urban planning

Wheels in the skyline

Here's some utopian city planning/worldbuilding worthy of a science fiction novel. This proposed city is built on rotating concentric rings. Need to go to work? Just wait a few minutes and it rotates closer to you. 

Anyone who has lived in a city with a complex web of public transit immediately recognizes the level of geekery that can be applied to travel plans and routes between multiple rings. The fastest route to a location three rings away might include momentary backtracking into previous rings, in finely-timed forward and backward maneuvers. Of these minutia are entire plots assembled. 

To get to the other side

Although there are no definitive studies, some research suggests that pedestrians crossing streets are at greatest risk when obeying signals in crosswalks, and that careful jaywalking may be a safer way to cross the street.

I'm naturally a little suspicious, but Greater Greater Washington makes an interesting point:

Most research on traffic safety focuses on narrow questions posed by the highway agencies that fund it. Basic premises, like the idea that "jaywalking" is intrinsically unsafe, are rarely investigated...
One useful data set was collected for New York's Vision Zero program. That city, where residents routinely ignore signals when they cross streets, can be thought of as a natural experiment. The majority of pedestrian deaths, and a far larger majority of non-fatal crashes, occur while crossing the street legally in a crosswalk.

I doubt the data really addresses the relative death rates associated with jaywalking vs using a crosswalk. But still, it illustrates one of the hard realities of managing the interactions of cars and pedestrians (or bikes) - no matter who was in the right, the person who isn't in an armored, high-speed vehicle usually loses a confrontation. 

In with the naught

A tale of two cities, close neighbors in The Sprawl:

In DC, housing is so scarce that prices are skyrocketing, especially for charming, historic row houses. Just up in Baltimore, however, they can't give many dilapidated row houses away, and Larry Hogan recently announced a plan to tear many of them down.

One commentator explains:

There is a sense that these neighborhoods will just never recover (at least in our lifetimes) and until then the abandoned houses just make things more dangerous.

Greater Greater Washington offers up perspectives from urban planners, local activists, and others who follow the fortunes of Charm City.