#designingcities: walkability

Notes from the walkability lecture of #designingcities week 7 plus some other bits and pieces from #mapmooc.

Many older neighbourhoods of cities are walkable, while more modernist areas are difficult to navigate on foot, organised to make driving almost a necessity.  Foot power is the oldest form of locomotion, and may be the most relevant for a future where  we seek to minimise energy usage and carbon levels.

What constitutes walkability, and how can it be designed into communities?

The idea of creating walkable communities is making a comeback. Surveys suggest that more than half of Americans would like to live in a place where they could walk to the important places, but they can’t find a place that meets those needs. The subject has taken on new urgency for other reasons, public health among them.

What makes a community walkable?

  • easy to live there without having a car – you can find most everything you need in a typical week
  • public transport – never more than a few blocks away, 15 minutes away
  • density – 45,000 people per square mile, there are plenty of people to support the shops, also density of eg shops – large schools and shopping centres call for cars
  • safe to walk along the street throughout the day and evening

Street patterns matter almost as much as density in promoting walkability. Most people will walk ten minutes to a desired destination. A typical grid pattern of older American cities makes it easier to walk in all directions to reachshops or institutions, but the same ten minute walk will get you to far fewer places if the streets are winding and circuitous. And in many neighborhoods sidewalks are narrow, poorly maintained, exposed to the hot sun and face uninteresting properties.

Other impediments to those on foot:

  • in Bogota property owners have grabbed control of the sidewalks
  • in Bangkok, as in many other cities, the sidewalks are broken and have become parking lots
  • in Beijing – and increasingly in Copenhagen – pedestrians lose out to bicycle parking in the competition for the use of sidewalks

Where the city government takes a stand in organising sidewalks and adjoining property owners cooperate, walking can again become an option.

So density, modest setbacks, shade and sidewalks in good repair all contribute to walkability, but the most important determinant is having a walkable commercial centre within easy reach, with

  • a rich variety of shops, mostly locally oriented
  • a varied commercial area offering restaurants, and other services, including leisure

As traditional shopping centres become obsolete it may be possible to retrofit these areas to become walkable centres, organising arterial streets as more pedestrian friendly boulevards and adding new development that fronts on them. Then higher density development, with people living above the shops. As the streets become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly the number of people that find their way there will grow and the centre will prosper.

Walkable commercial areas also make good economic sense. Comparable properties and walkable areas sell or rent for considerably more than those that are in areas that rely only on automobile access. There’s a huge job to retrofit today’s suburbs to become more walkable (see the Urban sprawl repair kit), but at  the very least we can ensure that all new development offers people a choice of walking, cycling, sharing vehicles and using transit, as well as using their private automobile.

Links:

Via #mapmooc:

Walk Score (methodology):

  • computes how close the everyday necessities for living are to any location in a city, plus a a commute score, transit score and biking score for some areas and a travel time map for walking, cycling, public transport and driving
  • covers US, Canada and Australia, but also other areas to a limited extent, eg Edinburgh, 35 Cammo Grove (dependent on the places people have added to the map??)
  • the Walk Score App allows you to provide information about ‘problem spots’ (eg crime, no bike lanes, no sidewalks) and upload photos
  • no crowdsourced rankings – could a community mapping project come up with a more comprehensive score? see Living Streets audits 
  • other factors which influence how people feel about walkability not taken into account include topography and road and urban design factors; see some work; there is more to walkability than simple proximity to amenities, eg are streets are difficult or dangerous to cross, crime, time of day, events going on, whether you are alone or not, gender , sidewalks, trees – just because an area can be walked, doesn’t mean you want to walk there
  • parks, bikes and walking trail, schools, playgrounds and other places of interest not included
  • adjustable settings – what’s walkable for a teenager may be different from what’s walkable for a senior citizen; Walk Score starts deducting points once a walk is over 0.25 miles (and gives zero points after 1 mile)
  • the transit score algorithm only gives half as many points for buses as for rail
  • walkability has a correlation with the safety and ‘community’ feel of a city, can overcome weather and terrain, but the score can vary: ” I live in Phoenix AZ. In the summer, I’d estimate that the walkability drops to about 10 but in the winter it soars to about 75″; “it’s way too hot and humid to be doing a lot of walking in Florida”

#mapmoocer Tony Targonski created a map of Seattle on an earlier Coursera MOOC: “Larger circles mean more social activity. Greener colour represents more “positive” than expected; redder is less “positive” than expected. In this case “positive” refers to valence (a commonly used measure of sentiment), and “expected” is the predicted valence score based on the Walk Score of the block (overall more walkable places correlate with more positive sentiment).”

Which is an interesting point IRT Happy Denmark. They’re not happy, they just bike a lot (like I didn’t know).

Updates: why do we walk where we do? How measuring brainwaves could improve cities. Walkonomics’ latest research. Where we live now on The growth of social media data on places, and its implications. London Walkability Model.

#designingcities 7: new cities

Again, some enjoyable vids but largely unchallenging – just too descriptive. We didn’t really get to the nub of the horror which is Ørestad. But a whole lecture on walkability, yay!

Lovely to revisit Ebenezer Howard and friends, felt right at home in the lectures but don’t feel I learned a great deal. In particular I could have done with a critical look at the later stuff, what has been learned from eg people’s responses to Cumbernauld, and the issues around the fact that the new often feels sterile, dull and orderly, not the kind of place you want to move to.

It is difficult to create the institutions which form a community from scratch, and people are often reluctant to move until they are in place. Variety is the key, with real choice for the residents about the kind of building they wish to live in (Amsterdam waterfronts), but with consistency in the public realm to avoid the Las Vegas effect. 

How can the spaces and places that provide the social glue for areas be created? Electronic networks and communication are replacing face to face interaction, meaning that we get information about others in our community and beyond through media, social networks and other forms of controlled communication and develop stereotypes about whether others must be like. It’s only when we see people in public that we come to know people as people. Richard Sennett calls this process de-stereotyping, observing that disorder and lack of control over streets and public spaces is critical. The rituals we observe in public spaces say a lot about what we share in common.

The public realm 

What is included in the term ‘public realm’? Just the spaces owned and managed by public bodies? It usually also includes private spaces the public is allowed to use, if sometimes with restrictions, such as restaurants on a square. The uses that border the public realm are also key – ‘hot’ frontages have active uses while cooler ones, such as open spaces and facades with only windows on them, are less of a magnet to a passerby. Time is a further factor – we seldom stand still on streets, and usually experience public spaces in a serial way.

The most public spaces in the city are owned by the city, where we can do pretty much as we please within the norms of a civilized society – examples includes streets, squares and waterfronts. Spaces such as arcades are also open to the public 24 hours a day, but the owners of the buildings have the right to restrict who goes there and the kind of activities they carry on – such spaces can be seen as ‘semi-public’, similar to university campuses. Other spaces, such as gated communities which are only accessible to those who live there or are there as guests can be seen as semi-private spaces – a growing category. The least public environments are purely private spaces, such as our own garden and any other space we can exclude others from at our will.

According to the Complete Streets Movement the public realm should serve all the users who come there in a balanced way, encouraging diverse ways of traveling to and along the street and giving priority to the most vulnerable, such as pedestrians. Thinking of complete – or Living Streets offers a way to imagine what to do with the places where only people in cars are at home today, for example by reclaiming traffic islands for pedestrians. Other opportunities to create a public realm include those where wasteland now exists.

Most people enjoy being in public, especially in good weather. Having a public realm that avoids conflicts and supports social interchange is critically important for cities, as well as being a source of pride for residents and an important piece of a city’s economy for visitors.

See week 5 on communicating in cities for more on these issues, plus Atlantic Cities and Leo Hollis on the Wolfson Prize.

#designing cities 5: communicating in cities

Update: Why we should design smart cities for getting lost

The syllabus states week 5 is about cities in the information age, so I was expecting lots on smart cities. This is touched on, but it turns out it’s rather more about communication in cities, described as a “largely invisible set of issues”, which is just fine by me:

The ability to communicate with others is becoming the central purpose of cities as they become more and more centered on service economies. It determines where people wish to live, their travel patterns, the needs for electronic networks and the need for public places.  We explore here what designers can do to create modern information centered places.

The first two lectures looked at managing energy consumption (the no energy city is not possible, hello CPH) and intelligent cities (top down vs bottom up/crowd), focusing on the electronic networks that are an essential infrastructure of cities. The final lecture explored the desire by many people, in particular the young, to live in places that are near their work, shopping and recreation, somewhat at odds with cities founded on the modernist idea of separating the functions of cities. People want to live and work and be in contact with other people within very short distances. (Is this really new?)

The real corker though was lecture 3, on spatial patterns that promote personal communication. As well as allowing people to live at a distance from each other, new electronic networks have also promoted face-to-face communication. The public and private spaces in cities provide the settings for people to meet, see others and interact.

What makes for good cities in terms of promoting spatial contact? Are some cities better than others? And are some designs for cities better than others in terms of putting people in contact with each other?

The suggested reading includes Jan Gehl’s New city spaces (see also his Amazon page, the Gehl Architects blog and The Human Scale) and the Project for Public Spaces, in particular what makes a successful place. (Interestingly, lots of links in the recommended reading this week, due to the nature of the subject or a shift in mindset?)

From the introduction:

Jan Gehl is influential in promoting the idea of walking in cities. His mantra is life takes place on foot – if you live in a city what’s important is being able to walk from one place to another, to meet people casually to have experiences, which you can only get if you’re not in a capsule, if you’re not in an apartment or in a car. I asked him what is the effect of cyberspace on his theories about the city. And he said in all the studies he’s doing the more use there is of cyberspace the more people want to congregate in actual, physical public places. In CPH maybe one flat in two has only one person living in it, a further pressure which is bringing people out into public space.

I’ve ordered Jan’s latest, How to study public life, from the library in the dansk version, and am looking forward to getting properly to grips with him. Currently a tad confused, as it seems he coined Copenhagenization, but I first encountered him criticising Ørestad, so where he stands on BIG and bikes for all I do not know. (Update, Feb 2013: see my post on Jan Gehl and the human scale.)

Notes from the lecture (need to review it for pics):

  • there’s an innate desire among people in cities for contact and communication
  • electronic media can help people identify the places that they’re likely to encounter others and make connections that are played out in real time, in space, ie smart cities and digital media (eg MOOCs) can help people tap into contact and communication
  • are there physical patterns designers can create in cities that will promote personal contact?
  • what is it that people are really desiring when they’re in contact with each other?

Ray Oldenburg’s The great good space: cafes, coffee shops, bookstores, bars, hair salons and other hangouts at the heart of the community. These NB private ‘third places’ are as important to the sense of community as homes, which he calls the first place, or workplaces, which he calls the second place. They are the glue that creates the social fabric of the community.

Some of the characteristics that make third places work, in terms of public spaces as well as private:

  • neutral ground, not detering from one group or another
  • accessible to all and a leveler where all people are equal
  • need easy entry, not requiring major commitment to use them – once you’ve stopped you may find a bench or a wall to rest on and see someone you know and then strike up a conversation – there is no need to make a date to communicate
  • make room for performers as well as spectators – not all conversation is verbal, or at least conversational, but it helps to have something to comment on with the person next to you and you may

    ask how to join the group the next day

  • distractions are also important – they can set the mood for a place and offer something to start the conversation about
  • can be adapted to your conversational and privacy needs, eg movable tables and chairs
  • conversation is the main activity – not the only activity, but being able to strike up a conversation with someone you know or even someone within earshot is critical

Sidewalk cafes do these marvelously. You can see a friend as you walk by, stop for a word or two, or have an animated conversation with friends while you’re having a drink with them. Tables are close enough so you hear conversations on either side. Listening is important to communication. And, there are regulars who you know. And you see it, if you go to a particular place. Some of them have been coming for years, but their games are not organized competitions, but pick up events. They are mainly an excuse to get together and to have a conversation.

Third places are a home away from home for many. Public libraries are an important home for people of all ages and increasingly so since they now usually have high speed internet connections and sometimes are the only access for computers for people. The two most powerful motivators for contact and communication are food and drink (astonishingly illustrated by a pic of a CPH cafe). Communication builds over time through regular transactions – they need not be special occasions. The trip to the market lets you get to know the merchants and others who’re regular shoppers. Markets can be great levelers, attracting people from all slices of life. Besides, they often have great food. When third places are taken over by a group or formalised they lose much of their value as connectors. Their objective should be, ever changing informal clubs with room for new members – dog walkers are an excellent example, as long as the walk is not organised…some stop for a while, others just say a few words and move on, but they come to know their compatriots.

Can such a place be designed or does it need to evolve organically?

The central purpose of a city is creating possibilities for human contact. It’s through the chance meetings, the informal alliances, the presence of new kinds of people that cities acquire their economic energy – see Jane Jacobs’ The economy of cities (see also Sociable Physics on The death and the life of smart cities). Today, no city can afford to neglect its attraction for people, its ability to promote people being in contact with each other, if it wants to grow and thrive.

Alone together! MOOCs as a metaphor…see however this has changed in the digital age. What would Kierkegaard think?

Notwithstanding the CPH cafe photo and Jan Gehl, I have issues relating this to overplanned experience economy dominated contemporary CPH. You’ve a choice of the twee, lacking a real sense of the lived in, or the ‘iconic’, buildings at play with little sense of heritage or memory. Add to this the Danes’ well publicised lack of small talk and exaggerated sense of privacy you’re left finding lots of SLOAP but few 3rd places.

The secrets of the world’s happiest cities, an extract from The happy city: transforming our lives through urban design, does the usual cycling vs commuting shtick (“cyclists report feeling connected to the world around them in a way that is simply not possible in the sealed environment of a car, bus or train”) also looks at social capital – the social networks and interactions that keep us connected with others: “there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert”, finding “a clear connection between social deficit and the shape of cities”. He notes that cyclists in CPH “aren’t choosing to cycle because of any deep-seated altruism or commitment to the environment; they are motivated by self-interest”, quoting Britton: “Cities should strive to embrace complexity, not only in transportation systems but in human experience”. It’s this contradiction I keep butting up agin in Denmark…

See the section on the public realm in week 7 for more on some of these issues.

And in other news, forums officially dead, barely 10 posts a day. In this case I reckon the following isn’t helping:

  • it’s content heavy – you could run a whole MOOC on one week’s lectures, if not on one lecture
  • the assignments are too challenging –  smaller bites, with weekly tasks, would work better and maybe encourage convos
  • it’s too long – 11 weeks is about three too many

#designing cities: curating transport/ation to move beyond first base

Guerrilla curation – there are no threads in the forum referencing the transportation lecture, but what is it possible to glean from a search? Tags are only used for threads, so it’s no wonder people don’t really use them – when you’ve written a post are you really going to scroll back to the top to add a tag? And why a tag cloud isn’t shown at the top of the forums is beyond me. All rather a wasted opportunity.

Below is what I’ve selected from searches for “transport” (44 results) , “transportation (84)” and “transit” (38) – thanks to all the nameless contributors. Most of the results are from earlier weeks – have people given up on the forums for substantive debate?

Links:

  • Transportation for livable cities by Vukan Vuchic –> as noted the book is expensive, but a Google Scholar search might well bring up some open articles or papers
  • Large events and public transport: a winning team (PDF) –> come in #escdk; see also Judith Grant Long
  • The First Station – website for Jersualem’s abandoned train station –> brill, I was just thinking about this the other day; see Taline Ayanyan‘s reuse project for a disused train station in Oakland (picture); changes in transportation infrastructure have gradually impacted the neighborhood for the worse; the plan for the reuse of the site needs to be sensitive to the inherent dialogue between the monument/landmark and its neighborhood – can this monument, in its current shape, tell us about the values of the neighborhood and its ‘sense of place’? Can we look to the monument’s issues and their possible remedies in order to get insight into the neighborhood’s issues and their possible remedies, and vice versa? cf Risbjerggard
  • Transport Sydney – participant’s blog
  • video games that simulate transport systems –  Cities in Motion, Mobility , SimCity, Transport Tycoon

On individual cities:

  • Beijing – a burgeoning cosmopolitan city but inconvenient for small things like taking your bike on public transportation, and the millions of cars jamming the highway every day because of inflexible working hours
  • Groningen – bikes! sustainable, saves time, saves petrol/gas/diesel, maintains a pollution free environment, saves space wastage in creating parking spaces for 4 wheeler vehicle keeps one fit and healthy – what else a city wants to raise it’s happiness index! –> see above re life and buzz, although it’s a charming city : P
  • Kolkata – public transportation from cycle rickshaw, autos, trams and frequent buses and metro connecting the suburbs is well managed; the metro is being extended causing pollution, traffic congestion and blocked roads for the next few years; almost every neighborhood has its own market and central open space and a pond; the core area is the biggest market place, with old dilapidated colonial structures and narrow roads, but it has created a twin city known as New Town to place its IT hub and divert the population, reducing the load on core areas and preventing outmigration to other cities
  • Melbourne – the more desirable suburbs are well served with public transport but are increasingly unaffordable; affordability can be found on the city fringe but many of these areas do not have public transport – the infrastructure is not keeping up with urban sprawl and developing suburbs are suffering from reduced livability
  • New York City – a great livable city, easy to commute to work, 24/7 nonstop subway, complemented by city bike sharing in most of Manhattan;  crowded, but with a distinctive identity; the streets are quite narrow but New Yorkers know exactly which path to take given specific hour in a day – the people learn the breath of the city; see  Janette Sadik-Khan’s TED talk: New York’s streets? Not so mean any more
  • Pune – no convenient public transport network; being a radially expanding city, the railway is hardly of any use for intra-city transport (a ring rail could have helped); getting from one point to another is quite difficult as buses are insufficient in number and very few journeys can be completed by catching just a single bus; re-trying a Bus Rapid Transit System (in the current system the dedicated lanes meant for buses are often used by other motorists) ; the metro has been on paper for a couple of decades now, and it seems as if it is only creating controversies; after a debate on whether it should pass underground or above, now in has come the debate on the FSI allocation along the route; the result of this is rather obvious from the number of two-wheelers that ply the streets; from my experience an abundance of two-wheelers is a good indication of weak public transport; once a city traversed by bicycles, Pune even had a transport plan specially made to cater to cyclists – you can still see the cycle tracks marked out, however these are now used by pedestrians and motorists
  • Moscow – a lot of parks and even forests inside the city; reforms starting in public transit, introducing paid parking in the centre, but at the same time they’re widening city streets to take more cars and building vast shopping malls and other ugly buildings among 18-19 century houses; so whenever you go to have a look at old Moscow architecture, you always finish thinking about blowing up this or that disgusting newly-built construction 🙂
  • Seoul – has been through population booms, and economic boom, causing the metropolitan area to be quite unplanned; it was only in the 90s when the population boom started to slow down and become controllable that the government started to pay attention to really plan the cities; after Seoul Metropolitan Transit (the largest in the world) was constructed, the authorities started to ‘reconstruct’ the areas that are in chaos with the New Town program; there are many things I appreciate about the greater Seoul area, including its ease of public transit, multitude of parks and relatively clean air for such a massive city, but I wish there was a more diverse architectural landscape
  • Toronto – gentrification is a large shaping force; neighbourhoods that once offered affordable housing are no longer affordable, sending more and more of the city’s population living below the poverty line into the suburbs; limited transit system – lower income population relies heavily on transit for childcare and employment, but forced further and further from the city’s core and job markets in search of affordable housing;  the city will have no choice but to invest in infrastructure to keep up with its growth, but will it be able to fund such investment if water, sewage and transportation need upgrading all at once?

The US:

  • see the thread! as in #mapmooc is a US based course, but does this affect the content more, due to special characteristics such as…
  • the United States is simply too young to have had to deal with many of the transportation and access issues that many parts of the world had to overcome; for example urban streets have always been optimised for personal automobiles rather than the narrow alleyways so prevalent in Eurasia that were originally designed to accommodate oxcarts and/or Marie Antoinette’s ‘tumbrils’
  • costs to build work-where-you-live public transit/bicycle/walkable friendly communities are often so high that those who’d like to take advantage of those features simply can’t afford it
  • issues with urban sprawl, a natural consequence of the increasing use of personal vehicles and the continually improved, accessible public highway system; as happened with rail travel in the 1800s populated areas sprang up along corridors as personal automobile-oriented streets and highways expanded
  • a few communities, like the resort community of Mackinac Island in Michigan, have simply banned private automobiles; in Albuquerque we’ve shut down a few downtown streets, barricaded and converted them into pedestrian pass-throughs by repaving and allowing restaurants and bars to expand their operations into outdoor courtyards; charming, but from a business and public safety aspect, rather ‘mehhh’ results
  • New Urbanism – in essence a return to the pre-personal automobile era when people were could easily walk or utilise mass transit to access places where they lived, worked, and played; features include medium density housing above small retail establishments where the workers or store owner can live, single family housing featuring alleyways behind the structure and off the main streets to facilitate driveway, parking, and/or garage facilities that aren’t a dominant feature of the house’s architecture, housing closer to the sidewalks to encourage neighbor-to-neighbor interaction, the return of the traditional ‘front porch’ that also encourages residents to interact with each other; hasn’t really taken off in the United States, due to the typical American’s love of their personal automobiles which allows them the freedom to move about at will, plus Americans prefer single-family dwellings and the privacy that allows; home ownership is a major component of the vaunted, “American Dream!”; established communities of this nature, like Celebration and Seaside, Florida, tend to be primarily upper market developments with prices that are above what the average American can afford; not only are they expensive but some of the ‘benefits’, like ‘work where you live’ become unrealistic as the guy who runs the little retail store probably can’t afford to live upstairs in the $300,000+ residence!

Bon mot:

  • for big, metropolitan cities, railed transportation is inevitable, for their ability to carry tons of people, and punctuality
  • transportation is key to a great livable city – I’m a suburban girl so I like a good mass transit system and highways nearby; affordability and green space are nice too, but as long as the transportation systems are in place so you can easily get to anything your city doesn’t offer that’s good enough for me
  • the rail station and its relationship to the road network –> come in Bristol, the railway station is not in the town centre; CPH central station not on the metro, etc
  • can we change our age old love for personal transit, fancy fuel guzzling jets and honking and traffic jams, which are the trademarks of cities around the world? –> do we have to? Bjorn Lomborg
  • walkability suits a more ‘neo-urban’ environment where people live within easy walking or mass transit-friendly proximity to their place of work –> so not value free, but can be combined with mass transit

So…this exercise has enabled me to move beyond base 1 provided by the lecture. For me there has to be a way of maintaining the buzz and cosmopolitan feel of a big city – a city shouldn’t have a sleepy small town feel. Livability needs life, something you can’t really plan for, but which is sometimes designed out.

Current hot topics in city transportation include bikeshare schemes and smart cards, road pricing, the cost of public transport (less so; most places try to encourage use).

Nytorv in Copenhagen, 1972 - with a tram and without tourists

Nytorv in Copenhagen, 1972 – with a tram and without tourists (photo: Museum of Copenhagen)

#designingcities 4: transportation and VideoNot.es

The third lecture of #designingcities week 4 looked at transportation as a growth armature, presented by guest lecturer Marilyn Jordan Taylor. Her suggested reading was Lessons from sustainable transit-oriented cities, chapter 2/pages 49-70 from Transforming cities with transit (World Bank, 2013), located via a quick Google search – some more links would be nice, it can’t be that hard.

Anyway. Transportation has the ability to shape the form, function and quality of life of cities, and can contribute to the creation and continuing viability of urban centres…I sense Marilyn is a public transport addict. Bet she doesn’t bike. Below are the points which resonated.

Transportation is a key way in which we come to know our cities, meet our neighbours and interact in ways both planned and spontaneous. It can become a re-purposed part of our urban culture, as well as a key to mobility and the inclusion and lessening of inequality.

  • a balanced transportation system offers efficient connections, effective use of resources and low carbon emissions
  • it shapes not just urban form but also the quality and equity of urban life – and it’s a powerful strategic investment to drive change
  • failing transportation produces congestion and disconnection, indicators of economic and social distress

How can we employ investment in transportation to realise the potential of cities?

  • recapturing existing and abandoned corridors may be key to the ability to provide connectivity
  • the importance of linkages for the exchange of ideas
  • the location of stations and points of transfer creates value, particularly if design capitalises on the opportunities to connect patterns of travel with everyday activities
  • the concept of the quarter/half mile radius from the station as an area with a welcoming public realm, small shops, restaurants and parks and even works of art which encourage people to walk rather than to ride in private personal vehicles from place to place
  • eg The Porch at 3oth Street Station in Philadelphia – a long skinny traffic island reclaimed for pedestrian community use, extending the identity and activity of a busy train terminal, The High Line in New York
  • the design of transportation shapes our shared human experiences and the way we use transportation shapes our shared public realm
  • when we are people in shared space, eg public transportation, rather than individuals sheltered in a personal vacuum we interact
  • commercially driven transportation – from canals, railroads, highways and freeways to airports – has transformed the landscape into a seemingly endless sprawl of urban and suburban development
  • moving ahead, we must shift our view of transportation from an end in itself to a means to fulfilling our fundamental needs and goals

Transportation does not just move us from place to place but shapes the way we live and changes our impacts on the resources of the planet. We must regain public will to invest in transportation as the catalyst for the many positive ways we interact, rather than consuming and using up the capacity of the infrastructure our predecessors gave us. A bit messianic there.

From where I’m sitting it’s hard not to reflect on how these issues are tackled locally, comparing the treatment given to Cycling (forget the demon car) vs the sagas of the Metro City Ring and the dreaded Rejsekort smart card.

Any action beyond the lecture? I’ve just checked the forums, and although there are subforums for the weekly lectures these are pretty empty. So just for fun I did searches for “transport” and “transportation” – feel a curation itch coming on again..,now scratched.

How I made my notes

I don’t often _watch_ videos (I have issues) but let them run while I cook or do the dishes. In the absence of slides this means I miss any graphics. Up to now I’ve been taking notes from the video script as a way of capturing key learning, a not particularly rewarding copy n paste exercise. This time I used VideoNot.es, which has the advantage of meaning you actually watch the video:

taking notes using VideoNot.es

taking notes using VideoNot.es, synchronised with the video and saved to Google Drive

As a first timer my notes are pretty much a transcription. Should it be so hard just to get to base 1, the content? No complaints re VideoNot.es – and no doubt there are much more refined ways of using such a useful tool. See also this great how to take notes infographic.