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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

World Wide Wednesday: The US edition (plus parking)

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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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• The hull of ship from the 1700s was found last week at the World Trade Centre site in Manhattan, reports CNN. Archaeologists suspect that the ship was sunk to retain and add precious land area to the island.

• Looking for a recession proof industry? The Globe and Mail reports that parking lots continue to pull in record earnings in Canadian cities. With supply limited by increasing real estate development in our downtown cores, the price of parking has increased 233 per cent in Calgary and 130 per cent in Toronto over the past ten years. While some bemoan the dent this has made in their pocket book, Spacing’s Shawn Micallef calls this the “universal price of great urbanism” .

• As New York City cracks down on illegal advertisements, Treehugger reports that some of the city’s guerilla gardeners are “turning billboard blight into pop-up planters”.

• In Oakland, CA, Scraper Bikes has tapped into the cool factor of academic achievement, sustainability and art. The social enterprise helps kids who can demonstrate a 2.0 GPA to fix up an abandoned bike and personalize it with used materials. With over 40 kids involved, GOOD reports that founder Tyrone Stevenson is making plans to expand the program by building a local community centre and bike shop.

• While the subway may not burn as many calories as biking or walking, the New York Times reports that taking transit is an effective weight loss strategy. The article cites a recent University of Pennsylvania study which recorded a 1.18 point reduction in body mass index among Charlotte residents who parked the car and took light rail for six months. The walk from destinations to transit hubs is a significant but often discounted source of exercise.

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