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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

World Wide Wednesday: Climate bowls, city cams and carmaggedon

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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.

• For those of you wishing for an altered clime this week, consider the wisdom of your Inca ancestors. Over at BLDGBLOG, they’ve got a neat profile of enormous weather bowls – landscaped pits which created microclimates ideal for different Incan crops. The author questions to what extent the climate is a component of the historical of the value of the site. Is it a stretch to imagine that the fight against climate change could be seen as an act of historical preservation?

• If you’re looking for a more modern solution, solar panels may be your answer. A recent study from UC San Diego found a 5°F reduction in temperature inside buildings with solar panels. Raised and tilted panels create an even more dramatic reduction, while white roofs are the most effective at reducing temperatures in the floors below. (GOOD)

• Fast Company profiles NYC’s politically favourable alternative to congestion pricing: Midtown in Motion. The $1.6 million real-time traffic management system allows traffic engineers to adjust traffic signals in response to congestion data collected by sensors and cameras. This data is also available to drivers who want to avoid jams.If the pedestrian experience is more to your liking, take a look at MyBlockNYC. This video mapping website, profiled by Design Observer, allows users to upload and share their block-by-block experience of the city.

Carmaggedon – the closing of the 405 Freeway in L.A. this past weekend – may have brought cars to a halt, but it ignited ideas about how to convince the city to leave their cars at home for more than a weekend. The Mayor’s transportation deputy, Borja Leon, floated the idea of a threat level system (i.e. red day = leave your car at home) and car free zones. Officials stressed, however, that nothing will happen without public support. (L.A. Times)

Image from BLDGBLOG

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