I have just returned from a few days in Little Rock and since I lived there many years ago the city centre, like many US cities, is starting to come back from the loss of confidence in urban living in the 70’s. However apart from the Clinton Library and some regen of the riverside areas (usual makeover aimed at tourists) it appears to me that there is no radical new architecture or cohesive planning being applied – locals please correct me if I have missed something?
There is a US model to follow – Dallas.
With its recent urban regeneration completions under the generic Urban Re:Vision title – the latest is scheme is a design competition for urban living for otherwise uninspiring one city block (see above) – Re:Vision – this gives rise for optimism about urban planning in US cities away from the usual suspects – Portland, etc. As the Urban Vision people say:
“What if one block in Texas became the sustainable model for the world?”
(of course it would be more relevant if one block in Delhi became the sustainable model for the world, but we get the point…)
Previous competitions include designs for transport, energy, construction. One of those competitions, Re:Route, considered urban transport with a good mix of deliverable schemes and fanciful architects ideas (says the cynical transport planner).
I read about Shai Agassi’s plans for electric cars in Wired last summer and while it is high profile, with big name partners including Nissan Renault, I just wondered whether it was another software millionaire playing with cars (see Tesla as exhibit A). His plans are set out in more detail at betterplace.com , including a high minded vision:
- A world living free from oil.
- A planet healing and thriving.
- And our environment and economy brought back into balance with each other.
The video of his speech is found on TED and it is worth watching for the undoubted enthusiasm – oil free nations such as Israel and Denmark by 2020 is the dream – I am still just a bit cynical (surprise). Key aims are affordable and convenient, no new science, using existing battery tech. Charging points everywhere so you can always charge and easy battery swaps, like gas stations. All good in theory…
What is interesting is the willingness to go with an open source, but standards based infrastructure approach. A lot of the solutions being supported by programmes such as the UK’s Technology Strategy Board Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Project will play into the hands of monopoly suppliers.
BTW Wired are launching a new UK print version this month – how brave is that? I remember the short lived Wired UK from 1995, but then I was the only subscriber 🙂
Sunday afternoon working and while we try to avoid Dilbert’s optimism and buzzwords in our Strategic Plan for next year I have also been reading between the lines of the new Transport for London Business Plan. For what its worth my initial thoughts on the business plan are offered, prepared for the South London Partnership .
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Tagged Bus, Business, Cartoon, Comic, London, PBA, Plan, Rail, South, Tram, Transport