Watch Streets Evolve From Car-Focused to People-Focused


Streets were for people, then cars took over and ruined cities. For the last hundred years cities transformed themselves from walkable places to sprawling buildings which were designed for heavy car use. Now, cities have seen how that’s a mistake.

A design firm, Urb-i, has used Google street view to catalog how cities are making themselves good places to be. Hopefully this trend of making cities human-focused instead of car focused continues!

In São Paulo, Brazil — which boasts over 10 million residents — a third of the people travel by car, another third takes public transit, and another walks. Yet cars take up a majority of the roads and public spaces.

Seeing that, a Brazilian urban planning collective called Urb-i set out to demonstrate that imbalance and show off examples of more people-friendly design. They scoured Google Street View images to find the most stunning public space transformations from around the world. The results give us hope that our cities are becoming more beautiful places to live.

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Commute by Bike to Decrease Your Stress


Stanford University’s Calming Technology Lab has found evidence to support what most commuter cyclists already know: riding a bike to work instead of driving a car lowers one’s stress. Not only are you improving your own mental health you’ll be consuming less gas and save a lot of money while getting physically fit.

There is no better day than today to start riding your bike to work.

“It’s particularly interesting to see that many people don’t transition back into the home after a long day of work very well. By biking to work we know that the physical nature of cycling and physical exertion will engender a more calm and focused state of mind. So while being good for us physically, we also see lots of psychological and emotional benefits.”

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Paris to Spend €100m on Bike Lanes While Reducing Car Traffic

Paris has had a tough time with traffic and pollution in the city due to the number of cars. They have launched many environmentally friendly intitaves to curb the use of cars while making alternative transit solutions to cars more appealing. It’s working and is already inspiring other cities to follow suit. Still, traffic in France’s capital is still quite bad so the mayor as launched a new program investing €100m on new bike lanes!

“I want diesel cars out of Paris by 2020 and, if possible, beyond the peripherique,” said the mayor, referring to the city’s constantly choked ring road.

“Today, 60 per cent of Parisians don’t have their own car, whereas in 2011, it was 40 per cent. It’s moving quickly,” she said.

In proposing a raft of anti-pollution measures, Ms Hidalgo is building on the efforts of her predecessor and mentor, the former Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe.

He championed bike and car rental schemes, expanded bus and bicycle lanes, and reduced speed limits, as he sought to wean Parisians off cars in a bid to make the city more liveable.

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Toyota Releases 5,680 Patents for Fuel Cell Technology

Toyota has followed Tesla’s strategy of giving their patented technology away for free. The patent system is so obviously broken so it’s nice to see these large corporations just letting their patents go. Ultimately, this means that other car companies can now use fuel saving technology (or whatever Toyota has invented). Hopefully we will see less environmentally damaging vehicles on the road.

Perhaps the most newsworthy announcement came when Toyota said it would make all of its 5,680 patents related to fuel cell technology available, royalty-free, to other companies manufacturing and selling both fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations. The idea is to drive more innovation in this somewhat nascent sector of the automobile industry.

“It’s obvious that there can be a higher societal value in openly sharing our IP,” Carter said. “By eliminating the traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the metabolism of everyone’s research and move into a future of mobility quicker, more effectively, and more economically. Indeed, I believe that today marks a turning point in automotive history.”

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London Lowered Speed Limits to Save Lives

Cars kill. Or is it like the gun debate – cars don’t kill people drivers kill people? Regardless of fault the results of car use as a primary means of transportation causes health problems and needless death. Cities around the world are taking steps to try and hold back cars (or is it drivers?) from killing people. One sure-fire way that works is to lower the speed limit.

The City of London lowered their local speed limits and found that it made for safer streets. Other cities are finding the same strategy equally effective, yet here in Toronto will we ever see this? Our local councillors and crack-consuming mayor went out of their way to spend $300,000 to ensure cars can move faster at the expense of cyclists. The mayor himself has stated multiple times that the lives of non-drivers are worth less than taxpaying drivers. Torontotist looks into the issue while sharing the success of smarter cities than Toronto.

The move to reduce driving speeds in cities is based on some convincing statistics. Greater London contains roughly 400 zones with 20 mph speed limits, and these are credited with reducing traffic fatalities by 42 per cent. In London, Barcelona, Brussels, and a handful of other European cities, low-speed zones have resulted in significantly increased bike and foot traffic, according to a 2013 study, as people have begun to feel safer on city streets.

The U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in 2011 found that decreasing average driving speeds by just one mile per hour would reduce the accident rate by about 5 per cent. There has even been academic research on the success of lowered-speed zones in the U.K.

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