This small town in Denmark is getting a skyscraper, and it’s not the only rural town with a tower. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to get rid of transit drivers after all. Street grids are great, but sometimes you need an architechtural escape.
Denmark’s “Eye of Sauron”: Brande, a rural town of 7,000 in the Danish countryside, is poised to be the site of a 320-meter tall skyscraper, making it western Europe’s tallest. Fast-fashion giant Bestseller was founded in Brande in 1975, and its owner is Denmark’s richest man. It won’t be the first rural skyscraper; Japan built a 41-story residential tower among fields in 1991. However, the surrounding landscape of Brande is so flat that the tower will be visible from 60 kilometers away. (Richard Orange | The Guardian)
Will AVs be considered unthinkable in 50 years?: Meredith Broussard tells a story where she rode a Manhattan bus. When a fellow passenger stood up and began talking loudly “to an imaginary companion,” the bus driver’s voice came through the sound system, reminding passengers to remain seated. The passenger complied. Broussard uses this anecdote to note the reason necessitating human drivers: unspoken social contracts. Despite human bias, she suggests that turning transport controls over to sensors and code only reinforces existing social problems. In 50 years, she posits, autonomous cars will be seen as a futile, antisocial endeavor. (Meredith Broussard | Vox)
Defying Philly’s street grid: The most powerful factor shaping Philadelphia’s identity is its street grid. Grids establish harmony, but Inga Saffron also sees where it leads to “dreary conformity.” An amenity space, designed by Coscia Moos Architecture and built on what was previously a parking lot, acts as an escape from the city’s rigid grid. It’s angular and sculptural, its dark aluminum veil placed against a backdrop of other everyday, ordinary buildings. Saffron believes that while architectural preservation is important, playing with design can highlight both the old and new. (Inga Saffron | Philadelphia Inquirer)
If you build it, will people ride it?: Brightline rail ridership in Florida remains below the company’s initial projections and continues to operate at a loss. Brightline (soon to be Virgin Trains), is hoping to expand its service all across the Florida peninsula, and in doing so it hopes to bring itself into the black. The company says it can accept another year of losses in 2019, and even canceled an initial public offering this year. Despite this, Brightline is also actively seeking bonds to help fund expansion in hopes that the service coverage will bring the needed ridership. (Rob Wile | Miami Herald)
Rockefeller may be ending ‘100 Resilient Cities’: The Rockefeller Foundation may disband its 100 Resilient Cities initiative. The program was the largest privately-funded climate adaptation program in the United States. Rockefeller provided $164M in grant funding to the program, and connected cities with “chief resilience officers” and the organization’s staff, external consultants, and network of cities worldwide grappling similar problems. The program’s end may have come about because of a change in Rockefeller leadership, despite the success of its efforts. (Christopher Flavelle | Bloomberg)
Quote of the Week
“The most important thing is the social fabric that gets woven [among people who use] the Ciclovía. The Ciclovía is the moment when motor vehicles make way for human beings. Our objective is to make citizens take over the city’s public space.”
Bibiana Sarmiento who oversees Bogota’s Ciclovia in National Geographic, talking about how the city bans cars every Sunday
This week on the podcast, Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford talks about her new book Fiber about fiberoptic cables.