Category Archives: 3 – events

Mixed-use Suburbs

Some days ago, at the conference “desperate houses” at the EPFL, I heard about a  research, realized by the architectural firm Raumbureau, saying that, in the suburbs, around 1 over 5 houses is refurbished as office space.

If this tendence goes on:

  • Little by little, suburbs will become true villages with offices, shops, post offices, sall hospitals… (a similar project was shown at the conference),
  • Density is not the only solution to urban sprawl, other solutions (much more “open source”) are available,
  • The houses in Aigle, which I saw some days ago, can become something really interesting in a few years!

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Transit Art: CEVA

Here in Switzerland, the ultimate decision on infrastructure and urban planning comes from people, so a good communication campaign is essential in order to promote a project. So, public administrations always put a big effort on promotion and communication, as in the case of CEVA, the new underground link between the Swiss and French railway networks in Geneva. In order to promote CEVA, the State of Geneva  has commissioned a series of video to student of Geneva Applied Art School. The results can be seen here.

(source: les urbanités)

Transit Art: Transformers

Mobility week is almost over: for ten days, walking, cycling and public transport have been the main topic of a long list of events in Lausanne. One of the event of this week was the shooting of Transformers 02, by NOTsoNOISY and Retrobus:

Lausanne metro line 2 (Le Temps)

The opening of Lausanne Metro line 2, by Marco Danesi (Le Temps)

source: domaine public

Lausanne Metro line 2: it’s open!

Voila! Since last Thursday (and till Sunday, since the last tests will go on till the final opening on october 27), Lausanne Metro line 2 is open:

Here is the official video from TVRL

And here, the complete video of the trip, by skylop:

Mobility Week – 18 to 28 september 2008

(video: transformers 01 by NOTsoNOISY)

From 18 to 28 september 2008, Lausanne will host the Mobility Week. Lausanne public transports’ network will turn itself in a big show:

– Metro Line 2 will be open from 18 to 21 September, from 15h30 to 20h00 on the first day, from 10h00 to 20h00 on the other days. All stations will be open, except Delices, Bessieres and Fourmi. More info here.

– Another “Metro”, normally closed, will be open on Saturday 20: the railway tunnel between Renens and Sallaz, normally used only by freight trains will be open to passenger trains. Departures from Renens at .00 from 9h00 to 16h00 and from Sallaz at .30 from 9h30 to 16h30. More info here.

– On september 20, 21, 22, 27 and 28, the new RER trains will run between Lausanne and Cully and between Lausanne and Vevey.

On september 20, 21, 27 and 28: Departures from Lausanne (track 5 or 6) to Cully at .26 and .56 from 10h26 to 18h26. Departures from Cully to Lausanne at .11 and .41 from 10h41 to 18h41.

On september 22: Departures from Lausanne (track 9) to Vevey at .56 from 9h56 to 15h56. Departures from Vevey to Lausanne at .33 from 10h33 to 16h33. More info here.

Other events are scheduled along these days. Conferences, guided tours seminars are available here, while concerts and parties will be available here.

(sources: ville de Lausanne, semaine de la mobilité, TL, CFF, 24heures, Label Suisse)

from “Adapt the city to cars” to “Adapt the city to social networks”

In 1971, Georges Pompidou said: “Adapter la ville à la voiture” (adapt the city to cars), in a world where people wanted to go faster and further, and reach in a reasonable amount of time more and more places. A new world was born, made of countryside houses, motorways, shopping centers, big buildings: a world whose biggest examples are cities like Brasilia.

37 years later, the world has changed. The shift has moved from “going faster and further” to “meeting the right people and find the right thing”. And, regarding to the city, the new motto could be “Adapter la ville aux réseaux sociaux” (adapt the city to social networks). How will the “social network city” be? A good overview can be found here: Social Network City will be full of meeting places, hotspots, events, unconventional shops, customized objects…

And how will it look like? First, online classic will jump out of the screen and appear in the real life:

(image: wikipedia)

Then, forums, blog and social networks will invade the real life, and turn into “real world discussion forums

(sources: oh my marketing!, trendwatching)

Crowdsourcing the eco-district of Lausanne Blécherette: growing up

(source video: OLA Métamorphose)

The city of Lausanne is promoting a serie of crowdsourcing sessions for the new eco-district of Pontaise-Blecherette. Last Tuesday I was in the first of them, called “Grow Up”, and heard lots of interesting ideas.

First of all, people wanted a small-scale district: small roads that will help random meetings, small houses that will help people go out…exactly the opposite of modern day suburbs.

Then, another wish was for different areas for different people, but still in the same district: vibrant places for the youngest, quieter places for the elders, a common place where people of different ages could meet, some appartments specially designed for old people within the district.

Another idea was about finding a way in which people could add a personal touch to their district: some unfinished spaces, some house decoration programs…

Meeting in two weeks (september 10, 20h00, espace Riponne – rue du Valentin 4, Lausanne) for the next crowdsourcing session!

in the meantime, French-speaking people can find all the ideas that came in Tuesday session here.

Spatial organization and human nature

If we think, like Le Corbusier, that human nature is bad, social interactions can only lead us away from the Truth, thus shall be discouraged. A “bad human nature city” will have freeways with no sidewalk, windows on nature, shopping centers with security guards preventing unwanted behaviours…

If we think, like Jane Jacobs, that human nature is good, social interaction can only bring good things, thus shall be incouraged. A “good human nature city” will have roads full of people, windows on the streets, improvised parties, bars and cafés, flash mobs, free hugs, bicycle races

(source: urban reinventors)

Transit needs some creativity

Today, on All About Cities, I found an interesting post on improvements in public transports.

What if people with longer commutes could sit in a luxury coach, fully stocked with amenities, including:

  • Wireless internet (like the google bus in San Francisco)
  • A personal TV with a variety of programs (as on many airlines, especially in business or first class)
  • A comfortable tray table for your lap top, with a plug in
  • A cup holder for your morning latte
  • Free newspapers and magazines
  • Maybe even a bathroom

(…)

  • With mobile and internet technology, you could buy your ticket 10 minutes before heading out the door once you know you’ll be ready and confirm there is a seat for you.
    • Or you could advance book tickets, catching the 7 AM bus every day.
  • What if these luxury coaches departed from certain Starbucks (or equivalent) locations in the suburbs?
    • You could buy a latte and have a clean, safe place to wait. A bus company rep might even be in there with a mobile device to check you in.
    • As some suburban areas become higher density, this Starbucks might be at a Lifestyle Centre near peoples homes (walking distance or a park-and-ride situation).
  • What if some downtown workers who lived in suburbia could make extra money driving a nice coach into town. Presumably, there will be a need for some buses to drive in and stay until the end of the work day. An enterprising person could get his or her bus driver license and earn an extra $50 per day (and not have to pay their own commuting costs).
  • On shorter commutes perhaps different companies’ buses would be en route and you could check availability by mobile device and book a seat, catching it at a designated location. From the same mobile devices the driver would know whether to stop or not.
  • With competition among several commuting providers in a given metro area, service would be good. Creativity would be essential. Someone might offer regular customers Friday afternoon TGIF happy hour, for example.
  • One company might offer “business class” seating and “economy class” seating, similar to the airplanes.

Here in switzerland  CFF already provides most of these services on several lines (i.e. the Geneva-Lausanne intercity trains I often use), and I was discussing with people in All About Cities whether these amenities can be extended to buses.  I think buses are necessary, but cannot offer all the amenities of trains, mainly because of the different kind of comfort that the two systems offer.

(quote from Washington Post)

One erroneous statement is that bus rapid transit is just like light rail but on rubber tires. Light rail runs on domestic, low-cost electricity. Bus rapid transit runs on high-cost foreign oil. That is bad and costly.

Buses last only 15 years, while light rail cars last 40 years. In ice and snow, light rail has guidance and braking. Buses do not, unless the roadway is cleared and salted, polluting streams.

On open right-of-way, light rail absorbs water, but busways need extensive water runoff provisions to prevent damage. Light rail cars are larger than buses for comfort, efficiency and safety.

Bus size is limited by highway laws and clearances. The light rail ride is smoother and faster. Rails have no potholes, and electricity provides more power for acceleration.

If we want clean air, less foreign oil, lower long-term costs and more transit use, we must think about those differences.