Crossrail is not just about engineering: artists, designers and archaeologists are all involved in the £15bn new railway. As the amazing tunnel-boring machines approach halfway, Rowan Moore dons his hard hat and goes below — theguardian.com
We typically see photovoltaic panels up on roofs, as they're broad, open surfaces that receive a lot of sunlight. You know what else spends a lot of time in the scorching sun, though? Sidewalks. With that in mind, a team at Washington DC's The George Washington University has created what is claimed to be "the first walkable solar-paneled pathway in the world." — Gizmag
“The problem is we’re still building the city of the past,” says Jacob. “The people of the 1880s couldn’t build a city for the year 2000—of course not. And we cannot build a year-2100 city now. But we should not build a city now that we know will not function in 2100. There are opportunities to renew our infrastructure. It’s not all bad news. We just have to grasp those opportunities.” — dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com
Plugging in an electric vehicle is, in some cases, the equivalent of adding three houses to the grid. That has utilities in California—where the largest number of electric vehicles are sold—scrambling to upgrade the grid to avoid power outages. — technologyreview.com
One of the most gratifying bits of feedback I ever received from one of my Ranger projects came from a 60-something woman who’d attended a campfire program on freeway landscapes in Los Angeles. Months later, she told me that she never looked at a freeway in the same way. Who knows what this kind of change in perception might ultimately lead to? — Places Journal
For decades intrepid tourists have been journeying to the monumental dams of the American West to marvel at the infrastructures of hydroelectric power. These days they're just as likely to be on a field trip to trace the pathways of the Internet, or the footprint of communication satellites, or...
Smart city infrastructure can augment the ability of managers, planners, designers and engineers to define and implement a fundamentally better next generation of buildings, cities, regions — right? Maybe. For that to be a serious proposition, it’s going to have to be normal for planners and designers not only to collaborate productively with engineers, but to do so with the full and competent participation of the only people they mistrust more than each other ... customers. — Places Journal
"A city is not a BMW," writes Carl Skelton. "You can't drive it without knowing how it works." In a weighty think-piece on Places, he argues that the public needs new tools of citizenship to thrive in a "new soft world" increasingly shaped by smart meters, surveillance cameras, urban informatics...
Increasingly it's been cities that have taken the lead on critical issues, from gun control to immigration reform to economic stimulus to climate change. Given the migration of people into cities worldwide, this trend is sure to continue. We might even be in a de facto transition to a society dominated by economically and politically powerful cities — a contemporary version of the great city-states that arose in the 13th century and ruled Europe until the consolidation of modern nation-states. — Places
For almost a decade David Burney has been Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction in New York City. In an interview with Places editor Nancy Levinson, he reflects on the urban design record of the Bloomberg years, focusing especially on PlaNYC, the ongoing post-Sandy recovery...
Major construction is currently under way in Reading, England as part of the Reading Station Area Redevelopment. In this new construction update video, Mark Middleton, partner at Grimshaw Architects, is on site at Reading Station and explains how the redevelopment will double its capacity and relieve a major bottleneck in the rail network west of London. — bustler.net
Designers for The Wave, Muscat, were tasked with the challenge of engineering a luxury, mixed-use development stretching along six kilometres of natural beach coastline between Al-Athaiba and Al-Mawelah while ensuring it was protected as much as possible from the Sea of Oman. — DesignBuild Source
'[R]emember that a place like Dubai really emerged in the last 50 years. It was a sleepy, you know, Bedouin town half a century ago. And what you do is when you bring in the world’s, you know, most sophisticated architects and engineers, you can literally build anything, including a building of 140 or 150 stories. But designing a municipal network of sewage treatment is in some ways more complex. - KATE ASCHER — Boing Boing
Terry Gross recently interviewed Kate Ascher about her skyscraper book, and ended up discussing the common lack of sewage connections in Dubai - including the Burj Khalifa. So they end up using trucks to cart the sewage to the central treatment plant, where they often end up queuing for 24-hours...
As it turns out, infrastructure really matters. Your chance of injury drops by about 50 percent, relative to that major city street, when riding on a similar road with a bike lane and no parked cars. The same improvement occurs on bike paths and local streets with designated bike routes. And protected bike lanes – with actual barriers separating cyclists from traffic – really make a difference. The risk of injury drops for riders there by 90 percent. — m.theatlanticcities.com
Terminal workers speak a florid corporate language of “space optimization” and “key performance indicators.” Longshoremen click computer mice and complain about Microsoft Windows as everyone else in the white-collar world does. — NYT
Over the weekend Alan Feuer, took readers along on a tour of the six container terminals belonging to the The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The visit gave him an opportunity to report on how the; infrastructural-logistical pressures of a post-Panamax infrastructure, along with...
One of the longest bridges in northern China collapsed on Friday, just nine months after it opened, setting off a storm of criticism from Chinese Internet users and underscoring questions about the quality of construction in the country’s rapid expansion of its infrastructure. — nytimes.com
As growth slows, China's huge investment in infrastructure is looking ever harder to sustain, leaving a string of ambitious projects - towns, shopping malls and even a theme park - empty and forlorn. — bbc.co.uk
As China's flood-ravaged capital dealt with the aftermath of the heaviest rain in six decades Monday, including the deaths of 37 people, questions were being raised about whether the city's push for modernization came at the expense of basic infrastructure such as drainage networks. [...]
The city has seen tens of billions of dollars poured into its modernization [...] — all while basics like water drainage were apparently neglected. — npr.org
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