May 29, 2008

PRICE TAGS 103 – Paris Plantée

You can download yet more on Paris here.
















From Marie de Medici to Simone de Beauvoir, from Descartes to Derrida – well, of course we’re talking about the design of Paris’s great parks, public spaces and promenades.  This four-century scan looks at how Paris has evolved in its use of pubic space, from passive to active, and how it’s changing its modes of movement

Lots of pictures of Paris’s contemporary parks – Andre Citroen and Promenade Plantee – as well as the cherished Luxembourg Gardens.  Not to mention that extraordinary new pedestrian bridge, Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvour.




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In Price Tags 101 – on the Paris bike-sharing system known as Velib’ – I wondered what patterns would emerge, given that the system collects real-time data every time a bike is used.

Well, here’s the answer:

This is an animation of the Velib’ system for a full day (February 10th) based on the number of bikes available at each station.  More here.

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May 26, 2008

One thought/suggestion to use in a discussion with someone that says “if we can put a man on the moon, we can come up with a replacement for oil.”

You can take energy and make anything, but you can’t take anything and make energy.

Fossil Fuels + Man’s ingenuity = Man on the Moon

Man’s inguenity – Fossil Fuels = Man on stationary bicyle pumping water out of the ground for his garden and family.

Things change quickly without unlimited amounts of energy.

Posted by “barefootbookseller” as a comment to James Kunstler’s blog entry this week.

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I sit on the board of the Sightline Institute, so I’m always pleased to see the Seattle-based organization get good coverage in Lower Mainland media.  The release of their report on compact urban form in the region certainly did that, as evidenced by Jeff Nagel’s piece in the Surrey North Delta Leader.

The best part of the Sightline’s report?  The map that shows the changes in the region from 1991 to 2006.  (Click and watch it change!)

The major warning: “Compact neighbourhoods accounted for 56 per cent of new suburban and urban development in 2001-06 versus 67 per cent in the 1990s.”  We’re still doing better than most places, but we’re slipping.



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Triangle West is Coal Harbour Slopes – the blocks above farthest West Hastings Street, from Thurlow to the pointy end, where Pender and Georgia meet.  As an emerging neighbourhood, just starting to fill up, it’s at the stage where Yaletown and Concord Pacific Place were about 1998.

Among all the downtown neighbourhoods, its towers are the tallest, the thinnest, the sleekest:

It treats its lanes with respect:

Some of the street frontages, on the other hand, are mediocre:

But thanks to some remaining heritage apartment houses and mature trees, some parts seem like an extension of the West End:

Triangle West still feels rather like a stage set, and rather sterile.  As the new buildings are occupied, the neighbourhood will take on a character, though still largely indistinguishable from Coal Harbour.  But since each block makes a big difference in a dense city, the locals will appreciate the nuances.

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Next up: London

We’ve already seen the massive success of urban bike sharing in Paris, but now the super-smart Velib Bike program is taking to the streets of London! 15,000 bikes, 1,000 stations and more than 7.5 million miles of combined biking later have already been implemented in London, and the new scheme will contribute £75 million and 6,000 shared bikes to the mass biking scheme. Spearheaded by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the new ‘granny bike’ sharing scheme will reduce traffic congestion and help clear up the air of England’s sprawling capital city.

More here.

In Vancouver, we’re waiting for (1) the report out by TransLink on recommendations of the task force set up to examine bike-sharing for this region.  And (2) support by those running for office in the upcoming election.

How about we ask them.


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Brisbane looks set to become the first Australian capital city to join several European centres in introducing a public bike hire scheme, with the city’s council launching a call for proposals for the project at the weekend. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said the scheme would be similar to the Paris and Barcelona models.

There’ll be bike (stations) every 300m in the inner parts of Brisbane and in terms of the price structure, it could be similar to Paris, where the first half-hour is free’. Mr Newman said the initial stage of the project would have 2000 bikes at 150 stations across innercity Brisbane, from Newstead in the inner-north to the University of Queensland at St Lucia in the city’s southwest.”


[Thanks to Stephen Ingrouille]


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Mark Latham has launched a “Vancouver Voters’ Guide Blogging Contest” in which Vancouverites are invited to vote on a real-time on-line ranking of blogs.  Through this ballot, Mark hopes he can encourage bloggers to create helpful guides to Vancouver 2008 election issues and candidates.

Price Tags is included – not that I’m trying to influence your vote.  Oh wait, yes I am.

Go here to vote.


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