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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

World Wide Wednesday: Maps, Trains, Trikes and Three Million in the A40

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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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Time’s Michael Grunwald took the train ride from Miami to Orlando to consider the Obama administration’s $8 billion investment in high speed rail. The US President aims to create 13 national high speed rail corridors to relieve road and air congestion, reduce carbon emissions and highway deaths, create jobs and jump-start the domestic manufacturing industry. The stimulus funding is a great first step but at 1/8 of last year’s spending on highways, there is much more work to be done.

• The New York Times reports on the growing trend of cargo-hauling tricycles in New York City. The bespoke “industrial trikes” transform bikes from personal transportation devices to child-carrying, grocery-hauling complete car alternatives. Users even reported a positive change in their interactions with cars and trucks when using the device.

•The Pop Up City reports that the A40 Highway in Ruhr, Germany was the site of a massively successful street party. Between 11AM and 5PM, the heavily used highway was transformed into a collective meeting place to bike, paint, play and picnic for 3 million participants!

•Recognizing the important role that images and maps played in our understanding of the BP oil spill, the Grassroots Mapping Community, as profiled on The Pop Up City, took matters into their own hands to create powerful tools for communication and advocacy. Using low-cost mapping tools like balloons, kites and remote control air planes, the project demonstrates the opportunity to bring cartographic expertise to bear on issues of civic engagement.

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