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About us

Hi! This is The Urban Condition, a new publication for all things urban. We publish stories about how humans interact with the cities they live in.

Do you live in a city? Most likely, you are — more than half of humanity now lives in cities, after all. These massive places are now an integral part of our civilization, and for better or worse, they mold and influence us in ways we don’t always realize.

That’s what we’re…

The whole is other than the sum of its parts.

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The Gestalt principle aptly states: “The whole is other than the sum of its parts.” Something big is often a composite of various small things, but at the same time, that big whole is also a distinct entity in itself — not just the simple addition of its smaller parts.

A city, by that logic, can be understood as its own independent existence, as well as a composite of neighborhoods, streets, laneways, buildings, open spaces, and other urban elements. Furthermore, different types of whole cities require different elements — different “parts.”

A “smart city,” for instance, requires cutting-edge technological infrastructures…

Exploring the ideas of David Yencken, Charles Landry, Richard Florida, and John Howkins.

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In today’s urban development discourse, urbanists are extensively discussing the emerging concept of “creative cities.” It has become the topic of several works of academic literature, some of which are written by renowned names such as David Yencken and Charles Landry.

The concept has also been internationally legitimized by UNESCO through its UCCN (UNESCO Creative Cities Network) program, which catalogs creative cities from all around the globe to foster cooperative relationships between these cities. Some members of UCCN include Barcelona, Dakar, Melbourne, Shanghai, and Toronto.

At the time of this writing, there are 246 cities included in the network. This…

What’s the difference between urban design and urban planning? And why is it important?

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If you live in a city, try looking around your neighborhood. You’ll see elements of urban design all over: Building facades, laneways, street corners, pedestrian crossings, green open spaces, and so on.

These individual elements blend together and form a gestalt we call the urbanscape: The spatial layout or appearance of the city as it is perceived by our eyes. We then form a mental image of the city based on what we see and devise a judgment about it subsequently.

The beautiful urbanscape of an elite settlement is way more pleasing to the eye when compared to a decrepit…

The art of shaping cities, and letting them shape us in return.

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“A city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.”

― Patrick Geddes

In 2007, the world’s urban population surpassed its rural counterpart. This occurrence marked a major turning point in the history of human civilization. More than half of the entire human species — that’s approximately 4 billion people — now lives in urban areas.

Cities are now, officially, the most human place on earth.

This knowledge then poses a crucial question: What should we do with our cities? The flow of urbanization shows no sign of halting. Cities will continue to grow, and…

In a way, placemaking is UX Design on an urban scale.

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If you want to design places catered for humans, placemaking is the concept you want to utilize.

It’s UX on an urban scale. We plan, design, and develop according to the user’s needs and preferences, to ensure that the output is actually useful and usable for them. In this case, the user is the community — the people.

In their book How to Turn a Place Around, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) proposes 11 principles to help urban planners, designers, and developers make places people actually want to live in.

Let’s dissect them one by one.

1. The Community Is the Expert

To begin a placemaking…

Here’s how arts and culture can breathe life into derelict spaces.

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A while ago, I published a piece about placemaking, an approach of urban planning and design that focuses on people. This idea is essential if we aim to make a place that people actually want to live in.

If you’re unfamiliar with placemaking, you might want to check this out first:

In this piece, we’ll discuss one subtype of placemaking that I think you’ll be interested in, especially if you’re a connoisseur of arts and culture.

It’s called creative placemaking.

What Is Creative Placemaking?

ArtPlace America proposed the following definition:

“ — the intentional integration of arts, culture, and community-engaged design strategies into the…

There’s an urgent need to reconnect people and places — and we have just the tool for it.

A lively park in front of the Eiffel tower
A lively park in front of the Eiffel tower
Photo by Il Vagabiondo on Unsplash

What city do you live in? Is it a small town or a huge metropolitan? Would you describe it as a “humane” city, or the other way around?

Since 2007, global urban population has surpassed its rural counterpart. Cities have officially become the focal point of human civilization. For better or worse, that’s the direction our world is going: To the city.

Much like its human inhabitants, cities are a complex system. A city is comprised of myriad facets intertwined with each other. …

The Urban Condition

The human condition, on an urban scale.

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