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Yasmin Ali

Urbanism // Design

Apple's Maps app leaves commuters unhappy

September 28th, 2012


In synchrony with the timeous release of the iPhone 5, along came the update of OS6, also available for fellow iPhone 4 users. What it neglected to mention before the download was that this would replace the pre-loaded Google Maps app with a, sadly, much less well-executed Apple's own brand of Maps, which sees shadows obscure landmarks and whole areas shrouded under cloud, not to mention misnamed-and misplaced- towns. It is enough to make the average technocrat want to go back to paper, as this image from the London Underground aptly shows.

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The Urban Transect - from Urban to Rural

November 8th, 2011




The Urban Transect is a concept in Urban Design which can be applied at varying

scales. This scalar versatility  is where its success stems from.

The Urban Transect /  Andres Duany DPZ

This is a theory pioneered by New Urbanists. New Urbanists are those who further placemaking based on walkable neighbourhoods and sustainable placemaking.

From a recent book, by Andres Duany and DPZ, published by The Prince's Foundation, entitled 'Theory and Practice of Agrarian Urbanism', this appears to draw links with the Garden Cities Movement, as pioneered by Ebenezer Howard in the fifties.

Image: Ebenezer Howard

The key to its application lies with density. This movement started in Northern America where land is plentiful and development is unabashedly car-centric. Through pages of delicate illustrations this book, the Garden City concept is translated to a distinctly urban scale.



Product Review: Matchcarden City Edition

August 8th, 2011

Last week I received a lovely little surprise through the door. From Another Studio, the makers of 'Postcarden', the growable postcard garden, comes 'Matchcarden'. The follow-up product to the bestselling postcard format is a -yes, you've guessed it- a matchbox-sized grow-kit.

Images showing the matchcarden 'My city' range, courtesy of Another Studio

Small, but perfectly formed, each comes complete with a make-your-own facade kit with three possible townhouse styles. The seeds are cress (mustard seed); a fast-growing hardy herb that will give you a mini jungle in no time.

Designed and produced by Another Studio For Design, a London-based company enthusiastic about creating unique gifts for thoughtful givers.  Matchcarden is made in the UK, printed with vegetable based inks on FSC approved paperboard and using locally sourced seeds.

// With Thanks to Aimee Furnival of Another Studio


GmbH moves into The Lighthouse

August 2nd, 2011


GmbH is a design magazine junkie's paradise - now housed at The Lighthouse. The packed-out opening party on the 30th July spilled into Mitchell Lane, showing the store's appeal to the local creative community.
There has definitely been a gap in the market for browsing a range of magazines since Borders books on Buchanan St closed down in late 2009. Mitchell Lane is an ideal site for the job - just off the prime area of the much-coveted city retail section the 'Golden Z' (Argyle St, Buchanan St, Sauchiehall St) that forms the most desirable shopping spaces in the city.


Erstwhile housed slightly east of town at The Modern Institute as a pop-up, the store became an instant success with orders continuing online while between residences. Having a store in the Merchant City is a good acid test for a shop - if it can survive just shy of the main shopping area, it must be on to a winner. There are also plenty of creative shops and start-ups in the Merchant City/Trongate area worth seeking out.

On the shelves...

GmbH stocks a range of titles - both glossies and zines- some familiar, others more niche. A personal favourite of mine introduced to me via GmbH is UAE-based contemporary design and lifestyle magazine BROWNBOOK. Subtitled 'An urban guide to the Middle East', with clean graphics and sharp commentary, it resembles in many ways, an Arab version of MONOCLE (also stocked here!).

I'm also a fan of film magazine Little White Lies (LWL); a recent addition to the stocklist. Self-published by London creative agency The Church of London, it's film journalism...but not as you know it. Sharp, insightful commentary is matched by creative graphics. Their screenprinted covers, also available as posters, are fast-becoming cult classics in themselves.

PIN-UP is another favourite of mine, billing itself as 'The magazine for architectural entertainment'. The bi-annual New York-based publication is nicely laid-out and and doesn't take itself too seriously. I've only ever seen it in American Apparel, of all places, so it's good to know there's another place that stocks this on its shelves.

Also stocked is grafik, the International magazine for graphic design. The long-running design title recently bounced back from its publishers' having gone bust in mid-2010, and is now back in print, independently produced and with a slick new i-Pad-ready website.

Read on for selected titles

// Interview with shops' founders to follow...

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Conference Review - Planning Reform in Scotland- Holyrood one-day conference, 21st June 2011

July 1st, 2011

Last month planning professionals and stakeholders from across Scotland met for a one-day intensive conference, to discuss the effects and potential effects,of the Planning Reform Act in Scotland (2006).

Planning Reform 2011

The day was split into four sessions, as chaired by journalist and broadcaster Keith Aitken, and opened with an address from Aileen Campbell MSP.

The morning sessions comprised of talks centering on a brief retrospective of the effects of the reform to date, followed by -an interactive panel debate questioning 'Is the new system working?'.The first session, entitled 'So Far So Good ', reflected on the successes - and shortcomings- of the new planning reform system in Scotland.

Session 1: 'So Far So Good?'

Glasgow City Council's Head of Planning Alastair MacDonald began with an informative, illustrated talk which summarised the effects of the 2006 Act, from a local government perspective, as observed by Glasgow. Generally, the new system is seen in a positive light, and appreciated as having cut down on red tape considerably, increased efficiency and reduced the number of complaints from Neighbour Notifications.

Read on for more on the sessions.

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