Urbanization News: July 8

Rankled: This week’s featured news story is from Polis, which posted an excellent critical piece about city rankings:

“The regurgitated notion that New York, London, and Tokyo sit comfortably at the peak of the “global city” hierarchy has little bearing on the activities of the street cleaners, shop owners, artists, and residents who populate these places. Or does it?”

The post raises that questions not only the metrics used to rate “top” cities, but also mentions recent research on how cities deemed to be the best can also hurt other cities by drawing away businesses and workers, and “world-class” cities also tend to have higher degrees of inequities.

Melissa has written about and critiqued city indices in past posts too, check them out here and here.

Urban Evolution from Revolution: Der Spiegel describes how while the future of the Yemeni capital hangs in the balance, what started as a sit-in has evolved into a 3-4,000 organized tent city.

New to the Tube: The Economist reports on the London Tube‘s new map that’s supposed to be more geographically accurate – but will it be easier to use? The article gives a nod to NYU-Wagner professor Zhan Guo’s recent paper that made headlines last month in the UK from showing that the (now) old map tricked 30% of passengers into taking longer trips than they needed to. If you’re in London, let us know if the new, squigglier map has made your commute any faster.

2014 Transport Goooools: TheCityFix reports that the Inter-American Development Bank and other donors are making huge investments in Brazil’s infrastructure, especially the transport sector, in advance of the 2014 World Cup.

Building Binge?: As Chinese cities like Wuhan are racing to developing new infrastructure, the New York Times reports new worries about understated risk of loans to local governments.

Two Wheels Good, Two Wheels Bad: This Big City proposes that better bike networks are a positive feedback for other qualities that make for more socially sustainable cities. With that in mind it’s sad to hear local media reporting from Toronto that “The war is over, the car has won.” That’s true in another sense, according to the New York Times’ Economix blog, which speaks to the huge direct subsidies and indirect social costs cars pose on cities, which trump the benefits cities receive from cycling.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Urbanization News: July 15 | Encountering Urbanization

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