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Best Practices, Cities, Community Engagement, Sustainable Development, Transportation, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup 022 – 25th to 31st July


UDC Weekly roundup
‘Utopian chimeras of the future’
Authored by Rohan Shivkumar

Alleging that ‘nothing we have seen so far even attempts to address contextual issues concerning the environment, housing and employment’ or ‘how these smart cities are to relate to the existing towns or villages around them’, Shivkumar questions what are we to make of the ‘smart’ in India’s ‘Smart Cities’ program.

Shivkumar also states that ‘If the ‘Smart Cities’ programme has to genuinely affect the lives of people, it has to stop having a blind faith in technology’s ability to save us. It has to engage with the forces that are currently actively shaping our cities at all scales, in many different ways. It has to, perhaps, move away from the large rhetorical flourishes into more grounded interventions that enable local communities to practically and positively use information technology in shaping their environments — where they have control over the technology and not where the technology becomes the all-seeing, all-knowing Big Brother watching every move they make.’

Read the whole articulately written piece here.

Published by The Hindu.


‘Cities Safer by Design’
Published by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

CitiesSaferByDesign_final_Page_001 Many of the world’s cities can become safer, healthier places by changing the design of their streets and communities. Where public streets have been designed to serve primarily or even exclusively private motor vehicle traffic, they can be made immensely safer for all users if they are designed to effectively serve pedestrians, public transport users, bicyclists, and other public activity.
Cities Safer by Design emphasizes two ways to improve traffic safety in cities. First, by building and retrofitting urban environments to reduce the need for individual vehicle trips; and second, by reducing vehicle speeds in areas where cars, pedestrians and cyclists mix. The report focuses on improving infrastructure for pedestrians, bicycling, and mass transport.
The guide provides real-world examples and evidence-based techniques to improve safety through neighborhood and street design that emphasize pedestrians, bicycling, and mass transport, and reduces speeds and unnecessary use of vehicles. The guide provides an overview in chapter 2 on the current conditions for traffic safety in cities, the different groups of people impacted by safety, and what it means to make cities “Safer by Design” through urban and street design that improves safety for all road users. The rest of the guide—chapters 3 to 8—provides descriptions of the different measures and elements that make up the key design principles to promote safety under the following themes-

  • Urban design that includes smaller block sizes, frequent street connections, narrower streets, and access to destinations in compact urban environments that alleviate the need for vehicle travel;
  • Traffic calming measures such as speed humps, chicanes, curb extensions, raised pedestrian crossings and other elements;
  • Arterials and intersections that reduce conflicts between road users by providing clear crossings, medians and refuge islands;
  • Pedestrian facilities ranging from pedestrian-only areas to basic, consistent sidewalks;
  • Bicycling networks that feature protected bicycle lanes and special attention to design at intersections; and
  • Safety improvements around mass transport stations and corridors.

  • Download your copy here.


    ‘In a City’
    Created by Joseph Gordon-Levitt along with members of the HITRECORD community

    “In a City” takes an intimate look at the cities we live in by the simple and solitary act of walking through them. It tells the story of our jagged days and nights as we wander about the urban spaces that we dwell in but do not come from. Shot entirely on the NX1 in 4K/UHD the film spans the globe from Los Angeles to Cairo, Tokyo to Rio De Janeiro, and from Prague to London and Sheffield, UK.

    About Vidhya Mohankumar

    Vidhya Mohankumar is an architect and urban designer with over a decade of work experience in India, Ireland and the United States and a passion for creating livable cities. She is the founder of Urban Design Collective (UDC), a collaborative platform for architects, urban designers and planners to create livable cities through participatory planning. Vidhya also advocates sustainable development through training and capacity building programmes for various stakeholder groups and also within academia through her association with a number of universities as guest faculty. In other parallel albeit real universes, she is a wishful artist, an avid wanderer, a constant gardener and a newly enthused cook.


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