Urban Update 16 Jan 2017

13 Jan

Renting rather than owning a home may not be as expensive as many people think - University of Stirling

Department for Transport Modelling shows potential for driverless vehicles to cut delays
On major roads where traditional vehicles outnumbered automated vehicles benefits are relatively small, but increase as the percentage of driverless cars on the roads increases - when measuring peak traffic periods with a maximum of up to 100% of driverless vehicles we saw journey times reduced by more than 11% and delays cut by more than 40%

On urban roads benefits are seen in peak traffic periods even with low levels of automated vehicles on roads - benefits include a 12% improvement in delays and a 21% improvement in journey time reliability

Melbourne Quarter Development sees restoration of historic wall – Urban Developer

Boston 1:40 City Model on View

Consultation on the safe use of drones in the UK – Department for Transport

Hints of New York City’s “Street Design Manual” Third Edition (due end of 2017)

Proposal for Mile-long informal street market in Houston

Health insurance claims for Type 2 Diabetes in US Children double in just four years

Latest advances in pyrolysis technologies for converting biomass into fuels, chemicals and fertilizers

Smoke Blackening of Britain’s Parliamentary Buildings helped pave the way for Air Quality Legislation - MIT

20 minutes exercise can act as anti-inflammatory- University of California


12 Jan

This three-mile-high skyscraper design using 3D printing, coated in self-cleaning material that eats smog - Independent

US housing crisis: what can Trump Housing Secretary Ben Carson learn from radical 1960s 'new town' plan? – Guardian

Bournville again: can a new Birmingham hospital recreate the Cadbury effect? - Guardian
“The new Midland Met hospital aims to regenerate one of England’s most deprived areas with ideas derived from that 19th-century ‘benevolent model’” 

Taunton to ban traffic on some town centre streets

Barton Willmore map shows where Exeter Commuters Live

Tidal lagoons cheaper than 'almost any other source of power' – Independent

Detroit tries to stem decline with 65,000 new LED street lights New York TImes
“Residents stopped trusting government, and without trust people won’t want to settle here or start a business. The mayor said he’d turn the lights back on. He did.”

Air pollution and lack of physical activity pose competing threats to children in China Oregon State University

Liveable Neighbourhoods and evidence for increased walking – Adrian Davies


11 Jan

From architecture to cultural life: how would you design a city from scratch?  Guardian

First study to show parents' concerns about neighborhood restrict kids' outdoor play - Louisiana State University

"Physical inactivity is a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic, and a large portion of the adolescent population in the US doesn't meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily vigorous physical activity,"

“Parents who do not trust their neighbors or feel they have no control over neighborhood problems were more likely to restrict their child's outdoor play,"

“Furthermore, we found that the neighborhood physical environment, such as the presence of graffiti and blighted property in the neighborhood, worsened the problem,

Risk of dementia in inactive older adults as great as those who are genetically predisposed – McMaster University
Sedentary older adults with no genetic risk factors for dementia may be just as likely to develop the disease as those who are genetically predisposed, according to a major study which followed more than 1,600 Canadians over five years

Some flight times have increased over the last 40 years as airlines order slower speeds to reduce fuel costs  - Telegraph

No silver bullet to beating obesity, study finds – University of Exeter
Many fattening aspects of the environment, lifestyle and behaviour interact with a person's genes to influence his or her waistline - and that the strongest influence is from poverty.  Public health measures should aim to alter all aspects of these fattening factors in small ways to have more impact in lowering levels of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Are global crises making our cities better? - CNN
Article by Matthew Carmona

Good design to be enshrined in NSW planning law
Amendments to Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979 will include an object to improve design

Let's bring back the urban health advantage
An essay suggesting that its time to reverse the “Urban Health Penalty”

Ford’s City of Tomorrow

Older adults with arthritis need just 45 minutes of activity per week To remain functional – North Western University 
Older adults who got 45 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, per week were 80 percent more likely to improve or sustain high future function over two years compared with those doing less, the study found.

Why American Cars Kill More Minority Pedestrians
See also Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design - report

Can cities create innovation hubs that work for the entire economy?

A problem we can’t flush away – about changing access to sanitation – The Hindu
In Mumbai, there is just one toilet seat for 1,200 slum residents, according to the study. For most of their them, defecating in the open — typically along railway tracks — is the only available option. 

Sleek new station opens in Taichung – Taipei Times
The elevated train station in Taichung is open for business, replacing a century-old building that will be turned into a train museum

How should Louisville evolve by 2040? Housing advocates, developers and city planners hash it out

Using snow to show how improve the livabilty of streets
Sneckdowns are areas of a street covered with snow which people and especially traffic are not using – showing where it might be possible to reallocate space.

Neologism: Border Vacuum
A border vacuum is a space in a city that cuts off activity and separates neighborhoods or districts.

How does heavy air pollution in Beijing form and where does it come from?

Normally, ground level pollution mixes with air higher in the sky.  Increased pollution leads to a lowering of the height of the mixing layer, concentrating the pollution.  High humidity and secondary chemical reactions in the air add to the levels of pollution.  Long distance pollution is mainly from coal burning in power stations, this is added to by local pollution from vehicles.   (NB if you read this article – “advection” means wind)

Solar Powered Street Opens in France – Le Monde

Shorter city blocks are better, analysts say, but if they're too narrow, people spend too much time crossing streets
although the article doesn’t seem to raise the possibility of making streets easier to cross

What kind of housing do aging boomers need?
“We design houses without stairs out of the worry that we might not be able to climb them at some point, but in the process, we bring that point that much closer.”  Campodimele, in Italy (known as the village of eternity) is given as an ideal village.  Built on a steep hill, it is based almost exclusively on walking.   

Scottish students propose Hyperloop high-speed transit  London-Edinburgh in 35 minutes BBC

Developing Africa's future cities - BizCommunity

Unclogging the cities - The Hindu

Billion pound University of Glasgow project - The Herald

World Design Summit announces first keynote speakers for 2017
16-25 October Montreal

5 Cities With Model Parks Systems:- Boston, Chicago, Maddison, Mineapolis, Seattle  – Urban Milwaukee

Species Rapidly Evolving In Response To Human Urbanization: Study - BBC

Kid-centered urban design  - International Women’s Forum

Living near major roads and the incidence of dementia, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis: a population-based cohort study The Lancet 
The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of incident dementia was 1·07 for people living less than 50 metres from a major traffic road (95% CI 1·06–1·08), 1·04 (1·02–1·05) for 50–100 m, 1·02 (1·01–1·03) for 101–200 m, and 1·00 (0·99–1·01) for 201–300 m versus further than 300 m (p for trend=0·0349).   People who lived in a major city, within 50 metres of a major road and who did not move house for the duration of the study had the highest risk at 12%.  No association found with Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.   Air pollution should be factored into planning, and building design to reduce exposure. 

Stronger controls proposed for litter

Paris mayor unveils plan to restrict traffic and pedestrianise city centre

A society too complex for its people risks everything

The Urban Revolution – Creating Place Vitality  - Michael Cowdy

A guide dog’s view of mobility and discrimination

First-time buyer subsidised homes 'will be built this year