If cities want more people to bike instead of drive, the solution isn’t complicated: Redesign streets that were originally designed for cars to make them safe and easy to ride a bike on, and the cyclists will come. Copenhagen’s taken it so far that they considered building a crazy new bike lane between skyscrapers (though the plan later changed, now it’s probably for pedestrians–that’s also good). Rush hour in the Danish capital looks more like a bike race than a parking lot, and when the city builds new roads, it calculates how much it can save society by prioritizing bikes over cars. advertisement advertisement Around half the people in Copenhagen now bike to work. But like Amsterdam, it was once filled with traffic. There’s no special Danish or Dutch propensity to bike. It’s just that the cities have deliberately built networks of bike lanes. Google took inspiration, and now wants to use data to make Silicon Valley look more like … [Read more...] about Redesigning Cities For Bikes, Not Cars: 2015 In Bicycles
Diesel car for city
Many cities became greener and cleaner in 2015, following an exciting long-term trend. Cities added new bike lanes, lovely cycling bridges and new green-spaces. They became more walkable and began to de-emphasize cars in favor of public transit. We saw more “tactical urbanism”–for instance, where parking spaces become temporary parks–and increased civic participation, from participatory budgeting to SeeClickFix. advertisement advertisement The continued renaissance of the city has a dark side, though, and it was more in evidence. More popular than ever, the world’s greatest cities, from London to New York, are becoming heinously expensive for ordinary people. Inequality is on the increase. And, places like San Francisco are losing something of their melting-pot character. The great cities of the future, therefore, will be more than nice places; they’ll be inclusive. They’ll find new ways to create housing, as in this shared living … [Read more...] about Cleaner, Greener, Safer–And More Exclusive: 2015 In Cities
2015 was the year we continued to see new types of transportation, including self-driving cars and buses, all kinds of drones, and even futuristic trains, like Elon Musk’s Hyperloop. advertisement advertisement It was also when we started to see transport become better integrated. Bike-share companies looked to become part of wider transit systems (rather than just standalone services). Uber started to share data with cities, auguring a time when ride-sharing become part of public networks. And, we saw plenty of new apps and sites allowing people to move more seamlessly between modes. For any given journey, we can now understand the best way to get from A to B. There were some failures as well. Leap Transit, an upmarket private bus service in San Francisco, went out of business (not that anyone minded too much). Generally things got better. As we gather and crunch data more effectively, we should be able to move more quickly and with less hassle, even as cities become … [Read more...] about Bike Sharing, Driverless Cars, And Hyperloops: 2015 In Transportation
At a UPS operating center in midtown Manhattan, two cargo delivery bikes will soon begin rolling out of a driveway in the morning a few hours before the usual delivery trucks begin their routes. The company is part of a new six-month pilot program in New York City that will test how well cargo bikes, with electric “pedal assist” for couriers, can potentially help relieve traffic by replacing some delivery trucks. A similar system is already in use in several other cities around the world: New York can learn from what’s working elsewhere to consider how the pilot could scale up. advertisement advertisement In European cities, UPS typically brings a shipping container from a depot to a spot in the city center early in the morning, and couriers on bikes take loads of deliveries to nearby neighborhoods. Since the cargo bikes can’t carry as much as a truck, the cyclists have to make multiple trips; the system only makes economic sense in congested areas … [Read more...] about What will make cargo bike package delivery succeed in New York?
With climate change, drought, land depletion, and ocean pollution to deal with, the world doesn’t have endless resources to waste or pollute. We’re even running out of the rare metals needed to make our tech gadgets. This year, more mindful consumers and innovative companies, large and small, are taking this message to heart. advertisement advertisement Apple has been buying up forests around the world, and forward-thinking companies like IKEA and GE have been leading the way in not only planning for climate change and but actually dedicating real money to it. A here’s the amazing story of a 17-year-old inventor who dreamed up an audacious way to clean up trash from the ocean–and is making it a reality. Other companies, like Adidas, have figured out how to make waste into a resource. Startups have also been involved: Evidence the Fairphone, a smartphone made with fairly-mined minerals and that is designed to last far longer than just a year or two. Of … [Read more...] about Designing To Waste Less And Reuse More: 2015 In Environmental Innovation