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Modern Transit

Friday, October 24th, 2008

My Papa the Nomad and the Casulo Mobile Living Furniture

Ali

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Growing up my dad would commute via car to far away places for his job as a doc. The trunk of his automobile always housed all that he would need to live remotely for brief stints but it was by no means organized and he slowly developed the habits of a pack rat. Since he still has to drive on occasion to get to a shift I’m thinking maybe I should invest in something a bit more modern for my papa the nomad. I’ve seen the Casulo Mobile Living Furniture featured on treehugger.com and fokal.com…maybe this would be what my pa needs to transform his pack ratish-ness into a simple Euro living space all from a box? Check it out…

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Friday, September 12th, 2008

Walkable Neighborhoods / Atlanta’s Beltline

Becky

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So last night I attended a meeting about The Beltline and found out about a fun website called walkscore.com. You simply type in a zipcode and the site shows you the most walkable neighborhoods. I put in my own address and it showed me all the walkable amenities close to me:

While the site isn’t perfect, it’s fun to see, and is very useful if you are researching a move.

By the way, the meeting I attended was about The Beltline:

OK, if you aren’t from Atlanta, you might not care about this. However, The Beltline is a huge urban planning project (thought up by a grad student for his thesis) that involves new development, land use, transportation,re-configuring roads and traffic patterns, historic preservation, new park space and greenspace, hopefully cleansing runoff, daylighting creeks, public art, et alia, and involves planning development at a very large scale for the next 30-50 years. Last night I attended a meeting about The Beltline and its effect on my neighborhood, which borders Olmsted’s Piedmont Park. Like most cities that did most of their growing after the invention of the car, Atlanta is a very car-dependent, pedestrian and bicycle-unfriendly city, and the Beltline is a loop that will connect MARTA to a new transit loop connecting many of the intown neighborhoods. Along with the development will be new connecting streets to alleviate traffic and potentially some traffic circles. I shudder at the thought of Atlanta drivers trying to navigate a rotary, as this city is truly full of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen this side of the D.C. Beltway.

The following image is from a pre-first draft conceptual plan they (EDAW) are calling “Concept A”:

One thing I’d forgotten about from my grad school days and planning board job is that urban planners talk in a bunch of acronyms. I’d also forgotten about the fugly magic-marker images they come up with, and in spite of the simplicity of their designs, no one could tell the difference between the shades of purple on this thing, which was the difference between 9 story buildings and mile-high buildings, which caused quite a ruckus. One really scary thing about The Beltline, which is supposed to be surrounded by parkland and bike paths, is that one legal option at the moment is to sell off the land for single-family homes (the red line and yellow line along The Beltline represent a new road and single family homes along Piedmont Park). Considering some of the vultures that have been trying to profit from this project already, a lot of the possiblities are scary and I can see what a tough job the color-challenged planners have in front of them.

In a city with such severe water problems, one can only hope all of this development, which has a goal of creating at least 15 dwelling units per acre (supposedly, this is the ideal transit-friendly figure), will provide some solutions instead of making the problem worse. I haven’t heard this issue addressed much in regards to the potential of The Beltline land. Kathy Poole was a huge influence on me, and I would feel much better if she had a voice in this project.

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Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Swedish Modern Transit

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I just noticed this over at Urban Flea, who noticed it over at Home Rejuvenation. IKEA has moved into Monorail interiors; this one is the Kobe Portliner . I haven’t seen this much effort go into public transportation since Campbell Scott’s character in Singles campaigned for his SUPERTRAIN (“if you give them great coffee, and great music..I don’t know, people really love their cars.”).
homerejuvenationikeakobeportlinermonorail.jpg 
Before that, it was probably Eero designing his new and exciting “moving waiting rooms” at Dulles. Although the interior design was sharp, they are actually shoeboxes on wheels that provide a bumpy stuffy ride over to the terminals. Saarinen or not, give me a people mover any day. Better yet, make me walk off my Biscoff cookie.Sadly, can you imagine how badly destroyed the interior above would be after one week in most U.S. cities? It would be tagged, burned, covered in lugees, etc.

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