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Community / Public space

Stained glass skyscrapers, dying neighbourhoods and a subway sign quiz

Our weekly round-up of city stories we’ve enjoyed elsewhere.

  • What do you do with a failed development? In a town in Georgia, USA, the local government bucked the trend by buying up the half-finished site itself, and turning it into public spaces, affordable housing and parks. Sounds pretty sensible.

But not everyone was pleased wiht the introduction of low income housing into what was originally meant to be an area filled with middle class family homes. From a long piece on the development in the Atlantic:

…residents were unhappy about the recently completed apartments in the New Leaf Center because they look like a typical three-story, brick apartment building and aren’t the single-family homes that were originally planned. People who live in homes next to the apartment building feel that they are being peered on from above by the tenants on the second and third floors.

It’s got to be better than vacant lots, though, right? Right?

  • The Wall Street Journal ran a typically dour market survey of the stained glass industry this week, claiming that, for stained glass devotees, we’re entering the “dark ages”: “After a couple of millennia of sustained popularity, the stained-glass industry is showing serious cracks”.

What sparked our interest, though, was one glass studio owner’s diversification plan:

“Why are there not skyscrapers with a 100-foot curtain wall of art glass?” says Mr. Phillips. “The amount of available space to do creative glass art is massive.

We’re in complete agreement: what skyscraper wouldn’t be improved by a few jolly coloured panels? A giant glass mural of Henry VIII or the crucifixion could liven up the skyline no end. Might do horrible things to passing aircraft, though. 

  • This week, The Independent ran this thoughtful feature on homelessness, which traces the life and death of a homeless man found dead in the London borough of Kensington – and the shock of the man who found him:

It is impossible to say how many people saw Pawel Koseda sleeping rough before Boord found him, but nobody tried to get him help. Petra Salva, director of outreach services at St Mungo’s Broadway, as well as StreetLink, says the inclination of most people is still to walk on by. “What does it say about our society that it’s taken a death for you to write about this?” she asks. “Unless the public are outraged and stop being desensitised to the sight of someone on the pavement, rough sleeping will not change.”

  • And finally, one for those with utterly useless collections of knowledge: Guardian cities has put together a quiz testing your ability to identify cities by their subway signs. Here’s one to get you started:

(Highlight the following for the answer: Newcastle.)
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