Tag Archives | cities

World population will be around 15-25 billion in 2100 and will increase through 2200 because of African fertility, life extension and other technology

worldpopantiaging

Via Next Big Future:

The United Nations (UN) recently released population projections based on data until 2012 and a Bayesian probabilistic methodology. Analysis of these data reveals that, contrary to previous literature, the world population is unlikely to stop growing this century. There is an 80% probability that world population, now 7.2 billion people, will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion in 2100. This uncertainty is much smaller than the range from the traditional UN high and low variants. Much of the increase is expected to happen in Africa, in part due to higher fertility rates and a recent slowdown in the pace of fertility decline. Also, the ratio of working-age people to older people is likely to decline substantially in all countries, even those that currently have young populations.

There is only a 30% chance of population peaking by 2100. This is even without considering radical life extension or any other turnaround in human fertility.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ancient Settlements Grew Bigger And Denser Much Like Our Modern Cities

We can probably learn something from the fate of the large ancient settlements that failed. From Tech Times:

Modern cities with large populations and dense areas tend to be productive. Remarkably, these characteristics also appear to have been exhibited by ancient settlements. Findings of a new study revealed that ancient cities with bigger and denser settlements allowed their inhabitants to become more efficient.

Figure 2. Maps of the Basin of Mexico. A: Location within Mexico [34]. B: Settlements dating to the Formative period (circle size is proportional to population; colors range from yellow through red to white denoting increases in elevation; gray area shows the extent of Mexico City in 1964) [35]. C: Settlements dating to the Aztec period. During the latter period settlement expanded into the shallows of the lake. Today, settlement covers the entire basin and the lake has been drained. (PLOS ONE)

Figure 2. Maps of the Basin of Mexico.
A: Location within Mexico [34]. B: Settlements dating to the Formative period (circle size is proportional to population; colors range from yellow through red to white denoting increases in elevation; gray area shows the extent of Mexico City in 1964) [35]. C: Settlements dating to the Aztec period. During the latter period settlement expanded into the shallows of the lake. Today, settlement covers the entire basin and the lake has been drained. (PLOS ONE)

For the study published in the journal PLOS ONE on Feb.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Map shows the loudest and quietest areas in the US

National Park Service Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies

National Park Service Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies

Brad Plumer | @bradplumer via Vox:

Not surprisingly, cities tend to be very noisy, with background levels averaging around 50 to 60 decibels. And that’s just the average: heavy truck traffic can reach around 85 dB, while construction jackhammers can reach 95 dB if you’re standing less than 50 feet away.

By contrast, regions like Yellowstone National Park have background noise levels down at around 20 decibels, which, as Underwood reports, is about as hushed as things were before European colonization.

So who cares? For one, all the artificial noise and light that cities produce can have bizarre effects on humans and wildlife — effects we have yet to fully understand. Loud cities can interfere with the ability of owls and bats to hunt. And, because of urban noise, some male birds now have to sing at higher frequencies, making them less attractive to potential mates.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

On The Consumerist Order Of The New City

cityNew Left Project describes the reshaping of the meaning and rules of our cities:

The commercialisation of the urban landscape has resulted in the privatisation of public space. As manufacturing industries have diminished and the consumer and service economy has grown, the places we inhabit have radically changed. As city centres have become tributes to consumption, private interests have permeated these spaces. Although these places hold the semblance of being “public”, they are owned by corporate interests and are therefore under private control and not accountable to the public.

The quasi-public space of the commercial city centre is unwelcoming for a growing number of citizens. Non-consumers, such as the homeless, the unemployed, the poor, the young and the old are branded as ‘others’ to the hegemonic consumer order. The right to the city is increasingly a privilege for those with the material and cultural capital to consume. The quest for clean and sanitized space has meant that ‘out of place’ individuals who fail to match up to a highly circumscribed model of ‘consumer citizenship’ are hidden from view.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Underground Sweatshop City Uncovered In Moscow

Russian police just raided a secret underground city beneath Moscow inhabited by hundreds of illegal immigrant workers employed making clothing at rows of sewing machines. The subterranean world, where the workers were allegedly kept by lock, had no natural light but did have a market, cafe, chicken coop, casino, and movie cinema. What a metaphor for our economic structure:
Continue Reading

Mayor Mike Bloomberg Says Surveillance Drones Will Soon Be Everywhere In New York City

The mayor’s tone suggests that mere mortals are helpless against a coming onslaught of drones, The Verge reports:

Governmental use of unmanned surveillance drones has inspired a lot of concern about privacy, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the battle’s already over. In a radio interview this week, Bloomberg said essentially that drones are an inevitable part of our future (and maybe our present), comparing them to the thousands of cameras already located around Manhattan.

Striking a tone more of resignation than endorsement, Bloomberg said that our future includes more visibility and less privacy: “It’s not a question of whether it’s good or bad. I just don’t see how you can stop them.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Institute Pinpoints Which Cities May Be Consumed By Rising Sea Levels

If you’re planning on being cryogenically frozen and then revived in the 22nd century, consider selling your apartment in Tokyo now. New Scientist writes:

Sydney, Tokyo and Buenos Aires watch out. These cities will experience some of the greatest sea level rises by 2100, according to one of the most comprehensive predictions to date.

Sea levels have been rising for over 100 years – not evenly, though. Several processes are at work, says Mahé Perrette of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Some land is sinking, some is rising. The gravitational pull of disappearing ice sheets lead to a fall in sea levels in their surrounding areas.

Perrette has modeled all of these effects and calculated local sea level rises in 2100 for the entire planet. The global average rise is predicted to be between 30 and 106 centimeters. Coasts around the Indian Ocean will be hard hit, as will Japan, south-east Australia and Argentina.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Designing A City Impenetrable To Drones

Chapati Mystery lays out plans for the hypothetical Shura City, a place of beauty and atmosphere and freedom of movement, but no fear of U.S. drone strikes:

Drones work by detecting patterns, identifying individuals, and extracting data. I dreamed up Shura City to fight against drones with humanity and community. The city is a “black box” impenetrable to data miners and military-trained individuals but it is not a prison.

It is at best expensive and at worst impossible to build armor that can deflect any American bomb. Shura City instead uses inscrutability as its armor. Its windows are protected by computerized mashrabiyas that blink and recombine into various QR codes to jam leering cameras. Its expansive courtyard is protected by latticework with backlit (by color-changing LED) windows that allow for sunshine for children and stars for young lovers, but also make face detection tricky with color blocks and changing shadows.

Badgirs and minarets do their part to provide wild fluctuations of temperature (so that individual bodies are difficult to identify with infrared) and to provide high-wattage radio towers to interfere with wireless communication.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Guerrilla Urban Planners Redo Mexico City By Painting Bike Lanes, Sidewalks, And Crosswalks

This Big City talks to Camina, Haz Ciudad, a group which extralegally redesigns public space to benefit ordinary residents:

Camina, Haz Ciudad started as a project to recover space for pedestrians. It was inspired by a modern development that happened here in Mexico City in an area called El Puente de los Poetas. Amazingly, there was no pedestrian infrastructure at all, the whole place seemed to be designed for cars. A group of citizens decided that couldn’t be, so they painted a sidewalk in an area where lots of people walked but had no safety. But the sidewalk was erased, and the people who painted it were really mad.

With our first painted bike lane [which is 5km and ends at Congress in Mexico City] we were trying to make a political point. We didn’t have any expectation of how long it would last. But the bike lane is still in place.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

An Urban Surveillance Map Of Vancouver

The Vancouver Public Space Network mapped CCTV locations in the metropolitan core, revealing the geography of surveillance:

The preliminary map that we created indicates the places where surveillance cameras could be found prior to the installation of extra cameras for the Olympics.  We are particularly concerned about the surveillance legacy that the Olympics may leave behind, and will be monitoring the city government to make sure that this network is removed once the party is over. In all, the map represents the locations of 1500 of the 2000 cameras we found.

Public spaces are inherently places in which we can be observed by other people, and where we can observe others. However, the VPSN is concerned about the way that intense video surveillance, particularly networked, centrally monitored systems, might negatively affect the way that people enjoy public spaces. In the United Kingdom, which has intensive public video surveillance, security cameras have been used by security officers to harass people and to profile individuals based on race and socio-economic status.

Read the rest
Continue Reading