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Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, City Beautiful movement, clean water, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, East Village, edge city, energy security, Enrique Peñalosa, experimental subject, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, happiness index / gross national happiness, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, income per capita, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, license plate recognition, McMansion, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban sprawl, wage slave, white flight, World Values Survey, zero-sum game, Zipcar
The Urban Equity Doctrine When Mockus quit his post to run for president in 1997, the murder, crime, and accident rates had begun to fall, but Bogotá’s physical and functional problems—congestion; pollution; and a critical lack of schools, safe streets, and public space—were still acute. The city had begun to change its mind, but it was being held back by its body. Enrique Peñalosa, who finally won the mayor’s seat on his third try, insisted that there was an inherent connection between urban form and culture. It was not enough, he felt, to teach people a new citizenship of respect. The city itself had to manifest that philosophy in its forms, systems, and services. “Only a city that respects human beings can expect citizens to respect the city in return,” he said in his inauguration speech. He promised that he would use his term to build that respect into the city, using concrete, steel, leaf, and lawn. At the start of this book I credited Enrique Peñalosa with a big and simple idea: that urban design should be used to make people happier. Peñalosa is indeed a student of the happiness economists, but his program for Bogotá was grounded in a specific interpretation of well-being that, by its nature, threatens to make many urbanites uncomfortable.
He hollered with the hurried fervor of a preacher. He wore the kind of close-trimmed beard favored by men who don’t like to waste time shaving. He jogged through the building’s basement parking deck in a long-legged canter, like a center forward charging for a long pass. Two bodyguards trotted behind him, their pistols jostling in holsters. There was nothing remarkable about that, given his profession—and his locale. Enrique Peñalosa was a perennial politician on yet another campaign, and this was Bogotá, a city with a spectacular reputation for kidnappings and assassination. What was unusual was this: Peñalosa didn’t climb into the armored SUV typical of most public figures in Colombia. Instead, he hopped on a knobby-tired mountain bike and quickly cranked his way up a ramp into the searing Andean sunlight. Then he was off, jumping curbs and potholes, riding one-handed, weaving across the pavement, and barking into his cell phone while his pin-striped trousers flapped in the breeze.
But we can design the city to give people dignity, to make them feel rich. The city can make them happier.” There it was, the declaration I have seen bring tears to so many eyes with its promise of urban revolution and redemption. * * * It’s been six years since my ride with the Mayor of Happy, but the memory has remained with me, as vivid as the Andean sun. That was the day the journey began. You may never have heard of Enrique Peñalosa. You may not have been among the crowds that gave him a hero’s welcome in New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Lagos, or Mexico City over the last decade. You may never have seen him raise his arms like an evangelist or holler his philosophy over the noise of a hundred idling car engines. But his grand experiment and his even grander rhetoric inspire an urbanist fervor wherever he goes. Peñalosa has become one of the central figures in a movement that is changing the structure and soul of cities around the world.
Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars by Samuel I. Schwartz
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, autonomous vehicles, car-free, City Beautiful movement, collaborative consumption, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, desegregation, Enrique Peñalosa, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, if you build it, they will come, Induced demand, intermodal, invention of the wheel, lake wobegon effect, Loma Prieta earthquake, Lyft, Masdar, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Nate Silver, oil shock, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, skinny streets, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, the built environment, the map is not the territory, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, walkable city, Wall-E, white flight, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, Zipcar
As we saw back in Chapter 6, the frequent network is a very well thought-out response to a very difficult set of problems. But it isn’t the only route to transportation equity. Even if resources are finite, they aren’t fixed. When they can be increased, it makes it a whole lot easier to improve equity; it’s easier to slice a larger pie evenly than a smaller one. That’s the philosophy of what has to be the world’s most inspiring municipal leader on the subject of transportation equity, Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. Sometimes transportation equity is best studied in a place where inequality of all sorts is off the charts. That certainly describes Colombia’s capital city, whose seven million residents suffer from the greatest disparity between rich and poor in all of South America. Differential access to transportation is, of course, not the only reason for the gap between Bogotá’s rich and poor, which was in place from the time of the city’s sixteenth-century founding as the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada on a narrow plateau bordered by the Andes Mountains on the east and the Bogotá River on the west.
In 1993 alone, the city recorded more than four thousand homicides, which made it one of the most dangerous large cities in the world. Then, in the middle of the 1990s, two successive mayoral administrations turned the city around, partly by improved policing and security, partly by better financial administration, but also by rethinking the city’s transportation system. The list of transportation innovations begun by Antanas Mockus when he was elected Bogotá’s mayor in 1995, and expanded by his successor Enrique Peñalosa from 1998 to 2001 (Mockus would, in turn, succeed Peñalosa, and serve until 2003), is nothing if not impressive. The most significant, in terms of passenger miles, was the Bus Rapid Transit system known as the TransMilenio, a network built around a thousand 160-passenger articulated vehicles that covered the city’s longest and most traveled avenues on dedicated busways with elevated stations placed on road medians, with bus and station floors at a level for both convenience and safety.
Between 1970 and 2000, the world’s urban areas grew by about 22,300 square miles, but in the three decades between 2000 and 2030, they are expected to grow by 590,000 square miles, and house nearly one-and-a-half billion more people than today. All those Millennials and Boomers migrating to big cities are just the leading edge of an avalanche. On the other hand, all that action is causing a powerful reaction. When Enrique Peñalosa lost his bid for reelection in 2000, he was followed by three successively more conservative administrations, and it’s not too much to describe what they’ve done to some of his signature transportation initiatives as sabotage. In the United States, the reactionaries pushing back the hardest on urban public transportation systems are led by the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, and their umbrella advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity.
Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan, Seth Solomonow
autonomous vehicles, bike sharing scheme, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, digital map, edge city, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Enrique Peñalosa, Hyperloop, Induced demand, Jane Jacobs, Loma Prieta earthquake, Lyft, New Urbanism, place-making, self-driving car, sharing economy, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, transportation-network company, Uber and Lyft, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar
CHAPTER 11: SORRY TO INTERRUPT, BUT WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT BUSES 561,000 . . . 30 percent: Global BRT Data, EMBARQ, accessed August 8, 2015, http://brtdata.org/location/latin_america/brazil/curitiba. 194 cities . . . 32 million daily passengers along 3,200 miles of streets: Ibid. “An advanced city”: “Enrique Peñalosa: ‘América Latina debe mirar más a Amsterdam que a Miami,’” Semana, January 13, 2011, accessed August 8, 2015, www.semana.com/vida-moderna/articulo/enrique-penalosa-america-latina-debe-mirar-mas-amsterdam-miami/234025-3. around 5 percent of a new metro system: Lars Friberg, “Innovative Solutions for Public Transport; Curitiba, Brazil,” Sustainable Development International 3 (2000): 154, accessed August 8, 2015, http://infohouse.p2ric.org/ref/40/39732.pdf. 2.2 million daily: Global BRT Data, EMBARQ, accessed August 8, 2015, http://brtdata.org/location/latin_america/colombia/bogota. 5,667-bus fleet: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “The MTA Network,” accessed August 23, 2015, http://web.mta.info/mta/network.htm. 792 million . . . 2.5 million passengers: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, “MTA New York City Transit Bus Ridership at a Glance,” accessed August 8, 2015, http://web.mta.info/nyct/facts/ridership/#intro_b.
A Bogotá tradition since its origins in the 1970s, Ciclovía (Spanish for bikeway) is simply the act of closing streets to cars, in Bogotá’s case from seven a.m. to two p.m. every Sunday and also on holidays, and letting city residents take to the streets on foot, on bikes and roller skates, roller blades—however they wanted to get around. The Ciclovía idea didn’t take hold until the early 2000s, when Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa’s brother, Gil Peñalosa, left a lucrative post heading a television station to become the city’s parks commissioner. At the time, Gil Peñalosa told me, Ciclovía was “just a few miles and a few thousand people,” unloved by the transportation department that ran the car-free event. Department engineers were afraid that expanding the event would only underscore its unpopularity and cause traffic problems.
Cost is why so much of this innovation came from less economically developed nations, which have fewer resources and greater incentive for planners to design efficient, inexpensive networks. Bus Rapid Transit station in Curitiba, Brazil. Passengers enter and depart like a surface subway onto high-capacity buses, paying their fare beforehand and boarding via all doors. Mariana Gil/EMBARQ Brasil Bogotá’s bus rapid transit system, TransMilenio, was a pillar of Mayor Enrique Peñalosa’s administration, and its effects resonate beyond the bus route. In his first term, Peñalosa combined TransMilenio with strategies to increase public space, reduce car circulation on city streets, and improve traffic in Bogotá. “An advanced city is not one where poor people drive cars,” Peñalosa says, “but where rich people take public transportation.” TransMilenio operates like a train, with buses moving in dedicated lanes separated by barriers that keep out general traffic.
A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, car-free, carbon footprint, congestion charging, David Brooks, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, food miles, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, if you build it, they will come, Induced demand, intermodal, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Florida, skinny streets, smart cities, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, transit-oriented development, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar
.”■ Like most writers on the subject, Buettner and his sources neglect to discuss how these “lifestyle” choices are inevitably a function of the design of the built environment. They may be powerfully linked to place—the Blue Zones are zones, after all—but there is scant admission that walking to the store is more possible, more enjoyable, and more likely to become habit in some places than in others. It is those places that hold the most promise for the physical and social health of our society. Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, sees things in a much simpler light: “God made us walking animals—pedestrians. As a fish needs to swim, a bird to fly, a deer to run, we need to walk, not in order to survive, but to be happy.”38 That thought is beautiful, perfectly obvious, and probably impossible to prove. But we do know that we need to be active in order to be healthy and that walking is the easiest way for most humans to be usefully active.
Given the environmental and health benefits of turning drivers and riders into bikers—and the very real public savings associated with those benefits—that six thousand dollars is a better deal than it looks. All the more so when you consider the free publicity these systems bring. DON’T GET GREEDY There is no doubt in my mind that many bicycle advocates will find this chapter’s prescriptions woefully inadequate. What, five feet for a bike lane? They will remind me of Copenhagen’s eight-footers, and quote Bogotá’s Enrique Peñalosa, “If a bike lane isn’t safe for an eight-year-old child, it isn’t really a bike lane.”52 Some will bemoan my suggestion that separated paths and bike boulevards are best kept out of commercial areas. These complaints are certainly valid, and also correct—from the perspective of a bicycle advocate. But bicycle advocates are specialists. Like the highway specialists who reamed out our cities with freeways, they are often focused myopically on the one aspect of the public realm that concerns them, sometimes at the expense of all the others.
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Bretton Woods, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, energy security, Enrique Peñalosa, Exxon Valdez, Google Earth, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), oil shale / tar sands, stem cell, sustainable-tourism, the scientific method, University of East Anglia, urban planning, urban sprawl
Compare that with the 20 to 35 per cent of trips taken by bike in the European Union and 50 per cent in China. (Unfortunately, the trend is reversing in China as the country embraces car culture.) Shifting from car dependence will take action at the individual level, with more people simply deciding to get on their bikes, but governments must also do more to make it easier for people to ride bikes. And they can. In just three years, from 1998 to 2001, Mayor Enrique Peñalosa of Bogotá, Colombia, turned his city of 6.5 million from a gridlocked parking lot into a city where public spaces live up to their name. He did this by restricting car use, increasing gas taxes, and building hundreds of kilometres of bike and pedestrian paths, as well as investing in buses. Making our streets safer for cyclists by giving them space to ride is an essential first step. The investment required is far less than that required for infrastructure for cars.
One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility by Zack Furness, Zachary Mooradian Furness
active transport: walking or cycling, affirmative action, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, back-to-the-land, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, conceptual framework, dumpster diving, Enrique Peñalosa, European colonialism, feminist movement, ghettoisation, Golden Gate Park, interchangeable parts, intermodal, Internet Archive, Jane Jacobs, market fundamentalism, means of production, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, place-making, post scarcity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sustainable-tourism, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, working poor, Yom Kippur War
Bicycling, in John pucher’s terms, must be made “irresistible.”29 in conjunction with traffic-calming measures in residential areas, the development of car-free urban spaces, and the implementation of strategies to reduce overall levels of driving, off-road bikeways and separated bike lanes are the best long-term investments for promoting cycling and for making it easier, and more enjoyable, not to drive. yet, at the risk of minimizing the profound need for a comprehensive overhaul of transportation priorities and infrastructure in the United States, it should be clear by now that one can “never make transportation an issue unto itself.”30 as former Bogotá mayor Enrique peñalosa notes, “it is not for traffic engineers to decide how we are going to solve transportation problems, it is a political decision.”31 peñalosa, who is credited with revitalizing both public transportation and public spaces in Colombia’s capital city, urges us to ask a more poignant and profound set of questions when framing the issue of mobility: “How do we want our city to be? How do we want to live?”