Wednesday, September 7, 2011

L+U Travels - The Prelude

England, Spain, Italy.  While a couple of weeks is not long enough to spend in any one of these countries (or cities for that matter), the agenda is set.  Thus I'm considering an upcoming trip to Europe and actual vacation (what the hell is that?) and a scouting trip for further visits.  The itinerary starts in London, where my sister recently moved to  so definitely no shortage of things to see.

:: image via Boston magazine

I definitely want to check out some of the early green spaces such as Hyde Park (below) as well as some of the newer public spaces but mostly, as with many of the destinations, not trying to see the sights but rather experience the place.  That said, any ideas for some more contemporary must-see public space, urbanism, open spaces - drop a line.

::  image via Fanpop

A off-the-beaten path highlight we will travelling to our birthplace in Mildenhall (near RAF Lakenheath where our father was stationed in the early 1970s).  I alas, spent my first six weeks there prior to be shipped back to the states, so this is a long-awaited homecoming and should be a wonderful part of the trip.

:: image via England Road Ways

A quintessential English town north of London, a google search yields more photos of uniforms and jets than the actual character of the town - but this one gives you a bit of the flavor.

:: image via Pfann Photography

London and family hang-out will lead to Barcelona, a city that has held fascination for me for many years.  The significance of the city has been reinforced in some recent readings discussing the transformation of the old city into the more modern gridded perimeter by Ildefons Cerdà in the 1850s.  His plan shows the application of the grid on the more organic old town.

:: image via Wikipedia

Any trip to Barcelona must of course include Gaudi's Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, some of the amazing urban design built for the 1992 Olympic Games and and I particularly fascinated by the Catalan 'modernisme' from the late 19th to early 20th century.  And of course a wander down Las Ramblas is definitely in order...

:: image via here in van nuys

Finally, a hop over to Rome where one could spend months without making a dent in - so some of the main sights of course... what to see, is the problem.  Villas, Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon... uh, yep, its rome.

 :: image via zoodoo's world

Although maybe not a problem, as I am perfectly content to do some sight-seeing by let vacation-mode take over I feel like sitting and drinking along a cafe and taking in some of the street life.

:: image via Life by Days

For a little variety, we are staying in two different neighborhoods in Rome as bookends with a trip up to Tuscany to see Florence and Siena in the middle.  Florence to me says art and the Ponte Vecchio - with some chill time that will perhaps include a bottle of wine, or two.

:: image via Wikipedia

While Florence is amazing - my heart is in Siena - most likely standing in the Piazza del Campo... thinking of the wonder's of history... (and why public space is so different in Europe than the US)...

:: image via Wikipedia

Or maybe just absorbing the adjacent hillsides from the top of the campanile...

:: image via Wikipedia

Either way, for all of these cities and countries, I will be looking forward to replacing guidebooks, historical records and internet images with good actual imagery and experiences... stay tuned mid-late September for some posts - infusing landscape, urbanism, history and more in these amazingly rich areas of the world.  A taste perhaps, part vacation, part urban studies, part landscape architecture research.  What could be better.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Real

In contrast to the previous post of the ethereal, an amazing collection from Nigel Christian's blog 'This City Called Earth' which, in his words:  "combines my sociologist’s interest in theories of urbanisation, globalisation and post-nature with my photographer’s love of street portraiture and the hard beauty of the built environment."   The expansive group emerges by Christian collecting submissions from around the globe on his Flickr group of the same name, and will definitely leave you mesmerized by their beauty and diversity - sort of like life.

(Aerial view of Jodhpur)
(Relaxing in Portugal)

(Industrial area in Tacoma)

I could post about a million of my favorites - here's a few more... check it out for yourself and visit the site or flickr for citations and credits....

 (Street scene in Tokyo)

  (Unknown) - haunting image, no?

All images via This City Called Earth.