Of every 100 American commuters, five take public transit, three walk, and only one rides a bicycle to work or school. If walking and cycling are so pleasurable, why don’t more people choose to cycle or walk to work? Why do most people fail to walk even the 10,000 daily steps needed to stay healthy? Why do we avoid public transit?
Sometimes, even more than wanting to be a film’s beautiful heroine or superhero protagonist, viewers are swept away by a desire to inhabit the mansions, castles, swanky bachelor pads, or sci-fi landscapes they see on the big screen. Such architecturally minded film buffs will drool over Archicine, a new series of illustrations by Barcelona-based artist and architect Federico Babina, depicting iconic buildings and landscapes from classic films.
Harlem is plagued by health conditions not uncommon among the urban poor. In addition to suffering from asthma, children here have high rates of obesity and, perhaps most alarming, significant learning disabilities. Increasingly, medical researchers are discovering that all of these syndromes are linked at least in part to environmental factors, from nutrition to tobacco smoke to industrial chemicals. Jusino, like many, was stunned to learn that pollution\’s biggest target may be not our lungs but our brains.
via Mother Jones.
For the seventh day this month, Shanghai officials have warned children and the elderly to stay inside in a city where 24 hours exposed to the off-the-charts pollution would have hazardous consequences to one’s health. Hundreds of flights and sporting events have been cancelled, while face masks and air purifiers sold out in stores. All week, the pollution level hovered at “heavily” and “severely” polluted, according to Shanghai’s Air Quality Index, at up to 31 times the recommended levels.
Even in the midst of Mumbai’s rapid expansion, poorer residents still continue to work closer to home than their wealthier counterparts, calling into question the importance of connectivity to the traditional economic center of the city. For instance, 80 percent of Dharavi’s residents live and work in the slum itself, with walking as the main mode of transport, despite the fact that both of Mumbai’s rail lines pass through the settlement. The Walking Project aims to turn Mumbai into the most walkable city in India over the next decade, arguing that simple improvements to pedestrian infrastructure can improve Mumbai’s transportation situation more than a focus on large-scale car-centric projects.
via Josephine d’Allant.
Milan Kundera wrote, in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, “in the realm of totalitarian kitsch, all answers are given in advance and preclude any questions.” Questions, as we have seen, such as “am I in the wrong city?” and “are you my wife?” but this is immaterial. Totalitarian kitsch, in the realm of architecture, poses innumerable questions once the core of the totalitarian has passed. Architecture in totalitarian societies unquestionably constitutes an exercise of power; the question stands how effective this exercise remains once that rule has passed, and whether the nature of a given totalitarianism is indissolubly bound up in the stone, concrete, and steel to which it gave form.
via The Awl.
APA is having a wondering Holiday Sale 2013. Feel free to add to your urban planning library or gifting some to your friends or colleagues.
Couple of years ago, I had listed several books that I had enjoyed reading as recommendations for gifts.
Books always make for great gifts and you cannot ever give too many.