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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

World Wide Wednesday: Hotspots – Tokyo, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Copenhagen

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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.

• If you’ve been saving up for a trip to Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa neighbourhood, be sure to plan your travels before 2013. The bohemian hotspot is due for revamping and some fear that the very characteristics which make this place a favourite (twisting alleyways, discount shops, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, open air urinals) will be lost. The Globe and Mail shares some local gems.

Worldchanging shares a recent study from a team of economists at the University of Munich examining the effects of mandatory parking minimums on development in urban and suburban Los Angeles. The study found that parking minimums “significantly increase” the amount of land devoted to parking, to the detriment of water quality, pedestrian safety and non-automotive modes of transportation. The authors suggest that these mandatory minimums often exceed market demand for parking space.

For the Love of Biking shares some creative bike post designs from Minneapolis’s DERO.

• Trust Copenhagen to find an unexpected solution to the problem of illegal bike parking. Copenhangenize reports that the City has started a program to move illegally parked bikes near Metro stations to designated bike racks. The team of “bike butlers” will then oil your chain, pump your tires and leave a little note on your bicycle asking to kindly use the bike racks in the future. The positive reinforcement appears to be working – “when the project started in April they were moving around 150 bicycles a day. Today that number has dropped to between 30 and 50.”

Photo by ajari