If Mr. Ratti’s projections are correct, and self-driving cars can radically reduce traffic without cannibalizing existing mass transit—the hypotheticals pile up—it is possible that self-driving cars will make many cities livable in a way they aren’t now. Imagine if every U.S. city had a hybrid public-private mass-transit system on par with those in New York City or Washington, D.C., comprised entirely of self-driving vehicles. — wsj.com
Last month, the journal Science published a special issue examining the challenges and opportunities of an urbanizing world. Titled “Urban Planet” and featuring an image of clouds wafting across skyscrapers in Dubai, the issue opened with an eye-catching statistic: “More than half of the world’s people now live in cities.”
Of course, that number would be even more impressive if it were actually true. — UNDark
This year, Chinese families represented for the first time the largest group of overseas home buyers in the United States. Big spenders on new homes are helping prop up local economies in the Midwest...The interest from Chinese buyers is reshaping demographics in Texas. — NYT
Our ability to form and maintain friendships is shaped in crucial ways by the physical spaces in which we live. [...]
in America we have settled on patterns of land use that might as well have been designed to prevent spontaneous encounters, the kind out of which rich social ties are built. [...]
We do not encounter one another in cars. We grind along together anonymously, often in misery. — vox.com
What's interesting about these 27 categories that Wheeler has defined, covering the full range of development patterns in two dozen metropolitan regions he has studied worldwide, is that most of them are new. [..]
"We have had an explosion of different types of built landscapes in the last century," says Wheeler, who is working on a book about these patterns. — washingtonpost.com
Most Egyptians have always lived in the fertile stretch along the Nile, the nation’s breadbasket which accounts for less than 10 per cent of Egypt’s territory. But urban growth has become the chief threat to agricultural land as farmers haphazardly – and illegally – build new houses to make room for the next generation.
Construction surged even more amid a security vacuum that followed the 2011 popular uprising that ousted the country’s long-time autocrat, Hosni Mubarak. — thenational.ae
A new analysis authored by Todd Litman at the Victoria Transport Policy Institute concludes that sprawl costs the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion every year. [...]
The optimal density Litman uses in the report is only about 23 people per hectare. Add those 2.2 billion people to global cities at a density of about Atlanta, and we'd need the equivalent of all the land in India to accommodate them. — washingtonpost.com
How much more does it cost the public to build infrastructure and provide services for sprawling development compared to more compact neighborhoods? A lot more, according to this handy summary from the Canadian environmental think tank Sustainable Prosperity.
To create this graphic, the organization synthesized a study by the Halifax Regional Municipality [PDF] in Nova Scotia, and the research is worth a closer look. — streetsblog.org
A new study by Thomas Laidley, a sociology doctoral student at NYU [...], uses satellite images to develop a new and improved “Sprawl Index,” which he links to a wide range of outcome measures.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that L.A. ranks as the least sprawling metro in the country, ahead of New York and San Francisco. — citylab.com
The massive Beltline and an impressive grid of protected lanes that will connect the trail system to key urban destinations are poised to remake transportation in the city that anchors the country's ninth-largest metro area. [...]
As the video above shows, Atlanta's embrace of active space is part of a psychic shift in a city that's shaking off its old Sprawlville USA image with a combination of bike, transit and affordable housing infrastructure. — peopleforbikes.org
Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University and an untiring defender of the suburbs, begins a recent column in the Washington Post with a valid question: “What is a city for?” He then proceeds to get that question completely wrong. But really, we should be thanking him. In his article, he neatly sums up many of the key myths emerging from the anti-urbanism set, making my job of debunking these myths a lot easier. — thisbigcity.net
Urban densities are not trivial, they severely limit the transport mode choice and change only very slowly. Because of the large differences in densities between Atlanta and Barcelona about the same length of metro line is accessible to 60% of the population in Barcelona but only 4% in Atlanta. The low density of Atlanta render this city improper for rail transit. — usa.streetsblog.org
In the wake of economic reforms in the 1990s that helped set off the largest urban migration in history, China had the rare opportunity to embrace cutting-edge city-building approaches as it expanded its skyline. It could have avoided the mistakes that made Los Angeles into the land of gridlock, or bypassed the errors that turned the banlieues of Paris into what one American planner calls “festering urban sores”.
But China looked back instead of forward. — theguardian.com
Marshall, Garrick and Piatkowski are talking about a different set of health concerns: not communicable diseases like cholera, but lifestyle diseases like diabetes. "The literature suggests," they write, "that the shift in industrialized nations toward a more sedentary lifestyle is linked to increasingly auto-dependent lifestyles, which in turn is linked to lower density developments and auto-friendly land uses." Maybe we're designing places, in other words, that make it harder to be active. — washingtonpost.com
A new report from Reid Ewing and Shima Hamidi of the University of Utah, lead researchers on the aforementioned rankings, gets at that question. Ewing and Hamidi scored the largest 162 U.S. urbanized areas on the Sprawl Index — or, if you're feeling optimistic, the Compactness Index — for 2010. (Urbanized areas reflect development better than fixed metro area boundaries do.) Then they applied the index to the same cities in 2000 to show the change over time. — citylab.com
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