The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on January 15, 2012

  • Interesting article about the Boston foodie culture, and how it measures up to other cities.

    tags: restaurants boston foodies

  • I looked at the video included here, and I thought, “this is simultaneously retarded and brilliant.” Chris Burden reminded me of Robert Moses (implied in Burden’s artistic construct is an infrastructure for automated cars that can easily obliterate any neighborhood in its vicinity), and at the same time I think he’s on the right track (no pun intended) in predicting the end of driver-controlled driving. So, on 2nd thought, scratch “brilliant”…
    “It’s a hopeful future,” Burden says. “Cars will have an average speed of 240 miles per hour as soon as Google gets all their cars up and running. Because the future of automobile transportation is that there won’t be drivers anymore.”

    tags: atlantic_cities chris_burden cars infrastructure sculpture installations video

  • I left a comment on this:
    Not every society reacts to pedestrian congestion the same way. A recent comparison of Germans and Indians revealed that although people from both cultures walk “in a similar manner” when alone, their behavior varies greatly in the presence of others. As one might expect given the densities of their respective countries, Indians need less personal space than Germans do, according to the researchers. As a result, when Germans encountered traffic during a walking experiment, they decreased speed more rapidly than Indians did. “Surprisingly the more unordered behaviour of the Indians is more effective than the ordered behaviour of the Germans,” the study concludes [PDF].
    My comment:
    Re. the Germans slowing down when in a crowd vs the Indians not lessening their pace as much: I’m really curious to know whether Moussaid’s research has anything to say on who arrives at their destination most efficiently / quickly? Is it more efficient to act counter-intuitively to your body “needs” and just to continue plowing through a crowd, body contact and all, even if your acquired cultural norms demand more distance? Since the study says the “unordered” behavior is more effective, it suggests it does get the job of moving from A to B done more efficiently, yes? This is fascinating, I think.

    tags: cities atlantic_cities eric_jaffe walking pedestrians socialtheory

  • Interesting. Evidence suggests the opposite of what most people have been conditioned to believe (that public transit allows crime to seep into neighborhoods).
    The fear that crime follows transit – or worse, that transit breeds crime – is a common one. The general public is often quick to assign causality whenever a crime takes place in or around a transit station. Anecdotal theories are many: transit stations attract city criminals to a new population of victims; criminals can linger at public stations freely without suspicion; travelers may not be familiar with their surroundings and therefore susceptible to crimes. But the empirical studies are few, and many of those that do exist have found no transit-crime connection.

    A new report in the December issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs goes a step further and suggests that not only do transit stations fail to increase crime – they may even impede it.

    tags: transit crime cities atlantic_cities eric_jaffe

  • I wrote about the same thing on my blog recently, with respect to the neighborhood centers in Portland OR: the really successful ones draw in plenty of visitors from *outside* the immediate neighborhood, and they become attractions for people from surrounding areas. See: and scroll down to the section “Hungry and hungrier”…
    For the formula [of walkable, viable neighborhood commercial centers] to work, the businesses must also be large enough to draw some customers from outside the neighborhood:

    The tricky part is that the business concentration needed to encourage walking appears to be larger than most neighborhood residential populations can support. Given that, suburban regions should focus both on fostering pedestrian centers and on knitting those centers together with transportation networks, though such networks need not accommodate only cars.
    To be read in conjunction with Why Do Some Neighborhoods Get Overrun With Chain Stores, While Others Don’t?

    tags: urban_design walkability retail atlantic_cities kaid_benfield

  • An argument for making neighborhoods/ streets “nicer” as a means of returning power to residents so that crime is lessened.
    Did these neighborhoods become safer because better housing telegraphed to the residents that their communities were valuable?

    “If there is crime in an upscale neighborhood, everybody would come together, people would be up in arms, they’d demand the police pay attention, they’d say ‘let’s get more patrols in here!’” Cahill says. “Low-income residents in a lot of poor areas, they’ve just given up on the police, they’re not treated well by the police. They feel like the problems are too large for them to address. This is returning that sense of power to the residents, increasing the community’s capacity to do something about their situation.”

    tags: crime urban_design atlantic_cities housing

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John Mc. January 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm

“Cars will have an average speed of 240 miles per hour as soon as Google gets all their cars up and running. Because the future of ….”, Let’s face it, we are still too far from that reality. I’m 100% sure that it wouldn’t work on cities like New York, Los Angeles or Miami full of beasts behind the wheel. Probably in states like NC or WA maybe it works. And what’s going to happen with the million of cars not working in this way? good question. But in the other hand, you can expect whatever from Google. The have the power to change the world.

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