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Posts from the ‘Planning’ Category

We must plan the driverless city to avoid being hostage to the technology revolution

The Conversation, 28 April 2017
Trials of autonomous cars and buses have begun on the streets of Australian cities. Communications companies are moving to deploy the lasers, cameras and centimetre-perfect GPS that will enable a vehicle to navigate the streets of your town or city without a driver. Most research and commentary is telling us how the new machines will work, but not how they might shape our cities. The talk is of the benefits of new shared transport economies, but these new technologies will shape our built environment in ways that are not yet fully understood. There’s every chance that, if mismanaged, driverless technologies will entrench the ills of car dependency. As with Uber and the taxi industry, public sector planners and regulators will be forced to respond to the anger of those displaced by the new products the IT and automobile industries will bring to the market. But can we afford to wait?
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Smart cities can be vulnerable: That Dallas emergency siren hack is a warning of things to come

Salon, 15 April 2017
By infrastructure-hacking standards, the overnight triggering of the Dallas storm-warning system on April 7 was relatively benign. Starting at about 20 minutes before midnight more than 150 sirens across the city of 1.3 million people blared periodically, alarming residents in this tornado-prone part of the country. Worried that something was amiss, locals overloaded the city’s 911 emergency-calling system, causing what could have been harmful delays, while officials scrambled to figure out what was going on. They shut down the system at 1:17 a.m. and worked overnight with West Shore Services, a Michigan-based company hired by the city last year to maintain the network, to fix the problem, according to local news reports.
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Cities are complex systems – let’s start looking at them that way

The Conversation, 26 April 2017
The way we design our cities needs a serious rethink. After thousands of years of progress in urban development, we plateaued some 60 years ago. Cities are not safer, healthier, more efficient, or more equitable. They are getting worse on these measures. The statistics on chronic disease, rising road tolls and congestion in our urban environments paint a bleak future. The clues to why lie in how we think about and design our cities.
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Did Seattle’s mandatory helmet law kill off its bike-share scheme?

The Guardian, 18 April 2017
A small group of supporters, journalists and a city councilman gathered at the end of last month to take Seattle’s cycle share bikes out for one last spin. Mayor Ed Murray had pulled the plug on the Pronto system after two-and-a-half years of low ridership, financial troubles and waning political support.
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How murals helped turn a declining community around

The Conversation, 13 April 2017
The inner-city district of Shandon, Ireland, has a history that dates back to medieval times. Its narrow streets and laneways are an eclectic architectural mix – Georgian, Victorian and modern buildings nestle alongside terraced worker’s cottages. But Shandon had become rundown despite its heritage value. Our research examined how, over the last 15 years, community groups in Shandon created public murals as part of a successful process of reversing decades of stagnation. In the later part of the 20th century, declining local employment opportunities and suburbanisation had prompted many residents to leave Shandon. Part of the Irish city of Cork, the district also suffered from a lack of a coherent planning framework. One of the vehicles for bringing the community together and revitalising Shandon was a mural project called “The Big Wash-Up”.
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Where are they now? What public transport data reveal about lockout laws and nightlife patronage

The Conversation, 11 April 2017
It is vital that public policy be driven by rigorous research. In the last decade key policy changes have had profound impacts on nightlife in Sydney’s inner city and suburbs. The most significant and controversial of these has been the 2014 “lockout laws”. These were a series of legislative and regulatory policies aimed at reducing alcohol-related violence and disorder through new criminal penalties and key trading restrictions, including 1.30am lockouts and a 3am end to service in select urban “hotspots”.
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Andrew Leigh urges NSW government to support Canberra to Sydney high-speed train

Canberra Times, 11 April 2017
Federal MP Dr Andrew Leigh is urging the NSW government to support a high-speed railway proposal between Canberra and Sydney. The proposal, put forward by Spanish manufacturing company Talgo, could slash the rail travel time between the two cities from four hours to just two and a half hours.
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How do we restore the public’s faith in transport planning?

The Conversation, 5 April 2017
Opposition to proposed road projects has become a feature of state and federal elections. In Western Australia, protests against the Roe Highway Stage 8 escalated just before Christmas 2016. On the eve of the state election, Main Roads WA contractors (acting at the behest of the then Liberal-National government) pushed forward with the destruction of the environmentally significant Beeliar wetlands. This happened despite considerable community opposition. The Labor opposition, now the newly elected government, declared it would halt the construction if elected.
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How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons

New York Times, 2 April 2017
The secretive ride-hailing giant Uber rarely discusses internal matters in public. But in March, facing crises on multiple fronts, top officials convened a call for reporters to insist that Uber was changing its culture and would no longer tolerate “brilliant jerks.” Notably, the company also announced that it would fix its troubled relationship with drivers, who have complained for years about falling pay and arbitrary treatment.
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GM, Buick to launch plug-ins, electric cars in China

Detroit News, 24 March 2017
General Motors Co. said Friday its Buick brand will soon launch its first extended-range electric vehicle, the Velite 5, in China. The Detroit automaker said it plans in the next two years to introduce plug-in hybrid gasoline electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles under the Buick brand in China. GM’s largest sales market is China, where Buick last year topped more than 1 million in sales and more than 8 million since its introduction in 1998.
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