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2017

Today I did my first study in Malmö and even if see this is my home city it brought me several surprises. First of all, I had planned to go to a street called Friis Gatan, which is a street with several food places and cute stores, but when I arrived there I found out that the section of the street that I was going to study has been pedestrianized...This technically a good thing according to me but as I was going to use it as my "destination street" it wasn't as great. Because one of my criteria for the "destination streets" is that cars are still allowed. Therefore, I had to quickly change my plan. So, I turned my feet toward Davidshall's square hoping to make it for my 08.00 a clock start.

I did make it and I was looking forward to seeing several people walking by. However, this became my second surprise, as there was almost no one there...Instead, I spend most of the time watching my clock hoping that the time would pass a little bit faster. 

Although, those who did come by were mainly on their bikes, which was another surprise. I used to walk by this square every day during high school and I don't remember there being that many bikes. Instead, I remember it as a place to buy vintage or get a coffee. It might still be that way, but during the morning hours, it seems to have become more of a bike route.

All of these surprises have reminded me that cities can change fast and one should never assume that one knows a place just because one grew up there. Therefore, I'm now even more excited about the study in Malmö and to see what else I can find out about my old home town.

Etiketter: sweden, streetact

In terms of reaching the highest percentage of smoking people, Glasgow will definitely be the winner. At least among the cities that I've been studying. A good example of this was today's study. I went to one of those little squares that you can find between office buildings and its prime use was not coffee shopping instead it was smoking. People would sit by themselves and with a cigarette and then go back into work. I'm not entirely sure why there are so much more people smoking in this city, but it is definitely a massive shift from Singapore.

This pattern has also made me wonder if you could encourage/discourage smoking by how you design a city? Or if smoking is too much of a behavioral thing that needs to be worked on in other ways? At the moment I can not give you an answer but I will definitely keep on thinking about that one.

Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

By now I have spent a few mornings outside different libraries and I have to say that it is an interesting experience. People gather up before the doors open and make it look as if there is some kind of big event happening. First to arrive are usually a group of homeless, they are followed by some older men (who most likely are there to do research) after that comes the younger crowd (who might be there to study) and last to arrive before the doors open are the moms with a pile of books to return. Why people are eager to be the first to arrive I'm not entirely sure, however, this gathering can easily begin an hour before opening time...

As this is a clear trend I'm actually wondering why people don't do something to make these people's wait more interesting? In Glasgow the doors are wooden so you can not see inside, there is no information for anyone to read and there is not even a bench in the street to sit on. In addition to that, it is a road that has little traffic and therefore could potentially become pedestrianized. I'm simply wondering how come no one does anything to enhance these people's wait. I'm not sure, but maybe this is an opportunity that someone will soon jump on.

Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

This morning I did the "green street" study, i.e. a study in a park-like street. As Glasgow doesn't have the exact type of street that I was looking for I went to Kelvingrove Park. It is a long park used by people trying to make shortcuts or looking for a place to hang out. Personally, I mainly use it day time and therefore I have never seen Kelvingrove's rush hour. 

But, now I have and it made me realize that it is a popular bike route in the morning. There were many bikes swooshing by and it actually felt pretty dangerous as there is no actual bike lane. I didn't see any accident but I'm sure there must be weekly ones. After having lived in the city I already knew that it's not a great city to bike in and many of my friends have been in accidents. Therefore, I understand why people choose the park over the roads. Although, in the long run, I don't see it as a solution, so I hope that Glasgow will wake up and put in more bike lanes soon. Or the danger might move from the car streets to the park?

Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

To give you a visual of where I am at the moment. Here are a few pictures from around Glasgow.

Etiketter: glasgow, photography

Being back in a city where walking is a common way of commuting there are also more headphone filled ears on the sidewalks than in Fort Worth and LA. I have already talked about the pros and cons with this "walk-commuters" habit. However, I have not talked about what you could listen to if you make the decision to use headphones when walking. Therefore, here is a small list of some podcasts and music that I enjoy.

PODS

English
The Urbanist by Monocle Magazine
Between Worlds by Mike Walsh
Swedish
Framgångspodden
Säker Stil 
Trettio Plus Trevar

MUSIC
Gorillaz
Chords
Beach Boys
Bon Iver
Laleh

Etiketter: favorite, streetact, glasgow
It feels great to be back in Europe to do the study. The streets here are full of people and there is simply more to see and think about. Therefore, I am looking forward to this week when I get to focus on my study again.

By now I have completed two studies in Glasgow and I can already tell you that the daily traveling habits here are very different from America. People walk and walk and walk even if it's raining, windy and hilly. Walking is basically a form of commuting and it isn't strange to walk everywhere instead of taking the car. It basically doesn't seem to be much that can stop people from going outside. However, I am hoping that I will get a morning with nice weather soon in order to see if there are more people out on these days or if it stays the same. 

Even if the rain doesn't seem to affect people's behaviors, it has stopped me from taking pictures of my locations. Therefore, I will go out this afternoon to take a few, so stay tuned for some Glasgow pics.
Etiketter: glasgow, streetact

By now you might be aware of the fact that my ongoing street study looks at how people behave in streets during rush hour when not traveling inside a car. However, I haven't talked very much about the method behind it. Therefore I thought it was about time to do so, especially as I'm about to start my fourth one in Glasgow this week.

I have tried to write out what I do step by step and I hope it will make sense and be relatively interesting. So, here we go!

 

  1. Choose what street and what block on the street I like to go to. I have a few different "types" of streets that I try to find in each city. Ex. a street with plenty of residential buildings leading to major public transportation station.
  2. 08.00-08.30 observe and count the people and their behavior. More specifically these ones: people walking, people walking with headphones, phone, both, food, dog, or company, people biking, people exercising, people on a skateboard, people with a personal mobility device, and people who are sitting down.
  3. 08.30-09.00 count physical objects in the street. Ex. benches, trees traffic lights etc.
  4. 09.00-09.30 observe and count people.again
  5. 09.30-10.00 take pictures, write down general observations 
  6. Go home and type up the data, count the percentages, analyze the map of the area and write out the general observations.
  7. Make some sort of conclusion and write a post for the blog 
It took a while before this became my method as I haven't done studies like this before but it was purposeful. I wanted to allow myself to make some changes as I learned more about what I was doing and I think it helped me to stay on my toes in terms of figuring out how to do it better next time around. Today I have also read Jan Gehl's book "Public Life Study" which has made me realize that when I do it the next time, there are a few things that I would like to change. Ex. I would like to go back to the same street several times rather than constantly changing street. I hope you found that interesting and helpful. 

Below is a picture describing the data from Singapore and LA.
Etiketter: streetact

I thought that it was about time for another favorites list. This time it comes from LA and I hope you might find it inspiring if you're heading over there anytime soon.

Café
Sage 
This vegan bistro is equally good for lunch and dinner as for some raw cake and coffee. It is in the middle of Echo Park and the atmosphere inside is relaxed but vibrant and the food never disappoints. Their weekend brunch is popular too.
The Smile’s Di Alba
Located on a street with fun boutiques this is a perfect place for a break or lunch. Their topped focaccia squares are a must and so is the coffee.
Groundworks
This chain has spots all over town however it still feels intimate. They are famous for their coffee but they also have great breakfast & snack alternatives.

Restaurants
Grand Central Market
This old brick building houses countless of food stands from all over the world. They are known for their Mexican vendors and a place called Eggslut but I kept going back for the avocado toast at Clark Street Bread.
Papilles
DO NOT MISS this one! It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it is much more than you can imagine inside. Their menu is simple changes constantly but it focuses on West European cuisine. The same when it comes to the wine but the staff is happy and likes to tell you about it. 
Manuel
Situated inside the courtyard of Hauser & Wirth Gallery this slightly more pricey restaurant has an exciting menu focusing on Mexican and American flavors but in a modern way. If you’re not hungry go for one of their tasty drinks and enjoy the happy and hip atmosphere.

Drinks
Arts District Brewing Company
Are you a fan of beer and like to discover new flavors, then this is for you. This experimental brewery has an endless list of beer on tap perfect to enjoy on their terrace during the sunset.
Courage & Craft
I didn’t bar hop very much in LA, however, I picked up a bottle of wine every now and then to enjoy on our balcony. My favorite place to get it from was Courage & Craft. Their collection is small but interesting and very price worthy.

Architecture
Eames House
I definitely wish that I could live here. With a view over the ocean, the Eames Foundation has remained the house as it was when the Eames couple lived here and even if they are no longer there you can feel their presence within the simple but specific architecture. 
Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual Arts
This playful concrete building can be seen from Downtown but it is worth the detour to see it up close. Try to get into the courtyard to see it properly but if your company get board they can check out the skaters that like to gather around it. 
LACMA
This museum is worth to visit for its art but if you don’t feel like paying the entrance fee, head over to see it out from the outside. There are several buildings and some exterior sculptures that you don’t have to pay to see.

Art
Hammer
This art museum is free of charge and brings in the less ordinary artists. With galleries surrounding an internal courtyard the building has a calming effect and is a great space to experience art in.
Shulamit Nazarian
This is a smaller gallery that opened only in 2006. However, they have already moved to a new larger location. It is in Hollywood and has many nice places for food and drinks nearby too. 
Hauser & Wirth Gallery
This gallery is one of the more high-end galleries in the arts district. However, their spread out galleries can showcase both small and large exhibitions and is definitely a place I enjoy visiting.

Hikés
LA is known for their many hiking trails but I only walked along one. It is the one that leads up to the Griffith Observatory. There are several different routes that take you to the top. They are all worth the view that also includes the Hollywood sign. There is another path starting by the observatory that leads all the way to the sign. If you don’t like to go there you can walk down again and head to one of the cafés in the hipster like Loz Feliz.

Etiketter: favorite, los angeles

One of the most common walks to make in America is the one between a parking spot and a building. In the morning one can see streams of people walking from a garage to their office and at weekends people hoard between shops and their car. Therefore, where parking is located very much determine where people walk and what they will see on their way. 

The closer parking is to one's destination the more likely one is to use it. How much it costs is also important as well as the opening hours of the garage. However, if the distance increased people would maybe get more used to walking a few blocks and leave their car when going short distances.

One way to make this happen might be if companies bought free parking for their employees a few blocks away from their office? Then the employees wouldn't have to pay and they might be more willing to walk the slightly longer distance to reach their office. I am not sure, however, it could be an interesting experiment to try out in order to transition from cars to walking.

So, to conclude maybe we could transform the walk between cars and buildings as a first step to make people consider other forms of transportation.

Etiketter: streetact, fort worth
Two weeks ago I helped two friends to move from Texas to Boston. This made me realize how differently young people in the States move in comparison to me, mainly because of the car.

To bring a car is basically as central as putting a bed in the bedroom. Therefore Americans tend to make long road trips in order to move both themselves and their car somewhere new. Young students also own cars, so they also move by bringing their car around. I do understand the positives about it as it allows one to leave when one likes, sleep in the car on the way and bring as much as one can possibly fit into the car.

However, if we like to create cities with fewer cars this becomes problematic. Because ones the car is there it is easy to jump into it instead of pulling out the bike or walk. So, maybe one of the reasons to why American cities are car centered is the fact that people in all ages move from place to place with their car? I am not sure but it is something our three-day road trip from Texas to Boston made me realize.
In Nashville during our road trip to Boston In Nashville during our road trip to Boston

Sorry for my lack of update lately. I've been moving my friends from Texas to Boston and we're currently renovating and fixing up their place. So, I haven't had time to do my street study or to write here. However, this weekend I'll try to make a few posts about what I've seen and done during the journey. 

Stay tuned!

Etiketter: starting out, community
Most Texans live their lives in three types of places, inside buildings, inside cars and between cars and buildings. This lifestyle was very much proven real in today's study. Almost everyone that passed by on the sidewalk was walking from a parking garage to their office building. The distance between the two is usually no more than a block and the time it takes to travel it is minimal. Therefore I am wondering what would happen to public life if parking garages were placed further away from destinations. Would people walk more, would they ask someone to drop them off or would people start using public transportation? I am not sure, however, it would be an interesting experiment to run. So, if anyone is interested, let me know.
Etiketter: fort worth, streetact

There is not a whole lot to say about today's study. However, I would love to share a few images from the place I went. It is a beautiful park that I wish more people used.

Etiketter: streetact, fort worth
When you step into public spaces you have to assume that someone might see you and watch what you do. This is nothing new, however, today you also need to assume there might be either a CCTV camera or policemen spying on you. They are there to make the space safe but I wonder if there is a limit where they actually make you uncomfortable?

This morning I did a study in Sundance Square, which is known to be one of the safest downtowns in America. One of the reasons for this is the multiple policemen patrolling at all times There are also several cameras and being surrounded by it made me uncomfortable. Maybe that is just me but it made me wonder if there are any other ways to keep people safe in public spaces? I am not entirely sure yet but I will definitely look for solutions as I continue my study.
Etiketter: fort worth, streetact

Ever since I lived in Fort Worth have I known that I couldn't go anywhere without a car. Toady, I started my street study in the city and so far it confirmed my previous experience. 

The street I went to is in the middle of the hospital district and one would think that there would be doctors and nurses walking around as they should know how important it is for your health to walk. This was not the case. Instead, I saw people parking their cars right outside where they were going, doing their errand and returning to their car. It felt strange and it made me miss Europe actually. When will I find a street in America that is busy because of pedestrians? I don't know but maybe it is about time we figure out a way to walk inside the cars as they seem impossible to get rid of them? I know it might sound silly but I'm getting a bit desperate about this...

Etiketter: fort worth, streetact

Today it's the 1st of May and when I went to Grand Park this morning, to do another study, people were setting up for the big May Day Parade. I can't join myself and therefore, I decided to have my own little march here on the blog. So, here we go, and surprise surprise, I will talk about the street,

Today we constantly talk about the need for open meeting places, like social media. However, it is a different to meet someone in person, as it allows us to read emotions and expressions better. Therefore, I don't believe that interaction in a physical space can be replaced by phones and computers, We simply need to find more meeting places.

However, in places like LA, where most people travel protected in cars, it's easy to remain by yourself and only meet strangers via social media. Travel time is otherwise a great time to see new faces; since most people do it every day along the same roads. That is why I think that streets should target pedestrians. Then we would go from A to B without a metal shield around us and consequently, we could see and meet new people.

Walking is also good because of pollution, health, and safety. So, to end all of this I like to say that I actually think that many of the world's problems could be solved if we left our cars at home more often, designed cities for people and started to walk through them. Naive, maybe yes, but I guess that is what May Day Parade is for, dream big and raise your voice about it!

The guy's sign says F*ck Trump and I definitely don't think he will be the only one carrying one of those signs today...
The guy's sign says F*ck Trump and I definitely don't think he will be the only one carrying one of those signs today...
Etiketter: los angeles, streetact

Most people go to Grand Central Market because of the food but when I went there this morning it was to find out how people behave around the small urban park outside the market hall. There they have replaced a number of parking spots with a simple installation of tables, umbrellas, plants, and seats and it has become a place where people go to hang out. Its simple design could work in many places and even if I went there alone my study showed that this is a street you go to when you have company. 

The space also reminds me of an initiative called Park(ing) Day. This initiative uses one day every year in order to transform metered parking spaces into temporary urban spaces for people to enjoy. It started by in 2005 by a studio in San Fransisco called Rebar but today it happens all over the world and has become a great way to showcase new forms of street usage. The good thing about it is that anyone who has an idea could take part by following their guidelines. So if you want to do something with your home street check it out. Who knows, maybe your installation will become permanent just like the park outside Grand Central Market.

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The daily transformation of the urban park

Inside GCM and Eggslut's instagram famous sign
Inside GCM and Eggslut's instagram famous sign
Etiketter: los angeles, streetact

Last year I went to a lecture by Riccardo Marini. He introduced the "Gehl Theory" which talks about making streets for the human scale. The idea is that when streets are narrow and the buildings are short than it is easier for people to relate to what is around them. Consequently, the pedestrians can easier feel confident and secure which helps when creating a vibrant street.

However, in Los Angeles, most streets are very wide and in the downtown area, there are also several sky scrapers. Therefore, the scale is definitely not human and I seldom see people using the street furniture or sit in the cafés' outdoor seats. Consequently, I am starting to think about what could be done in DTLA to make it a vibrant city centr similar to European cities.

I have a few ideas that I am developing and when I have concluded on something I will share them with you. Meanwhile, I like to recommend this documentary. It is made by Gehl Architects and has been a big inspiration for me and what I work on at the moment.

Etiketter: favorite

After two months of studying the pavement's morning traffic, I have been able to identify a few different types of commuters As I have a fun time looking for them, I thought I share my favorites with you. So here they are:

  • The one that is running late, unaware of what's around them and desperately creates new shortcuts.
  • The calm controlled one that had time to pick-up a coffee and walks with big steps looking straight ahead.
  • The one that is still half asleep with headphones plugged in, making sure no one disturbs their morning bubble. 
  • The business traveler with their face going between google maps and the street numbers. No one wants to walk into the wrong building...
Which one are you? And who do you think we should design the streets for? According to this morning's study, it should be the solo walker with either headphone and/or something to eat or drink in their hand. Because that is one of the more common behaviors outside the OUE building and the Public Library in DTLA during rush hour. 
Etiketter: los angeles, streetact
After my time in Singapore, I get asked where should I go in the city? Therefore, here is a short guide I hope it will be helpful. 

Café
Forty Hands
Located along the hip “must visit street” Yong Siak Road, Forty Hands has amazing coffee, the best Brunch, and cakes that suit everyone. Even those who are a gluten and lactose intolerant. 
Pacamara
This is a bit more expensive but after a hike in the Mac Ritchie Reservoir, it could be worth it. It’s a place for "coffee-snobs" and those who like delicious food. You can also refresh with a beer or fun sparkling drinks.
Riders Café
Looking for a place to brunch? Go here! It’s located in a forest in an old horse stall and you get a feeling of being away from the city out in the countryside. The food here is really good and you can find many new varieties of classic brunch dishes.

Restaurants
Potato Head Folk
Even if you’re not in the mood for food, go to their roof terrace to grab a drink. The vibe is relaxed and it is a great hangout during the sunset. They are famous for their burgers, but as a vegetarian, I skip those and order some corn on the cob with all the extras.
Open Farm Community
This place has a slightly higher price-tag but for special occasions, I can recommend it. It has a great atmosphere and you’re basically sitting in a greenhouse. Their food concept focuses on greens that they grow in their garden. This place makes me wish I had a higher salary.
D.O.P
Singapore has many good Italian restaurants but nothing beats sharing a mozzarella, platter and some Italian red wine at D.O.P. It is located by Singapore River and you can end the dinner with a stroll along the water. Maybe over to Clark Quay for some more drinks?

Drinks
Level 33
If you don’t like to crowd with the tourists at Marina Bay Sands head to Level33’s terrace. It’s a micro brewery located high up in a banking building. It has many interesting brews and you can complement it with tasty bar snacks or a full sit-down dinner.
Club Street 
During the evening this street is closed off and bars and restaurants take over There are many good spots and together they create a vibrant atmosphere worth checking out.

Architecture
Tiong Bharu
Singapore’s first public housing buildings are located here and they are definitely worth seeing. I personally find them beautiful and their low rise design creates a nice feeling in the surrounding streets. Here is also a good wet-market that always has nice fruit, fish, and veg.
Park Royal Hotel
Park Royal is a really interesting building when it comes to “green architecture”. If you’re an architecture nerd like me, google it before you go and find out more about the building’s hidden features. Also, be nice to the receptionist and you might get to see more than the fascinating entrance level.
Esplanade
Singapore’s Opera House is also worth a visit. Have a look at the outside and then head up to the rooftop.There you get a nice view over the whole bay.

Art
Gillman Barracks
Singapore’s art scene is slowly starting to buzz and Gillman Barracks is one of the leaders in this new time. Go and spend some time here if you like looking at art.
Singapore Art Museum 
Singapore Art Museum is a bit more established and shows a good variety of emerging local artists and world known ones. Don’t forget to check out their events schedule, there is often something happening here.

Music
Blu Jazz Café
This place is located on one of the few streets that get pedestrianized in Singapore. There are many fun bars and restaurants in the neighborhood and in the evening this is the place for jazz and a few beers with your friends.

Hikés
There are many well-arranged hiking trails in Singapore and I think that no one should miss them out. There are walks for all levels however some of them are only open during the weekend, so make sure you check that before you go. Another tip is to head out as early in the morning as possible. It gets hot in Singapore! I would personally recommend MacRitchie, Southern Ridges, and Pulau Ubin but for more hikes and information check out NParks.

Here is a PDF version that is easy to download and bring along.

Photos: (in order starting top left):
Visit Singapore, Tekko, Visit Singapore, Must See Places, Alex Ang, Visit Singapore, Food Nomad, Afur Wong, Pinky Piggu, Ungku Ibrahim, Patrick Bingham, Jolequin, Visit Singapore, Michelle Lee, Families For Life

Etiketter: singapore, favorite

...that is the question and I think I am starting to find an answer. Because the LA street is severely suffering from lack of life. I have been around in many streets by now and the cars are there but not the pedestrians. Therefore, my motivation to do research is failing and at the moment the LA streets seem dead.

However, it is also becoming a motivation and inspiration. Maybe LA is the place I should return to for work? I am not sure but it makes me happy to meet initiatives like LA Walks who are here to make a difference. Because it is desperately needed.

It doesn't even help that the side walks are wide
It doesn't even help that the side walks are wide
The most common sight of this street
The most common sight of this street
Etiketter: los angeles

In Sweden Easter is a public holiday and if you go out in street you hardly see anyone walking in their job suit. However, in America, it's different and therefore I saw several people rushing to their offices when I was studying people's behavior in Grand Park this morning. 

It even turned out to be those who were rushing that were the most interesting to watch. They needed to do what they could to cut down on time and started to design their own streets through the park. The fact that the lower level of Grand Park is dominated by a big lawn without cars helped. People who were in a hurry could take whatever way that was fastest for them.

However, those who were not in a hurry (maybe they were on their Easter break) would obey the pre-designed paths and be required to make a detour around the big lawn - no one dared to step outside the box. So, ones again we see that pressure help us to be creative and maybe it is those that are in a hurry that we should look at when designing our paths and streets?

Etiketter: los angeles, streetact

We all have those days when we feel much less inspired and only motivated to do fun things. Today is one of those days for me. But I'm glad I still managed to make a street study.

Considering my mood, I at least wanted to go to a comfortable place, so I went to one of the public squares that developers often create between office towers. In Singapore, I went to a similar place and the nice thing about these spaces is that they often have tables and benches for anyone to use. So, I walked to Two California Plaza, made myself comfortable there I started counting, writing and taking pictures.

There were not many surprises in today's study, as many of the behaviors that I had seen in the square in Singapore were replicated here. However, I did find two new things. First of all, people seemed to start work about an hour earlier than in Singapore and secondly, after work start, there were more people walking with their eyes focusing on their phones. Could it be that they were reading their work e-mail? Or, was it just a way to stay social without having physical company (I'm thinking of messenger, SnapChat, WhatsApp etc.)? I am not sure, I only know that in Singapore those walking alone were more likely to use headphones than their phone and If they wanted 
company they brought someone with them. So, maybe the walk to the coffee place in Singapore is an excuse to not work whereas in LA it is a journey you whilst getting updated.

There was a police officer constantly watching. Maybe to keep away homeless people that you otherwise see everywhere in Down Town LA? Either way I felt very observed.
There was a police officer constantly watching. Maybe to keep away homeless people that you otherwise see everywhere in Down Town LA? Either way I felt very observed.
Most people's goal - Starbucks
Most people's goal - Starbucks
It almost felt like a holiday resort
It almost felt like a holiday resort
Etiketter: los angeles, streetact
The projects biggest surprise came today! This morning I was doing a study in West College Street, right by Chinatown Metro Station and three different bus stops. I expected to get a glimpse of all the LA morning commuters but there was no one there. On average there would be 100 people passing by during a half an hour slot. In a similar place in Singapore, the average number would be 500! I knew that LA is famous for their cars but since I constantly see so many people struggling in this city I definitely thought there would be more people choosing public transportation. As this doesn't seem to be that case, why is it that no one uses public transportation in LA? That is definitely the question I will start asking people I meet.
Etiketter: los angeles, streetact

Now I've finally arrived in LA! Here I have a flat in Chinatown and an office in the Arts District, but I'm hoping to go way beyond when studying this city's streets. However, I did decide to start local and this morning I went to a street around the corner from my office. It was bright and sunny but more importantly, it introduced a whole new vehicle to my study - boards. 

We all know that Americans take pride in their cars but E 3rd St showed me that they also like their long- and skateboards. For fun, I decided to compare the two and it made me wonder if boards could be the future means of transport in the States? Look at this:

1. "Boarders" talk about their boards in the same way as drivers talk about their cars 
2. Both boarding and driving increases your travel speed and takes you from A to B faster
3. They share the fact that you can personalize your vehicle
4. They can both create a feeling of freedom when beeing used 

However, boards remove many of the problems that cars have:

1. You're not required to be a certain age to use one
2. You're less likely to die when traveling on one
3. They help you to stay healthy
4. They only pollute the air when being produced

So, maybe we should forget cars as our prime four-wheeler and start to relate the four wheels with boards? I'm not sure but it creates a thrilling image in my head.

LA skater
LA skater
No more cars or car-parks
No more cars or car-parks
E 3rd Street
E 3rd Street
Etiketter: los angeles, streetact

I think most people can relate to tired mornings where you need some extra time by yourself to get going. Personally, I try to create a bubble around myself at these points and during my last street study in Singapore, it seems as if others do the same.

For the study, I went to Duxton Park Place, which is a pedestrian road that connects Singapore's largest public housing with Chinatown. It is a park-like path where many people come to relax, hang out or walk back and forth as a form of exercise. It has a calming atmosphere, however, there are also a few crossing shortcuts that bring MRT travelers to their offices in Duxton Hill. The group who were using the crossroads used their headphones three times more than those walking along the park road and it made me wonder if it was to shield off from their surroundings. As I didn't stop and ask everyone I don't know, but it struck me that you could act so different even if you move in the same environment.

Consequently, I also ask myself (again): if it is our destination that affects our street behavior rather than the street's design?

DON'T DISTURB!!
DON'T DISTURB!!
Way to the offices ->
Way to the offices ->
Singapore's largest public housing, Pinnacles, in the background
Singapore's largest public housing, Pinnacles, in the background
The park is framed by shop-house backsides
The park is framed by shop-house backsides
Different activities happen during certain days
Different activities happen during certain days
Etiketter: singapore, streetact

7 months in Asia showed me many things related to Feng Shui. One thing is the importance of water and its effect became even more clear to me during my visit to Korea. They often use water along pedestrian stretches and it created an incredibly peaceful atmosphere. Sometimes the water was still as a mirror and at other times it was flowing freely. Either way, it is an element that we are used to when we go out into nature, so maybe it is time for us to use it more in the cityscape as well?

Seoul
Seoul
Jenju
Jenju
Wonju
Wonju
Etiketter: korea, streetact

Now I'm back from Korea and it has been two weeks of crazy experiences. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do a full street analysis but I have made some observations (in addition to the one I wrote about in the previous post) that I like to share with you. 
 
The first one is about their divided zebra walks. Not only in Seoul (a city with 10 million inhabitants) but in all the places we went they try to make sure that no one walks into each other by splitting their crossings into two. One half is for those walking from one side and another half for those coming from the other side. Although, even is this is how they try to manage big and small crowds the general person completely ignores the suggestion and walks wherever they like. 
 
So, the question is if this division actually helps people from walking into each other, or is it better to try finding something that prevents people from looking down into their phone when crossing the street? Because according to me this seems to generate more collision then if people walk on the wrong half of the crossing. I'm not sure but I will continue looking for something that could prevent people from walking into each other. Or actually, maybe it is good if people do? Not sure yet...​​

Etiketter: korea, streetact

Two days have passed since I arrived in Korea and after a large number on the pedometer there is one thing I like to highlight - The Lanes. There are many areas in Seoul where an eclectic mix of architecture sits between narrow streets dedicated to both cars, bikes and pedestrians. These lanes are usually not straight and they tend to lead to a small cluster of homes or shops. Therefore, there are not many motor driven vehicles in these roads. Instead you find people walking around by foot creating an atmosphere which has a calmer pace, in the otherwise busy city..

I personally find this approach interesting and it could maybe be the way to go when developing new areas in a city. Maybe it's even better then creating wide roads strictly organised to divide cars, bikes, busses and pedestrians? I’m not sure but I do know that in Seoul these lanes creates corners that I can feel at home in.

Etiketter: korea, streetact

When I walked down River Valley Road this morning I didn't expect finding people practicing their faith in the street. Mainly as it’s a heavy trafficked road known for its expat community. But after 30 min of counting various people I realised that this is the case. Pedestrians (almost only those above 70 years old) would stop in front of one of the shop houses. There they would turn towards the building, put their palms together, bow, say a short prayer and then continue walking. At first I couldn’t see what they were praying to but later I realised that it must be some sort of Chinese Clan. I can’t read Chinese so I can't be completely sure but their doors were open and you could see an altar from the street. This street act actually gave the pavement a special atmosphere and I find it very beautiful that people took a moment to give a thought to something higher right there in the middle of the street. 

Woman Praying

This also reminded me about the fact that you don’t need to own the road to make an impact on its activities. You could simply do something on your own land as long as it connects with those on the pavement. What it could be, when not linked to religion, I don’t know yet but I will definitely explore the idea and see where it could end up.

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Two other clans along the streets (or at least my analysis have concluded that they are)

By the way, for those who haven’t come across Chinese Clans before I would personally say that it is a closed community who suportes each other through generations in various ways. One important way to show support is to pray, especially for those who are dead and now live a new life. 

Etiketter: singapore, streetact
Blu Jazz Café on Ophira Road/Bali Lane is one of those legendary spots in Singapore. The famous formula of live music combined with drinks and food has turned it into a street where people gather and socialise. However, I went there today to see how this street looks like in the morning and I found out that it’s almost dead. Only one coffee shop was open and the sound of cars dominated instead of the famous jazz tunes. This made me wonder why so many socially successful streets only vibrate during certain parts of a day? Or maybe it's better to ask why we like to go to some streets in the morning streets, others at midday and a third place in the evening? I’m not entirely sure but I do know that Ophira Road and Bali Lane is definitely not a morning street..
Etiketter: music, singapore, streetact
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When I headed out this morning I didn't know what street I wanted to check out. I only knew I wanted to go to an area called Ang Mo Kio. So, I took the MRT (metro), got a bit lost and accidentally found a walking and biking street next to Ang Mo Kio Ave. 8, underneath the LRT (a metro above ground). The path felt quite ruff due to the concrete and the car's noise but it still, seemed to be a popular spot among the seniors. They were catching up on the benches, walking up and down the stretch and the older men were active along the bike lane. This bike trend among the senior men seem to be following me wherever I go in this city... 

Another thing I realized was that this is a hot spot for all those who exercise. Several people were running or power walking back and forth and when they passed me the fifth and six time I started to wonder if they tried to figure out what I was doing or if they actually had no other place to run? There is also an outdoor gym that can be used to get a proper workout, but unfortunately, both the gym and the path were often empty. The whole street was actually very quiet, even during rush hour. You could find some students hanging out, as there are some schools in the area, but otherwise it was sadly fairly empty. Maybe it's only busy during the weekend when people have time off? Or it might not be well enough connected to peoples flats? I don't know, but I will try to go back during a weekend to find out. 
Etiketter: streetact, singapore
I'm so sad this picture is blured but I guess it gives the people in it some cencur
I'm so sad this picture is blured but I guess it gives the people in it some cencur

I'm Swedish and in Sweden there are many heavy coffee drinkers who easily drink between 5-10 cups per day. Therefore, offices have coffee makers to save its employees time and money when the abstinence kicks in. That is why I was so surprised to see almost half the people, passing through the Cube in Asia Square (a public square between office towers for finance people) today, having at least one take away coffee in their hand. Are they to particular about what coffee they drink? Is it an excuse to take a break? Or have the finance sector simply stopped paying for the coffee addicts? I don't have the answer but I do know that these coffee trips seem to give the public square a social vibe and a great location to open a coffee shop..

Two coffees and another common walking activity: Phone Watching
Two coffees and another common walking activity: Phone Watching
The Cube
The Cube
Etiketter: singapore, streetact

As I mentioned earlier I went around looking at black and white houses yesterday. These houses can be found all over the island and were built in the begining of the 20th century. They are inspired by Indian farmer's bungalows and create a great contrast against Singapore's many sky skrapers.. Here are a few images from the tour.

They are beautifully detailed on the inside and totally white can actually be very special

Etiketter: singapore, architecture

Yesterday was a slightly special day as me and my mum experienced the Christmas present she gave me last year: a Black and White Houses Tour. It took up most of my day, which meant that I had to do my street analyse in the late afternoon.

Therefore, I decided to go to a slightly special street that I personally sometimes have as a destination. The street I'm talking about is Yong Siak Street (only 5 min walk from Jln Membina) known as one of the most Hipster-like streets in Singapore. The ground floor is occupied by trendy food places, book stores, a design store and yoga studios and the higher levels by housing. It is a short and narrow one way street and there are on average about 1,5 times as many cars as pedestrians. Still, more than half of the pedestrians chose to walk with the cars rather than using the pavement...I can't stop thinking why? At the moment my only answer is the fact that there is no change in level between the pavement and the rest of the street. If I realise something more, I will let y'all know.

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Unother observation I made is that it's a street you spend time in. Many people walk up and down the street, some stop and look at something, others sit down at a café and have a chat or do some work. However, there are still no benches for people to sit. So if I would do something in this street I would first of all create some place for people to sit down. In that way they people can spend even more time in the street and most importantly without paying a single dollar.

This is all about Yong Siak Street for today and if you're in Singapore and haven't been there yet I can definitely recommend a visit. 

Etiketter: singapore, streetact

Today I have been hanging out in Jln Membina. It is a street with mainly HDB flats and condominiums but since there is an MRT station and a shopping centre in one end it has become the pedestrian's boulevard.

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The morning rush hour brought the head phone wearing office people to the street whereas the food shoppers and old men on bikes came out after the rush hour. I had already expected there to be many people with music in their ears (average 18%) but what came as a surprise was the fact that I didn't see a single female on a bike. Instead it was the retired men who completely dominated the bike scene. Why it is like that, I have absolutely no clue but I assume that it must be the biggest trend among these men at the moment. If this is the case around the rest of the island we will have to wait and see.

Before I finish writing for today I have to point out that since there are no bike lanes along Jln Membina the bikers either drove on the pavement or in the street. Slightly tricky I have to admit; especially when you try to pass a biker under the narrow pavements sheltering.

Etiketter: streetact, singapore
Lebuh Campbell in George Town, Penang
Lebuh Campbell in George Town, Penang

From now on this blog will show you streets around the world. Because tomorrow I am kick-starting my next project where I will be looking at the people traveling the streets. 
 
The idea is to start in Singapore where. I will look at how people move through the streets, who moves through the streets and what they do when they move the street. After Singapore I will be traveling to Seoul, then Los Angeles, followed by Glasgow and lastly Copenhagen. I don't know what I will find out, so we will have to wait and see.

Etiketter: starting out, streetact

Six months have passed and it is time for me to leave Singapore in order to return on a tourist visa. But, before I do so, I have one last day at work. I can already expect a day of hard work, laughter, some stress and a nice long lunch (especially since it is my bosses birthday). 

This is also how I will remember my time with RT+Q Architects because it has been a time of hard work mixed with leisure and silliness. So, before I conquer the rain and head to my last site meeting I like to send a big thanks the the whole office for giving me moments that I will late forget. Thanks guys! You're pretty great!

Etiketter: singapore, architecture



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PEOPLE TRAVELING STREETS
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PERSONAL FAVORITES

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