Will they stay or will they go

Image credit: Gareth Williams
Young professionals starting families are increasingly choosing the suburbs to raise a family.

With decent schools, good services, lower crime and affordable housing, the prospect of moving to the suburbs is attractive to those with small children and as priorities change. Previously, these young professionals tended to live in walkable urban areas.

A panel discussion on this topic was hosted by the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. One of the panellists states, "If you build a city filled with efficiencies and one-bedrooms you are pushing people out at exactly the time that they are starting to put down roots and spend money."

By building housing stock to cater to singles, couples and the ‘childless’ you exclude an entire demographic from setting up roots. Should cities look at ways to accommodate families before they depart? Do you think that they do enough? And does it make economic sense to keep families in cities?

The recently released discussion paper ‘Better apartments’ raises similar questions in relation to housing diversity. It notes that ‘only 5% of apartments being constructed or marketed include three or more bedrooms. This could mean that very few apartments are suited to the long-term needs of household with children who tend to prefer more than two bedrooms’.


For more on the story visit http://www.planetizen.com/node/76831 or http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2015/05/08/millennials-moved-to-the-city-whether-they-stay-might-depend-on-what-happens-to-the-kids/?sdfsdf

Have you say or make a submission:
http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/planning/policy-and-strategy/housing-and-residential-development/Better-Apartments-Submission-Form

Glass bridges


China has done it again. 

Image credit: haimdotan.com
If you are suffer a fear of heights this may not be for you. But if you are an adrenaline junkie, conquering the highest bungee jump in the world could be right up your alley.

The world’s highest and longest skywalk is due to open in China in July.

The skywalk at the Grand Canyon of Zhangjiagie spans two cliffs and stretches 430 metre, is six metres wide and has a drop of 300 metres! That sounds okay right?! Add to this that the skywalk is glass and you can see straight down. No thank you!

Capable of holding 800 tourists at a time, the plus side is you will be able to view the stunning national park (inspiration for the movie Avatar). 

Five million catch ‘the G’

Since its launch in July 2014, the Gold Coast light rail system, dubbed ‘the G’ has had more than five million paid trips. The equivalent of each person in Queensland making a trip.

The Gold Coast light rail project is one of the biggest public transport projects in the country, and the biggest transport infrastructure project ever undertaken on the Gold Coast.

Image credit @thebridegene
Patronage across the tram and bus system have increased by 22.6 per cent in the first 8 months since the G and bus network changes were implemented.

TransLink's Deputy Director-General Stephen Banaghan said "What the Gold Coast trams have created is a measurable and real global increase in commuters using both trams and buses across the whole network."

It seems the students from Griffith University are making use of the network. Many of the 20,000 students are getting on board. When the semester started there was a 34.1 per cent increase at use of the Griffith University Hospital campus stop.


Read more about ‘the G’ in the links below.

http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/rapid-transit-6004.html

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/five-million-people-jump-on-board-gold-coast-light-rail-since-july-2014-20150506-ggviij.html?skin=dumb-phone



Smart Lighting

Image credit @EDIFICIO AYASHA, Arq. Jose Orrego, Bogota – Colombia

Expanding urbanisation and expected population growth in cities is placing pressure on finite resources. There needs to be smarter thinking around how energy resources are used as urban areas expand. What technologies can be adopted and implemented by cities to improve resident’s lives as well as be more energy efficient.

A report entitled Lighting the Clean Revolution: the rise of LED and what it means for cities was developed by Philips and the Climate Group in 2012 to look into the application of LED (light-emitting diode) lighting in cities.

Harry Verhaar from Philips states that lighting accounts for 19 per cent of the world’s total electricity consumption. He advocates the use of smart lighting such as LED lighting at street level to bring about electricity savings of 50-70 per cent.

Cities including Sydney have implemented a program to roll out LED lights. So far they have installed more than 5,545 lights in parks and at street level. The city has already saved almost $370,000 and reduced energy use more than 46% since March 2012. There are plans to replace about 6,500 conventional lights with LEDs over the next 3 years. It is the first of its kind in Australia.

Producing a brighter light than a traditional street light, LED lights makes a huge difference to a community’s sense of safety, as well as improve the look and feel of a city. Often lighting can be overlooked, however, other cities such as New York, London and Hong Kong have joined Sydney to trial LED lights. This was arranged by the international environment collective, the Climate Group.


To read more about how innovative urban lighting is catching on follow the links below:

http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vision/towards-2030/sustainability/carbon-reduction/led-lighting-project

http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/how-will-smart-lighting-impact-the-future-city/ http://www.theclimategroup.org/what-we-do/publications/lighting-the-clean-revolution-the-rise-of-leds-and-what-it-means-for-cities/
'Tower of Ring' (LED light design)Image credit: Eastern Design Tianjin (China) - inhabitat.com


Image Source (Banner): http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/how-will-smart-lighting-impact-the-future-city/http://www.newcitiesfoundation.org/how-will-smart-lighting-impact-the-future-city/


Aging in a Dense Urban Environment – Putting the Oldies to Work

Could urban farming in dense built form environments help manage the needs of the aging population?

The 2015 Intergeneration Report – Australia in 2055 projects that the number of Australians aged 65 and over will more than double by 2055 compared with today. As part of this trend, it is expected that the labour force may decline, resulting in a smaller tax base therefore less ability to deliver services at the standards expected by the community (Australian Government, 2015). Providing flexible and suitable work opportunities to allow those over 65 to continue in the workforce will reduce the impact the aging population has on the economy.

The aging population trend is not just affecting Australia. Across Asia, the population is aging at a rapid rate.

“The number of people aged 65 and above in Asia is expected to grow 314% from 207 million in 2000 to 857 million in 2050” (SPARK Architects, 2015)

Singapore is no exception with its age distribution shifting significantly (SPARK Architects, 2015). To respond to this, the Singapore Government has established the Ministerial Committee on Aging (MCA), which has developed a vision for what is titled “Successful Aging”. Successful Aging is described as the “enhancement of participation, health, and security for seniors” (SPARK Architects, 2015).

Not only does Singapore have an aging population, it also faces food security issues due to its reliance on imports. Singapore has no hinterland for farming, therefore, 90% of its food source is imported (SPARK, 2015). To address both the aging demographic and food scarcity, SPARK Architects has come up with a conceptual idea for high density affordable retirement housing combined with urban farming. “The proposal titled “Home Farm”, integrates vertical aquaponic farming and rooftop soil planting with high-density housing designed for seniors that provides residents with a desirable garden environment and opportunities for post-retirement employment” (SPARK Architects, 2015).

The concept is described as offering multi-dimensional benefits related to economics, food security and quality, social engagement, health, sustainability, place making and healthcare provision (SPARK Architects, 2015).

Image credit: archdaily.com
The high density design includes a range of unit sizes to respond to different preferences for living arrangements and financial situations. SPARK director Stephen Pimbley says that “it has potential to be implemented anywhere that has the climate to support leafy green vegetables on building facades and rooftops” (SPARK, 2015).

Source: Archidaily.com 
 One of the key objectives of Home Farm is the delivery of jobs for seniors where they live. Job opportunities stemming from this proposal include planting, harvesting, sorting, packing, tours, sales on site, delivery, cleaning, and so on (SPARK Architects. 2015). The work completed can then be remunerated through a salary, contribution to bills or free produce contributing to the health of the elderly residents.

With Australia facing similar issues with regards to an aging population, how we design our cities and housing will need to adapt to these changing conditions, ensuring the aging population has access to a diverse range of affordable housing in highly accessible locations. Perhaps the Home Farm model could work in Australia. The implementation of frameworks like Home Farm could provide the aging population a salary to supplement their super/ pension, along with free healthy produce and an outlet to get involved in social activities.
 What do you think? Could we remodel the retirement village template to a higher density outcome with the incorporation of urban farming? Could this model be built into how we undertake urban renewal developments into the future?



You can read more about the proposal here


Temporal

Winter is coming (it does sounds like a line taken from Games of Thrones!), but it is certainly not the time to hibernate until spring shows up. Exploring Melbourne urban environment is a continuous challenge, nor can the cold weather, rain or hail stop the city from burgeoning.

If you have not wandered at the back end of the Art Centre in Southbank, now is the time. Testing Grounds has been one of Melbourne’s best ‘pop up’ in the last past year and is extending its stay for another 12 months. A temporary space is not your ordinary traditional pop up. It occupies an empty space, be it a decaying site or future development site, until it reaches its next stage. It performs several functions in the urban environment and community life.

Testing Grounds was initiated by The Projects with the support of Arts Victoria. It lies in a weird location between Sturt Street, Fanning Street, and City Road. It is concealed behind the Australia Ballet and its only neighbours are tall residential and commercial buildings. It is definitively not the coolest or most inviting location in town and yet, this space acts as a powerful catalyst for creativity while bringing life in Southbank’s unloved and forgotten precinct.

This outdoor space features a series of shipping containers, which are fitted to suit the evolving needs of visitors and artists. As such it contains a bar, artists’ space, workshop areas and landscaping. The different elements can be assembled to create a stage, host an art exhibition or use for urban farming.

Image credit: Testing Grounds
Image credit: Testing Grounds
This temporary space is a true open space in between the raw surrounding built form. It attracts the general public, residents, students and professionals (and kids too – read more on kids friendly cities here) and invite them to experiment a space in constant evolution.

Image credit: Testing Grounds 
Image credit: Testing Grounds
Although some temporary spaces seem to be more permanent than they should, it is undeniable that they serve a purpose bigger than occupying an empty space.

Who knows what is next? Will it turn into a residential building once its mission is accomplished?



People's market, Collingwood

Image Credit: Urban Inc
Oxley Apartments (under construction) - Former People's market location

See more here: http://www.testing-grounds.com.au/

Share with us other temporary spaces that you like.

Kids Friendly Cities

For those of you who thought this story was going to be about baby goats living in urban environments, you might be disappointed. Kid friendly cities is about designing for the needs of children in public spaces. It’s not a new concept of course, the well-known town planner Jane Jacobs wrote about how children and teenagers were being designed out of public spaces of American Cities in the early 1960’s (amongst other things). 

Image credit: rbg.vic.gov.au

Anyway, when we came across this interesting blog from ‘Sustainable Calgary’with six fast facts on what kids need in cities, we thought we’d ask ourselves whether we've seen some interesting child friendly public spaces around Australia that might address some of these needs. 

A few that come to mind include the Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. It’s a good example of a free public space where children can interact with nature - it comes complete with a mini-watercourse for floating twigs down the river. The bronze pigs in Rundle Mall (a bronze sculpture of four very cute life-sized pigs installed back in 1999) became a hit with children shopping with their parents in the Adelaide CBD and the interactive fountain ‘Water Labyrinth in Forest Place, Perth. 

Image credit: http://www.weekendnotes.com/water-labyrinth-forrest-place
 We’re interested to hear about your experiences as former children or current parents in our cities. Are planners and urban designers doing better job of designing for kids in public space lately? What are some great child-friendly spaces in your neighbourhood? 







Must watch movies for Planners

Blade Runner art concept
Image credit: reddit.com

Looking to movies demonstrates how the urban landscape, form and a cities atmosphere has and can change over time.

Evandro C. Associate Professor of Urban Design, Urban Planning, Transportation Planning - JSUMS \ International Consultant has compiled a list of ‘epic’ movies that showcase cities and urban scenery including districts, neighbourhoods and public places.

His list includes:

· Blade Runner – Ridley Scott (1982) – The apocalyptic and dramatic future of our megacities

· The Million Dollar Hotel – Win Wenders (2000) – Impressive views of L.A.

· The Truman show – Peter Weir (1998) – The daily life in the suburban area

· Mon Oncle – Jacques Tati (1958) – The contrast between a traditional European neighborhood and the technology-driven emerging trend

· Amelie - Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001) - Incredible images of Paris.

What do you think of his list? Can you add to it?



Follow the conversation here.

Can future cities learn from failed ancient cities?

The temple of the Great Jaguar
Image credit: Creative Commons
What lessons can be taken from the abandonment of the ancient city of Tikal? David Lentz, a professor at the University of Cincinnati states “Here was a big city. They had the best architecture, it was the centre of the universe. And it was pretty rapidly abandoned.” 

The once thriving town of Tikal in Guatemala has been an isolated ruin since the Maya left at the end of the 9th century. Researchers are now discovering clues about how the Mayan culture lived and what the city’s demise could signal for future urban resilience.

Tikal grew to be one of the most important cities in the region and lasted more than a thousand years. Whilst the Mayans did manage their resources well and made efficient use of limited resources (i.e. water) they had reached a point of living near or beyond their means by the 9th century.

By the end of the 9th century a series of droughts had strained their water resources and clearing of land for agricultural needs exasperated the problem. Eventually life as they knew couldn’t be sustained and the city was abandoned.

It’s hard to believe that a large city today could be abandoned. One lesson that can be learnt from Tikal is that if technologies aren’t adapted or don’t have the ability to adapt to changing conditions (like climate change), that a large city could disappear in a few decades. One positive is that we have more warning and awareness.



To read the full article: http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/ancient-city-ruins-warning-climate-change-tikal-guatemala

Classically Melbourne

Image credit: http://pichost.me/1365317/
 Could a giant, illuminated fountain be the ticket to ‘saving’ Docklands?

Docklands News recently reportedon a proposal to build a 'giant fountain and flame show'. According to the report the fountain and flame show would attract more than five million people to Docklands annually and generate at least $230 million for Victoria's economy every year. The plan, being touted by the FCT Flames and Avant-Garde de Studio, has the support of the Docklands Chamber of Commerce, which says it would put Docklands on the map for visitors.

Choreographed to music, the fountain would be programmed to music during the day and flames, pyrotechnics, video projection and lasers may also be added at night for an even more dramatic show, and may be programmed to match particular themes or special events.

But with all this talk of wiz-bang circus tricks to save Docklands, it’s difficult to forget the giant illuminated wheel circling in the background. Before its highly public mechanical setbacks, the Melbourne Star was believed to be the silver bullet needed to entice hordes of tourists into Harbour Town. However the reality has been somewhat different.

Image credit: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/06/93/de/16/melbourne-star-s-led.jpg

For years the criticisms facing Docklands have been far greater than its emptiness. Before the City of Melbourne became the custodians, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle noted that Docklands needed better connections to the city, a place to kick a football, and somewhere for a casual beer (read more here). In 2012 the City of Melbourne released a Community and Place Plan which looks at how to capture the essence of Melbourne in Docklands. The plan emphasises everyday activities for residents and the creation of comfortable and active public spaces.

While a giant water fountain may look great on a postcard, it’s difficult to see how it will contribute towards the more nuanced neighbourhood-creation goals for Docklands.

What do you think? Can a fountain really save Docklands?


You can read more about the proposal here and see the City of Melbourne’s plan for Docklands here


Where the sun don’t shine

Elon Musk. Inventor. Pioneer. Oddball entrepreneur. International man of mystery. He made online transactions mainstream with Paypal. He’s brought electric cars into mass production and into the public consciousness through Tesla. He’s aiming to make space travel cheaper and more accessible to the common man with SpaceX. He’s envisioned high-speed mass transit with the Hyperloop. Basically, he’s the real-world version of Tony Stark, or Ironman for non-Marvel fans.


So what’s the next side project for someone who has his fingers in everything? The answer is harnessing solar power better than anyone does today. Obviously.


Image credit: thedailybeast.com
Photovoltaic technology is not new. The pros and cons of operating households off this renewable source are well documented: when it’s sunny, awesome; you can even sell your surplus power back into the grid. When its not, your house is no better than any other fossil-fuelled abode. Sometimes the sun shines when you don’t need any power at all. The key with solar is balancing the fairly constant demand, with an inconsistent and uncontrollable supply.

Enter Elon Musk and his other other side project, Solar City. Using the battery technology from Tesla Motors as a base, he is planning on creating a power storage unit for the solar-powered home. The most immediate problem this solves is the ability to keep using solar power even on clouded days, and long into the night too. Once storage technology becomes advanced enough, we may even see a surge in grid-independent homes.

This could herald the death of utility companies. While there are buy-back schemes for excess solar-generated power, customers could soon be viewed as competition by utilities if they are able to generate enough of their own power. This is especially true if the utility operates a buy-back scheme for excess solar.

Utilities could potentially take the tricky route of using their customers as both suppliers and consumers, though the economic balancing would be immensely tricky. The transition from centralised production of power to communal, decentralised production would be tough for old-school utilities to manage as well. However, my (rather basic) understanding would be this: if the utility no longer needs to supply the power, then their costs of production would be virtually nil. Instead, they can and should focus their efforts on the proper distribution of all the solar power being fed into the grid.

Changing winds are upon us though, and the message is clear: face the new dawn, or be left where the sun don’t shine.



Full article: http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/13/8033691/why-teslas-battery-for-your-home-should-terrify-utilities



RE:IMAGINE ST KILDA JUNCTION

Melbourne’s St Kilda has a fascinating and varied history and whenever you visit you always find something new (or old) and interesting to lead you off on a tangent.

Never boring, the eclectic mix of residents representing most socioeconomic groups has one thing in common: they are passionate about their ‘place’.

While the community focus is often on the St Kilda triangle or seaside – which was once Victoria’s first official tourist precinct – back just a bit from the attractive waterfront is a mess of roads coming together to form St Kilda Junction.

Back in 1975 the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works oversaw some work which ripped the heart from the Junction – widening high street, destroying the historic shopping precinct of 150 buildings (including the Junction Hotel), and changed its name to St Kilda Road. The resulting traffic mess and lack of soul is what we see today.Melbourne’s St Kilda has a fascinating and varied history and whenever you visit you always find something new (or old) and interesting to lead you off on a tangent.


David Lock Associates and Arup have launched a student competition, asking planning, urban design and architecture post graduate students to put their talents to re-monumentalising St Kilda Junction and restoring St Kilda Road South (the former High St) as the living backbone of the suburb. We want them to develop an urban design framework to create a new future for the Junction, whilst acknowledging and respecting the past.


Did you know there is a 300 year old, ancient Corroboree Tree at the Junction?

Or how about the fact that Windsor Railway Station was originally called Chapel Street Station and is currently on the Victorian Heritage Register?

And it’s interesting to note that the first passenger train from Flinders St to St Kilda took just 12 minutes 158 years ago – do we do any better now?

What would you like to see to bring St Kilda Junction and St Kilda Road South into the 21st Century?



If you know any post graduate students who could show us the way forward, let them know about ‘Re:imagine the Junction’: www.reimaginethejunction.com.au

If you require any further information about the competition, please email kathrync@dlaaust.com

Initial registrations close on Friday 13th March 2015 at 5pm (AEST)


Opportunity knocks

By Sean Hua

One of the prime benefits of living in a city is the dense concentration of human capital. Among others are the economies of scale associated with larger populations, and the increased density facilitating easier service provision.

All that comes from a governance perspective. Not as widely considered however, is the intense amount of competition for ideas and attention for “the next big thing”. Untapped potential may always remain so if an opportunity to display talent isn’t there.

For this reason, architecture firm De Leon and Primmer Architecture Workshop relocated to a second-tier city to practice. The decision was business-based, but their presence is taking advantage of, and contributing to, the transition of a city from industry to a service economy.
The firm benefits from greater freedom to express themselves, easier access to influential people, and very likely a lower cost of living. To the city, the resultant new architecture will be an attractive selling point especially if it’s from locally-based. It speaks of aspiration: we have talent, and we can be great with it.

With fresh, skilled graduates making their way into smaller cities for the very same reasons this architecture firm did, aspiration could be the key for a new wave of city and economic development from the second-tier.

Archdaily.com
We may be on the cusp of urbanisation unlike what we've seen before: the brain drain and the best urban laboratories may no longer be the biggest and brightest cities, but rather the smaller, quieter ones with room to grow in a manner of its own choosing.

Read more here: http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/01/why-architects-and-second-tier-cities-need-each-other/384770/

Are they listening?

By Nicholas Roebuck

98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure sh*t. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else” says the world’s most famous architect Frank Gehry.

An article recently publish in the New York times by Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen declared “for too long, our profession [Architecture] has flatly dismissed the general public’s take on our work, even as we talk about making that work more relevant with worth y ideas like sustainability, smart growth and resilience planning.” So are our architects missing the point?

Bingle reminisces on a recent car trip with his 88 year old mother. Driving down Elliot Avenue in Charlottleville, his hometown, they passed a house designed and built by architecture students at the Univeristy of Virginia. To Steven, an architect, this model for affordable housing — a tough pair of stacked boxes, sheathed in corrugated metal — was a bold design statement, but to his mother’s eye, the house was a blight on the landscape, an insult to its historic neighbours.

It looks like somebody piled a couple of boxcars on top of each other, then covered them up with cheap metal and whatever else they could find at the junkyard!” she said.

The authors observe that self-congratulatory, insulated architects are “increasingly incapable…of creating artful, harmonious work that resonates with a broad swath of the general population, the very people we are, at least theoretically, meant to serve.

The question remains - As Bingler and Pedersen put it “…at what point does architecture’s potential to improve human life become lost because of its inability to connect with actual humans?

A case in point as they mention was the 2007 “Make it Right” charity program. The program sought to create prototypes for sustainable, affordable homes in a neighbourhood devastated by Hurricane Katerina. The eventual designs, most of which tried to take a basic form, the single family home, and squeeze it into the latest style with little consideration of local needs and local housing style were critiqued by the residents of the neighbourhood who weren’t impressed. The residents posed the logical questions: “What’s with the flat roofs – you know it rains a lot here right?” The high tech homes were expensive to build ($400,000) on average and the high tech fabrication has made them expensive to fix with mould growing on untested experimental materials and eco wood decks and stair rotting. The neighbourhoods are wastelands- failures in urban planning that isolate residents from social networks and public services.

As Bingler and Pederson point out, “…for years Architects have been educated to speak out as artists but we haven’t taught them how to listen. Architecture’s disconnect is both physical and spiritual. We’re attempting to sell the public buildings and neighborhoods they don’t particularly want, in a language they don’t understand. In the meantime, we’ve ceded the rest of the built environment to hacks, with sprawl and dreck rolling out all around us.

Aaron Betsky, is the former head of the Cincinnati Art Museum, and was director of the 2008 Venice International Architecture Biennale summarised the architect’s position: “We have three of the standard criticisms of buildings designed by architects: first, they are ugly according to what the piece’s authors perceive as some sort of widely-held community standard (or at least according to some 88-year old ladies); second, they are built without consultation; third they don’t work.”

Yet Betsky then admitted, “All those critiques might be true.” However, he claims that they are irrelevant, since as he states “architecture must be about experimentation and the shock of the new”. Why this should be the case he does not say. He goes on to affirm that sometimes designers must stretch technology to the breaking (or leaking) point: “The fact that buildings look strange to some people, and that roofs sometimes leak, is part and parcel of the research and development aspect of the design discipline” says Betsky. Ever brave, Betsky is willing to let others suffer for his art.

At no point did Betsky consider the actual human beings, the unwilling guinea pigs who live in the houses. He implicitly says of the poor residents: “Do their roofs leak? Let them buy buckets”.

With this being said, it is unfair to lump the entire industry into the category that Betsky implies. The reality is that there are many architects that are quite commercial and responsive to needs of the consumer, contrary to views of the authors. We would argue that in many cases architects are hamstrung by the constant desire to maximise yield as well as restrictive planning controls often at the peril of the resident. We implore our architects of today to open their ears, stand up for the consumer.

Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/opinion/how-to-rebuild-architecture.html?_r=0







Life behind the walls

By Amruta Purohit

War has transformed the once beautiful city of Baghdad. Sebastian Schutz and Niran Banna spent six year understanding how two decades of conflict have permanently altered the social and physical fabric of the city.

One of the major impacts has been construction of high concrete walls built to temporarily hold off violence and attacks. The walls that were built for community safety have now created neighbourhoods that are imperishably separated from the city centre and from each other. The entire city is hidden behind concrete!

This disconnection has made the city network too complicated and encouraged residents to move outside. It has also made access to basic services like schools and hospital challenging.

Now Baghdad wants its’ streets back.

Image credit: truebluenz.com/2011/02/21/baghdad-wants-1-billion-from-us-for-blast-wall-removal/

Image credit: blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damienmcelroy/100001492/americana-to-linger-in-baghdad/

Looks like the citizens have accepted the conditions and some Iraqi artist are using these walls to tell a story of Baghdad. The walls are painted to reflect their history and give the citizen a canvas to share their proud and painful history.

Image credit: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121822549891625185

Image credit: hollypickett.blogspot.com.au/2010/06/baghdads-blast-walls.html
The walls are recently being demolished and being replaced with trees, bushes and fences. However, use of various landscape elements to maintain the separation reflects the reluctance in integrating the city as a whole. While some walls are replaced others have opened up great opportunities for the citizens to create public places like markets and park.

To read complete story of impact of war and terrorism on Baghdad check: http://globalurbanist.com/2015/01/22/planning-in-baghdad