Links for urbanists – No. 4

Click to compare Manhattan's Highline before and after it was converted from an elevated rail line to an elevated park. Drag the slider to see more of either (thanks to Per Square Mile)

Assorted links to some of the useful, the informative, the interesting, and sometimes even the slightly weird sources I stumble across from time-to-time:

  1. Ghosts of Manhattan’s Highline (and other traces of the past). Some commentary on historical opposition to elevated rail lines in NY
  2. Some people are very serious about No Far King Par King across their driveways!
  3. A brief economic explanation of peak oil
  4. Some links on the decline in car travel – The end of motoring and The road less travelled
  5. Plea to abolish train zones – from the Dandenong Leader
  6. US rail construction costs compared to some other places
  7. The magic formula for increasing transit ridership – make it hard and make it expensive to use cars
  8. The agglomeration benefits of Britain’s Crossrail project
  9. Loud s*x is a billion dollar problem
  10. Is Charles Darwin the real founder of economics?
  11. Trends in car occupancy in Australia
  12. Life in the fast lane – Melbourne’s laneways
  13. Psychogeography and the end of planning (this is about Reyner Banham and LA)
  14. Cities as hotels – would privately owned cities work?
  15. Understanding liveable city rankings
  16. The Bolt case is actually not the perfect opportunity to argue bravely for freedom of expression. The judgement by Bromberg J, with summary, is here.
  17. Higher density creates jobs and increases productivity. This report in the NY Times is adapted from a chapter in Ryan Avent’s new e-book, The Gated City. Here’s another extract, this time from The Atlantic. You can buy a copy of this excellent book to read on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Kindle for less than $2 from Amazon. I’m reading it on my iPhone in those idle moments (you don’t need a Kindle).
  18. A collection of reviews, comments and reactions to The Gated City, from Alex Tabarrok, Lloyd Alter (and again), Yonah Freemark, Chris Bradford, Peter Gordon, David Levinson, Jim Gleeson, and Randall O’Toole. Some follow-up comments by Ryan Avent: Urbanists and evidence; Jobs and density; Moving towards stagnation (audio); and Expensive real estate drives away people and jobs (video)
  19. Ryan Avent yet again, but this time reviewing the volume that started the intellectual e-book fashion, Tyler Cowen’s The great stagnation (I sought to download it for $4 from Amazon at the start of the year but was refused access – eventually got an ePub, but it was a torrent of trouble. Note that I had no territorial problems with Amazon when I bought The Gated City). Some further analysis by Noah Smith.
  20. Stephen Rowley reports on his visit to the village that inspired the New Urbanism, Seaside, Florida
  21. Architecture for developing countries – leave the ‘design’ attitude at home please
  22. More on the importance of density (or is it city size?) for innovation and productivity
  23. The perils of opening a store in Manhattan. “She also realized too late that people wouldn’t be inclined to buy a dozen Glassybabys, the way they do in Seattle, because they would have to carry them home. “In Seattle, everyone had cars so we never thought about it,” Ms. Rhodes said”

4 Comments on “Links for urbanists – No. 4”

  1. kymbos says:

    Peak travel. Very interesting. Do you buy it, Alan?

    • Alan Davies says:

      I do. The reduction in the rate of growth of kms driven by car in western countries seems incontrovertible. The reasons though are more complex. I’ve looked at this issue before – Why are we driving less? and Why is Gen Y driving less?. There’s a summary here – Are these curves moving for the same reasons?

      I think there are a range of reasons, although the key ones are probably traffic congestion, the fact that the growth of women in the workforce has stabilised, the perception of the car as a commodity rather than a status symbol, and the ‘saturation of travel’ hypothesis. Higher petrol prices, improvements in communications and better public transport are all in there too, but I suspect they’re secondary factors.

  2. Tanya says:

    Great links….love the Per Square Mile pics and can’t help thinking how many elevated freeways have been removed in the US (although I’m sure they still have oodles), as we seem to keep adding more of them here.


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