Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Fun infographic comparing the top 5 transit systems in the US

This infographic has been created by the Masters in Public Administration degree program (in-class, online) at the University of North Carolina School of Government.  Thank you! 

I do think that the data presented isn't consistent across all the systems, and the data on "San Francisco" is incomplete because it only features BART, which mostly serves the suburbs and doesn't include data on MUNI which serves San Francisco.  Plus it'd be good to include information on station density/square mile.

And it would be nice if they'd publish a second edition comparing the top three systems in Canada (Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver).

But the graphic is cool regardless.

I like it because the depth and breadth of transit service is key to the differentiation of center cities from suburbs and is key to a city's competitive advantage as a place to live, conduct business, locate business, visit, and be entertained.  We need to better market transit on this dimension, just as automobile manufacturers constantly market the attractiveness of driving.

Transit enables density and density enables activity and exchange, and exchange is what drives life.  According to David Engwicht:
“What is the city all about?  The efficiency of exchange.  There are two types of exchange, planned and spontaneous.  For traffic engineers, planned exchanges can be translated as “trips”- this is the only focus of engineers.   Spontaneous exchanges are known as exchanges for free- they don’t cost any more infrastructure- but they are almost impossible to measure.”
And (from "David Engwicht: The Art of Placemaking"):
Instead of having to travel the world in search of consumables, cities act as a magnet attracting inwards the material delights of what the world has to offer. Cities, he says, ‘are a mechanism for maximising the diversity of exchanges while simultaneously minimising travel’. While there exists planned exchanges and unplanned exchanges, what ultimately drives the creative city and the economic vitality of the city is the spontaneous exchanges that it creates. 


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At 9:01 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Again, someone else here had a good comment on the confusion between economic activity and economic development.

(All this while I'm waitiing for a conference call to start -- jazz for a fortune 500 biotech!)

I'll see if I can find it, but there was a good rant I read the other day on SV and SF again.

There was also one on the oakland executive. fascintating stuff.

You know I don't think cars are anti-city, but the car industry may very be. The same in true for the online world.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this info graphic proclaims Bostons electric street system from an early time but fails to mention that DC also had an extensive early streetcar system- in fact- it was gigantic

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

please find those other cites! THANKS!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

if you recall, there was a post in GGW recently about campuses bewing disconnected, stating that the trends are to connect.

I didn't respond exactly, but the post didn't fully reflect the trends.

There is an in-city movement for campuses. But some reflect a preference for connection to other places (like from Clarendon to Ballston, bracketed by U related facilities and benefiting from the NSF) and others are in-city but closed off, like Amazon in Seattle.

And yes, those companies like Google as mentioned in the SVW piece, don't want their employees to mix with people from other companies because they can get poached. That's why they want the closed environment, which isn't any different from what Michael Millken did at Drexel Burnham (bringing in food, having concierges to do stuff for people, to keep them in the workplace working and interacting with other employees to spark creativity but not letting any of that leak to other firms) without the transit service (although they probably paid for limo rides home late at night, but expected people to get to work on their own dime).

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

yes, probably the best thing we could do is shut down the federal cafeterias and force feds to eat outside of their buildings.

standard law firm practice is to get a ride home after 8.

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