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.
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.
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.
I grew to disdain the suburbs, their artificialness and sterility. But I could never shake them entirely. There was some kind of weird fascination and attraction that I (and I think many others) can’t quite get out of my system.
“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.