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The end of the car city — A convenient truth stockholmcyclo,
City Biking Paris


After taking the London city bikes for a spin, I had to give the famous Velib that kicked off the recent city bike expansion a try, in Paris.



I’d heard the terminals only take chip-and-pin credit cards, so I pre-purchased a 1-day Velib membership online (for about $2.50) before my trip. I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked— I entered the numbers from that receipt and my PIN into a terminal, and I was able to quickly/easily check out a Velib for 30 minutes from anywhere in the city.


Paris was a mix of rough cobbles, busy traffic, narrow streets… and also impressively good bike infrastructure along certain streets (separated bike paths, bike boxes, and clear markings for how bikes should cut across complex multi-way intersections, often with bike-specific traffic signals that guided bikes across on a green while cars had reds in both directions for a short period of time).



Unrelated but obligatory photo of a macaroon:


hmm in the second-to-last picture.. two different bike symbols in one crossing? wonder what’s the deal with that. maybe some activists were like, it’s not just a bike, it’s a person riding a bike! and demanded new stencils.

btw that looks like such a tasty macaroon.

Public Spaces Around the World: Eddy Kaijser’s ‘Urban Living Room’



Photos c/o ID Eddy

As a new This City Life feature, I will be profileing a fun, urban public space project each month. This week, I came across Eddy Kaijser, a Rotterdam-based urban designer, who contacted me through the blog. His “Urban Living Room" is a pop-up installation project that brings the cozy warmth of the family living room into local urban landscapes. 

The Urban Living Room consists of your typical living room furnishings: a sofa, chairs, coffee table, dresser and lamp, as well as common objects used in everyday life like a teapot, newspaper rack, plant and even a campfire -  all painted in electric blue. The Living Room’s contemporary furniture was created by leading Dutch designers Dirk van der Kooij, Roderick Vos for Linteloo, Ben Oostrum en Jan Melis. 


According to Urban Living Room creator Eddy Kaijser, installing these comforts of home in an urban context makes big cities feel more intimate and welcoming.

"The world urbanizes rapidly. People live closer together and cities keep on expanding - how do we hold on to the  bond with the city that is rapidly changing? The large scale of the city demands the opposite: a home. Feeling at home is a special feeling. By putting a living room setting in an unexpected place, we create an opportunity for that home feeling. With this project we want to explore that feeling. Important in the development of a city are the contacts between people, especially on a cultural and social level. The Urban Living Room is a prime example of encouraging this."

So far, the installation has travelled from Rotterdam to Istanbul to Barcelona. In each location, small scale activities such as board games, children’s storytelling and live music from local musicians are programmed.


"The Urban Living Room is a social meeting place that we designed to demonstrate who the public space of the city belongs to: the people," said Eddy.

Eddy has been involved in many innovative public space projects that have been showcased around the world, such as his Flying Grass Carpet, an immense Persian rug with a pattern executed in different types of artificial grass. It creates an instant park, bringing a soft, cozy green space to wherever it lands. Since its conception in 2008, it has won the Dutch Design award and been displayed in Istanbul, Madrid, Berlin and many other cities.


According to Eddy, his ideas pop up, based on a combination of intuition and listening to citizens’ feedback on their desires for lively public spaces. 

"My main inspiration for getting involved in public art space projects is a combination of the ‘displeasure’ with how I feel things are designed in public space right now. There tends to be a focus on maintenance free, low-cost spaces, consequently with a very in unsocial, dull end result. I think that the public space belongs to the people and I want to create a pleasant, social place where people can meet, play and enjoy."

Currently, Eddy is designing a total new kind of public space specifically for children.

"They can create their own world in this space. It will be really nice."


» Oakland weighs in on walkability

Walkability is important to the social fabric of Oakland because it “build[s] social capital,” said Jason Patton, Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager for the City of Oakland, noting that people of all different classes, races and backgrounds mix it up when they are on foot. “The pedestrian realm is … this kind of great equalizer that keeps us in touch with each other.”

Chris Hwang, President of WOBO’s Board Of Directors and Chair of Oakland’s Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, highlighted the need for a critical mass of pedestrians: “Walkability depends on me seeing other people doing the same thing.”

comment by melanie:

While we’re at it, can we transform Oakland Chinatown into the pedestrian paradise it could be? Restore the two-way traffic pattern on the streets, add diagonal crossing to every intersection from Laney west, add speed bumps to slow the drivers coming from the tube or the freeway, and, good God, repave. The long-suffering residents deserve much better.

read more: oaklandlocal, 20.05.14.

San Diego Bike Loop Map Released

"The San Diego Bike Loop is a big step forward in our push to create a more bike-friendly city," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "These are the types of low-cost projects that have a huge impact on our neighborhoods."

everything except for the new Bankers Hill buffered bike lanes on 4th and 5th Avenues are “shared roadways”. ughh. I remember riding down[hill] Park Blvd, and how fun yet scary it can be riding in fast car traffic.
hope the city works on implementing real bicycle infrastructure on this “bike loop”. remember, sharrows are a cop-out.
Being a woman is kind of like being a cyclist in a city where all the cars represent men. You’re supposed to be able to share the road equally with cars, but that’s not how it works. The roads are built for cars and you spend a great deal of physical and mental energy being defensive and trying not to get hurt. Some of the cars WANT you to get hurt. They think you don’t have any place on the road at all. And if you do get hurt by a car, everyone makes excuses that it’s your fault.

A friend of a friend (via bettycockroach)

Sad because it’s true. 

(via atheoryofmaking)


(via karibikes)

a while back i made a similar post called ‘transportation in america as a metaphor for privilege’, so, yeah, SECONDED.

(via julierthanyou)

(Source: onesmallflowerofeternity, via thegreenurbanist)

» Gentrification and "self-conscious publicness"

What if the pressure caused by the increasing price of everything, especially real estate, creates a new kind of civic life, more inclusive and more anxious, at the same time? What if Black Arts (Think of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka and James Baldwin barely making rent in the Lower East Side) are the cutting edge of art, and art is the symptom of gentrification!?

And what if gentrification is the wrong word, so overused that its meaning has been rubbed out, like an old coin whose only value is in its metal?

… It is this self-conscious publicness, this thorough dedication to open, sponsored space, that makes 40th Street socially distinct from Berkeley’s Gilman Street, whose eponymous punk venue was the launching pad for Green Day, NOFX and The Killers.

read more: op-ed on oaklandlocal, 19.05.14.
and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong shops in Temescal.

» Portland drivers 'clearly' show racial bias at crosswalks

Conducted in downtown Portland, the joint Portland State University and University of Arizona study found that twice as many drivers failed to yield for black pedestrians than those who were white. Meanwhile, black pedestrians typically had to wait a third longer for cars to stop for them when they had the legal right of way.

Kahn, Goddard and Adkins dressed the six test subjects – three white men, three black men, all in their 20s with the same height and build — in the same clothing and had them approach the crosswalk in the same manner. “Each pedestrian did 15 crossing trials,” the study said.”These trials resulted in 168 driver subjects.”

The research team stood out of sight and recorded whether the first car to approach yielded, how many cars passed before someone yielded and the number of seconds that elapsed before the pedestrian was able to cross.

The black pedestrians got passed by twice as many cars and waited 32 percent longer than white pedestrians, the researchers said.

read more: oregonlive, 21.05.14.

if you read from the beginning of the article, you can see that the oregonian writer totally hyped this up (as expected of media..).

he generalized from blacks to all minorities to nationally. what if portland drivers are more racist than drivers in other states?

this is just a pilot study that isn’t totally conclusive.

Goddard said she and her fellow researchers hope to acquire a grant to collect more data on driver demographics, which were only collected for the driver who yielded during the pilot study. They also want to test different types of crosswalks and the inclusion of gender as a possible influencing factor.

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