Urbanization News April 15

This weeks featured story is Life after the Meltdown: A Visit to Japan’s Nuclear Ghost Towns. Cordula Meyer in Odaka, Japan, reports on how tens of thousands of people have fled their homes after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant. “Since then, the area around the reactor has become an exclusion zone. Some former residents are now returning to salvage possessions and to say goodbye to their homes forever.”  Many wonder if the nine cities that have been evacuated will ever be repopulated. Read his whole story from Spiegel and view a slide show of the ghost towns.

Seoul Gives Bike Subsidies to Commuters “Seoul, South Korea recently announced transportation subsidies for bicycle commuters… The City also announced plans to repair abandoned bicycles and rent them at no charge to commuters in order to encourage bicycle use… the Seoul Metropolitan Government has been in the process of installing 88.3 kilometers (54.9 miles) of bicycle lanes over the past two years and improving bike lane management systems.” Read more from the City Fix or the Korea Times.

Will Bombay Choke the Queen’s Necklace?  “Marine Drive in Bombay, better known as the Queen’s Necklace, is one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the world.  That’s why it is so depressing to learn that the Maharahstra state government seems to want to destroy it.  Per DNA India, the state’s chief minister,  Prithviraj Chavan, is meeting with Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to gain approval for the six-lane structure, which Chavan says will be “built on stilts.” Read more from Legal Planet and DNA India.

This week MIT’s SENSEable Cites Lab held a Forum on the Future of Cities Here is a description from their website: “Join leading thinkers from around the world to discuss pressing issues of urbanization and a wave of new distributed technologies. Over the next few decades, the world is preparing to build more urban fabric than has been built by humanity ever before. At the same time, new technologies are disrupting the traditional principles of city making and urban living. This new condition necessitates the creation of innovative partnerships between government, academia, and industry to meet tomorrow’s challenges including higher sustainability, better use of resources and infrastructure, and improved equity and quality of life.”  Read more from their website.  Videos and pictures of the event should be up soon also.

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