Barcelona, Spain (population: 1.7 million) is a charming coastal city with a medieval town centre, fantastic and famous architecture, great beaches and cliff-side cafés… A friend of mine (from Barcelona) used to describe his city as “the GREATEST city in the world!” After several visits, I can attest: it is one of my favorites! Despite its… Read More Barcelona: “Superblocks” to the rescue! Returning city streets to the people.
In December 2015, I spent several days in Berlin, Germany. It’s a beautiful city; but December is not its finest month. It was dark and dreary. Still, in a particularly Berlin way, it was also cozy, creative and colorful: bicycles strewn about, Christmas markets in full swing, and plenty of hot wine and cold beer to warm… Read More Berlin’s East Side Gallery: Urban Art & Old Memories
As a follow up on my blog post, Colorful cities: a little paint, a lot of pride, I wanted to share the transformation of Las Palmitas, a low-income neighborhood in Pachuca, in central Mexico. Through a project called Pachuca Paints Itself, 209 homes (20,000 m2) were transformed into a colorful masterpiece. Homes were individually painted, but together they… Read More Pachuca, Mexico: Street Art City Champion
It probably no surprise that I’m a huge proponent of city living. I love being able to hop on my bike, the bus, or walk down the street to one of my favorite neighborhood pubs or cafés. There’s a real sense of freedom that comes when not having a car-centric lifestyle. Each and every time… Read More Want to see more efficient spending of public money? Move to the city.
Dense urban environments have significant resource-saving potential and serve as good platforms for climate change mitigation. This study reviewed an initiative to improve use of energy and water in Rotterdam, highlighting factors important for success including exchanges in close geographic proximity and private-sector participation. Over half of the global population now live in cities. In… Read More Re-using resources in cities: a Dutch case-study in Rotterdam
When conjuring up images of New York City’s transportation, the first picture that come to mind is the iconic yellow taxi cab or the screeching silver subway… Lately though, these images compete with NYC’s newest (albeit slower) transport trends: a hipster weaving through the city on a fixie or streets crowded with pedestrians. Locals pacing quickly between errands; tourists slowly sauntering… Read More NYC’s Metamorphosis: reducing cars, increasing livability
Last week, I posted an image depicting city streets as deep chasms leading into abyss. An image by Karl Jilg for the Swedish Road Association to rethink urban road design. One city close to my heart, Amsterdam, has worked to reduce these abysses over the years – turning parking lots and arterials into spaces for cafés, bicycles, people…… Read More Amsterdam: historic images depicting a transition from cars to bikes in the city centre
No one likes to sit in traffic, and city traffic is the worst. But equally, when we step out of the car (or hopefully off the bus or metro) in a city, our pedestrian activities remain dictated by cars. We can only cross at designated points; we wait for traffic lights to cross the street – hopefully still… Read More Cars versus people: depicting battles over urban public space
I’m happy to see more and more emphasis on cities and urban actors, for their efforts to shape sustainable and prosperous futures, and address environmental challenges, such as climate change. After all, this was the topic of my recent PhD dissertation. Of course, I am far from the only one jumping on the cities as a problem… Read More Lessons from cities to green the economy – free online course
Copenhagen is one of the world’s most sustainable cities. It’s famous for its organic and local food procurement, its cycling culture, its public planning, and its climate change adaptation efforts (see Copenhagen Climate Adaptation Plan). This city is too inspiring for a single blog post, and indeed I’ve written about it several times before. Still,… Read More Copenhagen Urban Innovations: Smart. Sustainable. Spatially-saavy.