In this six-minute-long video, Vox makes the argument that the primary reason behind the recent resurgence of streetcar systems—or proposals for streetcars, at least—in the USA is not because of their contributions to urban mobility, but instead because of the fact that they drive and sustain economic development. As it uncovers the causes for the popular failure of the streetcar systems in cities such as Washington DC, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City (low speed and limited connectivity, mostly) it asks why an increasing number of American city governments are pushing for streetcars in spite of their dismal record at improving transit. Is it solely due to their positively modern aesthetic? Are streetcars destined to function as mere “attractions” in a city’s urban landscape? Or is the real objective something more complex?
What's the difference between a "road", a "drive" and a "way"? Or between a "street", a "boulevard" and an "avenue"? The naming conventions that we attribute to the networks that we use to move about are, in fact, a little more complex than you might imagine. In this film by Phil Edwards for Vox, the intricate world of road classification and definition is given a (long overdue) explanation – and one which might help you think a little deeper about urban mobility.
Cars have reshaped cities across the world, largely at the cost of everyone outside of a private vehicle. In recent years the "grid city" of Barcelona has been suffering from clogged roads and choked air quality, with urban traffic contributing to the 3500 premature deaths caused by air pollution each year. Beginning in the district of Eixample, proposals laid out in the 2014 Urban Mobility Plan aims to diffuse traffic congestion and reduce air pollution in the city. In a recent film Vox have picked up on one of a number of potential schemes: the Superblock concept (known as superilles in Catalan). According to Salvador Rueda, the Director of the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona who developed the plan, these are "grid[s] of nine blocks [in which] the main mobility happens on the roads around the outside, [...] and the roads within are for local transit only."
Students Kelton Minor, Derek Magee and Tiffany Carlson of The Danish Institute for Study Abroad have taken first place in Chicago Architecture Today’s 2011 International Mock Firm Skyscraper Design Challenge with their skyscraper proposal for Stockholm. Additional images of VOX‘s (the student’s mock firm) winning proposal in addition to a video and a description of the work can be found after the break.