August 18 2015

Hybrid Buses Threatened to Go Out of Circulation in Curitiba, Brazil

The criteria for sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reduction will stay within the urban mobility policies in Curitiba, Brazil, even after the State Court of Auditors (TCE) defended a recall of thirty hybrid buses. This and thirteen other decisions by the TCE depend on the evaluation by Curitiba’s public transport company, Urbs. However, regardless of the future of these discussions, which depend on agreements established by the city and various entities involved in electromobility, the trend experienced with hybrid buses, which entered the fleet in October 2012, suggests expansion in the coming years. Currently there are 20,000 passengers per day carried by[...]
August 18 2015

Government Providing Carpool Lots to Increase Carpooling in Lille, France

Amongst all the studies and projects launched for the purpose of avoiding overcongestion on the roads, carpooling is one of the easiest solutions to put into place. In fact, 20 lots dedicated to carpooling are now provided in Lille Métropole, France. The activity zone in Neuville-en-Ferrain seems especially attuned to new trends in green transportation. The first to sign a contract that encourages economic development and improves the quality of life in activity zones, this park is also the first to welcome a carpool lot. Inaugurated on July 9, 2015 by the President of the European Métropole of Lille (Métropole Européenne de Lille), Damien Castelain, the Mayor of Neuville-[...]
August 17 2015

Construction Continues on Lezennes Station in Lille, France

In the coming weeks, construction will once again be seen at Lezennes Station. In fact, work never actually stopped, but had to go back to the engineering consulting office. After the first phase of underground construction and reinforcement, building operations are returning to the surface in order to create two new points of access to the platform. The 52 meters passage at Lezennes Station requires the opening of two new additional access points, as is the case for many other stations. Since the Lille metro became operational, the legislation has evolved. It is now necessary to have two emergency exits for each platform, and escalators are not considered acceptable for emergenci[...]
August 17 2015

A Second Farewell to The Grid from Alexandra Serbana in Milan, Italy

The Grid was a large part of my personal transformation that came from living in Milan, first as an international student, then as a young professional. Writing for The Grid offered me a chance to work with great people who always had the patience to work through my articles and English, which helped me grow and improve. It pushed my limits and made me discover aspects of Milan that I didn’t know— aspects other international students didn’t know about either. I have a lot of respect for all those who contribute their writing to The Grid, and especially for Renee, is doing such an amazing job at keeping the website working and growing. I started [...]
August 17 2015

Absense of Iconic Yellow Tram in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Cripples Local Economy

Sitting on a stool on the sidewalk near the Largo dos Guimarães plaza in the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Arnaudo Comes de Souza observed a road taken by construction. It was around lunchtime on a Wednesday. Without customers to welcome, the owner of one of the most traditional restaurants of Santa Teresa, Bar do Arnaudo, was the true picture of a neighborhood taken by melancholy. In the coming month, it will be four years since the iconic yellow “bondes” (tram cars) stopped circulating, after an accident in 2011 left six dead. Since then, the efforts to get them back on the rails have stalled, spreading disbelief and damage. The new date to start the [...]
August 14 2015

Upgraded Rickshaws Tracking Air Quality in Marseille, France

In Marseille, France the news regularly reminds us of the consequences of air pollution, particularly the repercussions of the now, sadly famous, PM2.5 particles (particles in the air that are less than 2.5 micrometers in size, the smallest of which can penetrate our lungs). According to a recent study done by the Marseille Provence Métropole, the main contributor of PM2.5 particles is road transportation, which tends to release the most dangerous particles associated with air pollution; those which can cause an early death. Are cyclists alone fated to breathe less polluted air than that which automobilists breathe in daily? A recent survey on the health bene[...]
August 14 2015

Historic Preservation Projects Given Green Light in Downtown Manaus, Brazil

The revitalization project of Tenreiro Aranha Square and of the area surrounding the Adolpho Lisboa Market in Manaus was presented on the morning of August 11th by the Director-President of the Municipal Urban Planning Institute (Implurb), Roberto Moita. The meeting held in Manaus City Hall building was attended by the municipal secretaries, the Mayor Arthur Neto, the Superintendent of the Historic and Artistic National Institute (IPHAN), Almir de Oliveira, and the National Coordinator of the Historic Cities PAC, Robson de Almeida. Regarding the revitalization of Tenreiro Aranha Square, Moita explained that it is expected to bring the space up to the accessibility standards, [...]
August 13 2015

Project by Lebanese Architect Lina Ghotmeh Preselected for ‘Reinventing Paris’

In November 2014, Paris City Hall presented its call for urban proposals for “Reinventing Paris.” It was a plan aiming to "give the keys of the fabrication of 23 territories" to "all those who contribute to the fabrication of the city," explained Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of the French capital. At the center of this project, there was a single motto: architectural, urban and social innovation. This plan concerns 23 Parisian sites called up to be reinvested in and reinvented. It's for one of these sites, the disused railway station of Massena in the 13th arrondissement, that the project of Lina Ghotmeh, Lebanese architect who heads up the DGT Architects group,[...]
August 12 2015

Traffic Accidents Fall in São Paulo, Brazil After Speed Limit Reduction

Data released by the Traffic Engineering Company (CET), notes a fall in the rate of accidents after the reduction of speed limits to 40 km/h (25 mph) on many roads. According to the data, there was a 71% reduction in the number of deaths resulting from transit accidents and pedestrian fatalities. Between August of 2012 and September of 2013, the region had 167 accidents, with seven deaths. Between November 2013 and December 2014, after the speed reduction, there were 136 accidents with two deaths. The reductions of the number of accidents in general was 18.5%. Recently, the city also reduced the speed on Tietê and Pinheiros “Marginal” highways ([...]
August 12 2015

Los Angeles’ South Park BID Embarks on Green Alley Initiative

In many cities around the world, the use of alleyways have been an integral part of the urban landscape. They have been a place of cultural and civic activity. However, in the United States, we have often viewed alleys as being unappealing service corridors associated with crime, vice, and street vagrancy. In other words, a space that is not meant for public use. However, several cities across the United States, including Baltimore, Chicago, and Seattle, have begun taking steps towards revitalizing their alleys through the infusion of green elements.[...]
August 11 2015

3 Objectives Guide the Makeover of Paris, France’s Champ de Mars

It’s time to start two years of work! As part of a joint operation between the Métropole and the City of Lille, Paris, France's “Champ de Mars” (Field of March) esplanade begins its metamorphosis. This reclassification includes the creation of two parking zones at the north and south ends with a large amount of green space in between. The current parking lot will become an area dedicated to large events. Rest assured lovers of cotton candy and carnival rides, the spring and summer fairs of 2015 will be well situated. This vast urban construction project will mainly target 21 hectares of land. Some land, consisting of the fifth branch of the “Re[...]
August 11 2015

Touring Los Angeles, California Through a Toxic Lens

When visiting Los Angeles, one of the first things that often comes to mind is taking a tour of Hollywood or Beverly Hills. But what about opting for a Toxic Tour instead? The Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), an environmental justice organization that empowers people directly affected by pollution, has been giving Toxic Tours since 1995. The purpose of these tours is to increase public awareness of the minority and low-income communities that are most directly impacted by various sources of toxins and pollution. Communities for a Better Environment offers a tour to the general public every three months, which can either be narrated in English or Span[...]
August 11 2015

Invigorate Montreal, Quebec’s Viger Square Rather than Raze It to the Ground

An "informational public meeting" on revamping Viger Square of Montreal, Quebec, on June 16 allowed for the re-emergence of a variety of strong oppositional forces to the demolition and redevelopment project for Viger Square’s Daudelin Islet. Everyone was in agreement: the City's will to demolish and alter the works of Charles Daudelin was moved. First of all, we should imagine the adaptation of the Agora as a way to highlight this art and architectural space. The project of the Coderre administration is an overblown response to a problem of accessibility, maintenance and the animation of public space. The Agora was conceived as a dynamic environment, brought to life [...]
August 11 2015

The Suburbs Copy Montreal, Canada In Order to Compete with It

Public pianos, self-service bikes, street food trucks ... the suburbs are drawing more and more inspiration from Montreal. This summer, several projects born in the metropolis are being launched in the surrounding suburbs. The objective is to retain the consumer-residents. "We have plenty of nice activities, there's no reason to go elsewhere to benefit from them." It's in this manner that the mayor of Longueil wished a happy vacation to citizens at the closing of the last city council. The comments of Caroline St-Hilaire subscribe to a stronger and stronger affirmation tendency of the suburban cities toward Montreal. This summer, no less than five municipalities launched their public p[...]
August 10 2015

A Farewell to The Grid from Katelyn Hewett

It is hard to believe it has been a year since I begin my time at The Grid. I still remember one of my first assignments, a book review on Charles Montgomery’s Happy City. I thought writing a book review would be a good experience, but worried the text would prove to be a bit dull. I could not have been more incorrect. I was hooked from the first page and finished the book in a single day. Montgomery’s vibrant examples and call to action gave me a foundation for thinking about city planning that guided me throughout my year at The Grid, where I served as both an assistant editor and french translator. There were moments this year when I regretted taking on two roles at The [...]
August 10 2015

A Book Review: “The Robotic Touch: How Robots Change Architecture”

In a relatively recent commercial, General Electric presents their vision of the future of work, a future where human-driven design is assisted by machines. The main actors of the commercial are 3-D printers and industrial robots, suggesting their potential impact in the projected future. Expectedly, architecture is well within the domain of the impact of these technologies, and a recent manuscript by the architect duo Gramazio and Kohler (G+K), The Robotic Touch: How Robots Change Architecture, is exclusively about how one of these technologies, namely the industrial robot, is opening up new design possibilities. Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler are the prime figures in the fie[...]
August 10 2015

Construction Site in Montreal, Canada Serving as Temporary Vegetable Gardens

Vegetable gardens have been established on the future site of the science complex of The University of Montreal, located in the former Outrement Sorting Yard. While awaiting the start of the construction work on the easternmost part of the site, the locale is serving as a veritable urban agriculture laboratory for five organizations. Now that the soil decontamination work is complete, the university has transported soil to the site. The space reserved for urban agriculture is as big as a football field. But it only represents 3 percent of the entire construction site. "Normally, the people who come here are not sure they want to eat the vegetables, but all of the soil has be[...]
August 10 2015

World Access to Modern Energy Shines the Light on the Energy Gap at Expo 2015

WAME & Expo 2015 is an association founded by eight leading European energy companies (A2A, Enel,eni, Edison,Eon, Gas Natural Italia, Engie, and Tenaris) and the organizers of Expo 2015. With the help of the founding companies, WAME promotes projects that focus on solving issues related to the modern-day energy gap. WAME also tries to increase awareness of the consequences faced by a large share of the world’s population because they do not have access to modern energy sources. Nearly 1.3 billion people, about 20% of the world's population, lack access to electricity. Many more, about 2.6 billion people, 38% of the world population, do not have a[...]
August 09 2015

Farewell to The Grid from French Translator Bora Mici

I am pictured above in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. I am certainly a fan of Neo-Classical urban architecture like the museums that surround me, as well as of urban gardens, particularly if they offer 3D artworks. However, I did not spend my time with The Grid exploring any single city from the inside out. Instead, I sat in front of my computer and initially worked off a list of 50 French-language urban blogs to search for opportune articles to translate into English for The Grid. Eventually, a well-researched Google alert took the place of the list as a search tool. Because I used the keywords chantier (construction s[...]
August 07 2015

Saint-Laurent-du-Var, France is Arming its Citizens with Solar Reflectance Education

Experts at the Chamber of Trades and Artisans in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, France have introduced professionals and individuals to innovative technologies related to housing. For example, lowering the temperature of a building by 4-7 degrees Celsius without air conditioning is now possible. Faced with climate change and rising temperatures in urban areas, new construction materials have come to light. “Cool roofs,” for example, offer an elevated level of solar reflectance, and heat is much less able to penetrate those buildings which are equipped with one. Thus, having such a roof (as shown below) is a benefit, and permits homeowners to reduce their electric energy needs.[...]
 

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