Apparently, this story popped up back in 2015, but it's so cool that it's still worth reading about now: the city of Portland, Oregon has water pipes buried underneath of it that not only carry clean drinking water to the locals, but also generate hydroelectric power at the same time!
From Fast Company:
In Portland, one of the city's main pipelines now uses Lucid's pipes to make power that's sent into the grid. Though the system can't generate enough energy for an entire city, the pipes can power individual buildings like a school or library, or help offset a city's total energy bill. Unlike wind or solar power, the system can generate electricity at any time of day, regardless of weather, since the pipes always have water flowing through them.
The pipes can't generate power in every location; they only work in places where water is naturally flowing downward with gravity (if water is being pumped, the system would waste energy). But they have another feature that can be used anywhere: The pipes have sensors that can monitor water, something that utilities couldn't do in the past.
Providing power to partially operate water treatment and pump facilities during the day and then juice up streetlights at night: what's not to love about that? Read the rest
Road diets (previously) have been proven to reduce fatalities and unsafe speed incidents. Here's how it works. Read the rest
YouTuber euverus modded Cities: Skylines to demonstrate how 30 different types of intersections have dramatically different amounts of traffic flow. A four-way intersection with no traffic lights gets a flow of 191 vehicles per minute, where a stack interchange can handle 1099 vehicles in the same time frame.
The mods used, Traffic Manager: President Edition and Network Extensions 2, are both available for free on Steam.
The big surprise for me was the roundabout, because we rarely have them in the Midwest or the West Coast. They seemed like a lot of extra space needed for an incremental benefit, but it appears they can be more efficient and safer, even weird ones.
• Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions (YouTube / euverus) Read the rest
Dezeen interview leading architects and designers around the world for Elevation, a new documentary on how drones will change cities. Speculative architect Liam Young points out, "Now that drones are in the hands of every person in the street, they're potentially as disruptive as the internet." Read the rest
Getting to a subway platform from the street often involves navigating stairs as well as a labyrinth of corridors. Architect Candy Chan created remarkably detailed and accurate diagrams of New York City's noted subway entrances and exits, overlaid with transparent parks and buildings. Read the rest
This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:
HGTV and glossy magazines have sparked a boomlet of interest in tiny homes, but they've also made them look fun, cute and easy. The realities of a tiny lifestyle can be more daunting. Municipalities often don't know what to make of tiny houses, and living in one legally is, in many places, challenging. There's a lack of infrastructure for people who want to build them. And although they're in many ways an imaginative solution to some of the most vexing urban housing issues, they don't yet have a high profile in cities. Is there a place for tiny homes in Los Angeles? One woman thinks so, and has founded a collective of like-minded people to make it happen.
Photo by Ben Chun: Creative Commons
This is the fourth episode of Season 5. You can catch up on the whole series at the iTunes Store. While you're there, please take a second to leave the show a rating and review. And you can subscribe right here:
iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | Read the rest
A new study of driver attitudes toward bikers shows that being able to perceive cyclists is influenced by driver attitudes toward cyclists. Those who don't like or don't care about cyclists don't see them even when looking at them. They also found that the social dominance of vehicles means they have a far higher degree of lethality over "alternative" transportation like biking or walking: Read the rest
What to do in a highly populated city when you've got too many cars and not enough streets? Build a two-lane public road on top of a 5-story building, of course. Read the rest
Convenience always carries costs. In the case of e-commerce, the surge in residential deliveries is causing in urban gridlock. Citylab goes out on delivery routes for their interesting report: Read the rest
Robert Moses gets remembered as the father of New York's modern urban plan, the "master builder" who led the proliferation of public benefit corporations, gave NYC its UN buildings and World's Fairs, and the New Deal renaissance of the city: he was also an avowed racist who did everything he could to punish and exclude people of color who lived in New York, and the legacy of his architecture-level discrimination lives on in the city today. Read the rest
Johnny Miller is a Cape Town-based photographer who uses drones to capture aerial views of neighbourhoods and cities that reveal the deep, racial inequalities in architecture and city planning between black and white populations. Read the rest
Uber may be rapacious, exploitative corporate scum, but they're knocking the bottom out of one of the most corrupt "markets" in the country. Read the rest
The Narrow Streets SF site tries to imagine what San Francisco would be like with streets redesigned for humans instead of cars, allowing the space clawed back from the roads to be used for more housing. Read the rest
A 15-foot-deep sinkhole opened beneath a vacation condo complex near Walt Disney World in Florida, partially devouring a pair of three-story buildings above it. Some 35 people were successfully evacuated from the buildings at Summer Bay Resort, 10 minutes' drive from the Disney property. One building is still sinking. Read the rest
A reader writes, "Picture Disneyland not between Ball, Katella, Harbor and whatever they call West Street in Anaheim these days but in La Mirada, Whittier Narrows or on Willowick Country Club in Santa Ana. Urban planner Sam Gennawey has looked at those alternate sites and many others for the Mouse." Gennawey is the author of
Walt and the Promise of Progress City
, from which this work is drawn. Read the rest
Back in November 2012, the New York Department of Transportation released a report called Measuring the Street: New Metrics for the 21st Century, which had some compelling figures on the way that local business benefits from bike-lanes, for the fairly obvious reason that cyclists find it easy to stop and shop, as compared to drivers, who are more likely to continue on to a mall with a big parking lot, or shop online.
In many ways, these data come as no surprise. We know that when towns invest in bicycle infrastructure, people will ride more — the number of people traveling by bicycle increases when there is infrastructure to make traveling by bike safe and easy.
We also know that people who travel along a street by bicycle have fewer barriers to stopping at a local business than people who travel along the same street by car. It's very easy to hop off a bicycle and find a place to secure the bike; not so with finding parking for an automobile. In fact, a recent study suggest that bicycle riders tend to spend more at local businesses over the course of a month.
This new study makes it clear: investing in bicycle improvements boosts small businesses. And what town or city doesn't want to boost activity at local businesses?
NYC Study Finds Protected Bicycle Lanes Boost Local Business
(via Kottke) Read the rest
In an excellent NYT story, Sarah Lyall reports on "lights-out London" -- the phenomenon whereby ultra-wealthy foreigners (often from corrupt plutocracies like Kazakhstan and Russia) are buying up whole neighbourhoods in London, driving up house-prices beyond the reach of locals, and then treating their houses as holiday homes. They stay for a couple weeks once or twice a year, leaving whole neighbourhoods vacant and shuttered through most of the year, which kills the local businesses and turns central London into something of a ghost town.
Read the rest
“Some of the richest people in the world are buying property here as an investment,” [Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour opposition in Westminster Council] said. “They may live here for a fortnight in the summer, but for the rest of the year they’re contributing nothing to the local economy. The specter of new buildings where there are no lights on is a real problem...”
Meanwhile, prices are rising beyond expectation. For single-family housing in the prime areas of London, British buyers spend an average of $2.25 million, Ms. Barnes said, while foreign buyers spend an average of $3.75 million, which increases to $7.5 million if they are from Russia or the Middle East...
The most visible, and also the most notorious, of the new developments is One Hyde Park, a $1.7 billion apartment building of stratospheric opulence on a prime corner in Knightsbridge, near Harvey Nichols, the park and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which functions as a 24-hour concierge service for residents. Apartments there have been purchased mostly by foreign buyers who hide their identities behind murky offshore companies registered to tax havens like the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands.