Urban Planet: Alice in Wonderland’s Transit Map

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.

• If you think the transit system in your city is convoluted, imagine riding the subway in Wonderland. “Wherever you thought you were going, the train would take you in the opposite direction. The stationmaster would be some sort of anthropomorphized animal. Printed maps would be of limited value because at random times the stations would all get up and relocate themselves. Which means that you’re basically fine, unless you have to be at a croquet match at a specific time, for instance.” (Brain Pickings)

• “Mile for mile, it’s more dangerous to be a pedestrian than it is to be a cyclist,” writes Zoe Williams at the Guardian. And yet, pedestrians in the UK (and elsewhere) haven’t mobilized or lobbied or even gotten angry in the way that cyclists have. In 2011, London saw 77 pedestrian deaths (to 16 cyclists), 903 serious to injuries (to 555) with both figures on the rise. What is it that gives cyclists the predisposition for making political change that pedestrians lack?

• China’s cities are growing at a feverish pace and so are its traffic jams. “In the last five years, China has built 20,000 miles of expressways, finishing the construction of 12 national highways a whopping 13 years ahead of schedule and at a pace four times faster than the United States built its interstate highway system. Over the last decade, Shanghai alone has built some 1,500 miles of road, the equivalent of three Manhattans. China’s urban population is projected to grow by 350 million people by 2020, effectively adding today’s entire U.S. population to its cities in less than a decade.” New Urbanist Peter Calthorpe worries that China is pursuing an American style of urbanization with all of the negative health, environmental and social impacts that come along with it. In this piece on Foreign Policy, he explores why the Chinese experience may be even more catastrophic than the American.

• In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller, Rear Window, a wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Creating a time lapse from the film’s footage, Jeff Desom creates a nice portrait of scenes from the rear window.

Image from Brain Pickings

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