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thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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Infrastructure in U.S. Cities: New Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Infrastructure in U.S. Cities: New Urban Bikeway Design Guide | green streets | Scoop.it

In 2000, the District of Columbia had three miles of bike lanes. Today, the district has roughly 80 miles of bike infrastructure, and many other U.S. cities have made similar investments. Bicycling Magazine’s top 50 bike friendly cities includes some unsurprising places at the top – Minneapolis, Portland, Boulder, Seattle – but also shows how cities such as Cleveland, Miami, and Baltimore have made important strides in the last several years to improve their bike systems. Several are members of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), which has put out its best-selling Urban Bikeway Design Guide, first released in 2011, now with an updated second edition this year.

NACTO’s updated second edition is part of their “sustained commitment to making city streets safer for everyone using them.” Reformatted with improved structure, it features photos, diagrams, and 3-D renderings of wide-ranging best practices in design for bike infrastructure...

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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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Bicycle roundabout in the sky in the Netherlands, Hovenring (video)

Bicycle roundabout in the sky in the Netherlands, Hovenring (video) | green streets | Scoop.it

The Netherlands is known for its bicycle-friendly streets and bike paths, but even this bike leader has intersections that are excessively large and centered too much around cars. In the case of one such intersection between Eindhoven and Veldhoven, planners and designers created the Hovenring, a beautiful bicycle and pedestrian roundabout elevated above the roadway.

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Safer Streets Pay Off for Businesses

Safer Streets Pay Off for Businesses | green streets | Scoop.it

When policymakers think about changing a street, economic factors weigh heavily. Objections from business owners can prevent the installation of bike lanes, traffic-calming measures, and sensible parking pricing.

As a result, making the economic case for re-designing streets is imperative. But how do you measure the financial impact of more human-centric design?

The New York City Department of Transportation, which installed dozens of pedestrian plazas and hundreds of miles of bike lanes over the last six years, wanted to know. They found that no one had developed a compelling model. So the agency set out to create its own methodology...

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Streetmix: A new app lets you reimagine and redesign your city's streets

Streetmix: A new app lets you reimagine and redesign your city's streets | green streets | Scoop.it

It's easy to point out that there's something wrong with a system, such as the design of an urban street or neighborhood, but it's another thing entirely to come up with a design that would be better.

But when it comes to re-imagining the streets in your neighborhood, that process just got quite a bit easier, thanks to a new web app. With Streetmix, users design their perfect street, with the right balance of bike lanes, sidewalks, public transport and vehicle traffic lanes, just by dragging and dropping design segments and adjusting their parameters.

Some users are designing alternatives to real streets in their cities; the app uses real-world design constraints, which can help the layperson understand some of what urban planners need to incorporate in their designs and enable better communication between the planners and the population in design and use issues.


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miguel sa's curator insight, September 4, 2013 4:15 PM

Now this sounds like fun! 

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EuropaCity: A New Urban Center by Bjarke Ingels Group

EuropaCity: A New Urban Center by Bjarke Ingels Group | green streets | Scoop.it

BIG with additional team members Tess, Transsolar, Base, Transitec and Michel Forgue is chosen to design an 80 Hectare cultural and commercial destination, EuropaCity in France.


The new urban center EuropaCity is located between Paris and Roissy in France’s most populated region Île-de-France, and will offer a mixture of retail, culture and leisure on an unprecedented scale around the theme of the European urban experience, diversity and culture.

BIG’s proposal is an urban form combining dense city with open landscape and will become a cultural and commercial gathering point for the surrounding cities of the Triangle de Gonesse. Like a city that is carved into the landscape, the entire facility is covered in an accessible green roof with recreational areas, hiking paths and urban farming. EuropaCity will be directly linked to the coming Grand Paris Express Metro to Charles de Gaule airport.


“EuropaCity will be an experimental hybrid between urbanism and landscape design: Center and periphery overlapped in the simultaneous coexistence of a recreational open landscape of rolling hills superimposed on an urban neighborhood of walkable streets, plazas and parks. We find that Paris these years is taking on a holistic effort to ensure that the urban periphery is given equal opportunity to be as lively and inhabitable as its historic center. EuropaCity will be an important step in this agenda.” –Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

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Smart Highways by Studio Roosegaarde

Smart Highways by Studio Roosegaarde | green streets | Scoop.it

Glow-in-the-dark roads and responsive street lamps were among the concepts to make highways safer while saving money and energy at the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town earlier this month.


The Smart Highways project by Studio Roosegaarde proposes five energy-efficient concepts that will be tested on a stretch of highway in the Brabant province of the Netherlands from the middle of this year.

The first of the concepts is a glow-in-the-dark road that uses photo-luminescent paint to mark out traffic lanes. The paint absorbs energy from sunlight during the day the lights the road at night for up to 10 hours. Temperature-responsive road paint would show images of snowflakes when the temperature drops below zero, warning drivers to take care on icy roads.

There are two ideas for roadside lighting: interactive street lamps that come on as vehicles approach then dim as they pass by, thereby saving energy when there is no traffic, and "wind lights" that use energy generated by pinwheels as drafts of air from passing vehicles cause them to spin round. Additionally, an induction priority lane would incorporate induction coils under the tarmac to recharge electric cars as they drive...


Learn more about these innovative proposals and associated technology at the article link.

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Norm Miller's curator insight, March 25, 2013 1:15 PM

First we learned to sequence traffic lights.  Now we can capture energy for better road marking.  Next we will have computer guided car tracks that let us travel more efficiently as a group better utilizing existing highways.  Add in more fuel efficient or electric cars and we have a pretty good outlook for cleaner cities and less dependency on non-renewable resources.

Jim Gramata's comment, March 30, 2013 12:09 PM
If there is one area that needs focus and improvement it is highways. Agreed!
Anji Connell's curator insight, April 14, 2013 12:59 AM

Great idea No !

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Amsterdam’s Light Festival Sets the City Aglow With Magical LED Installations

Amsterdam’s Light Festival Sets the City Aglow With Magical LED Installations | green streets | Scoop.it

During the darkest time of the year, a vibrant festival of light and water enlivens Amsterdam.


Comprised of spectacular light sculptures, LED decorations on bridges, fiery boat parades and huge projections on public buildings, the festival brings together people in the often idyllic historic capital. Amsterdam's Light Festival is an initiative of Henk Jan Buchel, Vincent Horbach and Felix Guttmann together with Rogier van der Heiden—chief designer at Philips Lighting – this brilliant street party has a strong focus on innovation, design and sustainable lighting.

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10 Ways to Improve Your City through Public Space

10 Ways to Improve Your City through Public Space | green streets | Scoop.it

Public spaces are increasingly being recognized as a crucial ingredient for successful cities, and for their ability to revitalize and create economic and social development opportunities.


Actually finding ways to build and maintain healthy public space remains elusive to many municipal governments, especially in the developing world. The vast web of streets, parks, plazas, and courtyards that define public space is often lacking, poorly planned, or without adequate citizen participation in the design process.
Recognizing these challenges, the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) released earlier this month a draft of their handbook Placemaking and the Future of Cities. It’s intended to serve as a best practices guide for those wishing to improve the economic, environmental and social health of their communities through the power of successful public space.


10 fundamental principles for placemaking have been identified by PPS as the keys to vibrant, safe, and attractive public spaces:


1. Improve Streets as Public Spaces
2. Create Squares and Parks as Multi-Use Destinations

3. Build Local Economies Through Markets

4. Design Buildings to Support Places

5. Link a Public Health Agenda to a Public Space Agenda

6. Reinvent Community Planning

7. Power of 10

8. Create a Comprehensive Public Space Agenda

9. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper: Start Small, Experiment

10. Restructure Government to Support Public Spaces

 

Read the complete article for more on developing a positive public realm through the use of local resources, citizen participation, and strategic approaches to urban development...

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San Francisco To Help Citizens Create “Better Streets”

San Francisco To Help Citizens Create “Better Streets” | green streets | Scoop.it
One of Jane Jacobs’ most valuable contributions to the understanding of cities was her faith in the wisdom of the urban dweller. She argued that the physical city—and any approach to city planning—could not be separated from the wisdom of each individual inhabitant, “People who know well such animated city streets will know how it is. I am afraid people who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads, like the old prints of rhinoceroses made from travelers’ descriptions of rhinoceroses.” The complication arising from Jacobs’ argument is simple though difficult to solve; how can we plan a city when planning is one part abstraction and abstraction removes us from Jacobs’ precious “real life” mentality?

 

A step towards solving this contradiction is sfbetterstreets.org, a website launched last week by the City of San Francisco. Developed by the San Francisco Planning Department in conjunction with other city agencies, the website is part of the city’s larger, “Better Streets” initiative. The legislative concept, described in San Francisco’s Better Streets Plan, is to create streets “designed and built to strike a balance between all users regardless of physical abilities or mode of travel… maximizing features for the comfort, usability, and aesthetics of people walking.”

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Urban Green Streets: City Gardens and Greenspace

Urban Green Streets: City Gardens and Greenspace | green streets | Scoop.it

City green space and city gardens are a way to create integration with nature in urban settings.

All cities were once expanses of trees and wildlife, and, sadly, they have been paved over with concrete. Joni Mitchell said it best – ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.’ City residents are making a big effort to turn that around and bring nature back to the city and maybe slow down the hustle and bustle.
City street landscaping has generally been a line of trees along the curb, if there were any at all. Now, flower, herb and vegetable gardens are popping up along sidewalks to beautify neighborhoods...

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New Urbanism Feature: Narrower Roads

New Urbanism Feature: Narrower Roads | green streets | Scoop.it

Walkability is one of the main features of new urbanism, and narrower streets are a part of this. (This article talks about how narrower roads often work better than wide ones.) For one, narrower roads force cars to drive slower, which makes walking safer. Other things that contribute to a community’s walkability are having buildings close to the street, having tree-lined streets, on-street parking, hidden parking lots, and rear lane garages.

By promoting walkability and building narrower streets, among other things, we build communities that are family-friendly and that encourage families to stroll through their community without worry or to let their kids go biking unsupervised. Just one of the ways we strive to make your life better and greener!

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Most Americans Want a Walkable Neighborhood, Not a Big House

Most Americans Want a Walkable Neighborhood, Not a Big House | green streets | Scoop.it
It turns out most of us value nearby stores and parks rather than McMansions. Luckily, that's probably where we're headed.

The symbol of American success often involves having the biggest house possible, but our outsized fantasies seem to be shifting. According to a new survey, more than three quarters of us consider having sidewalks and places to take a walk one of our top priorities when deciding where to live. Six in 10 people also said they would sacrifice a bigger house to live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk.

For once, our preferences align with our impending reality; in the future, we may not have a choice whether or not to downsize our lifestyles. The housing bust exposed that the McMansion phenomenon is unsustainable, which has forced us to re-examine our priorities. In another study in 2010, the ideal number of square footage people desired for their houses dropped dramatically. It's becoming increasingly clear that the American dream of buying a big old house will need to be revised for the youngest generation.

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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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Brooklyn Bridge Crossroads: Landscape plan rebuilds a gateway to the iconic bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Crossroads: Landscape plan rebuilds a gateway to the iconic bridge | green streets | Scoop.it

Every day, thousands of cyclists and pedestrians jockey for space on a narrow strip along the center of the Brooklyn Bridge. At the Brooklyn terminus of the bridge, however, the already-chaotic scene devolves into a dangerous confluence of cars, bikes, and pedestrians as the path abruptly ends in the center of a busy intersection at Adams and Tillary streets.

After five years of study, meetings, and schematic designs, however, accessing the Brooklyn Bridge will soon be improved under a plan to revamp the Brooklyn Bridge Gateway Area streetscape, encompassing Tillary Street between Cadman Plaza West and Prince Street and several blocks of Adams Street, with widened sidewalks, improved bike lanes, and increased landscaping.

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Before & After: New York City’s 25 Most Transformative Road Diets

Before & After: New York City’s 25 Most Transformative Road Diets | green streets | Scoop.it

With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed bouldersBloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan‘s street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city in recent years. Whether it’s Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza or Snøhetta’s redesigned Times Square, New York City's recent road diets have shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate.

Take a look at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era.

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Norm Miller's curator insight, February 4, 12:48 PM

Pedestrain freindly places that allow reasonable car access.

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Taking the Next Step: Paris Leads With Innovation in the Streets

Taking the Next Step: Paris Leads With Innovation in the Streets | green streets | Scoop.it

In a 180-degree change from previous decades, during which public space was thought of mainly in terms of facilitating automobile circulation, the City of Paris has been implementing an ambitious strategy to rethink the role of the car in the city.

The new approach, which puts the quality of the urban experience at the heart of urban policy, has led to a complete redefinition of Paris’s urban spaces...

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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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The Urban Environment: 8 Qualities of Pedestrian and Transit-Oriented Design

The Urban Environment: 8 Qualities of Pedestrian and Transit-Oriented Design | green streets | Scoop.it

Since 2000, a number of tools for measuring the quality of the walking environment have emerged. These tools are now used by researchers, local governments, and community groups to measure physical features related to walkability, such as building setback, block length, and street and sidewalk width.


Yet individual physical features may not tell us much about the experience of walking down a particular street. Specifically, they may not capture people’s overall perceptions of the street environment, perceptions that may have complex or subtle relationships to physical features. The urban design literature points to numerous perceptual qualities that may affect the walking experience. Other fields also contribute, including architecture, landscape architecture, park planning, environmental psychology, and the growing visual preference and visual assessment literature.


Visit the link for more information and the complete article explaining the 8 urban design qualities that enable more effective urban design planning solutions for creating quality pedestrian environments...

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Anji Connell's curator insight, April 10, 2013 10:40 PM

Fascinating........"Imageability is related to “sense of place.” Gorden Cullen (1961, p. 152) elaborates on the concept of sense of place, asserting that a characteristic visual theme will contribute to a cohesive sense of place and will inspire people to enter and rest in the space. Jan Gehl (1987, p. 183) explains this phenomenon using the example of famous Italian city squares, where “life in the space, the climate, and the architectural quality support and complement each other to create an unforgettable total impression.” When all factors manage to work together to such pleasing ends, a feeling of physical and psychological well-being results: the feeling that a space is a thoroughly pleasant place in which to be."

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How to 'Rightsize' a Street

How to 'Rightsize' a Street | green streets | Scoop.it

The concept of a "road diet” has become increasingly popular, though the phrase fails to capture the wide variety of ways in which streets planned and paved decades ago often awkwardly fit the needs of changing communities today.


In many cases, redesigning city streetscapes is not just (or not at all) about eliminating roadway. It may be about adding parking (to benefit new businesses), or building a new median (for pedestrians who were never present before), or simply painting new markings on the pavement (SCHOOL X-ING).


According to the Project for Public Spaces, we might do better to think of the task as “rightsizing” streets instead of starving them. This week, the nonprofit planning and design organization published a series of case studies from across the country illustrating exactly what this could look like in a variety of settings. The above image pair, from the collection, shows before-and-after scenes of Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. Starting in the summer of 2010, the New York City Department of Transportation began retrofitting the street to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians crossing into Prospect Park. The whole project wasn’t simply a matter of pruning traffic lanes, but of adding yield signs, new traffic signal timing, bike lanes and pedestrian islands.

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American Grove's comment, January 28, 2013 8:56 AM
Too often space for trees (6 feet minimum) are left off the plan in a road diet.
American Grove's curator insight, January 28, 2013 8:59 AM

Munciple Arborist Beware!  Too often sufficient space for trees are being left out of the plans in road diets.  The problem is competing space for paths, bikeways, parking squeeze out an 8ft planting strip to a 4 ft planting strip or less.  4 Strip planting strips is not enough soil for shade trees. Bulb outs into parking and root bridging are innovative ways to work with the lack of space but requires an arborist to help plan. 

Suzette Jackson's curator insight, September 10, 6:23 PM

Has your city 'rightsized' your streets? Slowing traffic and creating more engaging neighbourhoods

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A Mass-Transit Proposal To Connect A City Using Aerial Gondolas

A Mass-Transit Proposal To Connect A City Using Aerial Gondolas | green streets | Scoop.it
For many, aerial mass transit--either by way of tram or gondola--is an idea best left to ski resorts and World’s Fairs.

 But for a growing number of urban planners and designers, aerial transit represents an alternative for cities where traditional transit options are limited. At PSFK’s recent conference in San Francisco, Frog Principal Designer Michael McDaniel unveiled an ambitious plan called the Wire, which proposes a network of gondolas over Austin, Texas.

McDaniel and his team imagine a system of detachable gondolas connecting neighborhoods throughout the city, making it possible for cyclists and pedestrians to “hop” over particularly congested areas. “The big advantage here is the detachable part which means more gondolas can be added during rush hour and removed in non-peaks times,” he tells Co.Design.

After looking at precedents--like dedicated bus lanes and Portland, another city whose aerial tram has been a huge success--the design team took to Austin’s streets, interviewing locals about their transit experiences...

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Paris to return Seine to the people with car-free plan...

Paris to return Seine to the people with car-free plan... | green streets | Scoop.it
It's the latest battle in Paris's war on the private car: a pedestrian "reconquest" of the banks of the Seine.

After a slanging match with the right, the city's Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoë has won his quest to break up the two-lane urban motorway that has run along the edge of the Seine since the 1960s, and return Paris's riverside world heritage sites to walkers and cyclists.

Next month, a stretch of more than 1km (0.6 miles) on the right bank near the Hôtel de Ville will see the first narrowing of the road to make way for pedestrian corridors, riverside walkways, bars and cafes. Then in the spring the final promised masterpiece of pedestrianisation will be unveiled: a 2.5km car-free zone on the left bank, between the Musée d'Orsay and the Pont de l'Alma, with a riverside park, pedestrian promenades, floating botanic gardens, flower-market barges, sports courts, restaurants and even perhaps an archipelago of artificial islands...

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Freeways Without Futures | Congress for the New Urbanism

Freeways Without Futures | Congress for the New Urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it
The “Freeways Without Futures” list recognizes the top-ten locations in North America where the opportunity is greatest to stimulate valuable revitalization by replacing aging urban highways with boulevards and other cost-saving urban alternatives. The list was generated from an open call for nominations and prioritized based on factors including the age of the structure, redevelopment potential, potential cost savings, ability to improve both overall mobility and local access, existence of pending infrastructure decisions, and local support.

Cities around the world are replacing urban highways with surface streets, saving billions of dollars on transportation infrastructure and revitalizing adjacent land with walkable, compact development. Transportation models that support connected street grids, improved transit, and revitalized urbanism will make reducing gasoline dependency and greenhouse gas emissions that much more convenient. It pays to consider them as cities evaluate their renewal strategies — and as the U.S. evaluates its federal transportation and climate policy...

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Complete Streets Success Stories Focus of New Report

Complete Streets Success Stories Focus of New Report | green streets | Scoop.it
Representative Doris Matsui (CA-5), one of the Congressional sponsors of a federal Complete Streets policy, gathered with local leaders in Sacramento last week to celebrate the findings of the National Complete Streets Coalition’s new report, It’s a Safe Decision: Complete Streets in California (.pdf), and to call for a national Complete Streets policy to make streets safer for everyone.

“Since 2009, more than 880 pedestrians and bicyclists have been injured, 30 fatally, here in Sacramento,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “These needless and preventable incidents highlight the need for Complete Streets policies, which are critical to making our communities more livable, sustainable, and most importantly, safe.”

 

The report details the success of the Complete Streets approach across the Golden State. In addition to the policy guiding the California Department of Transportation has its own policy (adopted in 2001 and updated in 2008), fifteen communities in California have adopted Complete Streets policies. A state law passed in 2008 is spurring the creation and adoption of even more policies as cities and counties update their general plans...

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Good Clean Fun: Interactive Games Tidy Urban Spaces | WebUrbanist

Good Clean Fun: Interactive Games Tidy Urban Spaces | WebUrbanist | green streets | Scoop.it

It doesn’t matter where you go in the world: it seems like litter is always an unwelcome part of the scenery. The Swiss city of Lucerne decided to do something about their litter problem by enticing residents and visitors to have fun while throwing their rubbish away. The initiative is called “Lucerne Shines,” and in the many years since it was implemented the city has seen an exceptional response.

The project saw 16 public trash bins converted to public game stations. You won’t find any fancy touch-screen games, though – these games are all about cleaning up your mess and leaving the city a little prettier than you found it. From short mazes to free-throw lines to hopscotch, the initiative appeals to everyone who likes to have a little unexpected fun in the middle of an otherwise-ordinary day...

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