the blog posts

a revitalized riverfront park

Cali, Columbia is working towards revitalizing its riverfront, creating the new Rio Cali Park. A collaboration between the design team of West 8 and the Municipality of Cali, the aim is to link the people of Cali with the river in a safe environment, which prioritises pedestrians and cyclists.

 rendering by west 8

rendering by west 8

Cali is the third largest city in Columbia and it has been torn by violence and suffered stagnation for decades. The River Cali Revitalisation Project faces challenging odds as it seeks to kick start urban renewal and regeneration. The idea is to prioritise public space and connect people to the river in a safe way. To this end, a roadway is being re-purposed to provide bike lanes and safe pedestrian routes that join the city centre with the new river park. As outlined by designboom, Cali will have a peaceful public realm, with plazas for events, where residents and meet and relax. The emphasis is placed on fostering a safe urban area where a density of people can begin to engage with each other constructively.

This is striking to me - not least because funding for Phase 1 is actually approved!  Cali faces struggles of a kind that Hamilton's waterfront in Bermuda does not and will not face, and yet progress is made. This is a properly considered plan and we could learn a thing or two.

beautiful bermuda, accidentally yours

I should start a collection. For every time I explain to someone the visual image we sell to tourists is not accidental, I get a dime. I'd be more than half way to retirement by now.

So, here's the thing. Although Bermudians are quite happy to paint their houses all the colours of the rainbow (purple being a personal non-favourite of mine) and, generally, keep the roofs white, it bears remembering that landscaping really does help.

image - s pringleThe pain inflicted by a grant of planning permission that includes a condition requiring a well-executed landscaping scheme, to my mind, is worthwhile.

It doesn't have to be a scheme offering 144 plants of dozens of varieties which serves only to make the plant nursery owner richer than Croesus. No-one is asking that you singlehandedly bring back Bermuda's former cedar woodland. But, you know, something more than nothing will contribute positively to the image of verdant landscapes surrounded by sparkling azure waters, which we sell overseas.

Some forethought as to appropriate species for your location and green thumb abilities is a good idea, as is, for example, consideration of your need for privacy. 

Of course, it's not just decent landscaping that makes a difference. An Act and successive development plans that seek to balance the preservation of woodlands, arable fields, coastal ecosystems and the like help too.

Bermuda Tourism spends untold millions selling the 'Bermuda Image' abroad, and it helps if we do our best to uphold it locally. 

So, no, Bermuda's beauty is not purely accidental. It takes a bit of effort from all of us.

the lazy blogger aka someone else's work

This is what the lazy blogger does - although, in my defense, I could call this entry the busy blogger, except that implies I'm busy blogging, which is not true - we reach out to other bloggers. In this case, I'd like to draw your attention to Bermuda architect, Simon Hodgon's blog, sdbs architecture urbanism interiors - (brought to my attention by Laura Murphy). It's great! 

Simon posts entries on furniture, street trees, public art, architecture (obviously), interiors and more. He highlights one of my go to topics as well: City Hall. As with much in the city, cars are prioritised over pedestrians and Simon has some great ideas for reversing this trend beginning with City Hall. The lawn in front of City Hall, already used by the community for gatherings, proclamations and events, has the potential to be a much better urban space. Think Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto's City Hall - I do.

His full blog post, City Hall South Lawn Analysis, is insightful and helpful and the diagramatic analysis can be seen in the short video below. Look and learn.

Follow Simon on Twitter @s_d_b_s for more in this vein and, of course, keep an eye on his blog.