Urban Planet: Citizen as Designer, The Cardboard Bicycle

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.

• Brodie Boland at the Stanford Social Innovation Review asks: “Currently, our political system answers the question how do we decide between alternatives? Instead, it should ask how could we design better alternatives?” He suggests that new systems of governance must facilitate mass collaboration, assemble people based both on their differences and similarities, generate many ideas and find a way to weave them together, and draw on both sophisticated theory and lived experience.

• Lighter, faster, cheaper! Israeli, Izhar Gafni, has designed and will shortly begin mass producing a cardboard bicycle. The bike, including wheels, breaks and pedal bearings, is made entirely of recycled substances. Gafni expects the bike will retail for $20 and that materials will cost $9. For those worried about soggy cardboard, Gafni has tested the bike by immersing it in a water tank for months and it retained all of its hardened characteristics. (Reuters)

• Frequently hailed as one of the world’s most liveable cities, everyone wants a piece of Vancouver. To address the lack of affordable housing, the city is considering the concept of Thin Streets. Conceived by former Vancouver planners, Ted Sebastian and Christine DeMarco, Thin Streets extends residential blocks into underused city streets – “turning asphalt into affordable housing.” A normal street allowance in Vancouver is 66 feet; the Thin Streets initiative would narrow the width by half. The proposal is not without its critics, many of whom feel that proposed densification initiatives are too radical. (National Post)

Image from Civic Lab

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