“…All of our politics was built around the idea that there are cities, and there are suburbs, and the suburban people don’t like the city people, and the city people don’t like the suburban people, and usually the suburban people are republicans, and the city people are democrats…our politics was built around that idea. Except that now all the researches are showing that, if you want a driving suburban area, then you’d better have a driving city…”
Little by little, the theme of city life and suburban life is entering the main political debate. First, talks were about gas prices and how they are threatening the suburban lifestyle. Then little by little, the speech moved to the opportunities offered by a less car-friendly and more pedestrian-friendly city: socializing opportunities, random meeting opportunities, life-improving opportunities. The suburban model is not “the one and only” possible model anymore.
(source:barackobama.com, via jane jacobs)
(image: a small town in Paris’s suburbs, via Microsoft Virtual Earth)
Till now, it seemed that small towns were doomed to be the victims of urban sprawl: the only future waiting for them was made of single-family houses, shopping malls, office parks and highways.
Even when bigger towns started to develop their downtown, smaller cities thought that this was not their business, because there were not enough amenities to justify a mixed use, walkable development.
But things are changing. Even a small town can have its part of smart growth. Let’s just stop thinking about it as a closed entity and let’s think about it as an element of a bigger system… an office park, a shopping mall, a residential development and a transit station, all concentrated in a single entity. Then, the small&smart town can advertise itself like any other office park or shopping mall (parkings all around and a big billboard sign)… and it’s done!
(sources: 24Heures, NRDC)
Do you remember this scene from “The Seven Year Itch”?
Artist Joshua allen Harris’s took inspiration from this scene for its sculptures. Most of the time, Harris’s artworks look like pieces of garbage left on the road, but whenever a train pass under the grate, they turn alive!
Riding a bike is a pleasant, cheap and environmentally friendly way to move around the city, but has its own things to worry about. One of the main issues is parking your bike in a safe way.
A good solution would be providing indoor (and controlled) bike parking, an option that architects and developper often forget. New York Times didn’t escape from this mistake, and built a a brand new, energy-saving building, but without a bike parking.
NYT employees had to fight hard for their right to bike to work… you can read all the story here.