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The Transit Pulse of London’s Tube

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This article in Forbes Magazine describes the creation of a data visualization called Tube Heartbeat. Produced by Oliver O’Brien it shows the movement of London England’s transit passengers as they move around the 268 tube stations on 11 lines. The images are updated in fifteen minute intervals, showing how up to 4.8 million passengers a day use the system.

We already use analogies like arterials for the road network-the pulsing of the volume of passengers using the London tube  network  looks very organic, confirming that public transportation is indeed the heart of a city.






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sarcozona
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How to make cities more affordable – including Vancouver

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This day’s piece from Co.Exist on our hottest topic:

cities

 Cities Of The Future Will Be Great If We Figure Out How To Make Them Affordable | 

… there are things that can be done. One thing campaigners often talk about is bringing the many hundreds of thousands of homes standing vacant back into the market. Vancouver has just announced that it will impose a tax on unoccupied property to encourage owners to rent or sell (as well as a 15% levy on foreign buyers, to discourage property speculation).

Paris wants to double taxes on its 92,000 second homes and quintuple them on the 100,000 homes that sit permanently empty. Even tax-averse Saudi Arabia has announced a punitive levy on undeveloped urban land whose rich owners are waiting for it to go up in value.

Nevertheless, the number of empty houses is far too small to solve the problem in itself. Paris, for example, has more than 100,000 people on its waiting list for government housing alone, to say nothing of all the millions more who do not qualify.

So some cities, Paris included, have tried to directly control prices. The French capital last year legislated that new rental contracts cannot cost more than 20% above an officially determined average. Since then prices have dropped in 30% of new contracts.

Berlin passed a similar law last year (limiting contracts to 10% above the government average), but has also added another element: landlords must now publish what they have charged in the past for any given property, in an attempt to stop wild price hikes.

Meanwhile, an unglamorous area of London, Haringey, is trying to slash one of the associated expenses by setting up its own government-run rental agency. The idea is to offer the service at cost price—i.e. half of what some estate agents are charging. The problem is that landlords haven’t been signing up and at the moment there are only three flats available to view.

All of these approaches, however, are essentially trying to control the price of a limited number of houses by regulating demand. And any economist will tell you that the way to lower prices is to flood the market with supply.

So lots of cities are trying to do the obvious thing: build. As many houses as they can. As many extensions as they can. Anywhere they can.

In Ireland, all state-owned land, like bus depots and railway sidings, is now being assessed for whether it can be turned into housing. Munich has found another source of space—parking lots—and has started building apartment complexes on stilts above the tarmac. Paris is turning government buildings into social housing in some of Europe’s most expensive neighborhoods. And Seattle is looking at a proposal to build apartments and green space above the 10-lane motorway that cuts like a canyon through its downtown.

Moreover, numerous North American cities—like San Francisco and Vancouver—have been encouraging the construction of “laneway houses” and “granny flats,” tiny homes built in alleys, back gardens and basements, basically anywhere there’s enough space for a human. …

But the country with the most impressive building scheme is Singapore (where homes remain expensive). From the 1960s onwards, the government has put up so many apartment blocks that four out of every five Singaporeans live in a state-built home. Not only that, but Singapore also came up with a clever plan to help people buy their homes: they can dip into their state pension funds decades early to get together enough for a deposit.

So why aren’t all these expensive cities running huge construction programs? Well, there is an argument that we’re not experiencing a housing crisis at all; we’re experiencing intense housing inequality. After all, as prices skyrocket, it benefits all those who already own homes, at least in the short term.

And the failure to build houses is often a failure of the will to do it. London, for example, has determined the minimum number of houses it needs to build to stop the situation worsening (around 200,000 each year) and is presently falling 50% short. Meanwhile, planning rules in the adjoining country, Surrey, a wealthy commuter belt, mean it now has more land dedicated to golf courses than to housing.

If we’re to stop house prices making cities unlivable, and bring about a situation where everyone can afford that minimum need—a decent place to live—we don’t need a brilliant new scheme; we need to collectively decide to actually do it.








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sarcozona
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Black in Middle America | Brevity

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Black in Middle America | Brevity
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sarcozona
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Even without retractions, ‘top’ journals publish the least reliable science.

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Even without retractions, ‘top’ journals publish the least reliable science.

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sarcozona
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Time to unionize customer-facing bankers

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Have you heard of the most recent outrage committed by a bank? Wells Fargo just got fined a total of $185 million for corrupt practices involving the accounts of depositors.

Specifically, a bunch of depositors were given accounts they didn’t sign up for, and then charged for via fees. Wells Fargo claims they have fired 5,300 low-level workers over the past five years for doing stuff like this.

But as many have pointed out, including Naked Capitalism, this is really not about low-level workers. It’s about ridiculous and unattainable sales quotas imposed on bankers, and then a complete disregard for the knock-on effects of those stupid quotas.

The fact that so much fraud went on so widely means that either the top dogs knew about it and didn’t care (I’m voting for this – after all the high pressure sales tactics were probably profitable overall even with this $185 fine) or that they had entirely insufficient controls and didn’t know about it. Either way they’re idiots, and it’s outrageous that only the underlings were fired, and not the management. For that matter the person who came up with rigid sales quotas without thinking for five minutes about what would happen next needs to get canned.

Oh wait, I just remembered: the lowest paid bank workers, who really work for very little money under tremendous pressure, have very little power. It’s time they form a union. This is not a new idea, but it’s never been more obvious.




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sarcozona
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know the difference

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vaspider:

copperbadge:

thegmsighs:

It has come to my attention that many people mistake wyverns for dragons, so here’s a post to help you remember

Dragon: 4 legs, 2 wings

Wyvern: 2 legs, 2 wings

Drake: 4 legs, flightless

Wyrms: long snake like body with no appendages, can also appear as a traditional Chinese dragon with 4. Legs and no wings yet can fly

Amphithere: 0 legs 2 wings, can be feathered

Lindwurms: 2 legs, 0 wings, long body

Luck dragon: 4 legs, no wings, can fly, long body, furry with dog like face

Komodo dragon: 4 legs, no wings, real

Bearded dragon: 4 legs, 0 wings, often kept as pets

Didn’t even include Scincella lateralis? This whole post reeks of skinkshaming.

…skinkshaming…

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sarcozona
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RedSonja
16 days ago
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