Weekly Design Blog Favorites: July 9, 2012

Adventure playgrounds. Brendan Crain blogs how the playgrounds have changed and the how the “play structure” has become something that doesn’t use the child’s imagination and play.

“Over the past few years, we have siloed different types of play within playgrounds, just as we have siloed different types of uses in cities. Pieces of play equipment that might be transformed into fantastical alternate worlds when jumbled together are isolated (a slide here, a tire swing there), underlining that each piece is meant to be used in one specific way. But research and support have been mounting for years to back up what many of us feel on a gut level: these sanitized playscapes are junk.”

Via Project for Public Spaces blog Related: The Strange Case of a Suburban Park

Architecture and a more connected future. What role does architecture play in this technology-driven age? More company leaders are looking to the future when it comes to workplace design.

“The conventional architect is becoming extinct. I believe that the world will cease to be built out of concrete, steel and glass. New buildings must mirror our current reality, which consists of bytes of information, shared technology and interconnectedness. Construction will evolve into something which is beyond architecture. A building should empower people through the materials it use.”-- James Law, CEO and founder of Hong Kong-based firm Cybertecture, believes that great design can inspire creativity and increase productivity.

Via Mashable Related: Cybertecture

Vision for Houston’s bayous. Kevin Shanley blogs that in the last 40 years, more grassroots organizations and programs seek to protect and enhance Houston bayous and reduce flooding in environmentally sustainable ways, supporting the vision of landscape architect Arthur Comey.

While Comey’s vision has demonstrated how parks and greenspaces can improve the economy, environment and health of the city, there is more work to do. Now is the perfect opportunity to purchase distressed properties along the city's bayous in the hopes of further revitalizing and expanding Houston's parks and greenspaces before those properties are sold for development or redevelopment.

Via APA's Sustaining Spaces Blog First published on SWA Bayou By Us blog

Urban biking a global trend. In cities across the United States, bicycles are becoming an increasingly popular form of urban transportation. A survey of 55 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. found that bicycle commuting rates increased, on average, 70 percent between 2000 and 2009.

The growing popularity of urban cycling has led to a proliferation of bicycle infrastructure in many cities. Over the past decade, Washington D.C. has laid down over 50 miles of bicycle lanes, New York is preparing to launch bike sharing programs and Los Angeles has temporarily prohibited cars from driving on designated streets for certain Sunday afternoons,

Via The Dirt