Green Line park in Manhattan

"Cars should be banned from Manhattan"

Comments update: a proposal to turn New York's iconic Broadway into one long park set the agenda this week as readers called for cities around the world to embrace pedestrianisation. Read on for more on this and explore our comments page to keep up to date with the latest discussions.

Park life: the Green Line proposed by Perkins Eastman Architects would create a huge park for pedestrians and cyclists, connecting many of New York's most famous public spaces.

"Perhaps this concept will work one day but at the moment the city's lifeblood is reliant on cars being able to get around," wrote Xi.

"This is how cities die," added Sir John V. "Broadway is one of the great urban highways. Tidy it but don't rob it of its raison d'etre."

Not everyone shared this view. "Cars should be banned from Manhattan," countered James. "Investment should be made in creating the world's best public transport, which would put New York at the centre of the future again." Read the comments on this story »


41 West 57th Street by Mark Foster Gage Architects

Gothic Gotham: New York remained in the headlines and at the centre of heated discussion as Mark Foster Gage unveiled a concept for an elaborate gargoyle-covered skyscraper.

"If all the other 'starchitects' can build their ultra-skinny towers for no other reason than vanity, what's wrong with someone wanting to reject the norm and make a statement?" asked Brennan Murray.

Many didn't view the proposal as kindly. Richard accused the architect of confusing the word design with decoration, while a guest commenter described the building as a place to worship Satan.

"It's certainly interesting, and laudably ambitious, but feels curiously shorn of meaning," added Jonathan Tuffin. "[The] symbolism is devoid of a mythic back story." Read the comments on this story »


Apple's Smart Battery Case

Low on juice: Apple released a case for the iPhone 6 to increase its battery life, but some thought the Smart Battery Case was "unergonomic, ugly and badly thought out".

"I was pretty horrified when I first saw this but I've warmed up to it pretty quick," reasoned Dangus.

"Even just having a normal protective case is a design fail," argued Jaron. "The fact we carry around such expensive, fragile objects that easily smash is a design fail for all phone manufacturers." Others went as far as suggesting that Apple's new products were irrelevant. Read the comments on this story »


K House by Nicolas Koff

Hot house: this Toronto house featuring a rooftop meadow sparked a discussion over its combination of fireplaces and straw walls.

"Maybe there is not enough oxygen in the wall to support ignition, but I wouldn't use hay without having supportive data," said regular commenter Concerned Citizen.

"You raise a common conception that is worth dispelling," replied Ben Polley. "The 'problem' with hay is the combination of food value with thermal insulation and moisture, which allows the heat of decomposition from feeding micro-organisms to build up to such incredible temperatures that it can spontaneously combust."

"Straw does not [have this problem] and is so dense – not to mention covered with an inflammable coating of heavy plaster – that it is given the same fire rating as a cement block wall," he explained.

"Having worked with straw construction in my younger days, I know it to be quite resistant to fire," added Tim. "It's nice to see traditional construction methods used in new builds." Read the comments on this story »