Category Archives: urban planning

How car culture colonised our thinking – and our language

We say this because we’ve become accustomed to thinking about the street in “traffic logic”. For centuries, streets used to be a place with a multiplicity of purposes: talk, trade, play, work and moving around. It’s only in the past century that it has become a space for traffic to drive through as quickly and efficiently as possible. This idea is so pervasive that it has colonised our thinking.

Why are roads you can’t live next to, cycle on, or walk along called main roads? Why do we speak of “segregated” or “separate” cycle paths, when it’s actually motorists who’ve been given a separate space of their own? The language of traffic instils a “windscreen view” of the world, as the Belgian mobility expert Kris Peeters wrote a good 20 years ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2022/aug/31/how-car-culture-colonised-our-thinking-and-our-language

Germany’s Ultra-Cheap Train Ticket Saved 1.8 Million Tons of CO2

Germany’s three-month experiment with super-cheap public transport reduced carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to powering about 350,000 homes for a year. The 9-euro ($9) monthly ticket, which allows nationwide travel on regional trains, subways, trams and buses, prevented 1.8 million tons of CO2 because commuters didn’t use their cars as much, according to the VDV public-transport lobby.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-30/germany-s-ultra-cheap-train-ticket-saved-1-8-million-tons-of-co2

Horizon scanning process to foresight emerging issues in Arabsphere’s water vision

The Arabsphere struggles with highly complicated water challenges due to climate change, desertification, coronavirus pandemic, and Russo-Ukrainian War. This paper explores how to build a robust water vision to pave the road to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the Arabsphere. A sustainable water future (SWF) necessitates an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research strategy. ‘Horizon scanning’ process (HSP) is one of the promising foresight methodologies. A generic process for “Horizon scanning” has been developed to cope with water crises and challenges. “DEEPEST” holistic framework has been designed to suit both the “Futurology” science and water, environment, and engineering disciplines. “DEEPEST” characterizes Demographics, Ecological, Environmental, Political, Economic, Social, and Technological features. The macro-future factors (MFF) applied in the foresight process (FP) have been presented. The results showed that Water conservation (WC), Circular Water (CW), and Emerging Water Technologies (EWTs) were the main outcomes of the ‘Horizon scanning’ process (HSP). The paper concluded that the preparing for a sustainable water future (SWF) must be right now and the opportunities range from the deepest water drop to the highest water drop on Earth. The essence of the conclusion is hydrosphere sustainability, particularly in Arabsphere, should be given extreme concentration, effort, and support.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-16803-1

The Office’s Last Stand

It’s been more than two years since the rules of the working world snapped. On all sides of the debate over returning to the office, the stakes feel high as ever. More than one-third of U.S. workers who can do their jobs from home want to stay permanently remote, according to recent data from Gallup. Meanwhile, executives realize that if they don’t persuade their employees to come back now, with pandemic restrictions eased in most areas, the new norms of flexible work will be hard to unstick. So, some sense a standoff coming. Bosses say the office deadlines are real; workers are testing just how much they mean that.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/28/business/the-offices-last-stand.html

Penn Station Plan Makes a High-Stakes Bet on the Future of Office Work

Financial analysts have warned that a permanent change in office-building use could profoundly affect cities like New York, leading to a decline in the value of those properties and the property taxes collected. According to the security company Kastle Systems, which tracks employee card swipes in office buildings, just 37 percent of workers in the city went into the office during the third week of August.

Yet the Penn Station development would be even bigger than the build out of Hudson Yards and include a similar mix of retail, residential and hotel space — as well as lots of offices. At 33 acres, it would surpass the size of Rockefeller Center, the last comparable development in Midtown, completed 80 years ago.

What should a nine-thousand-pound electric vehicle sound like?

The electrification of mobility presents humanity with a rare opportunity to reimagine the way cities might sound. Electric motorcycles, cars, trucks, and vans are legally mandated to replace all internal-combustion-engine (I.C.E.) vehicles in New York, L.A., and other cities by mid-century—a shift that will profoundly alter the acoustic texture of urban life. The internal-combustion engine, in addition to being the single largest source of CO2 emissions, is the leading cause of global noise pollution, which studies have shown to have a similarly corrosive effect on human health. When moving at higher speeds, electric vehicles, or E.V.s, produce roughly the same wind and road noise that I.C.E. vehicles do, but at lower speeds they operate in near-silence: electricity flows from the battery to the motor, which spins with a barely audible hum. Therein lie the promise and the peril of E.V.s for city dwellers.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/08/08/what-should-a-nine-thousand-pound-electric-vehicle-sound-like?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Magazine_Daily_080122&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_medium=email&bxid=5bea0f773f92a404695eb4f3&cndid=43443940&hasha=06bf9d05b385b23200a33fa689bf8430&hashb=8c6fa86955bea9dd1c6cda3ba7f4d1ec80927031&hashc=4af05242d6c8d2161fdf0b3fdcbdd7426e24c76868eea0296401972c24bf1481&esrc=Auto_Subs&utm_content=B&utm_term=TNY_Daily