Ronald McDonald with Squatter Sign (by morusnyc)
“DIY speed bumps: Traffic control for neighborhoods
Alexandria Abramian Mott. July 6, 2012 | 8:09 am
Take note, drivers who treat pretty much any stretch of asphalt as a highway despite the kids, the pets or the speed limits: Throughout neighborhoods far and wide, fed-up residents are reclaiming their streets, or at least trying to. It’s something of a global obsession, actually, and the solutions go far beyond the much derided speed hump, which some traffic experts say actually encourages bursts of speeding between the braking.
In West Vancouver, Canada, traffic safety groups painted holograms on the ground so that as cars approached, a child appeared to rise from the ground. (Never mind that detractors have said the holograms could cause cars to swerve and hit something real.)
In London, artist Steven Wheen converts potholes into miniature versions of English gardens. The idea: guerrilla landscaping as traffic-calming tool.
Here in Southern California, some other strategies are gaining traction:
Dava Waite lives on a relatively quiet dead-end street in Sherman Oaks, so when cars peel up and down, she’s pretty sure that they’re residents. “It makes me cringe,” Waite said. “We have people, babies and dogs hiking that street all day long, and I never understood how someone could go that fast without thinking about the safety of their own neighborhood.” So last year Waite hung signs that had messages such as, “Slow down. You’re almost home!”
The result: “The signs have helped a little, and other neighbors have loved having them,” Waite said. Now she wants to hang a banner that screams: “No squirrel should die on this street! Please slow down!”
Joe Linton, artist and organizer for the L.A. walking and biking event CicLAvia, has lived by the busy intersection at Koreatown’s Eco Village apartment building for 16 years. He rallied neighbors to paint an enormous road mural in 2005. After the road was repaved in 2009, Linton and about 100 others took to the street again, repainting the brightly colored, Olympic-pool sized creation. Linton, pictured here, said he asked City Council members for support but was denied a permit. He moved forward anyway.
The result: “I think it really works to slow cars down,” Linden said of the mural at the T intersection of Bimini Place and White House Place. He said the artwork helps to take drivers out of their typical “just-have-to-get-to-their-destination” frame of mind and makes them realize that “streets are public spaces where people can really interact. This was a way of reclaiming some of that space back for people who aren’t in cars.” The paint faded over time, Linden said, so “we refreshed it and added new parts last March.”
Via: LA Times
Photo: Joe Linton and Eco Village mural by Arkasha Stevens / Los Angeles Times
‘Mark Reigelman and Jenny Chapman’s Manifest Destiny! is a temporary rustic cabin occupying one of the last remaining unclaimed spaces of downtown San Francisco—above and between other properties. Using a 19th-century architectural style and vintage building materials, the structure is both homage to the romantic spirit of the Western Myth and a commentary on the arrogance of Westward expansion. The cabin, hanging oddly from the side of a building, seems to represent the impossibility of the successful fulfillment of manifest destiny. A nation cannot be built on both opportunity and entitlement.’
Brick Biotope is a series of bricks designed specifically to provide a natural living environment for birds within the urban landscape. Inspired by the disappearance of the House Sparrow in the Netherlands, Brick Biotoperesponds to the desire to create hand-made objects in a digital world…Read more here.
Eric Fischer creates an urban geography of free speech and communication, using mapping data to represent cities in an imaginative graphical way. Check his flickr for methods of mapping where he uses tourist vs local, race and ethnicity, or geotagging from mobile devices.
Short on space and hungry for some fresh greens? This kitchen island by designer and woodworker Puter Buley allows apartment dwellers to better utilize their limited space by turning a common household feature into what’s essentially a greenhouse. The design uses energy-efficient lights — two LEDs and 2 T5 CFL — and is sure to provide for some interesting lighting scenarios.
dotankbrooklyn: Urban Migration Patterns: 1950 - 2040
Could we design better places where we could all live together without hearing quite so much of each other? And just what would that sound like?
These aren’t questions only for apartment-dwellers. Obnoxious city noise comes from all around us, moving between buildings and through windows and across congested roads. If we don’t tame it„ people may never willingly rearrange themselves into the denser living patterns environmentalists say we need.
“People think, ‘Oh we need electricity from solar panels, we need x-y-z system, we need to use less water,” Thomas Jones, the dean of Cal Poly’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, says. “But we absolutely have to make living in denser urban environments pleasant to the senses, or we’ll lose the environmental battle.”
Maybe it’s time to start looking at townhouses and bus shelters with the same acoustic care engineers have long given to concert halls and schools. In doing so, it’s possible we could make the city sound not just quieter – but, in a very real way, more pleasant.
Read more at The Atlantic Cities. [Image: Shutterstock]