Curbed


Preparing For Our Prefab Future

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October 25, 2017
A burgeoning U.S. prefab market has much to learn from Japan

In the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a massive post-military industrial compound of warehouses converted into creative offices and bespoke manufacturing operations, there is a factory that builds houses. It’s a long, cavernous 100,000-square-foot warehouse with a string of workstations for welding together steel-trussed wall panels, threading them with electrical wiring and plumbing, and finishing them off with drywall and window sashes. Stacks of plywood and steel beams fill large racks next to industrial-sized spools of plastic conduit. It’s a construction site gone linear.

Can Your City Change Your Mind?

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November 16, 2016
The design of our spaces can heal us, hurt us, and alter the way we think.

There’s a significant chance that the room you’re in right now is controlling your mind. The room—if you’re like most North Americans, who’ve been found to spend roughly 90 percent of their time indoors, you’re probably in one—is exerting both strong and subtle influences on the way your brain functions. It may be making you anxious, or sad, or distracted, or highly efficient, or inexplicably tired, affecting not only your cognitive abilities and mental processes, but your emotional state, mental stability, and physical well-being.

The Urban Games

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August 3, 2016
For Olympic host cities, wins and losses last forever

On a field of dirt, about a hundred octagonal white tents are lined up in neat rows. They’re weather-beaten and coated with dust, but the logo of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees still peeks through on their fabric rooftops, revealing their purpose. Like many refugee camps set up in recent years, this one is a mix of desperation and inactivity. Unlike most others, it’s surrounded by stadium seating.

McDonald’s 2.0

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April 11, 2018
How fast-food chains are using design to go local

On a recent Saturday night, I invited a couple of friends out for dinner and drinks. We got in a car in Los Angeles, where we all live, and drove 40 miles south to Newport Beach, a pricey oceanfront Orange County city known for its nightlife. We had journeyed this obscene distance across multiple Southern California freeways to try a new restaurant. Its name is Taco Bell Cantina.

Crowdfunding the Skyscraper

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March 2, 2017
Can a new model for real estate investment help spread the wealth?

The commercial real estate developer Rodrigo Niño has a problem with commercial real estate development. The immense amount of wealth it generates, he argues, falls into the hands of too few people. People like him.

Recoding Austin

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December 7, 2016
As a city evolves, so must its zoning rules

Picture Austin in the early 1980s. The population was just about 350,000, making it one of the 50 biggest cities in the United States—not tiny, but also not a major metropolis. Despite being the capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas flagship, Austin was still a relatively small, low-rise, low-density city. So, in 1984, when the city rewrote the rules that guide the city’s development, land use, and zoning—known as the Land Development Code—this powerful document was drawn up for the small city it was then.

Photos: The Urban Games

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August 3, 2016
For Olympic host cities, wins and losses last forever. Scenes from Athens and London.

Refugee camp, Olympics site, Athens

Main Olympics park, Athens

Main Olympics park, Athens

Olympic park and development, London

Decay at the main Olympics park, Athens