Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Linkages Vol. II

Connecting your brain to the urbanism of the day by foot, like a bicycle kick to the head.

First, I had a long discussion yesterday with a native of Mexico City, or "the Day Effay" as I like to call it. We discussed the success of the bike program and the overall change in culture influenced by a wave of professional youngsters academically trained throughout the world who have returned to make a difference in their home.

As for the bikes, they have had very little problem with theft as other cities have had because they instilled accountability. The bike is linked to your credit card and a $25 deposit. Return it within 30 minutes and your ride was free. Afterwards, fees begin to mount up incrementally.

Sometimes cities have to hit rock bottom, or at least a level of discontent amongst its citizens where they become fed up and begin to implement sweeping change. For Mexico City, it was pollution, car traffic, and congestion, all animals of a similar feather. I think a great deal of this also gets to the esoteric concept of the human contract.

Urbanism requires a certain degree of trust in your fellow man. Jane Jacobs' "eyes on the street" concept depends upon it. This is why you feel safer in a crowd than you might in a dark, secluded alley or empty parking lot, seemingly without threat.

This is why I think it would be a monumentally important gesture by AT&T to place Golden Boy in the middle of their plaza rather than tuck him away behind securely locked doors.

A certain percentage of the population will always be a-holes. However, as urbanism can socialize bad buildings, it can also socialize many a bad people. There is no reason for us to live in fear. Otherwise, let's just pack up shop now and give up, lock ourselves inside, and mount a gun turret on our H2.
Ever notice how drivers act civil towards one another if and only if there has been a power outage and traffic lights default to a blinking red? I have. This Oregonian architect says, "save the $100,000 per signalized intersection and go back to stop signs."
Lastly, for realz this time, apparently it has become the sheik thing to arrive at your own livability rankings for global cities. This time from the Monocle. I'm unfamiliar. However, I'm not unfamiliar with the cities of the top 25 which are pretty much a slight reshuffling of every other Global Livable Cities ranking. Portland and Honolulu the only American cities.