Skyline Stories: Kunming Bike Lane A/V Project, Franklin Court Renovations, HSP’s SEPTA Archive, Freight by Tram

Before we get in to serious stuff…check out this incredible multidisciplinary media project (left) of the bike lanes of Kunming, China — combining pictures, maps and recorded sounds of riding in the bike lane. Reminds me of the Detroit Escalator Company and bio mapping/emotional cartography. (CoLab Radio)

Traffic is just one of the problems with the world rapidly urbanizing — the urban population of developing countries is expected to grow by a million people every five days through at least 2030 (!) — but Americans have halted internal migration due to the recession, which is also causing suburban poverty to spike. (NYT)

The “ghost house” rendering of Benjamin Franklin’s home in Philadelphia. / Image via Philadelphia Business Journal.

In Philly, Franklin Court is scheduled to undergo a $21 million renovation (Plan Philly), more details on the Dilworth Plaza renovation (Landscape Online), Code Philly returns for a second year and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is funding new bike trails (Plan Philly. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is ready to open an archive of PTC/SEPTA materials (Plan Philly, and longtime journalism Jim Smart has recreated the 1876 centennial in the new book “Adonijah Hill’s Journal.” (

In New York, the High Line received a $20 million grant to help plan the final section (NYT) and the Grand Concourse is now an historic district (NYT CityRoom).

Meanwhile Paris plans on experimenting with the complicated idea of urban freight distribution via tramway. (Transport Politic.) New French blog Banlieues 21, I think about re-thinking Parisian suburbs in the 21st century, is one of three cool new ones this week, along with the Times’ Borderlines that examines cartography and culture, Transit Maps and

Finally, a line from “A Man, a Bike and 4,100 Miles” about biking cross-country:
But I’m no longer as eager to put the past behind me as I was in the past. If there’s one thing the ride this time has impressed on me, it’s that the present is where I want to live. Never wish away distance. Never wish away time.


Skyline Stories: MAS SummitNYC, Reading Viaduct, Aging Urban Infrastructure

How can we reactivate, reuse and restore our aging cities? Complex challenge, as American cities’ infrastructure tends to be 100-plus years old. Suburban sprawl shifts jobs, people and now immigrants farther from cities. (Atlantic Cities)

The Municipal Arts Society of New York recently held their annual Summit, which tackled these topics, and now have great videos up. “Eight to Eighty-five percent of the buildings that are going to exist in this city in the year 2030 are buildings that exist here today in 2011,” said David Bragdon, New York City’s director of longterm planning and sustainability. Highlights include cool new 3-D master plans and maintaining the Fashion District. (MAS: Highlights and Longer Clips)

New York Magazine has a ton of fresh ideas of rethinking global cities in their Fall Design issue. (NY Mag) New York’s a big hub of reactivating old transit — from the new surprisingly successful East River ferries (2nd Ave Sagas) and freight rail networks (which carry only 1 percent of the city’s goods (Urban Omnibus).

Mixed bag in Coney Island — the A&W family statues are sadly leaving (Amusing the Zillions) but a miracle as Ruby’s Bar and Grill and Paul’s Daughter are likely staying (Vanishing New York)!

The Reading Viaduct is an old unused elevated rail line on the northern side of Center City that several Philadelphia groups are trying to transform into an amazing public green space. (Photo by Alex Brandon for the Associated Press, via uwishunu)

In Philadelphia, the big buzz has been on the long-dormant industrial elevated railroad track called the Reading Viadcut, with SEPTA and the Center City District planning a study to turn a spur into something like New York’s High Line. (uwishunu)

Philly also seems to be leading the way in reusing construction materials (Grid Mag), and North Philly is reimagining what affordable housing could look like (Grid Mag). Chicago meanwhile is trying to grow industry from its own ashes. (Atlantic Cities)

Still, these things don’t solve the problem of fixing our aging infrastructure, as the country has 70,000 “structurally deficient” bridges that would cost $70 billion to fix. (Atlantic Cities) At least the FTA is providing some money for buses and Detroit’s new light rail line. (Streetsblog: D.C.)

And no city is in as bad shape as Arkham City, which you can soar around as Batman in an awesome new video game. (NYT) … Wish I was in New York for the Architecture and Design Film Fest! (Urban Omnibus) …

South Street Seaport Museum’s printer returns! (NYT City Room) … But what is real these days? Fascinating look at “authentrification” — keeping relics of the stores it replaces. (This Recording)