World Wide Wednesday: The World Cup, bike gadgets, and the fastest train in the world

Each week we will be focusing on blogs from around the world dealing specifically with urban environments. We’ll be on the lookout for websites outside the country that approach themes related to urban experiences and issues.

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• The BP oil spill, which continues to wreak havoc on the United States’ Gulf Coast, is just one more reminder of the perils of oil dependence and the dangers of offshore drilling. An article from Grist Magazine looks at the role cities can (and should) play in moving towards a more sustainable future.

• The first of model of the 380A, the fastest train in the world, was officially completed last week. Designed by China’s Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd, and funded by the Chinese government, the new train can go up to 380 kph (236 mph), and will be in use in the country by 2011.

A new gadget allows cyclists to charge their cell phones as they bike. Released by Nokia, the Bicycle Charger Kit starts converting peddle power into energy at speeds as low as 6 km/h.

• Six innovative architectural practices have presented their visions of what our cityscapes might look like 20 years from now. The project, The Audi Urban Future Award, was unveiled at a conference in London on May 28th. The Economist looks at the six competing visions, each of which predict cities of self-piloting cars by 2030.

• South Africa is gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup and the country is on civic infrastructure binge. To date, the South African government has spent $2.2 billion on stadium construction and renovation, $680 million on airport upgrades and $460 million on road and rail improvement. An info graphic on the  Infrastrucutrist (designed by MENA Infrastructure) details where the money is going as well as the revenue and jobs that the event is projected to generate for the African nation.

photo of construction of new stadium in South Africa from Clarissa de Wet

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