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Coming to semester two, we continued with the blog writing tasks alongside with our design project.  The theme of this semester’s design project is housing alternatives, where we did several visits to different alternative housing types.  We also learned about the Building for Life 12, the tool that we have been using to analysis co-housing projects throughout the four months.

In terms of the blogs, the topics that can be used for writing blog are freer.  Therefore I started with a blog talking about bee crisis and on the urban bee farming.  I came up with this idea during the Milan fieldtrip when there was one group presenting the proposal of building a bee farm in their site.  After that I occasionally saw some articles promoting the importance of bees in saving food crisis, i.e. saving the world!  Urban bee farming is not that difficult or horrible.  Then I found that creating a bee-friendly environment is so easy that it can be done simply by planting flowers in balcony, and choose more bee-friendly plants on roof garden.  Green roofs – that is what urban designers have been promoting for years.  I hope this can be promoted as another main motivation when people decide to have more green roofs in their cities.

In the third and fourth blog, I wrote about a co-living project in Hong Kong.  It was still recruiting residents when I started writing the blog.  Blue House is one of the best known historic building in Hong Kong.  When I was in secondary school I was inspired by the Blue House and several urban renewal projects.  At that time I did a small research project on the cultural value and significance of wet markets because I thought streetscape is always a very important element in shaping a city.  Not until Year 2 in university I found that this is actually somehow related to urban design!  Also in Hong Kong, house price is too high that owning a home is becoming very difficult in recent years.  The idea of co-living in refurbished building may become a solution.

Usually in school students have been trained to write longer and longer essays.  In the blog I found it challenging to include most information in 300-400 words, making it not so boring but able to describe all necessary information.  When writing academic essays, I usually do not care about whether they are boring or.  In here, as an open website that our names, photos, and university name are shown, I know the point in writing the blog is not only for marks.  More importantly that is the self-consciousness as an urban design student from Newcastle University made me do my best to choose interesting topics and present them in the clearest way to anyone who may occasionally visit the website.

Urban design as a rather new profession still needs promotion.  Writing blog is definitely a good way to promote our thoughts.  I really hope to have chance and passion in the future to continue promote to the public that urban design is something that exist in everyone’s daily life.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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