Links for May 27, 2016

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile

Hostile architecture, also known as defensive architecture, exists on a spectrum. At one end are the overt design features that are obvious to anyone walking by—like spikes and fences. At the other end, says Petty, are the design elements in which “the hostile function is often embedded under a socially palatable function.” A prime example is street furniture, particularly public benches.

That Time Cleveland Released 1.5 Million Balloons and Chaos Ensued

Balloons! They’re fun, delightfully whimsical environmental disasters. And in 1986, a mass balloon release in Cleveland went really, really wrong, when 1.5 million helium-filled floaters were let loose into the sky, got caught in a storm, drifted down to earth, and caused a hell of a lot of problems.

Superblocks to the rescue: Barcelona’s plan to give streets back to residents

Barcelona’s new plan consists of creating big superilles through a series of gradual interventions that will repurpose existing infrastructure, starting with traffic management through to changing road signs and bus routes. Superblocks will be smaller than neighbourhoods, but bigger than actual blocks.... The objectives are ambitious; by implementing these strategies at once, the city wants to reduce car use by 21% over the next two years and increase mobility by foot, bike and public transport.