Friday, September 30, 2011

How the Imagery of "Urbanized" Motivates Better Places

by Chuck Wolfe

As a survey text in visual form, Gary Hustwit’s Urbanized is a frank introduction to the buzz about cities in our age of right-minded sustainability. Lurking amid the narration and vignettes is a scalable world view where the car is no longer king, and community priorities rather than government mandates often set the agenda for change.
Seattle had the chance to view Hustwit’s new release last night, and in my estimation, the audience saw local issues reflected back from the screen, as will city-dwellers everywhere who attend an Urbanized presentation. Hustwit clearly succeeds in highlighting a universal cast of diverse and sometimes conflicting stakeholders who must balance and integrate ideas, technology and economic forces characteristic of an urbanizing world.
Other articles about Urbanized have set the stage well, among them a Hustwit interview in TheCityFix, a review by Christopher Hawthorne in the Los Angeles Times (who notes Southern California is missing in Hustwit’s lexicon) and a concise entry by Nate Berg on the new Atlantic Cities site.
In short, Hustwit, while not an architect or urban planner, aptly synthesizes the hottest urban issues—from carbon neutrality to safety to human-scale transportation. He employs voices of the well known, the lesser known, and fast-moving urban imagery, which guides the film from Mumbai to Santiagp, to Brasila, Bogota and around the world.
I’ve written lately about the value of imagery in conveying the messages of cities. In this context, Urbanized gives rich meaning to street scenes, infrastructure, and the single building as part of an urban framework.

read more

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Urbanization, Urban India and Metropolitan Cities in India

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Living Cities: Collaboration is Key

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its establishment, Living Cities hosted panel discussions on Tuesday on leadership, innovation and problem-solving mechanisms in urban areas.
Living Cities was established in 1991 by philanthropists and corporate leaders who believed that real change in cities can only come from “intentional and sustained collaboration between the private, public and philanthropic sectors.” Living Cities is comprised of the 22 largest foundations and financial institutions in the world.
Initiated under the auspices of such leadership and initially called the National Community Development Initiative (NCDI), the organization has since catalyzed $16 billion in urban investments. The group works to connect private funding to ensure metropolitan prosperity and provide opportunities for underprivileged communities.

One problem with New Urbanism is its lack of flexibility

Vernacular Architecture And Regional Design: Cultural Process And Environmental Response

Sustainable Urban Planning

Strategic Urban Planning and Design Tools for Inner City Regeneration: Towards a Strategic Approach of Sustainable Urban Form Future The Case of Bandung City, Indonesia

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Application of the VISEVA demand generation software to Berlin using publicly available behavioral data

by Andreas Justen, Ulrike Beuck, and Kai Nagel

In this paper the EVA algorithm developed by Lohse is applied in order to generate Berlin’s average workday traffic based on a minimum of data input. Behavioral parameters are derived from the German travel survey “Mobilit├Ąt in Deutschland (MiD)”. The EVA approach allows generating trip purpose and time dependent OD matrices from general input data used in transport modeling. This model output can be used for standard OD-matrix-based static or dynamic assignment, but provides us with primary activity location choice and scheduling information necessary to generate initial conditions for agent-based transport simulation packages like MATSIM.
The paper describes the basic concept of the EVA model and specifications of the Berlin scenario. Since the range of possible input data for demand generation is limited, our aim was to use the established demand generation model VISEVA with a minimum of input data, which has to be commonly available and easy to purchase (making transfer of transport models to other study areas easier). The model output is displayed and compared with output resulting from Berlin’s official demand generation model. Besides that, the simulation results are compared to real-world data from traffic counts. It can be shown that even though we reduce data requirements to a minimum, the results have a structure adequate for Berlin and could serve as input for initial condition generation for MATSIM.

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Agent-based Simulation of Human Movement Shaped by the Underlying Street Structure

Saturday, September 24, 2011


On 12 March, revenue service began on the first light metro line in Mashhad, Iran’s second city, with the start of a limited pre-opening trial. A formal opening by President Ahmedinajad will take place later, according to Mashhad urban & suburban railway operations company (Musroc) deputy general manager Abolfazi Mirzaee.
Line 1 extends 19km from Nakhrisi in the east to Vakilabad in the south-west. Half the route is in tunnel. A 6km extension from Nakhrisi to the airport in the south-east of the city is planned.
Delivery of 70 low-floor LRVs from CNR Changchung is not due for completion until the end of 2011, thus Musroc has only been able to launch a trial service with nine 3-car units, limiting the operation to 35 minute headways between 08:00 and 16:00.

more about urban Iran:


Governance of Tehran City - Region: Challenges and Trends

Low Carbon Housing for `Young Cities`: Experiences from Hashtgerd New Town, Iran

Friday, September 23, 2011

Potsdam On Three Euros A Day

This past summer I spent two pleasant weeks in Potsdam, Germany, just outside Berlin. Potsdam was the spiritual heart of the old Prussian monarchy (the loss of which cultural conservatives much regret), and it is rich in history and good architecture. Thanks to the fact that it was in the former East Germany, Potsdam is also something of a public transportation paradise.
Not many East Germans had cars, and East Germany lacked the money to replace tram systems with buses. As a result, even though Potsdam is a small city, it has an extensive streetcar system. With an all-day transit pass costing just over three Euros, it was easy to ride the whole system, which I did.
Service is frequent and well-patronized, even though most people now own an automobile. As so often in Europe, we see that having a car does not automatically mean using the car. Many trips are made on foot, on bicycle or on transit while the car sits at home. Not surprisingly, I found the trams generally better patronized than the buses, especially outside rush hour.
Every major tram stop, where routes exchange passengers, has an electronic sign board telling riders when the next trams will arrive on all routes.

Potsdam tram, by Sludgegulper

Potsdam tram, by bindonlane

Potsdam tram, by mikem 4600

Potsdam tram, by Sludgegulper

Potsdam tram, by bindonlane

Potsdam tram, by kafeeeinstein

more about public transport:

Crowdsourcing Realtime Transit Updates

Want to Save $825 This Month? Ride Public Transit

6 Reasons Driving Has Peaked in U.S. Cities

High speed rail in Texas: options

U.S. Bike Programs Escape Federal Cuts, For Now

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate moved to protect funding for the Transportation Enhancement program, an initiative that helps expand transportation choices including pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and safety programs.
The amendment to eliminate these programs was introduced by Oklahoma SenatorsTom Coburn and James Inhofe who called bike trails "frivolous," and made eliminating them one of his top three priorities.
But as Shareable's Jay Walljasper recently reported, "programs to make biking and walking safer for everyone are one of the smartest investments ever to come out of Washington. Any politician wanting to eliminate them ought to open the pages of the venerable conservative magazine The Economist, which last week made a strong case for continuing to build bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly street designs ."
Eager to stand up for their right to bike and walk, close to 50,000 people from around the country sent emails and made thousands of phone calls to their U.S. Senators to voice their disagreement with the amendement.

photo by Ken Wilcox.

similar articles:

Smart Transportation Planning in Freiburg, Germany

Walking, Bicycling, and Urban Landscapes: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area

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Reality Proves a Setback for Parisian Bike Rentals




Celebrate World Carfree Day!

Every September 22 is World Carfree Day, a global, annual celebration of cities and public life, free from the noise, stress and pollution produced by cars. It is a chance for the world to liberate itself from the car-dominated society to which it has grown accustomed. By choosing other modes of travel, like bicycling, public transit and walking, entire communities can become part of this special day.
Although World Carfree Day is only a single day out of the year, the organizers and enthusiasts of the day hope that the celebrations will leave a lasting effect. “But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to ‘normal’ life,” the World Carfree Network’s website explains. “When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.”

All Aboard! Getting America Back on Rail

Smart Transportation Planning in Freiburg, Germany

Crowdsourcing Realtime Transit Updates



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Federal Support for Smart Planning Is on the Line Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a Senate panel will vote on two budget bills for FY2012, one of which is for transportation and housing programs. The draft of the bill isn’t available until after the subcommittee markup tomorrow, but Smart Growth America is calling attention to the fact that it’s important to make sure the bill includes funding for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the partnership between USDOT, the EPA, and HUD.
Through the partnership, the three agencies have coordinated transportation and land use policy to a greater extent than they did before, helping to curb sprawl and promote smart growth. This partnership has taken the federal agencies out of their “stovepipe” mentality and encouraged efficiency and collaboration at an unprecedented level.

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Housing Affordability: Has planning contributed to the housing affordability crisis?

Ebook: Urban Planning in Europe

Hierarchy of Infrastructure Needs

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Photos of Delhi skyline

skyline photo of Delhi, bz baklavabaklava

Delhi skyline, by TheAJ

Delhi skyline, photo by baklavabaklava

Delhi skyline, by marlambie

Delhi skyline, by TheAJ
more skyline photos:

Skyline photos of Hamburg, Germany 1

Skyline photos of Portland, Oregon 1

Skyline photos of Berlin 1



All Aboard! Getting America Back on Rail

via sustainable cities

While railroads were once the backbone of American transportation, the nation has since become notoriously car-centric, an arrangement that many modern urban planners and environmental advocates alike decry as inefficient, polluting, and conducive to sprawl.

A number of recent proposals, from upgrades to urban and commuter transit to an ambitious push for inter-city high speed rail from the Obama administration, have endeavored to change that. But many have encountered resistance, and some have fallen victim to budget cuts, political blockage, or other obstacles.

read more

photo by kixmi71

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