• Urban Culture,  Urban Fashion

    It’s Selburose Time. Winter is coming.

    by Emma Sarappo, Washington D.C. When I was a teenager, a friend bought me a pair of socks from Target for Christmas. They were cream and brown, with a symmetrical octagon pattern that looked like a star or snowflake. I brought them with me when I moved to Chicago for college, because they seemed perfect for winter. It took me years to name the pattern that wrapped around the cuff: the selburose. I’d seen the star plenty of times before I knew what it was. When I was growing up, my house was filled with mittens that my Norwegian bestemor would knit and send—black-and-white mittens with a pointed end, a…

  • Urban Culture

    We are walking. Again!

    Stairs meet Instagram! Opulent stairwells are currently experiencing a renaissance around the world, as they fit so well both with the fitness trend and Instagram. Stairways worldwide are also experiencing a renaissance as a challenging architectural task – after they have been declared dead in recent years or at least degraded to purely functional, overgrown by norms and as cheap to produce residual space. The nature of a staircase has been left to religion in recent years (the Tower of Babel is a staircase), ancient achitecture (step pyramid), cinema (staircase scene in “Battleship Potemkin”) or to music (“Stairway to Heaven”). Stairs that are almost as old as humanity’s first housing…

  • Urban & Environment,  Urban Infrastructure

    Sustainable living in a “hole”

    Sleeping in the “hole”: A luxury hotel in an open pit mine is opening near the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai. The 18-storey building was built into the walls of a huge quarry, 16 of the floors are below the surface of the earth, two of them even under water. Due to the location within the abandoned mine, the building is considered to be environmentally friendly. Using solar energy and geothermal energy, the hotel also wants to produce enough energy to meet its daily needs. Source: Spiegel Online >>

  • Culture,  Urban Environment,  Urban Infrastructure

    Runway Railway

    Critic to these days fashion goddesses and gods sometimes sounds something like “When in everyone’s name should I wear that screaming yellow puffy one shoulder brocade sequin cropped designer tee?” While strolling down a runway this extravagant piece of fashion sure looks good but what about the rest of us who rather take the railway than the runway? As established many times in the course of this blog in its fledgling yet aspiring years, style is not only what to wear (and to wear it first) but far more a style of living. It is also not having to show off what we purchased in our last shopping escapade –…

  • Urban Infrastructure

    Smart Cities need to be Accessible Cities

    It is often said, that acceptance of new tech solutions goes hand in hand with understanding the user benefit. But what user are we looking at in Urban Scenarios? Today, to fully exploit the potential of Smart Cities, you better be  a role-model user – young, smart, understanding the potential of technologies and knowing how to use it. Reality, however is different. A key concept in tomorrow’s scenarios for accepting Smart Technology in cities is Accessibility. This goes for access to technology (not everyone is using Internet several times a day), for public services (do you really understand the details of the public transport system in the city you live…

  • Urban Culture

    Diversity means accepting new styles

    by Christine Neumann  // So many different cultures living together in one place – it must be fascinating – these were my first thoughts, when I moved to Brussels a few years ago. I could not imagine how this was actually possible or working in practice, but I was curious to find out more. Cultural diversity offers so many different opportunities. Now, I am living in Mannheim – geographically embedded in the beautiful region Rhine-Neckar, close to Heidelberg and Frankfurt, having a very multi-cultural image, surrounded by lots of nature and a highly innovative and industrial eco-system. But in certain moments, I am still thinking of Brussels – a very…

  • Urban Culture

    Living alone does not mean loneliness

    Urban Living often means livng alone. As a single, at any age. Talks about the quality of livingin cities slowly turns to quality of single livngin cities. Countless rankings appeared in the last years, which city in the world is best for singles. In a Forbes ranking for the U.S., Atlanta appeared as top cities for singles they looked through. With its number of nightspots per capita, hipness, gender balance and relatively high percentage of unmarried people (almost 70%), this city in the south of the U.S.  tops the list. San Francisco and Boston follow. In Europe, Edinburgh, Berlin, Vienna and Budapest are often at the top. There is one…

  • Urban Culture,  Urban Infrastructure

    An ox remains an ox…

    …even if driven to Vienna. This Hungarian proverb suggests that the rural ox, driven to crowned-by-urban-myths-Vienna, is just an ox in the end, even if the Viennese would like it differently. There is no arguing about that but change a tiny preposition, the proverb goes “An ox remains an ox even if driven through Vienna”, and you would suddenly be wrong! Vienna took a huge leap towards an urban transportation system, which is inclusive throughout income groups, sustainable, and smart. The city is addressing one of the hugest problems modern metropolises face these days: car-congested streets, making our urban habitat less liveable than ever and housing shortage due to practically…

  • Urban Mindfulness

    Future Urban Living needs more Mindfulness

    The summer is over. The hot days of hard glittering sunlight, bringing every Ray Ban to the edge of efficiency, give way to the mild October sun. We spend the Sundays in nature, stroll the fields, walk along lake shore drives and above all rediscover the golden autumn forests. Mindfulness is required, especially when walking through nature. Take your time along the way, smell the flowers (there are no roses) and taste the mushrooms. Play with the kids. Many people in Germany spoke of a “summer of the century”, the drought periods have brought whole agricultural existences to the brink of despair. There was talk of the tropical climate, but…

  • Urban Environment

    Waste to go or what disposable cups really mean to us

    Wallet, keys, mobile phone – and good to go. Not so good to go is almost every morning traveller’s thirst for some freshly roasted coffee beans and the thereof deriving tons of waste our cities need to cope with every day. 190,000 disposable cups are being thrown away every day in Munich. That means 43,000 felled trees, 1,5 billion litres of water, 111,000 tons of CO2 which ultimately cumulate in 40,000 tons of waste. Just. For. Drinking. Coffee. But not quite. Each and every one of us knows that it would be cheaper and – in most cases – even more delicious to just pour some coffee at home and…