suffer from traffic jams and its lack of parking spaces, even when the most popular means of transport is bicycle.

This very expensive project comes from Dutch studio Zwarts & Jansma. The underground city Amfora will be built 30m under the ground with 100 000m2 and 50km of tunnels. It will contains parking places (50 000), leisure and sport activities (cinema, bowling, tennis and squash courts…) and shopping areas. The aim of the project is to lighten overloaded city centre.  Developers believe that high costs of this project will be retuned and also this underground city will become a new touristic attraction of the city.

However, there are many people against this project, e.g. british teoretic of architecture Michael Hammond says that these plans are against principles or sustainability. Builders will have to solve the problems with underground water and many canals for which the city is famous. However, the project is technically possible and there is still time to solve the problems.







The homo and the creative

2 06 2011

by: Ha mh Thai

“Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race”

Richard Florida

The idea that makes me decided to search for a gay city comes from Richard Florida as he find out that the places with highest concentration of gays are also favorite place for the creative (as they are both ‘non-standard’). The list of places is quite long including Manchester, Brighton (UK), Los Angeles, California, Chicago (US), Sydney, Cape Town, and so on.

Brighton Festival Open House (2007)

Brighton Festival Open House (2007)

Within the limitation of this post, I will highlight some findings about City of Brighton & Hove (East Sussex, UK). Brighton acts as a magnet for lesbians and gay men from all over the world attracted to its bohemian atmosphere, open minded attitudes and raffish air. Brighton has now long been known as Britain’s number one gay resort. The art community in Brighton is extensive and is showcased once a year by the artist’s open house event during the Brighton Festival. On the beach, the famous Brighton Artists Quarter is located between two piers. Rows of Victorian fisherman workshops which were converted into small galleries and studio spaces accommodate a collection of artists and performers. Throughout the year, thousands of high quality artworks can be viewed, enjoyed or purchased by the general public, bring great benefit to the area.





Ouseburn and the threat of over-gentrification.

2 06 2011

by: Ha mh Thai

The art-led regeneration in Ouseburn since the 1980s has transformed the former Victorian industrial district into a trendy and increasingly sought-after location for creative industries and young professionals. Capitalizing on this success, Newcastle City Council recently initiated a major development drive to greatly expand residential and business capacity to further its “Creative City” economic vision and boost middle-class city living.

Byker Bridge Housing Project on Foundry Lane

Byker Bridge Housing Project on Foundry Lane

However, many of Ouseburn’s artistic pioneers fear displacement from their studios and the loss of the area’s distinctive character as the area may become over-gentrified from Quayside. Recently, many proposals have been put into controversy as more and more private sector developers are focusing on one or two bedrooms flats for yuppies. Protectionists describe the consequence of the new strategy’s implementation as ‘regeneration frenzy’ which may lead to the loss of Ouseburn’s soul. Their anxiety is about ‘classic gentrification cycle’ with over-ambitious developer moving in and threatening the culture diversity of the Valley; consequently, the artists and the creative who brought the development in will get bought out.

How to take the opportunities for housing, business and leisure development without destroying the Ouseburn’s unique environment?





Ouseburn walk – From a derelict place toward a creative quarter

1 06 2011

by: Ha mh Thai

The walk I took few weeks ago in order to search for a site for my dissertation thesis.

The area was home to the industrial revolution on the Tyneside in the late 18th century, and up until the 1960s it had a significant residential population, mainly workers from the industries nearby. At that time, it was a poor neighborhood surviving in very bad housing and health conditions. Thenceforth, the population greatly declined after the massive program of demolition and slum clearance. However, there are still plenty of warehouses, factories and seriously downgraded buildings, make the area looks like a neglected and derelict place.

Factory, warehouse and vacant block. Source: author, 2011.

Factory, warehouse and vacant block. Source: author, 2011.

Around the Ouseburn mouth and Lime Street, many regeneration projects bring a new look but still maintain the existing unique environment. The valley has become an attractive site for cultural industries and creative media businesses.

New site at Ouseburn mouth. Source: author, 2011.

New site at Ouseburn mouth. Source: author, 2011.


Ouseburn’s once derelict factories and warehouses are buzzing again as artists’ studios, music venues and cinemas.

A wide range of creative sites in Ouseburn: (from left) street arts, 36 Lime Street Warehouse Office and Studio, Ouseburn Farm. Source: author, 2011.

A wide range of creative sites in Ouseburn: (from left) street arts, 36 Lime Street Warehouse Office and Studio, Ouseburn Farm. Source: author, 2011.


Current project in operation: Maynards Toffee Factory view from Glasshouse Bridge, before and after regeneration. Source: Paul J White, available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauljw/4502542375/in/set-72157623681068575

Current project in operation: Maynards Toffee Factory view from Glasshouse Bridge, before and after regeneration. Source: Paul J White, available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauljw/4502542375/in/set-72157623681068575