London Underground - reimagined!

Alternates to the London Underground map

The Death and Life of...

Planning for our future (figuratively speaking)...

Urban greening in high density environments

Creating 'Vertical Forests' in high density residential developments

Australian Women in Design

Who has not heard of Ray Eames (the other half of Charles) or more recently Zaha Hadid? And what do they have in common? 


Source: Uniquecaliforniaproperty

Source: Freshome

Melbourne Now and the Design Institute of Australia teamed up on an exceptional project that will remind us of the role of women in the design and creative industry and encourage us to ponder on the question of parity.

This exhibition features local designers but not any designers; these are talented Australian women sharing their insight and experience of the built environment.

Coming up at forty-fivedownstairs
45 Flinders Lane
From February 11-22

Read more at:

MoMA presents Density vs Dispersal

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, it's snowing. Let's hope this will not discourage New Yorkers from visiting MoMA and its upcoming exhibition entitled:

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal
source: MoMA

The exhibition will explores Lloyd’s take on urban density and verticality in the city through his various works.

View more at

China's Ice City

Ever imagined living in a city made of ice? If you have, this could be just the place to make your dream a reality.

The 30th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival had opened in China and runs from December to February.

The festival is held in the northern city of Harbin, the capital and largest city of the Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China. With over 7000 sculptors, it is China's most popular winter attraction and the largest snow and ice festival in the world. 

The Shangri-La Hotel operates a bar and hot pot restaurant within the Ice Palace – temperatures inside are kept at a chilly minus 10 degrees.

The amazing designs and colour displays attract crowds from not just China but worldwide, in it's last two years it attracted 28.5 million visitors.

We've attached a few images to show the magnitude but to see more of this amazing ice city click here.

Melbourne's ‘heat island’ effect

As we swelter through another hot summer there has been a spike in heat-related deaths. This places Melbourne at number one with regards to heat-related deaths. It is not surprising given that current cities have more built up spaces than green spaces, especially the city-centre areas.

Melbourne City Council has done some interesting analysis using thermal images to compare the temperatures coming from different surfaces including: green spaces, road surfaces, buildings and others. One would expect the temperature difference to be just of few degrees Celsius. But it was shocking to see the difference between surface temperature under a tree and nearby surfaces to be as high as 42.4 degree Celsius. This is primarily due to diminution in trees and/or green spaces and increase in grey infrastructure that uses non-heat absorbing materials like asphalt and concrete. Other major contributor is the energy consumption done when the building is in use.

Source: The Age

The study demonstrates that the Melbourne city-centre gets hotter than the suburban areas by 4-5 degree Celsius. One of the reasons stated for this was due to the built form like high-rise buildings as compared to low-rise residential areas. This may also draw Melbournians towards green suburban lifestlye than the concrete city hence leading to more urban sprawl.

The Council proposes to increase the city’s canopy by 18% by 2040 to bring the inner city temperatures down. But simultaneously there is also going to be an increase in infrastructure development. There will be more buildings, roads, cars and people in the city than ever before. Is it beyond just increasing green canopies; it is about the proportion of green infrastructure as compared to the grey infrastructure?

Can it start with simple solutions like roof gardens or vertical landscaping on buildings, train station and small structure like tram stops? Girona in Spain has initiated green roofs on city’s public buses. Is it about taking small-scale creative initiatives like Spain to have vehicles-turned-mobile gardens?