Weekly Links

Weekly Links: Self-Driving Cars, a Tower-City in the Sahara, and Feeding the Homeless with a Rooftop Garden

A dose of interesting stories from the past week about cities, land use, and development from the Atlanta region and across the world. Please like our Facebook page to get SustainAtlanta articles, as well posts of interesting articles and media in your Facebook newsfeed. Thanks!

economistThe Economist has a great interactive graphic on the relationship between population density and traffic-related deaths among the US states and select countries. With 11.8 traffic -related deaths per 100,000 people Georgia ranks just above the US rate of 10.3. The state with the most traffic-related deaths per 100,000 people? Montana with 22.6.

Photo by Peter Green

Photo by Peter Green

From the Wall Street Journal, land trusts are buying up private islands in the name of conservation. ‘“We are in a bit of a race against time because over the long term ultimately coastal land will be developed,” said Richard Knox, director of communications for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, which has purchased or preserved about 300 coastal islands since 1970. Islands in the state have been popular with wealthy buyers from the Rockefeller family to Linda Bean, an heir to the L.L. Bean fortune.’ See our recent article on land trusts and conservation easements in the Southeast.

How does a future of self-driving cars affect the design of cities? The wonderful podcasts 99% Google Self-Driving Car 99%invisible.orgInvisible touches on this in its exploration of the “automation paradox”, which says that as automation makes our lives easier and safer, it also reduces the number of people who can react to problems that do arise. In the context of cars and cities: “A world full of robot-taxis could mean fewer parking lots, denser urban cores, and less traffic.  Since autonomous cars can make decisions and react faster than we can, cars in motion could get much closer together—and not just bumper-to-bumper, but also side-to-side. The Department of Transportation requires that highway lanes be at least twelve feet wide, which is about twice as wide of the average car. So, suddenly, a three-lane highway can become a six-lane highway without any new construction.”


Vice reports on the rooftop garden on the Metro Atlanta Taskforce for the Homeless building. “‘Everything involves the residents, and our whole building is a certification effort. The garden functions as a classroom where we can train residents in green technology, which is important because homeless and poor people are regularly excluded from green development.’”

Carbon Beach coastal.ca.gov

Carbon Beach

In Malibu, CA a decades-long fight to secure public access to an exclusive beach is over as the California Coastal Commission recently opened an access-way to Carbon Beach. “State law guarantees the public beach access up to the mean high tide line. But in areas like Malibu, many affluent and influential residents have taken extensive measures to keep beach-goers out of their sandy backyards.” The article refers to “exactions” or trades made between governments and landowners for development rights.

Speaking wetin jekyllof beaches, on Jekyll Island several hotels and buildings owned by the Jekyll Island Development Authority are violating lighting ordinances deigned to help turtles nests. From the Florida Times-Union article: “Ironically, the authority uses sea turtles in its marketing and is home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. When the center releases rehabbed sea turtles, as it did Thursday, hundreds of spectators stand outside a roped off area to watch and photograph them.”

La ville tour des sables

From Oxoarch.com

A nearly 1500 foot vertical city in the Sahara? From The Week: “In 50 to 60 years, your wildest Dune-inspired dreams might just come true. That’s because OXO, a French architecture company, is literally constructing a vertical city in the middle of the Earth’s biggest desert, the Sahara.”

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