With dispatches from Latin America, Europe, Asia and beyond, today’s Network offerings have a decidedly international flavor.
Groningen, the Netherlands: Clarence is concerned about his upcoming Streetfilm on this Dutch cycling city. Culling footage from a place where 50 percent of all trips are taken by bike, he says it’s tough to do Groningen justice. “For years I had pictured how the world of Groningen would appear and this was the first time in my life where reality exceeded imagination,” he writes. “It really is bicycling nirvana.” Clarence has produced a Groningen preview, and promises an “epic length” Streetfilm in the near future.
Mexico City: Via the Washington Post, Network blog The Dirt reports that Mexico City has joined the ranks of metropolises around the world that have turned highway underpasses into urban assets. A pilot program allows for the spaces to be leased to private businesses at discount rates, provided the tenants pay for clean-up, construction and upkeep. “These were spaces that generated no benefit and had been illegally appropriated as dumping grounds for trash or as homeless campsites,” said a city planner. “They were spaces that cost the city to maintain and were a drain on resources.” Businesses are thriving, The Dirt says, and the program is set to expand.
Seoul, South Korea: It doesn’t get a lot of attention, but Daniel Kriske at The City Fix notes that one of the busiest underground transit systems in the world is the Seoul Metropolitan Subway. ”It boasts the longest passenger route length of any system in the world, in addition to the second highest number of stations and second highest daily ridership.” The Seoul Metro also employs common-sense amenities that Kriske says could be adopted by smaller systems, like wayfinding signage — including directions to the nearest restroom. Then there’s the poetry on the glass platform doors, from native and Western authors. “Inclusion of cultural artifacts such as poems is just one small way that systems in developing cities can retain their individuality, traditions, and character,” writes Kriske, “even in the face of development and modernization.”
Bonus: Aaron Renn has posted some of his favorite city videos at The Urbanophile. Click for clips from Singapore, Dubai, Zurich, and Shanghai — and for the homesick, Philadelphia and Chicago.