Dutch Cycle Paths

Informative video on how the Dutch turned into such an exemplar for mass cycling adoption:


Fuck cars, and Viva México!

Instructive video on the negative externalities imposed by automobiles:


Helsinki’s Underground City

The architect and urban planner in me is totally geeking out over this CNN video:

Does anyone else get echoes of Dwarf Fortress?


The Homeowner Cartel

It’s an unusual situation in which a potential competitor must ask the competition for permission to conduct business, in this case the obstruction is homeowners:

Rules that make it harder to build enrich the incumbent owners of improvements within the restricted area. But because they drive up home prices, they make people who do not own buildings within the restricted area worse off—and the net effect on the economy is negative. When every jurisdiction engages in defensive zoning, we become poorer on net as a country, struggling to find affordable housing, even though every individual jurisdiction consists of voters acting rationally to serve their own interests. The question, then, is how to save us from ourselves—how do we stop homeowners everywhere from forming anti-development cartels?


Parking as Cancerous Blight

From the L.A. Times comes an excellent summary on why parking is an awful, no-good, cancerous blight on our landscapes.

In Manhattan a small portion of the population owns cars—it’s too expensive to park them. L.A. has the highest density of parking spaces in the world. “You can’t have the number of cars we have in L.A. without our parking lots,” says Shoup. “And you can never create urban density with the parking lots we’ve built.” They make driving too easy.

The articles goes on to also discuss the manners in which parking spaces are literal dead-spaces in an urban landscape. They do nothing except allow you to abandon your car momentarily and contribute nothing more to the surrounding area.

The good news is that free parking might be losing its appeal among the younger generations.


The Soul of the Commuter

The New Yorker has an excellent article taking a detailed look at an oft-neglected part of people’s day: The commute. At a general glance, talking about how bad traffic was is up there in terms of the worst conversation starters out there. However, the article contained many passages that made me smile in their particular relevance. Take for example the art of honing your transportation minutiae:

The commuter takes on compulsive attributes. Some people decipher where on a subway train it is best to ride, for optimum exiting, and, therefore, where to stand on the platform, by a particular pay phone or blackened patch of gum. On the E train, Rossi knows where she should be—the front positions her best for Penn Station—but she prefers to be farther back, where it is less crowded. Also, she never boards any train’s first or last car. “If there’s an accident, they’re the first to go off the track,” she said.

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