Tag Archives | Urban Planning

Exploring The Secrets Of Underground New York

undergroundAll above-ground metropolises harbor shadow cities beneath. A New York Times reporter spent five days on a subterranean urban hiking expedition, spelunking through NYC’s labyrinthine sewer system. His colorful travel journal details encounters with wildlife and “mole people.” Here’s how to go on an invigorating adventure into the unknown, without leaving city limits:

Tuesday, 12:36 a.m.
Exterior Street, the Bronx

We inspect our exit point — a manhole in the middle of the road. Will Hunt, a bespectacled 26-year-old who is writing a book about the underground (“The last frontier,” he says, “in an over-mapped, Google-Earthed world.”) will serve as our spotter. Will’s job is to watch for traffic: ascending from the hole, we do not wish to be hit by a car. We are to communicate by walkie-talkie. Will ties a long pink ribbon to the inside of the manhole cover. Dangling downward, this will be our signal we have reached the end.

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Google Building Its Own City For Employees

500x_googleGoogle is planning to build what amounts to its own town on a federal space base to house its employees and their families. When society inevitably collapses, Googleville will be the sole safe haven, but only those with company IDs will be allowed in. Writes Gawker:

The company will build out the equivalent of more than two TransAmerica Pyramids on the site of a federal space base in Silicon Valley. Though Google’s plans at NASA Ames/Moffett Field have long been simmering, a Freedom of Information Act Request from the San Jose Mercury News shined new light on the company’s plans.

Google is now revealed to be planning up to 180,000 square feet of housing at Ames, or 15 percent of the usable space on the 42 acre development.

And the company is pressing for still more housing in the adjoining city of Mountain View, where its headquarters sprawls across 65 buildings.

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Edgemere: NYC’s Eerie Abandoned Neighborhood

kensinger_edgemere_DSC_2035_smallIf you’re familiar with New York City, you know that space is at a premium. Dirty shoebox apartments command hefty rents, and shiny new condos have risen even in the far reaches of the city. Thus, it’s quite surprising to learn of a forgotten neighborhood within city limits. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, Edgemere in Queens is a de-mapped community, devoid of buildings and (normal) people, overrun by plant life and vicious packs of wild dogs. Photographer Nathan Kensinger took pictures of the strangest place in NYC.

In a different era, Edgemere’s seaside was a thriving resort, with grand hotels, a bustling boardwalk, and thousands of residents. Today, it is devoid of buildings and permanent residents, and “has stood vacant, except for plant life and wild dogs, for more than 35 years, when thousands of summer bungalows and stores were plowed under as part of a massive building project that was put on hold and never revived.”

Over the decades nature has reclaimed southern Edgemere.

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Are Nations Obsolete?

1125343317F_egyptIn an article for Foreign Policy, Parag Khanna argues that as mega-cities wield increasing political and economic power, the structures and sovereignty of the “countries” that contain them becomes less important. In other words, global power struggles will be less America vs. China vs. Russia and more London vs. Mumbai vs. Tokyo, with the people outside of the super-cities being of little consequence.

In an age that appears increasingly unmanageable, cities rather than states are becoming the islands of governance on which the future world order will be built. This new world is not — and will not be — one global village, so much as a network of different ones.

Time, technology, and population growth have massively accelerated the advent of this new urbanized era. Already, more than half the world lives in cities, and the percentage is growing rapidly. But just 100 cities account for 30 percent of the world’s economy, and almost all its innovation.

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At Last: Installing Tourist/Native Walking Lanes In New York

On Fifth Avenue, not far from Disinformation’s offices, pranksters posed as Department of Transportation employees and reconfigured the sidewalks into “tourist” and “New Yorker” lanes and spent the day training pedestrians on how to use them. This is something for which city citizens have been clamoring for decades — I’m glad these rogue urban planners stepped in and made it happen.

Improv Everywhere New Yorkers vs. Tourists

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Resilient Communities with Jeremy O’Leary

Jeremy O'Leary

Photo by Audrey Eschright / CC

Via Technoccult:

What can individuals do to improve their community’s resilience — whether that be in Portland or elsewhere?

I would suggest one of the 1st steps is to re-enforce the school buildings to withstand an earthquake, use the food certified kitchens in the schools to process locally grown food, and store emergency provisions at the schools.

If you mount solar PV panels on the roofs and place HAM radios there you can be fairly sure of having islands of communication even if things go really sideways.

You would need to have rain water cisterns at the schools, which could also be used for the urban orchards and the veggie gardens.

More broadly speaking, knowing your neighbors and being on good terms with them is possibly the 1st thing to do. It’s only then that conversations about sharing resources can be possible.

It sounds like you’ve picked schools as the epicenter for resilience in communities.

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Doomed Dome: The Future That Never Was

To save energy, a Vermont city once proposed a one-mile dome over its 7,000 residents! (They paid $4 million a year in heating bills, and could reduce their heat consumption by 90 percent!)

There’d be fly-fishing all year, and no more snow shoveling. (“Air would be brought inside by large fans and heated or cooled as necessary… Entrances and exits would consist of double doors akin to an airlock.”) HUD funding was imminent, and within days the town was receiving 20 bags of mail a day from all around the world.

And in a new interview, the former city planner still insists it was a great idea. “Economically it’s a slam dunk.”

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