From time to time, our Omnibus columnists check in to provide commentary on issues of design, policy, and history and their impact on the life and form of the city today. Stephen Rustow’s first column scaled the heights of New York’s skyscrapers to consider “The Privatization of Prospect.” Here, in his second installment, Rustow looks at three intangible forces that greatly influence the shape of our built environment: zoning, finance, and the building code. — urbanomnibus.net
The Fire, Buildings and City Planning Departments are writing rules to govern what are called occupant-evacuation elevators — cars that can, in special circumstances, be used to move people down in an emergency. [...]
Experts who have spent years studying building evacuations believe that approach has become outmoded and is in itself potentially dangerous as extremely tall skyscrapers increasingly pierce the New York skyline. — nytimes.com
Sen. Carol Liu on Wednesday announced a bill, SB 192, that will require bicycle riders to wear helmets or face a $25 fine.
“Any responsible bicycle rider should wear a helmet,” Liu said ... “This law will help protect more people and make sure all riders benefit from the head protection that a helmet provides.” — sacbee.com
California law currently requires anyone under 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bike, nonmotorized scooter, skateboard, or wearing in-line or roller skates. Liu's SB 192 bill would extend this provision to everyone, not just minors, and also require cyclists to wear reflective clothing at night...
By shutting down New York City’s subways, commuter rail, and roads for this week’s storm-that-wasn’t, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) made the right call. [...]
The city has learned the hard way that the best way to keep people off the streets is by shutting down mass transit. [...]
Preemptively shutting down subways before Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012 worked well in keeping people home. — city-journal.org
Earlier this week we reported on Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s decision to prevent construction of a sidewalk on Riverside Drive that would provide walking access to a major new city park. Local advocates say the lack of a sidewalk will make the park harder to get to on foot, and they don’t buy the mayor’s explanation that people will be safer if there’s no sidewalk tempting them to walk. — usa.streetsblog.org
In fact, as many as 600 million birds die in window collisions in the U.S. and Canada every year, scientists estimate. [...]
A growing awareness of the threats to bird populations has prompted new laws and voluntary guidelines in cities from Toronto to San Francisco. Along with "green" building programs, these new rules are spurring demand for bird-friendly glass among architects, glass manufacturers, and their clients. — news.nationalgeographic.com
SketchFactor ... is a Manhattan-based navigation app that crowdsources user experiences along with publicly available data to rate the relative "sketchiness" of certain areas in major cities. [...]
The founders are also bracing for potential complications from an app that asks anonymous users to judge a neighborhood's sketchiness. After all, fear can be subjective. And the site could be vulnerable to criticisms regarding the degree to which race is used to profile a neighborhood. — crainsnewyork.com
If liberal cultural and educational institutions are to operate with any integrity in that environment, they must insist on a change of the rules: abolish the recruitment debt system, pay a living wage, allow workers to change employers at will and legalize the right to collective bargaining. Otherwise, their gulf paymasters will go on cherry-picking from the globalization menu [...] while spurning the social contract that protects basic human rights. — nytimes.com
Cycling advocacy group People for Bikes has selected six U.S. cities to receive funding and consultation for new protected bike lanes, as part of its Green Lane Project. The annual Project collaborates with cities over two years to expedite the installation of protected bike lanes, one of the ways...
"Ai Weiwei, who helped design the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, stayed away from the opening ceremonies because he said he wanted his building to represent freedom, not be a trophy for an autocratic regime uninterested in change." — hyperallergic.com
Are we even delineating the role of the Architect in the construction process? Especially in the case where the clients are a monarchy and the problem cited is endemic to the entire region and not limited to the construction industry?Quoting Ai Weiwei and not Herzog and de Meuron seems almost...
"I have nothing to do with the workers," said Hadid. "I think that's an issue the government – if there's a problem – should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved."
Asked if she was concerned, Hadid added: "Yes, but I'm more concerned about the deaths in Iraq as well, so what do I do about that? I'm not taking it lightly but I think it's for the government to look to take care of. It's not my duty as an architect to look at it. — theguardian.com
The organising committee for the Qatar 2022 World Cup has promised that contractors who build its stadiums will be held to high standards on the welfare of migrant workers, in the wake of trenchant and sustained criticism.
But the promises, made after demands for a progress update from football's governing body Fifa, do not deal with wider concerns about workers engaged in the £137bn construction boom underpinning World Cup infrastructure. — Guardian
After the accidental death of over 185 Nepali workers' death, Qatar has obliged to introduce new standards to avoid further pressure from the international community.However, it only deals with the construction of the stadiums, which is due to begin in earnest this year.
According to a recent report from PeopleForBikes and Alliance for Biking & Walking, protected city bike lanes can actually encourage local business success. As trends show workers moving into U.S. cities (rather than out into suburbs), and businesses catering to a younger workforce that...
A five-storey apartment block collapsed on Friday in the Indian financial centre of Mumbai, killing at least four people and trapping scores in the latest accident to underscore shoddy building standards in Asia's third-largest economy. — reuters.com
The Hearst Tower scaffold, in short, can fold around its center, allowing it to conform to the building’s angled windows. (A failure in this folding mechanism may be what trapped the men: NBC is reporting that the motor suffered a power failure.) — newyorker.com
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