#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.