World Wide Wednesday: The Whitney, LeafSnap, Climate Change and Tornadoes

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.

• Construction crews broke ground this week on the new home of New York City’s Whitney Museum. Check out this video on Architizer to learn more about the Whitney collection and the new space. While clearing space for the new Whitney, the Gansevoort Pumping Station in the city’s Meatpacking district was removed. AsVanishing New York reports, old signage from the station will be donated to the FDNY. According to the Whitney press office, “[Architect] Renzo Piano was especially concerned with creating a building appropriate to its milieu and sensitive to its surroundings, but it was determined not to try to incorporate aspects of the old building in the design for the new one.”

• GOOD shares the story of Vivian Maier, a street photographer, and the 26-year-old real estate who discovered her photographic canon of Chicago in a repossessed storage locker sale.

• LeafSnap – a new mobile field guide for smart phones allows users to identify tree species by photographing the leaves. As Garden Design notes, the app allow citizens to collect and share data on local tree species.

• The NRDC offers a useful caution about Best/Worst rankings. Noting a recent Best Cities for Public Transportation study released by the Brookings Institute, author Kaid Benfield notes that the ranking – which ranked Fresno, California above New York and Chicago – may have based its ranking on the “wrong” indicators. By focusing on the number of residents who live within 3/4 of a mile of a transit stop and the number of jobs available within a 90-minute ride, the study misses important factors such as frequency of service and modal share.

• A Washington Post reader offers a favourable comparison of the Washington Metro and Toronto’s TTC. Highlights for the transit visitor include limited fare options, easy access to subways and automated stop announcements.

• The New York Times features Chicago’s innovative steps to adapt to climate change. Faced with climate forecasts which will render the city akin to Birmingham, Al., Chicago is pioneering permeable pavement options and drought-resistant streetscaping. Meanwhile, Greensburg, Kansas, levelled four years ago by a deadly tornado, has taken the opportunity presented by the disaster to rebuild green and has reversed its trend of population decline in the process. (GOOD)

Image from Vanishing New York

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