Thursday, 25 November 2010

GIDE PROJECT- Final Hand in

After 8 weeks of blood, sweat, tears and long night, the Gide Project is Finished.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Assignment 4:Green space, urbanity, and health:how strong is the relation? by Jolanda Maas, Robert A Verheij, Peter P Groenewegen, Sjerp de Vries, Pet

The main purpose of this article is ‘to investigate the strength of the relation between the amount of green space in people’s living environment and their perceived general health’. This is a Dutch study and although the Netherlands is a densely populated country the authors think the same results would be found in the rest of Europe. The authors took into consideration different types of green space, pollution, lifestyle, education, income, age and class.

The most important information in this article is the findings of their research. The authors used a self-administered questionnaire. This was distributed via GP medical practices and was a large representative sample with over 76% positive response rate. There had been an assumption that those socio–economic groups who live in the country or were able to afford to move to the country were perceived to have a better quality of life and healthier lifestyle. No study until this one had looked at the impact of green space within our cities and its impact on the health of the population. The United Nations state that within the next 30 years more than two thirds of the population will live in urban environments. The Health Council of the Netherlands had done some research that indicated a connection between health and green space, however it identified gaps.

The authors used environmental data from the National Land Cover Classification that contains the type of land in every 25 x 25 m in the whole of the Netherlands to measure amount of green space around people’s homes. Many academic papers from around the world were use to support their research.

The conclusion in the article is that the percentage of green space in the vicinity of a person’s home has a positive impact on their perceived health. People who spent more time close to their home – the young and the elderly showed bigger benefits from green space. In addition, the less educated perceived a positive impact due to their lack of ability to move.

The key concepts underlying the author’s thinking are that different levels of socio-econmics groups and educational levels may have a significant impact on how an individual’s health is perceived and determines their ability to move.

The main assumption is that perceived health is as important as actual health and that green spaces have a positive impact on health. If we take this line of thinking seriously, then we need to make more provision of green space within our cities. Governments, planners and designers should take this research on board. If we fail to take this line of thinking seriously, then those people living in high-density urban areas where there is little green space may become marginalized and may become a burden on the health service.

The main point of view is that green space is not a luxury – it is essential. It is critical to the health and well being of a nation.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Assignment 4 - Cities for a small country by Richard Rogers and Anne Power

‘Cities for a small country’ is based on the findings of the Urban Task force, a group set up in 1998 by the UK government to look into the decline of the UK’s inner cities and to make recommendations to set a vision for our cities in the 21st Century.

The main purpose of this book is to highlight the problems facing the United Kingdom with regard to the decline in our inner cities, the increase in suburban sprawl and all the related environmental and social issues arising from this and to suggest ways to reverse this situation.

The key question that the author is addressing is ” what is the future of our cities?”. The book begins and ends with this question. As the population in the UK continues to grow and the world’s resources diminish our cities are going to have to adapt.

The most important information in this book is that the growth of the suburbs has had a direct detrimental effect on life in the cities.

The key secondary sources used are government published statistics such as the Department of Transport, the Department of the Environment, National Office of Statistics and the National Census.

The key primary sources used are the authors’ knowledge of European cities and social issues arising from living in inner cities.

The main conclusions in this book are that every effort should be made to encourage people back into cities. Higher density living will result in less crime, more attractive and more sustainable living as people become less reliant on cars.

The key concept we need to understand is that economic growth and “social inclusion are integrally related to the physical structure of cities”. The authors believe that the suburbs should not be extended and that by revitalising our cities will make them safer, more socially inclusive, and more desirable places to live. Our cities should be vibrant places where we work, play and live.

By these concepts the author means that action can be taken to reverse the decay in our cities. We can look to Europe where there are many good examples of cities that have regenerated. e.g. Barcelona, Bilbao, Copenhagen.

The main assumption underlying the author’s thinking is that with a growing population and with finite resources in the future action must be taken to regenerate our cities.

If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that tax laws should be changed to encourage builders to renovate rather than new build, recognising the embodied energy in existing homes. More building on brownfield sites to be carried out, increase the density of people living per hectare, improvements in public transport, design our cities for the changing face of families – more small houses etc

If we fail to take the author’s line of reasoning seriously our cities will become places where we work but where those who can afford to will not live in. This leaves those left in the city marginalised, in areas more prone to violence and vandalism. Also our cities will become grid-locked with cars as commuters continue to drive to and from work.

The main points of view presented in this book are to encourage debate about how our cities can be transformed into better places to live. Ensuring sustainability is at the core of all design, increase green space in our cities, higher density living which meets the needs of changing family size, improve city conditions through schools, policing and neighbourhoods by involving local community groups are some of the suggestions to help improve our cities.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Capturing Slovenia through a lens.

After 5 days traveling in Slovenia, I thought I would try to sum up the country in as little pictures as possible. Enjoy!

Dissertation Worksheet

Step One: Initial Ideas

The dissertation provides you with agreat opportunity to explore a design related topic of interest for me.

Step Two: Selection Criteria

When designing something I will typically identify a broad portfolio of potential concepts.

Step Three: Questioning your questions

I identify six questions that I might want to explore through the dissertation writing process.

Step Four: Moving Forward

I select one dissertation title and explore how I would undertake the research needed to complete this work.

Work experience in Belgium

During my time here in Belgium, I was lucky enough to have some work experience. This was working for a film set design company (Decosfeer) in Antwerp. I was helping construct a shop for a film (‘Groeten uit Balen’), which is set in the 70’s, where they would shoot three scenes which took three days.

This got me thinking. What is actually real when we see it on television?

All of the pictures that you see above are images of the shop. All the products you see look real, but I can guarantee that more than half of then are only boxes with nothing in them or it is not want is says on the packet or bottle.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Assignment 3

After a lovely meal of haggis and tatties, and it being washed down with whisky and irn bru. It was time to have another one of our group meeting. As we all decided to continue on with our topic we did for our wiki entry, we quickly got group storming ideas.

We took it in turn to think through everyone’s ideas. This gave me topic ideas that I hadn’t thought about. I got these ideas and I expanded on it myself.