Urban Planet: Preserving the View of Citadel Hill

Urban Planet is a daily roundup of  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.

• The view of Halifax’s Citadel Hill is much beloved by tourists and residents alike. “We know that there are sketches of people up on Citadel Hill for recreation as early as 1759 … so people have been enjoying the view … since 1759. That’s 253 years,” says Phil Pacey, chair of the Halifax Regional Municipality committee of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia. “We don’t want to see the view whittled away by 3.5 feet at a time. It is a non-renewable resource.” The proposed redevelopment of Fenwick Tower will do just that – only it is so far away from the Hill that the proposed changes to the view will be indiscernible to the naked eye. The Globe and Mail’s Jane Taber and Anna Mehler Paperny explore how Halifax and other Canadian cities are navigating the tension between enabling development and protecting iconic views.

• Conventional notices about developments don’t tend to garner much attention. Popularise aims to change that by giving citizens a place to submit their ideas for how to improve their city and to give developers a place to explain their projects, and gather community input and support.

A decade-long computer simulation has come out with a look at how the world will look in the year 3991: where three massive superpowers have been engaged in a 1,700-year-long war for the scant resources left in a world crippled by melting ice caps and nuclear fallout — this week Weird Wednesday takes a little break from city-building and turns our focus towards empire-building.

Yesterday, Reddit user Lycerius posted a summary of the Civilization II session that he’s been playing on-and-off for the past ten years, spanning the in-game Stone Age through to the year 3991 A.D., and we couldn’t resist sharing his glimpse into the future:

The world itself is an apocalyptic wasteland. Near-eternal war and pollution has caused havoc to the climate — the polar ice caps melt roughly every century. All airable land has either become swampland or has been destroyed by nuclear fallout.

Three superpowers have either assimilated or destroyed almost every other civilazation on the planet, only small pockets of other once-contending nations remain.

Lycerius is playing as the Celts, whose democratic ways were cast aside a millenia ago because of internal politics which restricted military operations. Now a communist state, the Celtic nation has forgone all civil services to maintain its military — necessary to keep the theocratic nations of Vikings and Americans at bay, as well as quelling numerous guerilla rebellions that Lycerius’s civilization is plagued with.

The three nations have been at near-perputal war for the past 1,700 years. When cease-fires have been established, the Vikings (true to their stereotype) forego the peace and attack again on their next turn.

The world’s population has dropped by 90% over the past 2,000 years. All settlements (as there are no longer any cities) have become military factories, constantly pumping out tanks to maintain their borders. This keeps the nations from being able to provide any services to keep the population happy or maintain enough of an agricultural surplus for expansion. Lycerius says the front lines have hardly changed over the past millenium, as one army starts to make a little headway they are quickly destroyed in a nuclear blast.

Lycerius went to Reddit looking for advice on how he could end the eternal war and save both the planet and humanity. It has since been gaining attention across the internet, spawning it’s own subreddit and featured on the Huffington Post and Forbes.

• What are your favourite pieces of urban infrastructure and how do you care for them? The Carmichael Collective, a creative company based in Minneapolis, MN, has borrowed from gardening – installing plant tags with care instructions and information about everything from benches to stop signs to mailboxes.   “Everything you see here is just creativity for creativity’s sake,” they write. “If you like it, share it.”

• What happens to the collective energy of many feet walking around? On a normal floor, the energy dissipates. Enter Pavegen Systems, a London-based start up whose tiles are designed to collect the kinetic energy of footsteps and turn it into electricity. The tiles are in use Westfield Stratford City Mall, the world’s largest urban mall, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys near Canterbury, and Federation Square in Melbourne. 5 percent of the converted electricity  is used to light the round LED-lighted logo in the center of each tile while the other 95 percent is either directly fed to the application (like a lightbulb) or stored in a battery for later use. (National Geographic)

Image from Skyscraper Page

For more stories from around the planet, check out Spacing on Facebook and Twitter.  Do you have an Urban Planet worthy article you’d like to share? Send the link to urbanplanet@spacing.ca

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