Future Smart Reads, 26 August 2012

GLOBAL: Thousands of people are without decent sanitation in townships in Cape Town and across South Africa, so this story on Co.Exist was quite interesting. It showcases some of the toilet solutions that came out of the Bill & Melinda Gates’ Toilet Challenge.

CAPE TOWN: What does it mean to have the Right to a city, and who is responsible if those rights are infringed upon? The first in a series of articles based on the article “Rights and the City: An Exploration of The Interaction between Socio-economic Rights and the City”, looks specifically at the case of public transport in South Africa and whether public transport providers are responsible for the safety and protection of commuters.

HONG KONG: This article talks about an upcoming book, Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook, where the authors writes about the ability to live in Hong Kong and easily never walk on the ground. The city is built up with many walkways, tunnels and escalators within private and public buildings that it creates a new ‘civic space’.

NEW YORK: What can small red plastic cones do for bicycle commuters? Nothing much, but this guy used them in a bicycle lane experiment to showcase that even a little delineator can make a massive safety improvement for bicycle lanes. The articles also talks about previous experiments where citizens in a city create ‘trashy bike lanes’.

BEIJING: Beijing’s best-known dissident, architect, and creative provocateur, Ai Weiwei tells Jonathan Landreth what’s wrong with China’s frenetic capital and why Twitter is his favourite city. The interview forms a part of the The Cities Issue, a special report by Foreign Policy.

WEST HOLLYWOOD: The City Council has approved ‘rainbow coloured’ pedestrian crossings in certain gay-friendly suburbs. Originally intended only to be used during Pride Month, citizens seemed to like them. Doesn’t it make sense that cities should make unsafe/ugly space more colourful as well as ‘public transport’ more fun (even in non-gay friendly places)?

BELLAGIO: With Cape Town’s incomplete Foreshore Freeways popping up annually in debates around its future, some planners are imagining cities built for billions of people without a single freeway. No “flyovers.” No elevated roads or canyon-like depressed super-roads. This report back from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Conference in August therefore caught out attention for obvious reasons.