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
China has detailed its urban planning vision, which has been designed to make its sprawling cities more inclusive, safer and better places to live.
[...] policymakers pledged to transform urban development patterns and improve city management.
The last time China held such a high-level meeting was in 1978, when only 18 percent of the population lived in cities. By the end of 2011, in excess of 50 percent of the population called the city their home. — chinadaily.com.cn
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
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
In a series of photos taken over seven years, now published in a new book called Ciphers, photographer Christoph Gielen shows a different perspective on sprawl, intended to get more people to question typical patterns of development.
"I meant for Ciphers to be provocative at a time when we are witnessing a phenomenal escalation in urban construction ... when entire cities are emerging fully formed in India and China, rather than slowly evolving," says Gielen. — fastcoexist.com
It may not seem like it when you’re stuck in traffic on the 110 Freeway, but Southern California is home to some of the least-sprawling metro areas in the country.
That’s according to a study out today from Smart Growth America, which attempted to measure the concept of urban sprawl in 221 metro areas nationwide. The study ranked the Los Angeles, Orange County and Santa Barbara regions in the 25 least-sprawling. — latimes.com
“Ultimately people can’t get around conveniently because they are far away from everything.” And it is this observation that for me epitomizes the problem of the driverless car — it’s the worst kind of solutionism. By becoming so enamored with how technology might transform the car, we’ve neglected to adequately explore how getting rid of cars might transform how and where we live. We’d do well to heed Gorz’s exhortation to “never make transportation an issue by itself.” — opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com
This 1959 film, "Community Growth, Crisis and Challenge," warns citizens, developers, and city officials of the dangers of urban sprawl. This historical artifact, co-sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Urban Land Institute ULI) provides alternative approaches to land development. The film was produced by the NAHB. — ULI
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