Weekly Links

Weekly Links: A Concept Skyscraper with Jungles and Glaciers, Singapore Needs More Land (Will Just Make More Land), and Hiring Actors to Teach Transit Etiquette in South America

A weekly gathering of interesting articles and media from across the globe.

New York City. 1990. Enough Said. This video (embedded below) takes place just before the major urban transitional period of the 1990’s and reminds us what NYC was like in the prior decades, for better or for worse.

From Kottke: “The first 30 seconds of the video (stumbling drunk, trash digger, overheating car) is pretty much a perfect representation of how NYC felt to many at the time. A squeegee man can also been seen at work near the end of the video.”

From Wikipedia

Singapore is the second most densely populated country in the world and, unsurprisingly, it needs more land.

From The Economist: “The shortage of land is compounded by government policy on how it is used. One-fifth of the total, mainly secondary jungle, is reserved for the armed forces. Once space is allocated for industry, reservoirs, housing, roads and parks (including golf courses, which cover about 2% of the country), the squeeze is obvious. Yet the population, of about 5.5m now, has doubled in the past 30 years and is still expanding. In 2013 a government white paper forecast that it would increase to 5.8m-6m by 2020 and 6.5m-6.9m by 2030.”

If you think riding public transit is rough here in the States then don’t go to Bogota, Columbia. The city is hiring actors to teach people proper transit (or just general) etiquette. 

From Mental Floss: “The city’s public transportation network has been ranked the worst in the world for women, and an estimated 70,000 bus riders a day skip out on paying their fares. The actors, planted within the crowd of everyday commuters, stare down passengers who rush onto buses without waiting for people to exit. They enact skits where one actor holding a baby doll is forced to stand when no one is willing to give up their seat, and the doll falls out of the pretend mother’s hands.”


Does MARTA simply need to be re-branded to get more people to ride? Jim Galloway of the AJC investigates changing the name to “the ATL” and other issues associated with MARTA’s recently released $8 billion plan to massively expand the system throughout the region.

From the AJC: “But Beach is a member of the swing-for-the-fences club. Re-branding MARTA in favor of a five-county ATL? That’s his idea. Over four decades, state government has yet to put a dime into MARTA. That would have to change if it assumes control of regional transit, Beach admitted. “The state has to have some skin in the game,” he said.”

From Touchraphicseurope via Mental Floss

Map designers have a difficult task: they must maximize the amount of information provided while also making that information aesthetically-pleasing and easily digestible. Designing maps for those who cannot see is similarly difficult and requires a different approach.

From Mental Floss: “Still, designing maps for the visually impaired involves more than overcoming stereotypes. “With a visual map, you can always take a closer look, magnify or zoom in, or squint at it,” Miele said. “But with a tactile map, there’s no zooming in or squinting. It’s at the resolution it’s at. So you need to be careful with how much stuff you put on it, because it can get cluttered easily.”‘

Last week we saw actual ghost towns around the Salton Sea and now we see emerging ghost towns in suburban office parks as companies continue to move into denser, more pedestrian-friendly areas. 

From the Washington Post: “The American ghost town has assumed different forms: the abandoned gold-rush towns out West, the silent Floridian subdivisions of underwater McMansions. Now, we have fiefdoms of mid-Atlantic office space, on streets named Research Boulevard and Professional Drive, thinning out in the sprawl. They are hobbled by changing work styles and government shrinkage. People telecommute. People move into the city or into faux-urban areas that are friendlier to pedestrians, that aren’t barnacled on a highway. Younger generations don’t want to be stranded in a “Dilbert” cartoon. They want cozy nooks and nap spaces, walkable commutes, the tastes and conveniences of the city.”

vice evolo building

Several weeks back we saw a proposed “eco” skyscraper in the Sahara Desert and now the winner of eVolo’s 2015 Skyscraper Competition seeks to bring all of the Earth’s biomes into one building.

From Vice: “Called ESSENCE, BOMP describe their skyscraper as a “secret garden.” At inception, the collective wanted to merge the two distant general concepts of the skyscraper and landscape. But the greater desire was to plop a mysterious garden into the middle of a major metropolis. A skyscraper that housed eleven different landscapes: a glacier, mountain, grasslands, river, waterfall, cave, desert, steppe, swamp, jungle, and ocean.”

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