While Africa is a continent of one billion people, only 13 percent of the population has access to the Internet. Librii is a community-based, for-profit library model planned for Accra, Ghana, developed in collaboration between Gensler architect David Dewane, Architecture for Humanity, and Libraries Without Borders. The plan features shipping containers transformed into information hubs that host a collection of both digital and printed resources. The business model—which aspires to reach areas of Africa focused on developing online infrastructure—will provide a combination of free and paid services so the libraries can generate a profit while still providing services to the community.
The concept of “share culture,” one of the terms included in the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s list of 100 Urban Trends, got some attention recently from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. In a piece about house-sharing network Airbnb—which included a mention of the Lab’s much-loved one-square-meter house—he mused on the notion that “Airbnb’s real innovation is not online rentals. It’s ‘trust.’”
Havemeyer Park is a temporary bike park that recently popped up on a vacant lot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. According to a recent post by journalist (and sometime Lab | Log contributor) Sarah Goodyear, the park—the vision of former pro cyclist Jim Dellavalle—is a community-centered initiative that serves a variety of functions: it’s an urban farm irrigated by collected storm water; a library with a donated book collection; and it hosts programs such as yoga classes, concerts, movie screenings. The park sits on a site that will eventually become part of a larger 3.3 million-square-foot mixed-use development project along the waterfront led by Two Trees—the real estate development firm that sought out proposals for temporary use of the space. While the park will ultimately be torn down, the model signifies an approach to park design and operation that, as Dellavalle puts it, promotes “social awareness.”
Autodesk Infraworks is a 3-D visualization platform developed in collaboration with San Francisco-based startup Owlized to enable users to create optimized visualizations at a low cost. San Francisco’s Better Market Street project—which is in the early design stages—will use the viewfinder prototype and 3-D visualization to reveal plans to the public during public workshops that explore ways to reduce car traffic and promote more pedestrian and bike use in the area.
Rachel Barnard, a graduate of the Advanced Architectural Design program at Columbia University, created a project called Young New Yorkers, which aspires to break the incarceration cycle for low-level offenders at a young age. The project, which began as a public-art initiative, is now a court-mandated justice program for juveniles prosecuted and sentenced as adults in the Brooklyn criminal justice system. The program requires offenders to contemplate how they can make productive and meaningful contributions to society through art and design, through a series of workshops and projects that respond to themes such as community, accountability, contribution, and leadership.