Geek out with the Architecture of Legislative Bodies.

Of course the UN General Assembly Hall is recognizable, but what does its semi-circle shape mean? Apparently, its one of the oldest–and a neoclassical go to for fostering consensus and democratic engagement.

The architecture of a legislative body tells a lot about how governance works in each respective body. A new book by Max Cohen de Lara and David Mulder van der Vegt explains, including their methodology:

To answer that question, we spent six years collecting the architectural layout for each one of those buildings. We’ve published our findings in our book “Parliament.” By comparing these plans in detail, we wanted to understand how a political culture is both shaped by and expressed through architecture. Organized as a lexicon, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the book for the first time allows a comparison of all national parliaments in the world.We found a clear pattern. Although each of the 193 United Nations member states has a parliament of some kind — albeit with varying degrees of democracy — their plenary chambers have a very limited number of shapes. Most surprisingly, these buildings have hardly changed since the 19th century.

Source: These 5 architectural designs influence every legislature in the world — and tell you how each governs – The Washington Post

The regional parliament of Nordrhein Westphalia, Germany

Also, don’t miss the website for the book, Parliament, to see schematics of a number of UN Member State’s legislative body, and even the UN in Geneva and interactive photos, facts, and more. Great stuff for policy geeks, parliamentarians, and designers interested in civic engagement and proxemics.


United Nations and New York City Seek Land Deal –

How does real estate deal with diplomacy?  In NYC it matters more than most places–and the City of NY and the UN appear closer to a deal.  Don’t’ miss the graphic explaining how it all works.

Now, in a series of real-life Rubik’s Cube moves, elected officials are on the verge of signing an agreement that would create a framework for both sides to get what they want. The United Nations would take part of Robert Moses Playground for its new building, while the city would end up with enough cash to finish an esplanade for the 32-mile Greenway — and a replacement playground. In July, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation that gave the city and state governments until Oct. 10 to agree to the terms of a deal.

via United Nations and New York City Seek Land Deal –