Welcome back to Sunday Reading. Here are a bunch of interesting things I came across this week and some recommendations from the GA team.
From Paris to New York, we’ve matched metro maps against versions that only include fully accessible stations. The results are discouraging – but are any cities doing it right?
The place that’s doing it right might surprise you. Has anyone done this for Auckland stations? Nick Van Mead, “Access denied: wheelchair metro maps versus everyone else’s“, The Guardian
This is heavy. A roadway fatality has a devastating impact on the lives of numerous people including the driver. It’s unthinkable that we accept this as normal when there are proven solutions. Alice Gregory, “Accidental Killers: The challenge of living after you’ve caused another’s death” The New Yorker.
There are self-help books written for seemingly every aberration of human experience: for alcoholics and opiate abusers; for widows, rape victims, gambling addicts, and anorexics; for the parents of children with disabilities; for sufferers of acne and shopping compulsions; for cancer survivors, asexuals, and people who just aren’t that happy and don’t know why. But there are no self-help books for anyone who has accidentally killed another person. An exhaustive search yielded no research on such people, and nothing in the way of therapeutic protocols, publicly listed support groups, or therapists who specialize in their treatment.
Watch how long a two-euro coin can balance on Fuxing train traveling at 350 kph, linking Beijing with Shanghai pic.twitter.com/U3lrnAC9ZX
— Ninja Economics (@NinjaEconomics) September 22, 2017
When I first moved to Auckland I found it dull and empty. Things changed once I started working in town and joining the masses on PT. There’s something magical about quietly, or otherwise, sharing space with a bunch of strangers. Here’s a sweet photo essay on the daily drama that unfolds on the New York subway. “An Ode to Acts of Kindness on the New York City Subway“, The New York Times.
For many New Yorkers, their subway line is a second home. They see their neighbors on the same route; they know which car will be closest to their exit; and they have favorite spots for the ride. Mr. Wagner, who has been taking photographs in the subway since 2013 and whose book, “Here for the Ride,” will be published this week, likes to stand in front of the doors. “I can see everything in the car that way,” he said.
When Mr. Wagner started taking pictures, he studied the work of Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand and Roy DeCarava. “I’m constantly dissecting what were they saying and how were they engaging with their time,” he said. He saw this image as a 2017 homage to those photographers, and was taken with how it spoke to the fashions of the day. “And it speaks to how youth occupy space, how these couples are engaging with each other and making this little bit of time on this platform enjoyable,” he said.
Amsterdam would look very different today, had the engineers gotten their way. Thanks to Marjolein de Lange for the interview this morning. pic.twitter.com/41EiOrY8LY
— Chris Bruntlett (@modacitylife) September 20, 2017
How much valuable space can a single person
reasonably demand for parking in cities?
— 21st Century City (@urbanthoughts11) September 28, 2017
Here’s an interesting article on what cities might look like designed for the expected increases in rainfall and flooding. Strange they didn’t include the Netherlands who have been doing this for decades. The featured image (top) is a new development in Delft where 17% of development land area is devoted to storing water. “What would an entirely flood-proof city look like?“, The Guardian.
The reality of climate change and more frequent and intense downpours has exposed the hubris of this approach. As the recent floods from Bangladesh to Texas show, it’s not just the unprecedented magnitude of storms that can cause disaster: it’s urbanisation.
In late 2015, affiliate fellows of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments came to Auckland on a study tour. They spent a week looking around and talking to everyone, Here’s their report. Warning- it’s overflowing with admiration. “A City to Love: Auckland’s Visions of a Public Realm“, Arcade.
Auckland’s vision is to be the world’s most livable city. This audacious goal, first proclaimed by Mayor Len Brown in 2012, once seemed out of reach given Auckland’s notorious reputation as “the city of cars” (Auckland has among the highest number of cars per capita of any city) and what New Zealand planners call the “Auckland disease,” a mix of short-term thinking and parochial disagreement. Yet great strides have been made in a remarkably brief time to transform Auckland into a design-led city taking hold of its destiny. The city has done so with a creative and coordinated effort consisting of rigorous research, visionary plans, public outreach, post-occupancy assessment, and a willingness to take risks. This has yielded increased economic revenue and transit ridership, an enhanced public realm, and a fundamental shift in the way Aucklanders view themselves and their city.
— Le Parisien Infog (@LeParisienInfog) September 28, 2017
When Amazon announced their plan to open an second headquarters (HQ2), they set our some clear location criteria. It read like a magnet cities laundry list of requirements- cycleways, good transit, and urban amenities. Here is a great article on how the transit part of the equation must be an effective, city-wide, multi-modal network, not just some shiny new trains. Laura Bliss, “Amazon’s HQ2 Hunt Is a Transit Reckoning“, CityLab
“Whatever city Amazon chooses may pledge to adjust its transportation infrastructure to better serve the retail behemoth’s needs. Their first instinct probably won’t be to shine up their grubby old buses. Subways and light rail looks better, like it would draw suburban commuters out of their cars. But that’s a bias that might get them in trouble. Transit investments that don’t support people who already ride transit rarely deliver meaningful ridership gains.“
That’s it for this week. Hope you’re enjoying the remainder of the weekend.