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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

World Wide Wednesday: Jaywalking, pedestrian scrambles and the world’s cheapest home

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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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• Londoners got their first “X crossing” this week at Oxford Circle, one of the city’s busiest downtown intersections. For Torontonians who want to compare, BBC News has a great slide show of London’s version of the pedestrian scramble.

On the Slate blog, Tom Vanderbilt looks at jaywalking as part of city life, arguing that the risks are minimal and that “waiting for a signal when no cars are in sight [is] ridiculous and anti-urban”.

• Bologna, Italy may soon be home to a sleek 5084 meter solar-powered monorail system. Designed by Ghini Associati, the “Energy Belt”, which would user solar energy captured from photovoltaic panels at each station and along the track’s southwest side, is being proposed as a quick transit route from the main train station in Bologna to the airport.

• The Los Angeles cyclist community is hoping to see the “justice system’s commitment to protecting the rights of bike riders” as the now infamous assault trial of Dr. Christopher Thompson finishes up its third week. Thompson is on trial after pulling in front of two cyclists (with whom he been exchanging nasty words) and slamming on his brakes. The two cyclists suffered from severe injuries–cyclist Patrick Watson went face first into Thompson’s rear widow and cyclist Josh Crosby was propelled onto the pavement. While Thompson claims he didn’t intend to hurt the cyclists the case has become a rallying cry for the city’s bike community.

The City Fix Mumbai Blog looks at what “the world’s cheapest home” could mean for urban India.  The Tata Group (the company behind Nano car) is currently building 1, 000 units of the 390,00 rupee (US$8,500), 283 square-foot home outside Mumbai.

photo by Mike Roberts