urban sprawling


SN: From the Economist comes “Parkageddon”. The concept seems so simple but so few cities in North America seem to be onboard. Size is not a distinguishing factor here, all population centers should be aware of the impact that parking has on their environment from both a health and aesthetic standpoint. Cities should be designed for communities to gather not as Walmart parking lots.

How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl; Don’t let people park for free

…parking influences the way cities look, and how people travel around them, more powerfully than almost anything else. Many cities try to make themselves more appealing by building cycle paths and tram lines or by erecting swaggering buildings by famous architects. If they do not also change their parking policies, such efforts amount to little more than window-dressing. There is a one-word answer to why the streets of Los Angeles look so different from those of London, and why neither city resembles Tokyo: parking.

For as long as there have been cars, there has been a need to store them when they are not moving—which, these days, is about 95% of the time. The parking problem in the US can be loosely traced to 1923, when Columbus, Ohio began to insist that builders of flats create parking spaces for the people who would live in them. “Parking minimums”, as these are known, gradually spread across America. Now, as the number of cars on the world’s roads continues to grow, they are spreading around the world.

The harm caused begins with the obvious fact that parking takes up a lot of room. A typical space is 12-15 square metres; add the necessary access lanes and the space per car roughly doubles.

The more spread out and car-oriented a city, as a result of enormous car parks, the less appealing walking and cycling become. Besides, if you know you can park free wherever you go, why not drive? The ever-growing supply of free parking in America is one reason why investments in public transport have coaxed so few people out of cars, says David King of Arizona State University. In 1990, 73% of Americans got to work by driving alone, according to the census. In 2014, after a ballyhooed urban revival and many expensive tram and rapid-bus projects, 76% drove.

Free parking is not, of course, really free. The costs of building the car parks, as well as cleaning, lighting, repairing and securing them, are passed on to the people who use the buildings to which they are attached. Restaurant meals and cinema tickets are more pricey; flats are more expensive; office workers are presumably paid less. Everybody pays, whether or not they drive. And that has an unfortunate distributional effect, because young people drive a little less than the middle-aged and the poor drive less than the rich. In America, 17% of blacks and 12% of Hispanics who lived in big cities usually took public transport to work in 2013, whereas 7% of whites did. Free parking represents a subsidy for older people that is paid disproportionately by the young and a subsidy for the wealthy that is paid by the poor.

A few crowded American cities, including San Francisco, have watered down their parking minimums. One shrinking city (Buffalo, in New York state) has abolished them entirely. But most of the country seems to be stuck with a hugely costly and damaging solution to the parking problem. And the American approach to parking is spreading to some of the world’s fastest-growing cities.

SN: Click through to the article for more examples and proposed solutions. It’s worth the read.

elpsycongruent  asked:

tell me a funny story!

So, in about my party’s fourth session playing D&D, we got a side quest.

We needed lodging for the night and hadn’t managed to build up much by way of party funds yet! That’s fine, said the person in charge of an inn (who we were introduced to because she had hired a goblin we gave a pie tin to in the first encounter of our very first session–this goblin, I might add, has gone on to be a queen among her people, due to her shiny tin pie plate and the pies she makes in it), there’s a rat problem in the basement. If we can take care of the rat problem, we can have lodging for the night!

It is at this point that I should say my druid, Valira, Loves Animals. She is not gonna attack them unless they attack first. She is a Disney princess. She has befriended carnivorous sheep, mammoths, pretty much any animal she’s ever met that hasn’t attempted to murder her.

So when we get down to the basement and find, instead of your regular-sized rat colony, a group of four giant rats, instead of attacking them, she decides to try diplomacy, and casts Speak With Animals.

She and the rats proceed to have a very serious conversation about the scarcity of food for giant rats, the difficulty in finding a home that doesn’t bother people when urban sprawl is a problem, until she was basically going “Crap, you guys, I am actually completely on the rats’ side here.”

But they really couldn’t stay in the inn basement, and the party hit upon a glorious idea, since we were looking for crew for a ship at the time.

And that is the tale of how we ended up exploring the world with a ship crewed partially by giant rats, and how we all got a little teary when they ended up in a different plane and decided they wanted to stay there.

Sometimes it is easier to forget
that one place where regret now resides,

where palmettos & esplanades laid
lush as scenes on vacation postcards.

But landscape doesn’t mean much anymore.
The orange groves stand fewer.

Yard jockeys no longer
mark these scarce bermuda lawns.

Beside the few tourists shops, concrete
malls have settled with a permanency

of change. They blend with the now
familiar spaces of parking lots

and high rise condos.  Only
one motel still remains from that

lavaliered summer, Oceanside,
thin neon girl perfecting

her repetitious dip into dusk.
She jackknives above pink cottages

no longer surrounded by sea pines.
Nothing is hidden here these days.

Prostitutes flaunt their used
bodies in unforgiving sunlight.

Greg Sellers, from “Biscayne,” work-in-progress, 29 August 2017

Normal Horoscope:

Aries: We all make mistakes, glue is not necessarily the solution. Sometimes mistakes can lead to more mistakes. Like asphyxiation. 

Taurus: Like it or not, you are part of a statistic.

Gemini: You know whats like a day without sunshine? Night. Its really not that dramatic. As long as it only lasts that long.

Cancer: Triple-bladed knives are banned under the Geneva convention because they cause wounds that never heal. The stars said you should know that, but they didn’t say why. 

Leo: Notice how the world changes when you photograph it. It can tell you whats real.

Virgo: Everyone wears a mask, a costume. Be something cool and interesting, like a dragon, or coral.

Libra: As we walk among this urban sprawl many see it as a despoiling of nature. Those who cannot see the magic in the concrete are not looking hard enough.

Scorpio: Some things should hurt.

Ophiuchus: She is terrifying. She guards you. You cant imagine against what.

Sagittarius: The world is burning and you really have to pee. Nobody ever thinks that you might have to pee. This is certainly a problem. 

Capricorn: Its hard to find a good place to practice the harmonica but we cant all be hobos hitching a ride in box cars can we.

Aquarius: Things will probably be fine. If they aren’t then we get to that problem if it gets here. That’s what the machete is for. 

Pisces: Everyone has something wild and primal inside them. Yours just happens to only come out during board games.

Literature Meme: 2/2 Movements


An artistic, literary and intellectual movement originated in europe between 1800 and 1850. The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that which is experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature. It considered folk art and ancient custom to be noble statuses, but also valued spontaneity, as in the musical impromptu. In contrast to the rational and Classicist ideal models, Romanticism revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism.[x]

Among Romatics can be listed Goethe, Victor Hugo, The Brontë sisters, Herman Melville, Samuel Coleridge, John Keats, Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, William Wordsworth and many others.


“Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains”

White Flint Mall, Bethesda, Md.

Built in 1977 it originally featured 125 stores. Now all but 3 are vacant. Part of the mall is actually demolished. Dave & Busters closed about 5 days before we got here. Walking through the place you get the feeling like you aren’t supposed to be here. Can’t be too great for the remaining 3 businesses.