exploring urban policy + digital media + design + tech
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10% of the US lives inside 7 counties.

  • Los Angeles County, CA;
  • Cook County, IL;
  • Harris County, TX;
  • Maricopa County, AZ;
  • San Diego County, CA;
  • Orange County, CA;

Each with at least 2.5 million.

(via sunlightcities)



Sprawl apologists like Joel Kotkin like to trumpet the continuing population shift to sunbelt metros of the southern US as proof that people prefer to live in these car-centric places that are spread out far and wide — as opposed to compact, walkable cities.

Others believe that there’s a…



Answer: Indonesia

From Internet Trends 2014, a widely read report on the status of the internet, from venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). 


For three years, the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project has been studying Americans’ relationships with public libraries in the digital age. Here, we’ve boiled it all down to 39 shareable slides.

Our libraries research is broken down in three phases:

  • The state of reading in America
  • Library services
  • Library typology

What we found from these phases of research is that relationships to libraries are part of Americans’ broader resource networks. Once libraries are a part of their networks, services are especially important to low-income households. Books, browsing, and librarians are still central to how people use libraries and what they expect from them, but technology (computers, internet) is also a common use and a high priority.

Public libraries are also used and viewed as important community spaces.

Dive into the slide deck for more facts about libraries and reading in the digital age.


The big-time benefits of real-time transit data.

[Graphic: Candace Brakewood/CUTR]



The Bio Intelligent Quotient (B.I.Q.) Building is the First Fully Algae-Powered Architecture

Operating successfully for over a year, the Bio Intelligent Quotient (B.I.Q.) building in Hamburg, Germany is the first to be fully powered by algae. The building is covered with 0.78-inch thick panels—200 square meters in total—filled with algae from the Elbe River and pumped full of carbon dioxide and nutrients. The panels, which display the bright green algae, are not only aesthetic, but performative. When sunlight hits the “bioreactor” panels, photosynthesis causes the microorganisms to multiply and give off heat. The warmth is then captured for heating water or storing in saline tanks underground, while algae biomass is harvested and dried. It can either be converted to biogas, or used in secondary pharmaceutical and food products. Residents have no heating bills and the building currently reduces overall energy needs by 50%. 

Read More>

Robo-cars, Uber Will Save Us Billions, Keep Us From Crashing And Put An End To Waiting At The DMV
Mark Rogowsky,

One of the great American rites of passage has been the teenager earning his or her driver’s license. Nearly everyone went through some version of a parent trying to teach them to operate the family car, the trepidation of taking the driving test …



In larger cities with dense cores like D.C., bike-share may replace shorter transit trips; in smaller, more dispersed cities like Minneapolis, it may expand the entire public transport network.

-The Most Persuasive Evidence Yet that Bike-Share Serves as Public Transit

via citylab and the guardian:

Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.

Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility. Imagine the popular transit planner Citymapper fused to a cycle hire service and a taxi app such as Hailo or Uber, with only one payment required, and the whole thing run as a public utility, and you begin to understand the scale of ambition here.


Smarter Cities of the Future Will Be More Open, Social | A Smarter Planet Blog

Forward thinking city leaders are looking to embrace the opportunities enabled by technology to overcome the ever-widening range of these significant challenges. Big data and related analytics delivered from the cloud to highly mobile citizens using powerful social media means of communication are mandatory elements of meeting these challenges.


Does San Francisco’s smart parking system reduce cruising for a space?

Transportation energy so dwarfs building energy that even those suburban households with energy-efficient homes and cars use more energy and emit more carbon than ordinary households in urban, transit-served locations.


It’s far too early to say what these services will mean for the good (and bad) old city bus, but they do spark plenty of questions. Will the services disrupt traditional public routes, or will they serve as high-end carpools for workers from similar neighborhoods? Will the benefits they provide for the transportation network outweigh the harm they might cause to social equity? Will cities use them to consider charging a price for private access to the public curb?

And the biggest of all: Will transit agencies fight the services, or use them as motivation to do better themselves?

-The Rise of Private ‘Luxury’ Mass Transit Buses