torsdag 17. mars 2011

clean city

The Senate of the State of Kansas in the USA intensifies the fight against what they believe is a common decline in the morality in the society due to the porn industry and everything that goes with it. A new law requires that strip clubs, porn cinemas, shops selling sex toys and the like, is not be established closer than 300 meters from schools, churches, parks, nurseries and libraries. This is a pretty absurd problem, 300 meters is a relatively large distance in a city and how does this affect a churchgoer if he must pass a pussypump store on his way to the sermon? Is it really so that the presence of sex in the city is considered so dangerous it must be banned? At Grønland churches, mosques, nurseries and pornshops coexists, side by side, not much controversy, and, oh, since so much funstuff is already banned in Norway, its a big black market due to supply & demand, does it become better if we pretend it does not excist?

lørdag 12. mars 2011

every city got a beat

With over 50% of the population beeing catagorized as immigrants, Grønland is a truly heterogenous place. Every country and city in the world has its own pace and beat and the speed of walking is correlated to this pace. What happens when people from so many different places meet up and construct new societies, does the pace change the rhythm of the city or its users? My first impression is that Grønland has a slower walking pace than the rest of the city, the so-called flaneur is alive in this area; walking as an act of socializing seems to be cherised by the people here and the interaction and sudden encounter it creates is embraced. The urban wanderer with his aimless strolling may be looked upon as a means of reclaiming the streets for the pedestrian.
A study done by psychologist Richard Wiseman shows the difference in walking speed across the globe. People from 32 countries were timed walking over an 18 metre stretch of un-crowded pavement, resulting in these numbers;

1) Singapore (Singapore); 10.55
2) Copenhagen (Denmark); 10.82
3) Madrid (Spain); 10.89
4) Guangzhou (China): 10.94
5) Dublin (Ireland); 11.03
6) Curitiba (Brazil); 11.13
7) Berlin (Germany); 11.16
8) New York (United States of America); 12.00
9) Utrecht (Netherlands); 12.04
10) Vienna (Austria); 12.06
11) Warsaw (Poland); 12.07
12) London (United Kingdom); 12.17
13) Zagreb (Croatia); 12.20
14) Prague (Czech Republic); 12.35
15) Wellington (New Zealand); 12.62
16) Paris (France); 12.65
17) Stockholm (Sweden); 12.75
18) Ljubljana (Slovenia); 12.76
19) Tokyo (Japan); 12.83
20) Ottawa (Canada); 13.72
21) Harare (Zimbabwe); 13.92
22) Sofia (Bulgaria); 13.96
23) Taipei (Taiwan): 14.00
24) Cairo (Egypt); 14.18
25) Sana'a (Yemen); 14.29
26) Bucharest (Romania); 14.36
27) Dubai (United Arab Emirates); 14.64
28) Damascus (Syria); 14.94
29) Amman (Jordan); 15.95
30) Bern (Switzerland); 17.37
31) Manama (Bahrain); 17.69
32) Blantyre (Malawi); 31.60

tirsdag 8. mars 2011

Bleaching the river...

Akerselva floats through the city, 8.2 kilometers long and with a drop of 149 meters. The river has been the traditional, somewhat simplified border between the east and the west of Oslo, creating an economical and a sosionomical difference between the two parts. It was along this river the industry in Oslo was established and it played an important part in the development of the industrial Oslo.
In the 1970s Akerselva was highly contaminated after 150 years of industrial and sewage discharges along river. In the 1980's, a local program to limit emissions and get the animal and fish life back to river was innitiated. Both the river and the areas along it has taken part in a massive transformation, from a dirty, run-down industrial area to a park and residential area, the transformation was an ecological success.
At the mouth of the river, Oset water treatment plant, owned by Oslo's water and wastewater services, was up and running in 2008 and supplies drinking water to 90 percent of the population in Oslo. Couple of days ago, a leak in one of the tubes containing chlorine was spotted, before it got stopped 6,000 liters of pure chlorine was released into the river. This is the equivalent to 240,000 bottles of regular household bleach. The spill has killed nearly 100% of all aquatic life in Akerselva, so far the observers has spotted only one living fish in the river. NIVA has started investigations to find out how much of the bottom mud is contaminated since this is the most vital part in the ecological system creating the river and thus securing food for the fish. Earlier, contaminated discharges have previously been from the industry in the lower parts, and then the upper parts have been spared, so that have helped the river to recover faster, but now it seems that all parts of the river is infected and it is uncertain when the aquatic life in the river will stabilize. No matter how careful we try to act , accidents do occur…

mandag 7. mars 2011


One of the reasons we underestimate the sheer physical mass of our power and information networks is that they're hidden from view.


Only the 1:1 scale would be 100% faithfull to reality, but in that way, its not a map anymore, but reality.

concrete flowers

the best way to make your mark on society is to take matter in your own hands, as easy as one-two-three, take a lightbulb, fill with paint-now you got your own grenade. Find a wall wich bores you with its cleanliness- Aim-Throw-take a step back and enjoy the alternation of your neighbourhood...

flexibility in the streetscape

At Grønland, an area wich consist of a conglomerat of smallrun businesses, the delivery of goods and the exibition of this in the streetscape calls for a more flexibel use of the streets than an "ordinary" part of the city. To achive this "push and pull" effect of the appearance one must look into the timezone and divide the use according to the needs, when goods are delivered the zone surrounding the shops will grow- when shoppers arrive the zone will be smaller and leave room for another encounter.

torsdag 3. mars 2011

The city of darkness

An area 200 metres by 100 metres of solid building, 35.000 inhabitants, a population density of approximately 1,255,000/km2, this was the facts in Kowloon- The Walled City- certainly one of the densest urban slums in the world. Situated in "no-mans land", from 1945-1993, a political loophole created a zone of Hong Kong where there was no law, and wheres there no law- theres no police. The resulting anarchic monolith was the the closest thing to a truly self-regulating, self-sufficient, self-determining modern city that has ever been built, infrastructure was taken care of in theire own way by drilling wells and tapping into nearby city’s water sources, the same with the necessary electricity, since no sunlight passed through the streets were lit by fluorescent lights, creating a dark damp underworld.
With no regulations of any kind, this was the place the triads came to hide, the illegal businesses of Hong Kong happened here and, like all hideaways it attracts the usual types drawn to undiscovered countries: criminals, dreamers, dissidents, refugees and the plain desperate. But, at the same time this was a well functioning autonomus society, kids were brought up there, people got married there- lives were lived. After the triads gave up the controll of the city in the 70s, the city became self governed. Some consider this society to be the rarest of things, a working model of an anarchist society, while others, in theire conformity describes it as aliving shithole. The true fact is; it was less crime there than in the rest of Hong Kong. (maybe because people dont shit were they eat.) Nonetheless, it fascinating to look at the citys structure, it becomes a monolith, the buildings rising up to 14 storys, morph into each other, the streets disappear in tunnels, no lights gets through, not even Jodorowski could have imagined a city as dense and at the same time as scattered as this..

onsdag 2. mars 2011

an unfamiliar sound

A couple of years ago, the Swiss population determined, by election, to ban the building of minarets on mosques. This decision is highly controversial, meaning that the majority in this case will decide on a minority's right to express both their religion and their cultural heritage through a building design and denying them the right to express themselves in their shared, common public space. Is this a decision which occurs because of irritation over a change of the street space aesthetics or is it racism - different rules for different subcultures in society?
One of the most elaborate new buildings in Grønland is the Islamic Cultural Center Mosque in Åkebergveien.
In 2000, the mosque applied to get the right to call to prayer from loudspeakers outside the mosque. It was met with fierce protests, and it was even formed an action group against prayer. The end of the story was that they were allowed to pray in the framework of 60 decibels. Nevertheless, the mosque chose not to avail themselves of this opportunity and only prayer inside, probably to avoid confrontation (but they probably wouldnt had applied if it wasnt a wish...) At Grønland the senses have a stronger presence than elsewhere in the city. Here the scents are stronger, the colors more present and the sounds more intense than in the rest of the city. These are variables that help to stimulate the curiosity and differentiate streets from each other, these are little hints that tell about what happens but that might not be seen but nevertheless gives a broader expireience of the situation.
It is through these sensory experiences we can experience the city in its entirety, the perceptional account for only a small part of the overall experience, we must not forget the rest of the senses in our understanding of the city.