Cities of the future will be about parks, not pods
KARACHI: The present pace of global urbanisation is unprecedented, with United Nations estimates indicating a near quintupling of the urban population between 1950 and 2011. By the year 2050, 75 per cent of the global population is projected to reside in cities!
In response, we have entered the age of ‘strategic planning’. Gone are the days when grand ‘City Master Plans’ were being prepared, dictated by a ‘modern era’ construct of expansion, segregation and large-scale infrastructure development. Instead we have strategic planning in which we work with what we have, innovate, conserve and simplify. We exit energy consumption, carbon emission and city expansion, eschewing the motor vehicle to travel in public transport, carpool, bike and walk. The ‘futuristic city’ is not about people flying in pods in the air but about families walking on the streets, and children playing in parks.
The absence of play, physical exercise, and free-form social interaction takes a serious toll on many children. It can also have significant health implications as is evidenced by our current epidemic of childhood obesity, sleep deprivation, low self- esteem, and depression.
via How Much Homework Is Too Much? | Psychology Today.
The Fun Town Pier in Seaside Heights is now a pile of twisted metal and broken rides lying on the beach as waves lap over it.
It’s one of two piers destroyed in hurricane Sandy where the iconic Ferris wheels seem to be the only thing left standing. “I think anybody who’s ever been to Seaside or grew up here loves this place; this the way I make my living and a lot of other people make their living. They’ll be back,” arcade worker Helen Stewart said. It’s hard to conceive of how long that could take. Seaside Heights and nearby towns are under martial law.
via Seaside Heights residents wait to see what remains | 6abc.com.
Another post-hurricane threat: panthers and wild animals.
YULEE, Fla. – Two young panthers are being tracked in northeast Florida after Hurricane Sandy knocked down the enclosure fence where they were being raised.
A statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the juvenile panthers, outfitted with radio collars, are being tracked in Yulee in Nassau County. Both are out of their pen but have been located by wildlife officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using telemetry to track the radio-collars on the panthers.
The cats have not traveled far from their pen. Officials are working diligently to return them to their enclosure.
The cats were captured when they were 5 months old in northern Collier County last September.
Scientists estimate that between 100 and 160 adult and sub-adult panthers live in South Florida.
via 2 panthers being tracked in northeast after storm knocks enclosure fence down | Fox News.
I just came across this PBS documentary with the same name as my blog, which is named after the old Cat Stevens song. The documentary seems to conclude that farms and rural communities, as well as traditional city neighborhoods, fare the best at providing a good environment for children to grow, develop, and most importantly, play. Suburbs are a failed experiment.
Where Do the Children Play? is a one-hour documentary for public television that examines how restrictive patterns of sprawl, congestion, and endless suburban development across America are impacting children’s mental and physical health and development.
Using the adage that children represent 20 percent of the world’s population but 100 percent of its future, the film opens by examining differences between growing up today, with all its inherent obstacles and temptations, and childhood as it was lived 50 years ago.
To understand today’s children more acutely, the film team first visited Beaver Island where there are no McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Targets or Walmarts. There, children congregate by bike in the downtown area to play. All 85 students in grades one to twelve attend the only school on the island. Most use the computer as a tool for homework, but not for communication. And while they miss a lot of what their counterparts have on the mainland, Beaver Island children are keenly aware of nature and its importance to their lives and their well-being.
via Where Do The Children Play? Documentary.
A potentially explosive and radioactive sinkhole near Assumption Parish, Louisiana has led local authorities to order a mass evacuation.
After the now 400 feet deep hole was discovered on August 3, the mayor of the town ordered between 100 and 150 households to vacate their homes. The same day, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a declaration of emergency.
Bubbling water in the sinkhole and in nearby areas, where there has been oil and gas exploration in the past, led authorities to believe that it might have caused the release of radioactive material. While state tests did not detect radiation, a nearby road, Highway 70, was ordered shut after officials discovered the sinkhole caused a 36 inch natural gas pipeline to bend, heightening concerns that explosions might occur. To make the situation even more combustible, the hole neighbors a well containing more than a million gallons of liquid butane, a highly flammable vapor.
via Huge sinkhole causes mass evacuation in Louisiana — RT.
It is said that pollinators are so important to our survival, that once they disappear from the planet, the human species will die out within 40 days.
“The short-haired bumblebee, which like other bees has a crucial role in pollinating plants, was once common in the UK, as far north as Humberside. It declined catastrophically, with many other species as, over the past 60 years, an estimated 97% of wild flower meadows vanished from the UK.”
via Bumblebee lost to UK makes comeback on Dungeness shingle | Environment | The Guardian.
“…paper bags have a worse effect on the environment than plastic bags in all nine impact categories, which include global warming potential, abiotic depletion, acidification, eutrophication, human toxicity, fresh water aquatic ecotoxicity, marine aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, and photochemical oxidation.
via Bans on plastic bags harm the environment | Just Facts Daily.
The Justice Department on Thursday issued a 60-day stay of execution for hundreds of thousands of public pools which had been required to install ramps and wheelchair lifts by today or else face lawsuits over violating disability laws.
via Pool-mageddon avoided — for now – Washington Times.