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Cities for People

Danish architect Jan Gehl on making cities safe for people, the art and science of designing good cities for walking, and how to plan good cities for bicycling.
posted by parudox on Jun 27, 2011 - 39 comments

 

Megacities on the move

Forum for the Future, a UK-based non-profit, has produced a series of short videos depicting possible future scenarios for sustainable urban mobility. Titled "Megacities on the move," the series explores "how we will live and travel in the cities of 2040". The four scenarios are (links to Vimeo): Planned-opolis , Communi-city, Renew-abad, and Sprawl-ville. [more inside]
posted by thescientificmethhead on Jun 26, 2011 - 23 comments

The Growth Ponzi Scheme

The Growth Ponzi Scheme, a series of five blog posts on the financial underpinnings (or lack thereof) of the American post-war development pattern. 1: The Mechanisms of Growth - Trading near-term cash for long-term obligations. 2: Case studies that show how our places do not create, but destroy, our wealth. 3: The Ponzi scheme revealed - How new development is used to pay for old development. 4: How we've sustained the unsustainable by going "all in" on the suburban pattern of development. 5: Responses that are rational and responses that are irrational.
posted by parudox on Jun 23, 2011 - 84 comments

A place on earth

Safe Ground is an organization of Sacramento's homeless population to claim a secure location in order to live decently. While resistance to tent cities (previously, 2, 3) has largely been due to political expediency (criminalizing homelessness is easier than ending it), a spot on Oprah brought media attention to the plight of the homeless and made it more difficult for police to bully them from place to place with the threat of jail. In response to this, Costa Mantis(of He Knows You're Alone fame [uncredited on the wiki]) started filming the personal stories of the homeless along the American River in Sacramento. This led to Searching for Safe Ground, a miniseries concerning the struggle of Sacramento's homeless for a place to exist. Incidentally, a federal jury ruled tonight that the city of Sacramento has been violating homeless people's constitutional rights by moving them from public property and confiscating their property. Stay tuned.
posted by Wyatt on May 24, 2011 - 15 comments

Moving Beyond the Automobile

Moving Beyond the Automobile is a series of ten short videos by Streetfilms that highlights new directions in urban transportation. It shows how cities in the U.S. are encouraging a shift away from car dependency and making it easier and more pleasant to get around by other means. [more inside]
posted by parudox on Apr 26, 2011 - 36 comments

China's Ghost Cities

China's Ghost Cities (via)
posted by nam3d on Mar 30, 2011 - 48 comments

I Need the Darkness Someone Please Cut the Lights

At 830 pm local time on March 26 the world celebrated Earth Hour 2011 by turning off the lights.
posted by Glibpaxman on Mar 28, 2011 - 97 comments

Slow Sculpture

Unsolving the city: BLDG BLOG interviews China Miéville
posted by Artw on Mar 3, 2011 - 30 comments

Mega-City One

China is planning to merge the nine cities around the Pearl River Delta, producing the worlds largest city.
posted by Artw on Jan 29, 2011 - 51 comments

We used to get 김치 on the corner....

In the 1960's, 70's and 80's, urban decay and high crime rates caused retail chain supermarkets to flee New York City. (google books link) Korean immigrants filled the gap with corner grocery stores. For nearly two decades they were ubiquitous -- symbols of the group's ongoing quest to achieve the American Dream. But 30 years later, Where Did The Korean Greengrocers Go? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 18, 2011 - 19 comments

Smartest Cities?

The Daily Beast attempts to identify America's Smartest Cities. Rather more seriously, Nature ponders the Best Cities for Science worldwide, as part of its special on Science and the City. (The podcast segment on cities is a nice overview.)
posted by philipy on Oct 25, 2010 - 33 comments

A Great Celebration and Conversation

Worldchanging Bright Green Future City - Alex Steffen sits down with the mayors of Portland and Seattle to talk about which is better the 'future city' and the confluence of urbanization, social justice and environmental change, not to mention political pushback amid high unemployment and cultural inertia.
posted by kliuless on Oct 25, 2010 - 10 comments

How white is your hood?

How segregated is your city? Eric Fischer maps the top 40 US cities by race, using 2000 census data. Each color-coded dot represents 25 people: Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, and Orange is Hispanic. The maps are oddly pretty, and revealing. Compare, for example, Detroit and San Antonio. via [more inside]
posted by CunningLinguist on Sep 20, 2010 - 174 comments

travel to cities in Europe

europe-cities is a beautifully organized, practical site for information about traveling to cities in Europe. All the information is in one place: info about specific cities, cuisine, history, overview information, weather, a variety of cultural interests from English Christmas Markets to Hungarian culture. And, best of all, finding the cheapest/best places to stay. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Aug 28, 2010 - 16 comments

Global Cities

Beyond City Limits: The age of nations is over. The new urban age has begun. "The 21st century will not be dominated by America or China, Brazil or India, but by the city. In an age that appears increasingly unmanageable, cities rather than states are becoming the islands of governance on which the future world order will be built. This new world is not -- and will not be -- one global village, so much as a network of different ones."
posted by homunculus on Aug 20, 2010 - 31 comments

I will not be just a tourist in the world of images...

Locals vs. Tourists: Eric Fischer maps Flickr pictures taken by city locals (in blue) against those taken by tourists (in red).
posted by karminai on Aug 3, 2010 - 40 comments

The High Cost of Free Parking

"Eighty-seven percent of all trips are made by personal vehicle and 99 percent of those trips arrive at a free parking space." But that free parking comes at a high cost according to Donald Shoup's research. He advocates for charging the right price for on-street parking and for removing off-street parking requirements. Shoup's ideas are coming to the streets in San Francisco's new demand-responsive parking system. Loyal Shoupistas work to spread and implement his ideas.
posted by parudox on Jul 13, 2010 - 192 comments

You're gonna go up the street 12 pixels, hang a left, then straight 44 pixels to 77th street...

8bit Cities: Amsterdam - Austin - Berlin - Detroit - London - New York - Paris - San Francisco - Seattle - Washington, D.C.
posted by BeerFilter on Jul 9, 2010 - 17 comments

Anywhere, TM

A new project called CitID is attempting to collect logos and/or typefaces representing every city in the world. So far, they have over 150 submissions, including Berlin, Kiev, Portland, Bogota, Tokyo, and Cape Town. [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jun 14, 2010 - 25 comments

neocolonial OCP-like company towns: changing the rules (in a good way)

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty In the 1990s, Paul Romer revolutionized economics. In the Aughts, he became rich as a software entrepreneur. Now he's trying to help the poorest countries grow rich—by convincing them to establish foreign-run "charter cities" within their borders. Romer's idea is unconventional, even neo-colonial—the best analogy is Britain's historic lease of Hong Kong. And against all odds, he just might make it happen. (via cc) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 10, 2010 - 92 comments

Infographic: Food and Drink Spending by City

Infographic: Food spending in the biggest U.S. cities. Austin, TX is living large. Detroit, MI must be losing weight.
posted by jjray on May 13, 2010 - 34 comments

19 Cities in the World With 20 Million People in the 21st Century

19.20.21. is a planned five-year project to understand the effects of the rising global population of humanity becoming increasingly urbanized: 19 cities in the world with 20 million people in the 21st century. The Flash-based introduction includes historical trends and geographic factors.
posted by jjray on Apr 13, 2010 - 10 comments

Short urban exploration documentaries

Uneven Terrain is a series of short documentaries about urban exploration, about 10-15 minutes long each. There are six so far, about monumental ruins in New York, Centralia, the Pennsylvania town where an underground coalseam has been on fire since the 1960s, abandoned missile silos in the US and how they're being turned into homes, oil drilling in Los Angeles, the Teufelberg listening station and the abandoned bunkers under Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and pirate radio in London and on the old Redsand sea forts. Each short doc has a different presenter. All have accompanying photo galleries. [These are produced for the bootmaker Palladium, but it's pretty low-key]
posted by Kattullus on Apr 7, 2010 - 7 comments

John Strype's Survey of London (1720)

LONDON, the Metropolis and Glory of the Kingdom, was anciently the Seat of the British Empire; and since, stiled commonly, the Royal Chamber of our Kings. The Kings Chamber, the Heart of the Commonwealth, and a Short Draught of the whole Kingdom: As it was once described by Sir Edward Coke, sometime Recorder of this City. It may boast it self to be the largest in Extent, and the fairest built, the most Populous, and best inhabited (and that by a Civil, Rich and Sober People) of any in the World. And for a general Trade throughout the Universe, all other must give her the Precedence. [more inside]
posted by ClanvidHorse on Apr 3, 2010 - 6 comments

Place Hacking

Virtual hacking is cool but place hacking makes it core again, brachiating across scaffolding to get the shot on your Digital SLR that maximizes your flickr stats, raking in the google adsense cash and conforming to a zerowork ethos if we get pro at it. Sleep in ruins, sell your photos of disgusting shit to tourists. Rinse off in a petrol station sink and repeat. We are the nerds that finally walked away from their computers and we are behind that scaffolding covering the building you ignore everyday when you walk by it going to work, we just loved on that place like no one has in 20 years. We are psychotopological terrorists and we will shove that masterlock up your ass.
A "reformed archaeologist" talks about exploration of urban ruins. Modern urban ruins.
posted by Rumple on Jan 21, 2010 - 72 comments

OASIS

The New York City Open Accessible Space Information System Cooperative (OASIS) is an online, interactive mapping and data analysis application that gives an incredibly detailed view of New York City's open spaces and how they are used. The map enables overlays of information like: transit; parks, playgrounds and open space; zoning and landmarks; current and historical land use; social services; demographics; and environmental characteristics.(via The Ministry of Type, who like OASIS mainly for its pretty map possibilities.) [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Dec 15, 2009 - 5 comments

The Walled Cities: Keeping Out The Joneses

The first human settlements... before the bronze age, before the iron age and even probably before the stone age, didn’t happen because people liked each other’s company. "As the old saying goes, there's safety in numbers... and fortifications. "If you have any doubt about how wood, stone and later even steel walls helped shape human civilization, all you need to do is take a close look at most of our cities, especially the older ones."
posted by Effigy2000 on Jul 18, 2009 - 38 comments

Bruxellisation

Top 10 comic book cities
posted by Artw on Jul 13, 2009 - 45 comments

The Squares of the City

Paul Romer: A Theory of History, with an Application - "His economic theory of history explains phenomena such as the constant improvement of the human standard of living by looking primarily at just two forms of innovative ideas: technology and rules." (previously, via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 3, 2009 - 11 comments

Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong

Prelude to Federation - Like a neocolonial SEZ (or TAZ) Paul Romer, not to be confused with David, posits "less developed countries contract with capitalist nations to set up Hong Kong's for them... that we rethink sovereignty (respect borders, but maybe import administrative control); rethink citizenship (support residency, but maybe import voice in political affairs); and rethink scale (instead of focusing on nations, focus on cities—on city states like Hong Kong and Singapore)." cf. neocameralism [1, 2, 3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 21, 2009 - 16 comments

we have complex, messy models, yet reality is startlingly neat and simple

"Zipf's Law (pdf) states that if you tabulate the biggest cities in a given country and rank them according to their populations, the largest city is always about twice as big as the second largest, and three times as big as the third largest, and so on. In other words, the population of a city is, to a good approximation, inversely proportional to its rank." [more inside]
posted by AceRock on May 21, 2009 - 31 comments

Not surprisingly, Detroit didn't make the list.

Thinking of relocating in these troubled economic times? You might want to consider checking out Forbes' list of The Most Overpriced Cities in America. The Top 5: Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, New York, and... Providence?
posted by grapefruitmoon on May 12, 2009 - 56 comments

How Cities Hurt Your Brain

Recent research has found that living in a city may be bad for your brain. Compared with natural settings, cities over-stimulate us and impair our memory and cognitive functions.
posted by jon_hansen on Feb 17, 2009 - 84 comments

More Than Photo Op or Foil

"The last eight years, in terms of engagement, [Washington] D.C. has just been a photo op for the president, or a foil," says Tommy Wells, a social worker turned D.C. Council member. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Dec 22, 2008 - 27 comments

DEAR COMRADE!

Soviet Music "You are browsing a resource which is devoted first of all to the history and culture of the Soviet Union, the country which the West for a long time usually named as "The Empire of Evil", the country to which some people in the West perceive as "something big and snowy". I offer you to try to look outside the frames of usual stereotypes, to try to understand life of a unique country, with its interesting history, beautiful culture and miraculous relations between people. The music submitted on this site - is an evident sample of a totally new culture, which completely differs from all that, with what Hollywood and MTV supply us so much. This culture, being free from the cult of money, platitude, violence and sex, was urged to not indulge low bents of a human soul but to help the person to become culturally enriched and to grow above himself." [more inside]
posted by tellurian on Sep 23, 2008 - 16 comments

Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea

Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea is an exhibit by Swoon composed of seven floating sculptures made from discarded materials. Following a performance tour down the Hudson River, it is docked at Deitch Studios in NYC until October 18th.
posted by lunit on Sep 9, 2008 - 4 comments

The body of the city

Visualizing Early Washington. A project at the Imaging Research Center of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County has reconstructed the original landscape of Washington DC before its radical transformation into a modern capital city. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Sep 2, 2008 - 21 comments

Life in a Northern Town

Policy Exchange, the same British conservative think tank who brought you reports such as the tastefully titled The Hijacking of British Islam (previously), have released a new report, Cities Limited (pdf), which states that the only solution for people living in the North of Britain - where unemployment and poverty are high - is to abandon their homes and move south. Leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, minced no words in his response: "This report is rubbish from start to finish. I think the author himself said it might be a bit barmy. It is barmy. I gather he's off to Australia. The sooner he gets on the ship the better." Conservative bloggers have been very quick to distance themselves from the report, some going as far as to blame it on Liberal Democrats. Co-author of the report, Tim Leunig, a lecturer in economic history at the London School of Economics, defends his position.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Aug 14, 2008 - 32 comments

The Changing Face of the Inner City

Are you a young middle-class creative type (probably white) who has chosen to live in an urban neighborhood that your parents would have shunned? Have the families that formerly lived in your neighborhood (probably not white) been pushed out by soaring rents and real-estate prices to the city fringes or suburbs? The New Republic on demographic inversion.
posted by digaman on Aug 2, 2008 - 64 comments

Traffic Scorecard

The National Traffic Scorecard ranks the 100 most-congested metropolitan areas in the United States. Number one? Los Angeles, naturally. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Jun 17, 2008 - 53 comments

Get yer urban exploration/dead mall fix right here

"Q: What the hell is this site about? This is a site about urban exploration in the Ozarks." Abandoned water slides, underground tunnels, abandoned buildings and half-demolished malls throughout Missouri were all once fair game for this blog, and remain fair game for those who post in Underground Ozarks' forums.
posted by limeonaire on Jun 16, 2008 - 25 comments

Urban pranks

From the Improv Everywhere people comes the Urban Prankster blog to keep track of delightful shenanigans around the world.
posted by CunningLinguist on Jun 11, 2008 - 21 comments

Place matters

Another Paul Graham essay, Cities and Ambition. This one's one of his better ones though. His claim: each city sends its inhabitants a distinct message about how they should live their lives. New York City sends the message that you should be richer. Cambridge sends the message that you should be smarter. Berkeley sends the message that you should live better. Consequently, the city you live in has a profound effect on what you strive for, what you value, and how you channel your ambitions. Place matters; choose wisely. [more inside]
posted by decoherence on Jun 2, 2008 - 87 comments

City of the Future, Taiwan 1960s

City of the Future, Taiwan 1960s
posted by socalsamba on May 27, 2008 - 13 comments

Encyclopedia of Transportation Planning Strategies

Too much traffic? Can't find parking? Choking on smog? Worried about climate change? Gas prices too high, but you still have to drive? Send your city planner a link to the Online Encyclopedia of Transportation Demand Management strategies. [more inside]
posted by salvia on May 8, 2008 - 7 comments

Oil at the Top and Oil at the Bottom

The world's cleanest cities and dirtiest cities.
posted by Navelgazer on May 2, 2008 - 59 comments

We should all live in Manhattan

New York City is the greenest city in America. Eighty-two per cent of Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot. That's ten times the rate for Americans in general, and eight times the rate for residents of Los Angeles County. New York City is more populous than all but eleven states; if it were granted statehood, it would rank 51st in per-capita energy use.... But this is not necessarily something people want to hear: In a conversation with a Sierra Club representative involved in Challenge to Sprawl, I said that the organization's anti-sprawl suggestions and the modified streetscapes in the slide show shared many significant features with Manhattan-whose most salient characteristics include wide sidewalks, narrow streets, mixed uses, densely packed buildings, and an extensive network of subways and buses. The representative hesitated, then said that I was essentially correct, although he would prefer that the program not be described in such terms, since emulating New York City would not be considered an appealing goal by most of the people whom the Sierra Club is trying to persuade
posted by storybored on Apr 6, 2008 - 61 comments

Detroit Public Schools Book Depository

"This is a building where our deeply-troubled public school system once stored its supplies, and then one day apparently walked away from it all, allowing everything to go to waste...All that's left is an overwhelming sense of knowledge unlearned and untapped potential." (Via Making Light.)
posted by ottereroticist on Jan 22, 2008 - 57 comments

Çatalhöyük, oldest city or biggest village?

Why humans started huddling together in cities is still shrouded in mystery but if the question is ever settled the answer will probably be found in Çatalhöyük, a settlement of five to eight thousand located in what is now Turkey that came into existence around 7500 BC. The current head archaeologist of the Çatalhöyük Project is Ian Hodder, one of the leading lights in postprocessual archaeology, who summarized his finding in a recent article in Natural History Magazine. The Çatalhöyük Project website is a treasure trove of information about the ancient settlement. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Dec 29, 2007 - 24 comments

Is This Utopia? Are Ruins Beautiful?

Shrinking Cities (virtual and real): Analysis and Interventions. [more inside]
posted by salvia on Nov 29, 2007 - 12 comments

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