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transportation: The Latest Architecture and News

15 Years Later and What Do You Get? A Lot More Cars and a Planet in Flames

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed congestion pricing for Manhattan. The state legislature rejected the plan. Fifteen years later, we’re still debating the idea, fiddling while the planet burns.

The newest problem is that a new environmental study and traffic model from the MTA, The Central Business District Tolling Program Environmental Assessment, says that what’s good for 1.63 million residents of Manhattan and the planet, in general, will increase the pollution in the already unhealthy air in the Bronx. Yes, that’s a problem. Turning the perfect into the enemy of the good is also a problem. We need a plan that benefits all.

Madrid and Barcelona Benefit from Spain’s Free Travel Plan

Spain pushes to promote cleaner transportation by offering free seasonal tickets for suburban and regional trains, which translates into roughly 48 million journeys per month. The initiative hopes to help citizens reduce fuel consumption and reduce the cost of living during the economic uncertainties and the rising energy prices. Earlier this summer, a 30% discount for municipal public transport has been announced, with local governments in places like Catalonia topping up to 60% discount. The program will run between the 1st of September and the 31st of December.

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Cities are Experimenting with Free Public Transit to Promote Sustainable Mobility

Cities are Experimenting with Free Public Transit to Promote Sustainable Mobility - Featured Image
Photo by Uno Raamat on Unsplash. ImageTallinn

Various cities have been experimenting with wavering fees for public transport in an effort to promote sustainable mobility, alleviate traffic congestion and decrease social inequality. This past February, Salt Lake City has paused fare collection for a month to reduce carbon emissions in the region. At the end of March, the Italian city of Genoa extended free access to some of its public transport networks, following a successful experiment which began at the end of 2021 and in an ambitious plan to become the first Italian city with free transportation. Meanwhile, the small duchy of Luxembourg became the world’s first country with free public transit in 2020.

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Did a Highway Kill the City of Hartford?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Can a piece of infrastructure literally kill a city? This is the question that writer Jim Krueger poses in his recent podcast, The Road That Killed a City. The place in question is Krueger’s current hometown—Hartford, Connecticut—which he grew up next to in the leafy suburb of West Hartford. Kruerger has lived in both towns, and that helps to balance the amazing story he uncovers about how Connecticut’s capital was impaled by a roadway (actually, two: east/west I-84 and north/south I-91 converge in Hartford in a sort of arterial highway ground zero). I spoke with Krueger about what prompted the podcast, some of what he uncovered about the history of this ill-fated urban “improvement,” and the legacy of a highway that continues to thwart Hartford’s rebirth—an inheritance shared by many cities across North America.

Rising from the Desert: A 15-Minute City is Coming to Utah

15-minute cities are a trending urban planning topic that has long been discussed academically and is now slowly being implemented across existing cities in Europe. But now, the first 15-minute city is being designed and built from scratch in Utah. Dubbed “The Point”, the new 600-acre city will be located just outside Salt Lake City, and will be a redeveloped former state prison site where new jobs, housing, public spaces, amenities, and transportation will serve almost 15,000 people in an attempt to explore a prototype for how innovative urban planning concepts can improve the public health and wellness.

Aedas Reveals Winning Design of New Transportation Hub in Shenzhen

Aedas has won an international competition to design Shenzhen's new Qingshuihe Comprehensive Transportation Hub in a joint venture with China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group Co., LTD and Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center Co., LTD. The master plan draws inspiration from the natural environment of the area, integrating nature and water elements into the high-density city to build a unique new emblem for Qingshuihe. The underground compact hub releases large above-ground spaces which will feature urban terraces, offices, five-star hotels, first-rate apartments, science and technology exhibition halls, and other facilities.

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What’s the Matter with American Cities?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

For frequent travelers to Europe, it is frustrating to see the increasingly different urban conditions on the other side of the Atlantic. In Europe, cities are largely appreciated and embraced, and have turned into high-quality environments for inclusive and sustainable living. Copenhagen’s bike lanes—and, not too far away, Oslo’s car-free downtown—elicit admiring blog posts and articles on this side of the pond at a steady clip. Holland’s pedestrian- and bike-friendly urban designs attract their own share of starry-eyed fans. Berlin is holding a referendum to exclude cars from its inner city, an area larger than Manhattan. In Madrid, the mayor who restricted cars from accessing the city center did lose reelection, but her successor was forced to halt his efforts to rescind those policies by a groundswell of popular fury.

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Steps Taken by EU in 2021 Towards A Sustainable Built Environment

Early last week, the European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe announced the 40 shortlisted projects of the EU Mies Award, a prize that commends excellence in architecture, highlighting its contribution to sustainable development. In this context, and two years after the European Parliament voted to support the Green Deal, we review the steps taken by the EU in 2021 towards achieving its sustainability goals and shaping a resilient built environment.

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Los Angeles Ends Free Public Transportation Experiment with Future Plans of Reduced-Fare Transits

Following California's Covid-19 health regulations in early 2020, Metro, the Los Angeles public transit agency stopped collecting fares on its busses as a safety precaution measure. However, the company's decision turned into the United States' biggest free-transit experiment, as ridership never dipped below 50 percent, even with the stay-at-home orders enforced by the government. Following 22 months of the decision and around 281 million fare-free transits, the company has decided to restart collecting fares, but is planning on using the information gathered throughout these two years to implement future improvements and introduce other free or reduced-fare programs in the city.

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Berlin Citizens Propose World's Largest Car-Free Area in the German Capital

Volksentscheid Berlin Autofrei (People’s Decision for Auto-Free Berlin), has proposed a plan to limit cars within Berlin's Ringbahn, a long circle route around the inner city, making it the world's largest car-free area once approved. The citizen-initiative is aimed mostly at banning the use of private cars in central Berlin, with the exception of emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, taxis, delivery vehicles, and residents with limited mobility, who would all be given special access permits.

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Milan to Introduce "Super-Cycle" Corridors Across City by 2035

As part of Milan's ongoing vision of bicycle-friendly highways, the Metropolitan Council of Milan has approved its Biciplan “Cambio” project, a new transportation system that introduces "super-cycle" corridors across the urban fabric, prioritizing cycling, environmental protection, safety, and wellbeing. The project aims to compliment existing cycle paths with 750 kilometers of new corridors that will connect the city's 133 communes with its wider metropolitan area, and increase the amount of bicycle trips and reach by 10% internally and 20% on a greater scale.

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EU Prioritizes Sustainable Urban Mobility in New Proposals Set to Reduce Transportation Carbon Emissions by 90%

EU Prioritizes Sustainable Urban Mobility in New Proposals Set to Reduce Transportation Carbon Emissions by 90% - Featured Image
Utrecht Central Station / Benthem Crouwel Architects. Image © Jannes Linders

In December, the European Commission adopted several proposals that put the transport sector on track for a 90% reduction in carbon emissions, moving a step further in implementing the European Green Deal. The initiatives seek to increase rail transport, encouraging long-distance and cross-border rail travel, support the roll-out of charging points for electric vehicles and alternative refuelling infrastructure and further develop multimodality.

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Gensler Will Design the New $9.5 Billion Mega-Terminal at JFK International Airport

Gensler Will Design the New $9.5 Billion Mega-Terminal at JFK International Airport - Featured Image
Courtesy of Courtesy Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced last week that the current and former sites of Terminals 1, 2, and 3 on the south side of John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens will be redeveloped to make way for a $9.5 billion international terminal that will be built out in phases beginning next year. With the first of its 23 gates anticipated to go live in 2026, the 2.4-million-square-foot new Terminal One will rank as the largest at JFK and, per a news release from the Governor’s Office, “aspires to be among the top-rated airport terminals in the world.”

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J. Mayer H. Selected to Design New Façade of Cologne Main Station

J. Mayer H. has won a competition to design the new façade of Cologne Main Station on Breslauer Platz in Germany. The design proposal frames the sides of the rail station with an all-around façade that offers an innovative use of space by making the best of the site's circulation and natural resources. The intervention will feature rooftop landscaping with local flowers and greenery, rainwater collection, protection from rain, wind, and sunlight, and a visual emphasis on the station's points of access.

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Deck Parks are Increasingly in Vogue, But Are They Always a Good Fit?

"Deck parks are increasingly in vogue in the Southwest’s downtown cores but aren’t a good fit for El Paso," writes Sito Negron. Recently a lot of cities around the world have been rethinking urban spaces dedicated to transportation, introducing public areas over highways while expanding the vehicular realm. In this week's reprint from the Architect's Newspaper, the author explores the limits of this trend and questions its implementation in some cases.