Driverless pods, gliding above city streets using a network of elevated guideways. This is SkyTran -- but is it the future? SkyTran wants to do away with train schedules and central stations to develop a grid system above the ground with multiple "off ramps" acting as stations where users can board pre-booked pods – a cab service for the skies. Call for SkyTran on your smart phone and a computer-controlled, magnetically levitating pod arrives. It will whisk you across the city... — CNN
SkyTran claims the pods, weighing just 300 lbs, would consume about a third of the electricity used by today's hybrid cars. And the infrastructure can be built for $10 million per mile, at least according to the CEO Jerry Sanders.Later this year, the company plans to complete its first pilot...
There aren’t many architects you would believe could hold back seas and save the world from being drowned by Biblical floods. But when you meet Bjarke Ingels, anything seems eminently possible. [...]
If New York has to build 10 miles of flood defences to protect the city from another Hurricane Sandy, why not conceive the barrier as a brand new waterfront park? Climate security as leisure amenity. You can almost hear the standing ovation and all-American whooping in the background. — theguardian.com
If there’s anything positive to emerge from the current mess, it’s that local advocates like Cary Moon, who warned against building the tunnel in the first place, are commanding attention again. Moon recently took to the pages of the local alt-weekly, the Stranger, to argue that in light of the tunnel project’s spectacular, slow-motion meltdown, the city should explore other options. — streetsblog.org
California's bullet-train agency will officially start construction in Fresno this week on the first 29-mile segment of the system, a symbol of the significant progress the $68-billion project has made against persistent political and legal opposition. [...]
But the milestone marked by Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony also will serve as a reminder of the enormous financial, technical and political risks still faced by the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco project. — latimes.com
Ancient Egypt endured plagues of locusts. Seattle has its tunnel, which over the last year has featured a series of setbacks and fiascos that, depending on one’s outlook, can be the setup for a punch line, or an eye-rolling narrative of put-upon endurance.
In the latest blow, project engineers said this week that 30 or more buildings in the historic Pioneer Square area [...] had unexpectedly settled, possibly because of water pumping related to the project. — nytimes.com
The architect today is no ‘fountainhead.’ It is rather sad to watch today’s ‘starchitects’, designing their weird-looking signature buildings. These seem now always to be either museums or condos for billionaires. The brand-name architect just build useless luxury housing for the 1% and their trinkets. The actual design of the world is now in the hands of other people. — Public Seminar Commons
McKenzie Wark pens a rather a wake up call of a book review on Easterling's new book Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space in which Easterling offers a set of subsidiary metaphors for contemporary infrastructure design: multipliers, switches, and topologies."The multipliers...
Are you in a hurry to catch your flight and still need to find a parking place? Meet Ray, a shiny robot that parks your car at Düsseldorf Airport in Germany.
Ray makes sure you don’t have to park miles away from the terminal, eliminating the hassle of finding a parking place. Just drop off your car within a few meters from the check-in area [...]. When you come back from a holiday or business trip, the robot will make sure your car is ready to go when you walk out of the airport. — popupcity.net
The L.A. Metro Board of Directors officially approved the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan in downtown L.A. to advance from planning to implementation. For the past two years, Metro has worked with a consultant team led by Grimshaw Architects and Gruen Associates to expand the iconic station...
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
A new engineering report assessing the damage caused to the Amtrak-owned Hudson River and East River tunnels in New York City by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 recommends a phased process of maintenance works, which will require taking individual tunnel tubes out of service for extended periods. — railjournal.com
Today, on China’s southern coast, the integration of the Greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) is turning fiction into fact (sans the harsh lawman), with 11 cities linking to create an urban area of 21,100 square miles (55,000 sq km) and a population of up to 80 million.
The nine cities of the PRD, plus the special administrative zones of Hong Kong and Macau, are becoming increasingly linked by a series of bridges, tunnels, roads, and high-speed rail networks. — urbanland.uli.org
Later this month, about 900 of the 1,500 families who live in Vila União will start to move out to make way for the TransOlímpica rapid bus system (BRT) to be built for the 2016 Rio Olympics. It is one of the biggest favela resettlements since Rio was chosen to host the games, with some 500 families also resettled from 2010 to 2011 for the construction of the TransOeste BRT. — Al Jazeera
Tilikum Crossing is the nation's first multi-modal bridge that will be off-limits to private automobiles. It will carry MAX light rail trains (the impetus for construction) as well as Portland's streetcar line and city buses, and of course pedestrian and bike lanes on both sides—but no cars. [...]
"Transit has a huge impact on urban planning. I mean, if you look at our city, it was designed around streetcars. On some level, it has to be part of their DNA." — citylab.com
A new pipeline called the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project is under construction in the Rockaways. It will deliver 647,000 dekatherms of natural gas to New York City each day — enough to power 2.5 million homes. Activists ... say the project is inherently dangerous and is just the latest sign of a broken approval and monitoring process for the United States’ energy infrastructure. — Al Jazeera
Concerned activists and locals may have good reason to be worried. Prior pipeline accidents, such as the 2010 San Bruno explosion, have caused extensive damage and even deaths. The Al Jazeera article notes that "since 1986, there have been about 8,000 significant pipeline incidents in the United...
The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) claims its annual Liveability Survey could be used to "assign a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages," among other things.
But that needn't apply to those in Melbourne, which for the fourth year running has been declared the best city in the world to live.
The Australian culture hub was buoyed by superlative healthcare, infrastructure and education as well as a murder rate of 3.1 per 100,000 people, half the global average of 6.2. — cnn.com
While three Canadian cities made the ranking's top 10 (again), U.S. cities keep failing to score high.The world's top cities for liveability are:1. Melbourne, Australia2. Vienna, Austria3. Vancouver, Canada4. Toronto, Canada=5. Adelaide, Australia=5. Calgary, Canada7. Sydney, Australia...
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