And how to make your city a contender.
Get Your City Walking With DIY Wayfinding
Urban designer Matt Tomasulo has launched Walk [Your City], a website that enables users to generate custom street signs in order to improve walkability of their neighborhood. Main objectives of the platform are building a local sense of community and helping citizens becoming more engaged.
Another important reason for Tomasulo to build Walk [Your City] is to stimulate people to exercise more, for instance by taking a simple walk. “In 1960, 1:4 citizens took one useful, 10-minute walk each day. Now that number is 1:10”, he explains. The website is built around a handy tool that allows everyone to create custom street signs based on walkability. Users draw a route between two points and the tool automatically calculates the walk or cycle minutes from A to B, as well as generates a good-looking sign. A QR code in the bottom corner links to a mobile website that displays the entire walking route.
Users can order their custom-made signs, which is rather expensive. One sign costs you $25 including shipping — that’s not cheap if you take into account the chance that your beautiful sign will be removed after a short while by some enthusiast policeman. Nevertheless, Walk [Your City] could turn out a great way for people to guide others to great places, such as a new bar, a street intervention or an event that would be hard to find otherwise.
The platform once started as a guerrilla project in Raleigh comprising of 27 street signs in three zones of the city. The signs caught the eye of city officials who considered making them permanent. However, they didn’t like the design of the signs. A year later, the City of Raleigh officially adopted the program and incorporated it into its city-marketing. With the launch of the Walk [Your City] website, Tomasulo gives the rest of the world the opportunity to add a user-generated layer of wayfinding to cities.
GENTRIFICATION, it turns out, has even spread to the former Communist eastern bloc.
there are still widespread feelings in some African-American communities that bike lanes are the opening act of gentrification, says Adrian Lipscomb, a bicycle project coordinator for the city of Austin, Texas who is writing a Ph.D dissertation on African-Americans and biking. One woman in the historically African-American neighborhood of East Austin told Lipscomb, “When the bikes came in, the blacks went out.”
GitHub launches service for open government
Future of government seems to be the topic of the moment.After my post yesterday on Citizen sourcing and the future of cities and last week on Four fundamental principles for crowdsourcing in governmen…
Opting out of Google Street View by Toby KellerIn Germany, anyone is allowed to opt-out of the Google Street View database. Those who do will have their residences censored by a blurred mask. Those living within a larger building will have the entire building scrubbed out. An appreciable percentage of the population has done just this, with the result that the Street View landscape is riddled with pixelated non-places, despite the prominent visibility of their referents in the “real world.”
Combined with Google’s existing tendency to censor faces, number plates and other identifying features, what is left is a strange new interpretation of public space.