World Wide Wednesday: Greenways, maps, and a railway run by children

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 National Council of Research in Rome is generating innovative ideas on city building by looking at the urban environment through the eyes of children. As explained on The Polis Blog, the City of Children project works with cities across Italy, Spain and Argentina to change the way municipal policy is created by “engaging children as parameters and as guarantors of the needs of all citizens.”

• Why does a 1-mile long greenway in the middle of Boston remain “a placeless desert” on the nicest days of the year?  The Boston Globe’s Architecture critic unpacks why the city’s Kennedy Greenway fails to attract visitors and muses on what can be done to improve its future.

• Moving from an example of poor public space design to some of the world’s best–the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced the winners of its 2010 Professional Awards. Profiles of the 49 winning projects are up on the ASLA website. This year’s winner in the General Design category is Shanghai’s “Houtan Park”.  Built in preparation for the 2010 World Expo, the park has turned a former brownfield site into a “regenerative living landscape on Shanghai’s Huangpu Riverfront” complete with a working wetland, ecological flood control, and urban agriculture .

Wired’s Autopia Blog looks at the unusual staff of a railway company in former Warsaw Pact countries: children. The Children’s Railway, begun in the 1930s to prepare teenagers for future careers in the railroad industry, continues to be operated entirely by staff between the ages of 10 and 14.

• A feature on the BBC entitled the “Beauty of Maps” looks at the history of cartography.

photo of worker on Children’s Railway by Bolshakov