September 19 2014

The Ames, Iowa Economy in the Wake of VEISHEA Cancellation

The city of Ames, Iowa will be saying goodbye to VEISHEA, the largest student-organized festival in the United States, after a university task force declared its cancellation this past month. This festival’s importance to the city of Ames lies in its ability to draw in tens of thousands of visitors, thus stimulating the local economy. Now in the wake of its cancellation the Ames economy may suffer. VEISHEA was an annual celebration for Iowa State University (ISU) that lasted for one week each spring. Each letter in the name stands for one of the original colleges in the University: Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial S[...]
September 18 2014

Bike Paths Return the Streets to Children in São Paulo, Brazil

An interesting and very important phenomenon has begun to take shape on the streets of São Paulo: reclaiming public space for children. Places that were previously wasted on private vehicles are now being converted for public use. And among new users are the children of the city, usually accompanied by their parents. This is a situation that is also occurring in Sorocaba, one of the Brazilian cities that have served as a reference in creating bike paths for the city. Roberta Bernardi, manager of Traffic Education for Urbes, told us that her own 12 year old daughter travels from home to her school, pedaling the bike paths alone. "There's a bike path from my house, that goes up to t[...]
September 17 2014

Bicycle Use in Toulouse, Midi-Pyrénées, France: A Precarious Future?

Is the number of people who use the bicycle as a form of transportation becoming larger and larger in the Toulouse metropolitan area? It would appear so based on reading the figures gathered and published by two local bike advocacy groups: Apave in the city of Blagnac and 2 Pieds 2 Roues (2 Feet 2 Wheels) in Toulouse. A 20% Increase In One Year? According to these statements (which the aforementioned associations point out are not scientific studies, but headcounts taken by volunteers) the amount of bicycle users increased by 20% (22% in Pont de Blagnac and 19.5% in Pont-Neuf in Toulouse). For Sébastien Bosvieux from the group 2 Pieds 2 Roues, no[...]
September 17 2014

How Does Moving a Prison Complex Support Development in Baltimore City?

Earlier this year, Jeff La Noue authored a blog post supporting the idea that moving Baltimore City’s prison complex would improve the area’s aesthetics and thus promote development in adjacent neighborhoods. La Noue stated “City Marketing 101 says you shouldn’t put your jail as the welcome mat to your downtown or your top research hospital.” Makes sense. He then proposes moving it to Jessup, “home to several other prisons,” and located well beyond Baltimore’s 695 Beltway. Let’s think about this. Many existing articles and literature consider crime and how it impacts the true goals of urban planning: Crime can alienate a city and inhibit tourism, inves[...]
September 16 2014

Reducing Residential Street Speed Limits in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Montreal

The speed limit on the residential streets of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie (a borough of Montreal, Canada) is currently 40 km/h, except for in school zones and around parks, where the speed limit drops to 30 km/h. The speed limit on arterial streets is 50 km/h. The Mayor, François Croteau, would like to lower the speed limit to 30 km/h on residential streets. However, before making this change, the Mayor would like to start a dialogue with neighboring boroughs. “What is key is to not do this in an isolated manner. In order to come across as coherent, the planning needs to be done in tandem with the neighboring districts.” He adds that everyone he has s[...]
September 16 2014

Niterói, Brazil First City to Adopt Bus with High Level of Service (BHLS) System

In the state of Rio de Janeiro, Niterói pioneered the use of biometrics in public transportation and could continue this trend by becoming the first city in Latin America to adopt a BHLS, (Bus with High Level of Service), the English acronym to define a bus system with high quality services. The bus system will circulate in the TransOceânica highway, which is a 9.3 km expressway that will connect the neighborhood of Engenho do Mato to Charitas. The complete project, budgeted at $310 million, is one of the largest investments in mobility in the city's history. According to information from the city, currently 39% of households and 487,000 inhabitants use the car as their primary m[...]
September 15 2014

Laval, Quebec, Canada: Far From Being a Model of Active Transportation

While the majority of Laval’s residents go to work by automobile, Florent Dufort leaves his house on bike every morning in order to go to work in the Quartier des spectacles neighborhood in downtown Montreal. “In Laval, people are not prone to use bikes and those who do so are seen as strange,” says Dufort who lives near the Cartier metro station. Going to work takes him about forty minutes every morning and evening. “It clears the mind, keeps you in shape, and it costs less than going there by car,” he says. As a father of three, he uses his car for trips or transportation with his family during the weekend. There are some 37,000 residents of Laval who regularly [...]
September 15 2014

Milan on Water: Navigli, the Planning Legacy of Leonardo da Vinci

The term “naviglio” is the Italian term for “canal." Therefore, “Navigli” the plural of “naviglio,” is the name for the artificial canals of Milan. They were built between 1179 (Naviglio Grande) and the 16th century (Naviglio Martesana) with the purpose of making Milan accessible from the Ticino and Adda rivers. These routes were not only used for commercial purposes but also for the transportation of marble used to build the Duomo Cathedral. What many people might not know is that the city of Milan and its Navigli canals are strongly linked to one of the greatest artists, architects, engineers, and geniuses of all ti[...]
September 12 2014

Marseille, France: The Day the Bus Triumphed over Traffic

The TGB (an acronym meaning “very large bus”) was launched on Monday Sept. 1st in the 15th and especially in the 13th districts of Marseille, France. There, the bus lanes will finally be protected: a small revolution. Guy Teissier, head of the Urban Community of Marseille Provence Métropole, will quietly celebrate this small revolution on Monday morning. A bus lane isn’t a big deal. But a bus lane that exists solely for the bus? That’s extremely rare in Marseille. Protected lanes do exist in our city and for the most part they are chaotic. Everyone rushes into the lanes up until nighttime, when carefree partiers park their cars in the bus lane before going out to th[...]
September 11 2014

KC Healthy Kids: Combating Childhood Obesity in Kansas City, Missouri

Diet and exercise are important factors affecting health. In an effort to battle childhood obesity across the nation and in our communities, KC HealthyKids is empowering children to eat healthy foods and lead active lifestyles. While healthy eating may seem like a straightforward change in personal behavior, there are environmental factors at play that contribute to one’s ability to make healthy choices and to follow through with lifestyle changes. Parents may wish to provide their children with fresh fruits and vegetables, but their proximity to grocery stores or markets, not to mention the cost of produce, can make this a challenge in certain areas of the city. Additi[...]
September 11 2014

Athens, Greece’s Hellinikon Park Poised to be the Largest Park in World

“I can already imagine the faces of my family and friends in North Dakota when I tell them that I work in Athens. You don’t know what the word “Athens” means to an American person and how many magical things we recall. It’s incredible.” I listen to Charles Anderson while he speaks about Athens and I feel jealous of his enthusiasm. It’s not the first time he has visited Greece and he has worked all over the world. “But Athens is something else,” he stresses. Charles Anderson is a landscape architect and head of the landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm called “Melendrez” that will cooperate with Lamda Development to create the urban park [...]
September 11 2014

Architecteurs Competition 2014: Announcing French Architectural Winners

The Architecteurs, the primary national network of architects and builders, came together and selected, during their annual great Congress (from June 25-28, 2014) the award winners of the 2014 Architecteurs Exhibit-Competition. For the 9th year in a row, the professionals making up the jury also rewarded the best achievements among a large selection of architectural creations, reflective of the know how and expertise of the participating architects. For the 2014 competition, the jury selected winners among 57 projects divided in five categories: Dwelling (new constructions) Rehabilitation (renovations) Enterprise (enterprise, commerce, services, [...]
September 11 2014

Families Fight Against Expulsion in Goiás of Santa Monica, Brazil

The occupation of the Santa Monica farming collective entered its second day with more than 3,000 landless families already organized in shacks and small kitchens. The camp was named after Dom Tomás Balduíno, as a tribute to the bishop emeritus of Goiás who dedicated his life in the struggle for Agrarian Reform. Just yesterday (August 31st), encamped families held a meeting, where they had the opportunity to denounce the expulsion from their lands so that they could be incorporated into the land governed by Senator Eunício Oliveira (PMDB-EC). "Why is a Senator from Ceará interested in accumulating more than 20 properties of numerous peasant families in the state of Goiás, totaling mor[...]
September 10 2014

Rabat, Morocco to Undergo “City of Lights” Transformation by 2017

Long confined to the status of an administrative city, Morocco’s capital dreams of becoming an international city of culture and knowledge. In the minds of Casablanca’s residents, Rabat is a city where nothing happens, living according to a monotone rhythm that rubs off on its inhabitants who have the reputation of being boors. In return, in the minds of Rabatis, Casablancans are stressed and hot-headed to the point of lacking good manners. Some clichés are deeply rooted in popular memory, which has always associated the administrative capital with order and slowness, and the economic capital of Casablanca with turbulence and disorder. But all of that is soon going to change with the tr[...]
September 10 2014

Ottawa, Canada Youth Should be Involved in the Planning Process

It is important to have a youthful voice in city planning. I have repeatedly found myself to be the youngest person at planning open-houses and consultations I have attended in Ottawa. By missing these events, youth miss the opportunity to provide input on projects that will affect them greatly, such as the rezoning of a main street, the location of future LRT stations, or a landscape design project in their city. This is particularly important for Ottawa, where 21% of the population is between the ages of 15 and 29 years old. By voicing their opinion about city-building issues, youth will have a better chance of inheriting an urban environment that works for their lifestyle and nee[...]
September 09 2014

Improving Road Conditions to Gain Votes in Olinda, Brazil

What can be said of the superficial improvements made to the streets of Olinda by City Hall in order to facilitate the election of Paulo Câmara to the Senate? They are disrespectful to the intelligence of the Olidense citizen who deserves to be properly educated about the candidate. Residents of the area have long awaited improvements, but it was only on Thursday (August 7th), as the Popular Front candidate traversed stretches of the neighborhood, when some streets were finally fixed. Emergency actions such as these that are undertaken to improve the image of a place in order to contribute to campaign activity is abusing the system in favor of the candidate. A[...]
September 09 2014

Biking is Found to be Safer in Paris than in Suburban and Rural France

At the end of last June, the Ministry of the Interior published data on corporal accidents related to road traffic in France, and from this data, it generated a very interesting chart, referencing in great detail the total of 62,000 accidents listed in 2012 by the police or the gendarmerie ... The website Terraeco pulled from it the 4,360 accidents involving bicycles, and here is a new chart where they are enumerated. One can note, but it's obvious, that the danger is really the car. Seventy-eight percent of accidents involved a car (out of 62,000 counted), while only 7% involved a bicycle. Out of the 3,842 road victims in 2012, we counted 522 pedestrians and 185 bicyclists.[...]
September 09 2014

On Île d’Yeu, France, Biking is Practically a Religion

Mountain bike, single bike or tandem: on the streets of L'île d’Yeu, France, the parade of two-wheelers is permanent. For both summer vacationers and locals alike, this method of transportation has become indispensable. “It’s practically a crime to use a car here,” reveals an employee at La Clinique du Vélo. At Port-Joinville, the sound of bike bells is almost ritualistic. Street lamp posts and parking lots for bikes are taken by storm, and renters line the streets. Mountain bikes and other bikes besiege the four corners of the archipelago. People put their small children on the back of their bikes in small trailers, b[...]
September 08 2014

Across the Bay: Oakland Leads in School Health Programs

In San Francisco, you are more likely to see Google buses than school buses on any weekday morning. Why? With budget cuts in transportation for public schools, a large number of elementary to high school students are left to fend for themselves in their daily journey to school. San Francisco may be one of the most “walkable” cities in the U.S., but it is also one of the most dangerous for pedestrians. The city is looking to address the issue through the possibility of free transit cards for youth, but the thought of sending a first grader off to navigate the city’s unpredictable public transit system feels unsettling. With the disappearance of school buses, families struggle to get the[...]
September 08 2014

Parking Day 2014 in Quebec City, Canada: Re-imagining a Neighborhood

The sixth annual PARK(ing) Day is right around the corner. On September 19, the non-profit transportation organization Accès Transports Viables (Access Viable Transports) will invite the population of Quebec City to think up a new face for parking spaces on several main roadways. Interested parties had until August 29 to submit their proposals in order to participate in the day’s creative outbursts. PARK(ing) Day is an initiative that has taken place for several years in more than 160 cities across the globe. “It is a nice way to question the place given to the car and the way in which we use urban space, through the use of images,” explains Marline [...]

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