Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Alexandria Metamorphosis, in depth (Coastal Heritage)

Like many coastal cities, Alexandria must deal with the problems that arise from competition and conflict over the limited resources. Urban Expansion or wetlands conservation, Tourism development or Industrial waste disposal, artisanal fisheries or port development - these recent challenges characterize coastal regions in all over the world. However that which sets Alexandria apart is not so much conflict among contemporary resource-users but conflicts between the city TODAY and the city - or more precisely the cites- that Alexandria has been in the past. as it struggles to renew its Urban core, to resolve problems of traffic and population, Alexandria is everywhere confronted by the archeological remains of its remarkable past.

For Instance now, a breakwater in an inconvenient location has triggered passionate debates that oppose the underwater archeological site of the pharos with onshore Qait Bey Fort, Confronting Cultural Heritage with Recent mis-Urban Expansion and Industrial development.What can be done? Must one moment be sacrificed to conserve the other? Must antiquities Conservation give away to Urban renewal? or we should give both priorities?

I am working now on suggestions, solutions or a statment that allows Alexandria to harmonize its past with its present, a vision for the future.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Metamorphosis in Alexandria

Once Dr, Childress talked about a research of how to change the world, I asked myself, what I would do to change the world, and because I am so little yet. and don't know much, I thought about my world.

Q- Amr what is your world?
A- My world is only what I have seen, touch and feel.

I looked carefully at my life tape, the places I been to (my world), and realized that if I have to change something for better, I have to start with the place that has much share in me, Amr's world
Its my own town Alexandria, Egypt.

I been always dreaming of the Good Alexandria city , and found the following thought about the Good city

Fundamentals of a Good City By Bruce Liedstrand

1. In-ness. Buildings shape the space of the streets and other public places so that a person feels comfortable in the city, not outside looking at a series of objects.
2. Intensity. A good city has intense enough development to support a rich urban life.
3. Diversity. A good city includes diverse ages, cultures and economic levels.
4. Public Realm. A good city has a rich public realm that serves as the community's common living room.
5. Centers. Good things are clustered in city centers and neighborhood centers, rather than being distributed randomly throughout the city.
6. Convenience. Everyday services are located conveniently close.
7. Walkability. Walking is a pleasurable experience that gives access to places and services.
8. Access. A person has convenient access to places and services without being dependent upon access to a private car. This is not an opposition to cars, as cars are a useful transportation tool. But good cities don't make people depend on having access to a car.
9. Street Network. A good city has an interconnected, small-block street network that provides multiple access and egress points and helps disburse traffic.
10. Community Services. Education, police and fire protection, power, water, wastewater, communication and public transportation.

Alexandria had all the above along time ago , can we bring that back again?

I aim to develop a study reviving the historic role of Alexandria, and at promoting Alexandrian Urban culture and Alexandrism, by relocating the city’s spirit of diversity, tolerance and cooperation once more in the Mediterranean. and to document and disseminate the Alexandrian and Mediterranean tangible and intangible culture, with a focus on economic development, cooperation and sustainability.

Alexandria developed through thousands of years, creating the IN-ness, Diversity, Public Realism, Access, and Centers.

Now a days what we have done to the creation of thousands of years ago?!!! did we add to it? did we developed it? did we react with it as we suppose to? or we have turned the past to a portrait that have nothing to do with the future?!

Why Those who built for themselves and us many years ago, live longer than us?
who ever build for the future live longer than who build for the present.

How many architects now, think their building would live thousands or even hundreds of years?

How we could celebrate what an ancient architect did? by using his building or keep it as a mummies just to be seen by tourists?

when you have a very old city like Alexandria, where almost every street has a 300 - 400 years old Building, (Turkish Town) or a thousand year building (Roman area).how should we treat these treasures?

when a beautiful lady has a very precious jewelery does she wear it? or she keep it in the jewelry box all the time?
How should Alexandria wear her jewelries?

"So once again Alexandria has sunk into oblivion.. perhaps some happy accident will in the course of time once more renew the secret spring." L. Durell - 1977

Lets talk about some future plans (Avant Gaurd Ideas that i may work on!

Alexandria was king with trade because of geography, Trade promotes education and singularly advances societies upward.

Social, intellectual and material trade was and is the 'new obsidian' - I am thinking of a solution creating buildings that promote this and Alexandria ought to advance ever more quickly. Look at what the new Alexandria Library has done for my Town.

In my study i wont be heavy handed with my urban planning ideas. I wont create grand imperial urban restructurng but tread lightly, I would look at what the Russian ideals did to my town. Instead I suggest creating scattered seed buildings that become catalysts for the private sector to then come up with additional development. The private sector has the drive as it is from a self interested and alert personal core, and what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

I would be careful of the "new urbanist" view of urban revitalization. It might be just the latest imperialist model - the latest heavy handed ideal... as Jane Jacobs herself wrote...

"[T]he New Urbanists want to have lively centers in the places that they develop, where people run into each other doing errands and that sort of thing. And yet, from what I've seen of their plans and the places they have built, they don't seem to have a sense of the anatomy of these hearts, these centers. They've placed them as if they were shopping centers. They don't connect."

Please Advice

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lessons learned in August 2007

In respond to Sherry Athrentzen Article:

Mankind created of Two genders, Male and female. what is the point of creating the word feminism?!!

Man and women are the same. atleast same brain. and both participate and creat our daily life basis, in architecture, medicine, motherhood and fatherhood.

if we start establishing words like feminism then there would be someone establish the word Malenism! and our world would split to Two parts almost half and half in the big scale and the smallest scale inside the family itself ratherthan working and cooperating together to creat better life for all, that is rewarding to every one on the planet.

Lessons learned from Dr Alex Lecture,

The history of copley square had a strong Impact on my design concept, appreciating the life story of the place. is a major factor in my NewBorn Apple store in the heritage site of Copley!!

When it comes to the Historic Churce across the street the building decent respectfully for the much older neighbor, and when it comes to face the copley place with its recent (competion Landscape scheme) It stands up! attracting visitors "Potential apple customers" from the the major axis in the south part of the city.

Thanks for the Lecture Dr, Alex!

The Apple store visit was of much a discovery trip. learning that stores and commercial buildings are not just about purchasing, but could be a gathering place of wonder, playing, expressing rewarding the visitor (potential customer) an experience that would develop a relation between him and the store brand name. this relation is invaluable

Friday, August 17, 2007

Landscape of Old and New money!

The hypothesis that landscape taste reflects socio-economic status. Different types of residential landscapes are separated on the basis of general appearance and of an inventory of Old and New money!. The Bedford village is a clear example of segregation by means of Implicit “Coded” physical barriers.Subtle variations in the residential landscapes of two groups of almost equally high socioeconomic status are shown to be significant in identifying each group . local churches and social organizations reveals that the boundary between the two principal landscapes also represents a boundary between social networks.Both social networks might accept each other in different ways if an Under Class show up in the equation! Perhaps some have chosen this social level (However unconsciously so).I have seen similar Alpha example in Kent (the Gardens of England) particularly in Broadstairs Town, it has the same nature of unpaved prestigious roads, that is compatible with nature! The (alpha Example),houses of more than 100 years old on the Cornish "Viking bay" (East) Extend to st'peters village where there is a new neighborhood (Relativly new) in the intersection between the two towns that represent the new money status .similar to the the beta example.

The Bedford example occur in many places in the world because of being in different times and cycles of economic growth.

From what have seen in Broadstairs, with respect to the great anthropologist Edward T I don't agree with him in his description about the English Neighboring pattern!
“In England Propinquity means nothing” Edward T .
I think common interest created by the nearness and the fact of living next door with neighbors in England as well as anywhere in the world has a strong influence on the social interaction between them and bring them together.

Why privacy is less valued by the beta group than the alpha group?
I think the reason is the way the Beta Kids play in their streets, bringing their families closer (causing less need for privacy) while this sight is seldom in the alpha’s. and that’s all because of the way the Landscape works!

According to the Conventional view old money is more liberal than new money, but seems that old money is more uniformly conservative than new money.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bickford Architecture of Citizenship

Susan Bickford is only describing a basic human functions that occur in every society in the world - even the third world countries. Humans tend to separate and divide and exclude and isolate each other, we do it all day long in explicit and implicit ways. Susan is saying nothing new and she seems too nieve about the issues she brings up.

It will take a world wide cataclysmic epiphany before the USA or any country becomes a true democracy. We will get there somehow but the human condition is not truly ready to be loving enough to be inclusive at the level Susan wants.

Susan's is correct: we should be more equal with all peoples, our built environment should reflect a democratic nature or perhaps our public spaces should at least reflect the myth of our societal ideal but she does not point to the answer however impossible it may be, Susan only says, "it requires an inhuman amount of imagination to have a genuinely democratic public". Perhaps she should read some and insert those peoples suggestions for the remedy... I have one remedy... everything we see is the result of our thoughts, there is no exception to this fact so we must change our thinking.

We must start to promote altruism, courage, virtue, eternal values and reward those who are able to manipulate these notions into physical form. "We are the consequence of our mind-set and behaviors and of the institutions associated with it - the industrial society paradigm which brought great benefits in the past now create problems faster than it solves them. The world macro problem will be satisfactorily resolved only through fundamental change of that mind-set" (Willis Harman).