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This image is an excellent visualization to use when teaching about density, public transportation and urban planning.
Questions to Ponder: How is this a persuasive image? Do you argee with the argument that the planning office is making? Are there something important factors that this image ignores?
Tags: transportation, urban, planning, density, sustainability, unit 7 cities.
If you define a "car" as "a separate enclosed vehicle for every passenger or party", then the geometric fact about all cars, self-driving or not, miniaturized or not, is that they take vastly more space per passenger than effective public transit. This will not be a problem in low-density suburbs, but cities, by definition, are places with relatively little space per person. Self-driving cars will certainly improve the efficiency with which cars use space, so they will shift the calculus somewhat. But the bottom line will still be that if you want two crash-safe metal walls between every two strangers going down the same street, you will need a lot more space than if those two people can sit next to each other on civilized public transit.
You will also need vastly more metal and equipment, which means that the self-driving-car-replaces-transit fantasy involves massive industrial production with severe consequences for energy security and greenhouse-gas emissions.
As for the idea that somehow these cars will replace buses but not rail, this may be true around the margins.
What are the benefits for each? Drawbacks? You decide!
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Tags: transportation, mapping, place.
This comic strip would be funnier if it weren't so true. Studies have shown that children who are driven everywhere do not have as fully developed mental maps as children who walk through their neighborhoods or ride their bikes. For some lesson plans on mental maps, click here.
A map that has been making the rounds on the internet demonstrates how you can fit 7 major U.S. cities plus New York's most famous borough within Los Angeles city limits.
So Los Angeles is big, but, LA's spatial extent is in part due to it's history with transportation (ripped out the streetcars to let the automobile and freeway take over). How do density and transportation affect cities?
Our car-dependent lifestyle has led to a dramatic rise in obesity-related illnesses. But we can do something about it.
What does urban planning have to do with our health? Plenty. More walkable cities not surprisingly have citizens that are healthier and more fit.
Three years after the recession officially ended, Census county population estimates show Americans are staying put or moving to cities.
The recession and foreclosure crisis really hurt many suburban families and the values of suburban homes. This interactive map is helps students to notice the patterns that shape the changing demographic patterns connected to urbanization.
The twists and turns of metropolitan population growth are reviewed in William Frey’s examination of recently released Census Bureau data separating the bubble and bust years of the past decade.
Key urban demographic changes from 1980-2010:
--Metropolitan growth in both the Sun Belt and Snow Belt tapered in the 2000s, after accelerating in the 1990s.
--Growth slowed considerably during the latter part of the 2000s, especially in “bubble economy” metropolitan areas.
--Suburbs continued to grow more rapidly than cities in the 2000s, but growth rates for both types of places declined from their 1990s levels.
--Exurban and outer suburban counties experienced a population boom and bust in the 2000s.
--Hispanic dispersion to “new destination” metropolitan areas and suburbs dropped sharply in the late 2000s.
"If you think American cities are sprawling now, just wait until 2025. In that time, the U.S. population will grow by 18 percent but the amount of developed land will increase 57 percent. Up to 9.2 percent of the lower 48 could be urbanized by then. And while that number includes cities and the infrastructure to support them—roads, rail, power lines, and so on—that number does not include land impacted by farming, logging, mining, or mineral extraction."
A community tries some relatively pain-free fixes to make its streets greener and more walkable...
One of the most challenging aspects of suburbs, and of the prescriptions for improving them, is the character of their roadways. Most of us take the poor design of our streets – the most visible part of most suburban communities, if you think about it – so much for granted that it never occurs to us that they actually could be made better for the community and for the environment.
Consider, for example, main "arterial" streets so wide that pedestrians can’t cross them, even if there is a reason to; little if any greenery to absorb water, heat, or provide a calming influence; or residential streets with no sidewalks.
This is where Montgomery County’s new street-scape initiative comes in. It has done some things right, including the preservation of much of its farmland – in part by channeling growth into the central districts of Bethesda and Silver Spring, both served by D.C.’s rail transit system, and more recently by encouraging walkable redevelopment along the notoriously sprawled-out Rockville Pike corridor.
As demand for housing in walkable neighborhoods rises, we should be investing in carless transit options.
Here is an excellent article that ties the economic mortgage crisis with the urban geography of the United States. This is a good piece to challenge students to think about how the organization of cities matter.
More people in poverty live in America's suburbs than in cities or rural areas. And their numbers are multiplying fast, overwhelming social service agencies' ability to help them.
The socio-economic structure of our cities is changing as suburbs are increasingly becoming places of poverty. The map highlights that the Central Valley of California is the worst region in regards to this trend.
Whoa, check out Trulia Local - A visual way to explore crime, schools, home prices, and local data.
The map above was generated to display the areas within a 30 minute commute of Rhode Island College in Providence. This site generates commuting maps and other layers that are especially pertinent for home buyers---schools, crime stats, property values and local amenities. This is GIS data brought to the real estate shopping community, but consider this a project in the making. One of the best exercises to get to know a place holistically is to shop for housing and make some locational analysis decisions.
For the first time in a century, most of America's largest cities are growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs.
"As young adults seeking a foothold in the weak job market shun home-buying and stay put in bustling urban centers," this profoundly is changing the demographic processes that create our major urban areas. "Driving the resurgence are young adults, who are delaying careers, marriage and having children amid persistently high unemployment. Burdened with college debt or toiling in temporary, lower-wage positions, they are spurning homeownership in the suburbs for shorter-term, no-strings-attached apartment living, public transit and proximity to potential jobs in larger cities." With home ownership no longer the goal and the suburbs the destination of choice, how with this affect the urban structure of or major metropolitan areas?
Wealthy cities seem to have it all. Expansive, well-manicured parks. Fine dining. Renowned orchestras and theaters. More trees. Wait, trees?
I certainly wouldn't argue that trees create economic inequality, but there appears to be a strong correlation in between high income neighborhoods and large mature trees in cities throughout the world (for a scholarly reference from the Journal, Landscape and Urban Planning, see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204607002174 ). Why is there such a connection? In terms of landscape analysis, what does this say about those who have created these environments? Why do societies value trees in cities? How does the presence of trees change the sense of place of a particular neighborhood? For more Google images that show the correlation between income and trees (and to share your own), see: http://persquaremile.com/2012/05/24/income-inequality-seen-from-space/
In this feature length film Gary Burns, Canada's king of surreal comedy, joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing to the suburbs.
This 2006 documentary is a critical look at suburbia that has comments from suburbanites interspersed with planners, real estate agents, experts and urban academics.
This NASA-produced timelapse video of Landsat data shows the spatial spread of the Las Vegas metropolitan area from 1975-2010. These are not true color images, but false color that shows the near infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum as red in the image. Geospatial technologies are once again, shown as invaluable in our analysis of the urban environment.
WASHINGTON — America’s historic Chinatowns, home for a century to immigrants seeking social support and refuge from racism, are fading as rising living costs, jobs elsewhere and a desire for wider spaces lure Asian-Americans more than ever to the...
The geography of ethnic neighborhoods has changed as urbanization has changed within the United States. This article, posted by the AAG, shows that most middle-class, second generation that are accultured into American society, gravitate towards the suburbs. The 'older generation' with littled English skills coupled with the newly arrived to the country become those that remain behind in the urban centers. How does this culturally impact Chinatown and Chinese-Americans? Will Chinatowns become gentrified? Are they already? Where?
http://www.ted.com In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good....
Kunstler impassionedly argues that American architecture and urban planning are not creating public places that encourage interaction and communal engagement. We should create more distinct places that foster a sense of place that is 'worth fighting for,' as opposed to suburbia which he sees as emblematic of these problems. How should we design cities to create a strong sense of place? What elements are necessary? Warning: He uses some strong language.
It's going to take more than wishful thinking to convince Americans to move back to the urban core.
While some urban pundits have been projecting a decline of suburbia, the numbers haven't born that out. How come? What will that mean for society? How does urban planning account for cultural and economic preferences?
The Beginning of the End for Suburban America...
A provocative title, but are our cities and urban settlement patterns shifting? Is sprawl going to be curtailed by cultural, environmental and economic forces?