Reimagining the Urban | Art and Public Space | University of Auckland

A global search to find the planet’s most outstanding public art will culminate in an awards ceremony, exhibition and conference in Auckland in early July.

The 2015 International Award for Public Art (IAPA) seeks to promote and advance culturally diverse, socially responsive public art. An exhibition of case studies featuring the top 32 projects from around the world will be on display at Auckland Art Gallery during the conference, and the 2015 winner will be announced at a prize-giving dinner at the gallery on Wednesday 1 July.

Projects as diverse as a floating school in Nigeria, a restaurant serving cuisine from countries the USA is in conflict with, an experimental sexual politics initiative in India, and a post-earthquake pavilion for the people of Christchurch, represent a selection of the rich, challenging, and divergent practice of public art.

The International Award for Public Art is a biennial search for the most outstanding recent socially-engaged art projects. The inaugural award (2013) was won by Venezuelan artist and architect Alejandro Haiek Coll, co-director of design collective LabProFab, for the Tiuna el Fuerte Cultural Park project, an inventive and community focused redevelopmemt of an abandoned parking lot in Caracas.

The 2015 conference, titled Cities in a Climate of Change: Public Art and Environmental and Social Ecologies, is jointly hosted by Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland and Shandong University of Art and Design, China. Held at the University of Auckland from 1-4 July 2015, the event will bring together artists, curators, urban planners, architects and museum directors from around the world to discuss art and its relationship to urban development.

Cities in a Climate of Change will encourage dialogue about public art and the place-making practices contributing to the formation of ‘liveable cities’. Alongside keynote speakers and the inaugural IAPA winner, creators of six of the finalist projects will present and discuss their work. The conference will also include presentations on the scholarship of studio teaching, focusing on the public dimension of the built, visual, and performing arts.

Chair of the Institute for Public Art, British curator and cultural consultant Lewis Biggs comments: “Congratulations to Auckland for hosting this combined event of a Conference, Exhibition and Awards ceremony – which together focus on the power and flexibility of public art as a rapidly developing area of knowledge and expertise globally. The Institute for Public Art was founded to undertake and share research, to create a supportive network for practitioners, and to advocate public art to decision makers worldwide. Cities in a Climate of Change demonstrates how vital these motives are, and how much there is to celebrate once knowledge starts to flow from continent to continent.”

Alongside the Cities in a Climate of Change conference, Tokyo-based artist Jun Kitazawa will create a socially based public art project in central Auckland during the 2015 IAPA. Kitazawa is a Elam International Artist in Residence who has established a practice working in collaboration with local government, educational institutions, business and local communities to develop projects which relate to everyday life.

The 2015 International Award for Public Art Exhibition and Conference

For more information, visit here.

Conference: The University of Auckland (1-4 July)
Exhibition: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (27 June-6 July).
The University of Auckland’s National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries comprises the Elam School of Fine Arts, School of Architecture and Planning, the Centre for Art Studies, the School of Music and the Dance Studies Programme.

For more information, contact:

Miranda Playfair
Media Relations Adviser
National Institute of Creative Arts & Industries
The University of Auckland
Phone: +64 (9) 373 7599 ext 85029
Mobile: +64 21 063 8393
Email: [email protected]

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Planning Naked | May 2015

Planning Naked | May 2015
by Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A, The Outlaw Urbanist contributor

Observations on the May 2015 issue of Planning Magazine.

1.  I cannot believe the cover of this Special Issue on Transportation from Planning: The Magazine of the American Planning Association. The message could not be any clearer:

Transportation=Road Building=Moving Cars=Money $$$

At first, I thought – finally – APA has developed a satirical perspective on its own profession. Yeah, that was wishful thinking. The cover is insidious, especially given the contrary content of this month’s issue on road design, reduced parking requirements, etc. Let’s ‘fix’ this cover.

2.  “The Mathematics of Urban Productivity” (pp. 9) has an exciting and really important finding buried in the text. “Human settlements are, first and foremost, social networks embedded in space (our emphasis),” wrote Scott Ortman, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado-Boulder in a paper published in Science Advances about a study of productivity in the Aztec city Teōtīhuacān (modern day Mexico City), “the productivity of cities depends… on their role as containers for social interaction.”

3.  Despite (seemingly) editorial efforts to change the emphasis to police enforcement from road design, the message of “The Safest Streets: Vision Zero aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities” by Jay Walljasper (pp. 14) still comes through loud and clear. “Research shows that lowering a speed limit without other improvements like road design changes or improved police enforcement doesn’t work to slow traffc – it’s the roadway design (our emphasis) that affects the speed” (Charlie Zegger, UNC Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center). It’s not an enforcement problem, it’s a design problem. This provides an especially galling contrast compared to the “pro-car, make money” message of this month’s Planning Magazine cover. Two steps forward, one step back.

4.  Another good article “Releasing the Parking Brake on Economic Development” by Brian Canepa and Joshua Karlin-Resnick (pp. 22). “A recent study by the Transportation Research Board found that parking was oversupplied in mixed use district by an average of 65 percent.” It’s not only in mixed use districts and you don’t really need a study to see the obvious, just open your eyes and look. Accommodating parking for 2-3 days of the year (shopping days before Christmas) is just stupid. The example cited in Sacramento makes a clearcut case of how the real problem is created and perpetuated by the regulatory regime itself.

5.  The logical conclusion of the above article and Donald Shoup’s excellent “Putting the Cap on Parking Requirements” article is the Buffalo model: complete eradication of minimum parking requirements in regulatory codes and allowing the market to determine what is needed on a case-by-case basis. The planning profession is not ready to adopt such a radical approach but they better start getting ready.

6.  “Road (Funding) Rage” by Jon Davis – in combination with the insidious cover – reveals the real agenda of the American Planning Association and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), which is organizations greedily sucking at the teat of the government (preferably Federal but State and local will do as well). Approximately one-third on the content (excluding advertisements) in this special issue is dedicated to funding, taxes, and cars.

7.  “Towards a grounded theory of sustainable zoning” by Reid Ewing from the University of Utah in the Research You Can Use section advocates the concept of grounded or qualitative theory, which is really just normative theory because it is not testable or refutable, meaning it’s not theory at all in the scientific sense of the word. For normative theory, see Modernism planning.

8.  It’s hard to know where to begin with Elizabeth Wood’s Viewpoint Article, “Celebrity Culture Meets Planning Culture”. I am guessing People Magazine passed on this article. According to Wood, Idina Menzel (the “the one and only, Adele Dazeem”, per John Travolta) plays a planner in the Broadway musical If/Then, she sang on Disney’s Frozen and has “millions of young Frozen fans”, ergo we can expect a “bumper crop of new planners” in the next generation. I guess I can see her point. I mean Madonna did play Eva Peron in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Evita in 1996, Madonna had millions of young fans at the time, and now we are inundated with a bumper crop of ambitious young women who want to be the second wife of South American oligarchs… And that is how you do satire, APA *mic drop*.

Planning Naked is an article with observations and comments about a recent issue of Planning: The Magazine of the American Planning Association.

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Dispatches from Dawn in the USA | The Original Green

Dispatches from Dawn in the USA | via the Original Green
by Steve Mouzon, AIA, December 8, 2014

Steve Mouzon, AIA discusses the influence of Benjamin Franklin within the context of the release of Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners by Mark David Major.


“Ben Franklin was a Twitter master a quarter-millennium before the medium, as I wrote in the Foreword to Mark Major’s excellent new book Poor Richard, ANOTHER Almanac for Architects and Planners, but Franklin was also more skilled at describing true Original Green sustainability than anyone alive today. What follows are some of my favorite nuggets of Poor Richard wisdom.”

Read the full article here: Dispatches from Dawn in the USA | the Original Green | Steve Mouzon

Download the full article here: Dispatches from Dawn in the USA | the Original Green | Steve Mouzon

PoorRichardv2_FrCoverPoor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2)
by Mark David Major
Foreword by Steve Mouzon
140 pages with black and white illustrations.

Available in print from Amazon, CreateSpace, and other online retailers. Available on iBooks from the Apple iTunes Store andKindle in the Kindle Store.


For the best digital eBook experience, the author recommends purchasing the iBook version of the book.

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FROM THE VAULT | Paul Klee on Modern Art

FROM THE VAULT |  Paul Klee on Modern Art
by Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A, The Outlaw Urbanist contributor

Paul Klee on Modern Art (with Introduction by Herbert Read) is the text of a lecture delivered in 1924 at the opening of a museum exhibit of modern art (thus it reads in the first person). It is a series of brief commentaries on the Modernist creative process. Herbert Read’s brief but excellent introduction is an enlightening, concise summary of Klee’s intent in the lecture as well as the difficulties some readers might encounter while reading the text. Because Klee focuses on the creative process, he looks inward rather than outward (as he did in Creative Confessions), which gives the text a bit of an ego-centric viewpoint. In this sense, Modern Art is really about the artist in the world (in this case, Klee himself). Klee’s explicit reservations about speaking about his art also tends to make Modern Art feel somewhat defensive.

Because of this, Modern Art is not as rich with interesting observations, concepts and quotes that might find a common expression in architecture or urban planning (except perhaps its worst excesses, i.e. the architectural genius). Indeed, some of Klee’s text seems to pull back on his thoughts in Creative Confessions. For example, he states “line is the most limited”, which seems to contradict the ‘inherent energy’ he discussed in the other work. Instead, he shifts his focus to tone and color as an unmeasurable ‘quality’ in art, with explicit references to ‘mood’ in the artist and the emotions provoke in the character of a piece of art. In this sense, Modern Art represents a counter (and lesser) movement to Creative Confessions, of more limited application outside the realm of the artistic compulsion itself where there is “more value on the powers (i.e. the artist) which do the forming than the final forms themselves” residing “in the womb of nature” where the artist literally becomes a God himself in a creative act of genesis.

Paul Klee on Modern Art
by Paul Klee (with Introduction by Herbert Read)
55 pages
Faber and Faber Ltd. London. Paper Covered Editions (1967)

You can purchase Paul Klee on Modern Art from Amazon here.

Check out the Paul Klee page here.

From the Vault is a series from the Outlaw Urbanist in which we review art, architectural and urban design texts, with an emphasis on the obscure and forgotten, found in second-hand bookstores.

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Poor Richard 2.0 | Planning Magazine

A review of Poor Richard: Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (or Book 2 of the Poor Richard series) appears in the April 2015 issue of Planning Magazine (pp 69-70).


“As in life, some days are better than others… Two favorites: Week 13, Day 6 (In the city, buildings mate for life) and Week 29, Day 5 (Never go to an architect or planner whose office plants are artificial).”

Download the full review here.

PoorRichardv2_FrCoverPoor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners by Mark David Major
Foreword by Steve Mouzon, AIA
Paperback, 140 pages (5″ x 0.3″ x 8″, 7.4 ounces)
Forum Books (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First edition)
November 30, 2014
ISBN-10: 150290182X<
ISBN-13: 978-1502901828

Poor Richard, Another Almanac for Architects and Planners (Volume 2 of the Poor Richard series) is available for purchase from CreateSpace, Amazon, iBooks, and other online retailers around the world. Be sure to check the online store in your country/currency (USA stores available below).

Purchase from CreateSpace here.
Purchase from Amazon here.
Purchase from Kindle Store here.
Purchase from iBooks Store here.

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