Posts tagged bicycling

It Takes More Than Bollards to Build a Bike Paradise: “Some cycling capitals are less well known. Take Nijmegen, a mid-sized Dutch city near the German border, where bikes boast an inner-city modal share of 60 percent. Last year, the Cyclists’ Union of the Netherlands voted it the best bike city in the country (and thus probably the universe)—toppling other towns that regularly garner international praise. What’s the city’s secret? A new documentary by Streetfilms shot during Velo-City, an international biking conference recently held in Nijmegen, hits on key points.”

Atlas for the End of the World: “Coming almost 450 years after the world’s first Atlas, this Atlas for the End of the World audits the status of land use and urbanization in the most critically endangered bioregions on Earth. It does so, firstly, by measuring the quantity of protected area across the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots in comparison to United Nation’s 2020 targets; and secondly, by identifying where future urban growth in these territories is on a collision course with endangered species.”

LANDSCAPE: All Night Menu Stirs the Plot: “Here’s how Sam Sweet describes his All Night Menu project: “A periodic index of lost heroes and miniature histories. Its only objective is to make the invisible equal to the visible.” The series of five handmade booklets explores Los Angeles’ sprawl with gritty elegance. Each story unveils multilayered narratives from otherwise overlooked corners. On this episode of LAndscape, Sweet joins Frosty on a jaunt around Los Angeles to flip some stones. Hear about the extraordinary, unsung characters who’ve roamed these streets and the music that moved them.”

California Plant Communities by Zipcode:
These lists are an attempt to define what plant community(ies) exist for every city, town and zipcode in California. Although we’ve traversed most of California, it seems humanly impossible to track every road and village in one lifetime. Works like Munz’s California Flora, McMinn’s Shrubs of California, Abram’s Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States, or the original Jepson Manual (Manual of the Flowering Plants of California, by Willis Linn Jepson) continually amaze me with how few hillsides they missed. They didn’t have zipcodes then.”

The Last House On Mulholland – HOME: Stories from LA: How will we live in 20 years? Or 50? Or 100? A one-of-a-kind, only-in-LA plot at the very end of Mulholland Highway inspired some of the world’s best designers to think hard about the home of the future, in Los Angeles and beyond.

Bishan Park, Singapore | Green corridor with Kallang River which connects Singapore Strait and Lower Peirce Reservoir. CC photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Bishan Park, Singapore | Green corridor with Kallang River which connects Singapore Strait and Lower Peirce Reservoir. CC photo: commons.wikimedia.org

As cities become more dense the need to address the concerns of mitigating the way in which citizens move through the city becomes magnified. As of now, the prominent method of transportation has focused upon the automobile, with increasing progression toward implementing public transportation. However, those more interested in bicycling haven’t found the road as accommodating. Generations of infrastructure development has made automobiles the primary and sole owner of the road, with little concern for permitting other methods of transportation as plausible or safe options. The result has been high levels of air pollution, urban runoff, and congestion on the road.

In recent years, cities such as New York, Chicago, Barcelona, and Calgary have implemented projects to initiate methods to mediate transportation of cars, buses, and bicycles to create a safer integration of circulation. Los Angeles has followed with its own project, MyFigueroa, proposing improvements throughout the Downtown area to accommodate for the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and drivers with planting, signage, and a protected bicycle lane network. As this is a step forward to a better integrated system for a dense urban hub, why not increase the momentum and address the health, safety, and welfare by implementing principles that can resolve other issues derived by urban conditions? Methods and materials can be utilized to develop systems to decrease runoff and increase air quality.

Thermal imaging capturing temperature distribution, with blue showing cool temperatures, red warm, and hot areas appear white. CC image obtained from NASA Earth Observatory webpage.

Thermal imaging capturing temperature distribution, with blue showing cool temperatures, red warm, and hot areas appear white. CC image obtained from NASA Earth Observatory webpage.

Since the inception of the first public park, it has been known that green open spaces aid in resolving health issues of those living in dense urban environments. Utilizing trees and other plants goes far beyond aesthetic appeal to a city, but can also service as an improvement of public health, both mentally and physically. With additional services such as mitigating urban heat island effects, planting can be integrated with the improvements currently proposed to filter and reduce polluting factors within the downtown area.

A few cities like Copenhagen, Denmark and Quezon City, Philippines have initiating large scale propositions to preserve and develop green spaces for public health. Quezon City has developed a plan to create open spaces that service as a “green lung”, utilizing plant materials that can filter and absorb toxins and pollutants, as well as contribute to carbon sequestration. Sustainable practices such as green lungs and curb breaks in parkways can be implemented into propositions, such as the MyFigueroa project that proposed bikeway networks, to dramatically mitigate conditions create by urban development. As much as the tree canopies above can filter light and reduce heat island effects, why not use plant materials contaminants along the bike routes that can filter water and reduce runoff.