Mid-week reading: strategy games, housing politics, fossil fuel subsidies, and the benefits of bike lanes

Welcome back to mid-week reading, which is (happily) becoming a more intermittent feature. One of the most interesting things I’ve recently read was Jonathan McCalmont’s exploration of anarchist scholar James C Scott’s arguments about the way that governments interact with their people: “Seeing like a state: why strategy games make us think and behave like brutal psychopaths“: Cloaked as they were in the trappings of religion and medieval warfare, it was all too easy to overlook the morally dubious nature of the games’ relationship between players and in-game characters.…
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Time for a car free Domain?

If New York can make most of Central Park car free, then why can’t we do the same with the Domain. That was my thought when watching this video from Streetfilms.Last week, people walking and biking on the Central Park loop had to worry about taxi drivers and car commuters motoring through the park as a rush hour shortcut.…
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An 8-bit Subway Delay Story

A great 8-bit video from New York’s MTA showing how incidents on PT can quickly lead to long delays plus what can be done to mitigate them. Of course we don’t quite have the same frequencies as the New York subway but the same principles apply.…
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Sunday music: Talking Heads on cities

A blast from the past: the Talking Heads’ ode to urbanity, “Cities”. This is from the band’s fantastic concert film Stop Making Sense:The Talking Heads emerged from 1970s New York. The city itself wasn’t doing so well at the time – like many other large American cities, it was struggling with deindustrialisation, white flight, and a crime wave.…
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Citi Bike Rides visualisation

Citi Bike in New York has been spectacularly successful and incredibly popular since it launched in May last year.Just a few months later tens of thousands of trips per day were already being taken on the bikes. Below is a fascinating visualisation covering trips users made over two days.…
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Postcard from New York

As far as cities go, New York is *the* superlative. At once soaringly vertical and unfathomably broad. Dense and constrained, yet with an expansive commuter belt spread over three states. A place where local neighborhood hangouts sit a block away from global institutions.…
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Driving and sprawl are killing you

An article in the New York Times a few months ago summarised quite nicely recent research into connections between transport modes and health outcomes: Millions of Americans like her pay dearly for their dependence on automobiles, losing hours a day that would be better spent exercising, socializing with family and friends, preparing home-cooked meals or simply getting enough sleep.…
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The Metamorphosis of New York Streets

A great video from Streetfilms showing how the streets of New York have changed over the last few years with primarily quick and cheap transformations that have re-prioritised space around pedestrians and cyclists. There’s nothing more dramatic then looking back five or ten years at Streetfilms footage (some of it a bit low-res) to see how much the livable streets landscape of New York City’s streets have changed.…
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Improving the PT user experience

Public transport systems in cities all around the world comes in many different shapes and sizes. However there seems to be one thing universal to them all, the locals who use them daily always think they can be better. There are systems in some cities that we would dream to have in Auckland but it doesn’t make them perfect.…
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