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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

World Wide Wednesday: Brains, Sprints, Ads and Bridges

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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.

• City brain, country brain. The impact of city life on mental health has been a favourite topic of  social scientists for some time. Now neuroscientists are taking up the cause. Nature describes the work of Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg of the University of Heidelberg’s Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. Studying images of urban and rural brains, Meyer-Lindberg is demonstrating that neural structures respond differently to stress in these two populations.

• Seven interns from the D.C. area completed the Smithsonian Sprint this week. The challenge: visit 17 Smithsonian museums in one day. While the interns took in some of the region’s greatest cultural opportunities, they don’t recommend the Sprint to others. Facing transportation hold ups, the interns spent a mere 15 minutes in each. (Smithsonian Mag)

• Paris is taking strong steps to reduce advertising on city streets. The new rules place restrictions on the size, location and illumination of future signage. (The Guardian)

• If you’re looking for the “war on the car”, it’s happening in Europe. In many European cities, planners and policy makers are taking active steps to create disincentives to driving. Beyond pedestrianized zones and bikesharing options, Zurich is moving traffic lights closer together to create a more-stop less-go experience. “In the United States,” says Peder Jensen, head of the Energy and Transport Group at the European Environment Agency, “there has been much more of a tendency to adapt cities to accommodate driving. Here there has been more movement to make cities more livable for people, to get cities relatively free of cars.” (New York Times)

• While New York’s High Line is eminently worthy of praise, a number of other cities are pursuing noteworthy elevated public space projects: ClevelandDerry, IrelandChicago, and Philadelphia

Image from Rosales + Partners

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