World Wide Wednesday: Urban Safari, Cyclist Species, City Happy

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.

• “That’s why I bring people here, to show them what politicians do with their money. And to impress girls.” The honest Mr. Buissart, quoted this week in the Wall Street Journal, runs an Urban Safari in his downtrodden industrial hometown of Charleroi, Belgium. While locals protest, Buissart shows willing tourists the local slag heap, unused subway stations and the “ugliest streets in the nation”. Book quickly, business is robust.

• Who are these cyclists anyway? The Portland Bureau of Transportation has undertaken a demographic study of the species of cyclists (and non-cyclists) in their city to get a better sense of what’s needed to increase the modal shift. “Strong and Fearless”, “Enthused and Confident”, “Interested but Concerned”, “No Way No How” – do you fit these categories? On a similar tack, GOOD speaks to Portland’s approach to recruiting women and people of colour to cycle and the association between bike infrastructure and gentrification.

• There’s been lots of talk in recent years about the inadequacy of traditional metrics of progress to measure well-being. According to PlaceShakers, Vancouver, Bogota and a number of other urban centres have set out to change that. Vancouver’s Healing Cities is keeping tabs on the city’s ability to meet the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of its residents using indicators including land use, density, transit use, carbon emissions, open space, water, sewers, storm and storm infrastructure, organic agriculture, nutrition, accessibility of facilities, programs and sustainable economic development.

The Londonist shares adventures paddling down one of the city’s oldest ‘hidden rivers’. Today, the Fleet river, covered in 1737, flows from Hampstead Heath toward the Thames in a beautiful brick sewer.

Photo by Andre Fromont

Do you have a World Wide Wednesday worthy article you’d like to share? Send the link to