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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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US Highways Could Be Converted into Solar Farms

US Highways Could Be Converted into Solar Farms | green streets | Scoop.it

Given the predominant role of the automobile in American transportation for both passenger and freight purposes, as well as the sheer length and breadth of the continental United States, roads and highways cover a huge amount of the country.

Scott and Julie Brusaw, the husband and wife team behind renewable energy start-up Solar Roadways, are looking to exploit the potential embodied by this vast road network by develop a technology to convert their surfaces into solar PV facilities which are capable of both bearing vehicles as well as generating power via exposure to sunlight.


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What the Interstate Highway System Should Have Looked Like

What the Interstate Highway System Should Have Looked Like | green streets | Scoop.it

This anecdote has been told at Cities before but it bears repeating: Eisenhower himself didn't realize the Interstate Highway System would cut through American cities until a few years after construction began. Ike had wanted a national road network like the one he'd seen in Germany during World War II. But he'd also wanted these roads to stop at the doorsteps of cities, not push right past.

That story comes to mind reading a recent paper from University of Southern California scholar Marlon Boarnet in this month's Transport Policy. Boarnet outlines a series of lessons that developing countries might learn from America's great road expansion experiment. By far the most compelling is his suggestion that the Interstate Highway System should have been two distinct systems: one running between cities, and another running within them

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Will Smart Technologies Shape Future Highways?

Will Smart Technologies Shape Future Highways? | green streets | Scoop.it

With the proliferation of mobile electronic technologies, interactive displays have begun to appear more frequently in fixed contexts such as smart rooms and media-driven building facades.


The latest focus of smart surface research is on the most connective element of the constructed environment: the road.


At the recent Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Studio Roosegaarde announced a joint effort with Heijmans Infrastructure to create the Smart Highway. This proposal for an electronically-enhanced road system fuses disparate elements of existing road infrastructure. Lighting, signage, and the roadbed are now a singular, integrated system.

The Digital Interactive Roadway designed by BIG for the Audi Urban Future exhibition in 2011 proposes a similar roadbed enhancement. The surface of the DIR incorporates strips of LED lights and a distributed network of sensors that respond directly to changing automotive and pedestrian traffic.


Visit the link to learn more about these forward-thinking projects and the potential for innovative digital technologies to shape roads and infrastructure...

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Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space?

Can a Highway Median Become an Alluring Public Space? | green streets | Scoop.it
That's the question in Miami, where a design firm has created a temporary pop-up park, complete with sod and seating.

On one side of Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard is a thriving downtown, filled with condos and office towers. On the other side is the Atlantic Ocean, and in a few choice locations, nice waterfront parks. The division between – Biscayne – has four lanes in each direction and a 100-foot median in between that carries overhead rail tracks and parking lots. All in all, it’s a pretty wide barrier between the people and the parks.

“It’s not convenient or easy or neighborhood-accessible,” says Tony Garcia, a principal at the Street Plans Collaborative, an urban planning, design, and advocacy firm.

Instead of trying to cross the barrier, Garcia tried to bring the park closer to the people, temporarily converting the median into a pop-up public park. In partnership with the engineering and architecture firm C3TS, Garcia coordinated with the city’s parking authority to take over a 60-space lot for a week to lay down sod and put up benches...

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Smart Highway: Glow-in-the-Dark Road in The Netherlands

Smart Highway: Glow-in-the-Dark Road in The Netherlands | green streets | Scoop.it
INDEX: Award 2013 winner Daan Roosegaarde's project has come to fruition with the installation of glowing paint on the highway to guide motorists along.

The INDEX: Award pool of innovative designs in Copenhagen all focused on improving life, with the top design being Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s Smart Highway- a plan to bring intelligent roads throughout The Netherlands and eventually, the world. Now, eight months later, the first stretch of glow-in-the-dark road has opened on highway N329 near the city of Oss...

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Why We Should Build Smart Highways

Why We Should Build Smart Highways | green streets | Scoop.it
High-speed rail is still just a dream in America. But why then aren't smart roads a reality?


It is possible to imagine a world in which smart pavement, smart cars, and embedded monitoring and controls would turn highways from gulches that pollute a wide swath of land around them with both particles and noise would become more like rivers.

Read more at the article link...

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3 Projects That Transform Highways Into Urban Oases

3 Projects That Transform Highways Into Urban Oases | green streets | Scoop.it
The phrase “the other side of the tracks,” connoting declining neighborhoods across from railroad lines, could easily translate to the community havoc wreaked by urban interstates.

Noise, pollution, and walls of concrete can be more than a little off-putting. But new projects in cities around the world prove that freeways don’t necessarily have to be urban dead zones.

In places like San Francisco and Oakland, where earthquakes led to the replacement of several freeway stretches, interstates have been redesigned and upgraded into walkable, pleasant spaces.

Other innovative approaches are showing how to transform the right-of-way land, overpasses, and adjacent spaces to be visually attractive assets--and even raise property values as businesses and residents move closer and begin to look at their infrastructure more favorably. In Seattle, Freeway Park includes space on both sides of I-5 and a green-covered pedestrian overpass connecting them, giving a convention center easy access to a large parking structure across the freeway.

Shanghai’s dramatic light-sculpture installation on its freeway placed the road in a new visual context for residents, and dozens of examples have followed. Melbourne used art panels and artful sound barriers to enable development to move closer to the freeway. Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park, located underneath an interstate, attracts thousands of annual visitors to festivals and events and is facilitating adjacent property-enhancement by private owners.

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