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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

World Wide Wednesday: Burning river, Dial4Light, suburban retrofit and more

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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 in Toronto.

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• Tensions are mounting in rural Boulder County, Colorado, where fliers are being circulated asking drivers to blockade the upcoming 3rd annual Sunrise Century bicycle ride.  The Sunrise Century is a one hundred mile cycling event held once a year somewhere in the United States with up to 1600 cyclists participants.

• A spectacular case of road rage was recently blogged about where a cyclist in Central Park, New York was intentionally hit by a Fox News journalist driving an SUV.  Following the hit, the cyclist claims the journalist dragged him about 200ft while he was pinned on the hood of the SUV.

• Last Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire, when in 1969 the oil-soaked debris floating in the river that passes through Cleveland caught fire.  Although fires were common along the heavily polluted Cuyahoga from the 1800s right through to the 1950s, the small 1969 fire galvanized the city to clean up its river, which is today home to more than 60 species of fish as well as beavers, blue herons and bald eagles living along its shores.

• The German village of Dorentrup has created a ‘dial4light’ scheme in the hopes of cutting energy bills where street lights are turned on via residents’ cell phones.  Once residents have registered (free), dialing a number followed by entering the code featured on the lamppost will switch on selected light for 15 minutes, after which it automatically turns off.

• The opposite of a bedroom community, about 120,000 people work in Tysons Corner, a suburb just 14 miles outside of Washinton D.C., yet only 17,000 people live in the town.  A radical redevelopment plan hopes to change that, which hopes to retrofit this suburban workplace into a dense, mixed-use city where 95% of land is half a mile away from a central train station.

• Ever heard of the Greater Richmond (Virginia) Transit Company?  Honoured by the American Public Transportation Association for its active role in the community, Richmond has one of many often unheard transit systems gaining a reputation as one of the best transit systems in the US.

Know of any public space or urban landscape related issues being blogged about around the world?  Please email Spacing your suggestions for future World Wide Wednesdays.

Photo courtesy of John Carroll University



  1. The building I work in has a similar power management scheme, where you dial a number and then input a code for the quadrant of the floor you need to be in and it stays on for 2 hrs or until you call and turn it off.

  2. Sigh, why don’t we simply treat vehicular mayhem, accidental or otherwise, the same way we’d treat the use of any other two tonne chunk of metal that harms others, under the criminal and civil code? Streets would get safer pdq.