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Community / Public space

The battle of the elevators, urbanity lessons and London's vaults of gold

A round-up of city stories we enjoyed elsewhere this week.

  • Slate is currently running a series on the seven wonders of the modern world, and this week, they’ve chosen mapping. We at CityMetric love maps, so were delighted to see the practice compared to the pyramids or the hanging gardens of Babylon. The piece’s author gives the following reasons for his nomination:

Today’s GPS apps and devices reach to the heavens to help us navigate our little corners of the Earth. We can know that traffic is seriously backed up on the southbound lanes of I-95 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, because a car is broken down on the side of the road…

These mostly free services are some of the most valuable—but difficult to value—components of the so-called “consumer surplus” that our modern information economy provides.

  • This excellent interactive graphic from the FT (£) shows the relative speeds of eight skyscrapers’ elevators. Dull as it sounds, watching the tiny elevators reach the tops of these buildings is oddly hypnotic.

This screenshot shows the relative locations of the lifts as the fastest, in Guangzhou’s CTF Finance Centre, reaches its peak:

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Observation one: New York’s elevators are slow.

Observation two: Come on, Burj Khalifa – what’s the point in being the world’s tallest skyscraper if it takes forever to reach the top floor? 

  • Meanwhile in China, the future residents of one of the country’s “ghost cities” are being given lessons on how to live in an urban environment. According to the Guardian, educational pamphlets instruct the future city-dwellers thus:

Don’t spit, don’t throw rubbish on the street, don’t play loud music, don’t drive on the pavement.

We can think of a few city-dwellers who could do with a re-education on a couple of these points. 

  • And finally, Londonist is testing our honesty this week with a piece on London’s gold reserves and where they’re kept. Let’s just say it’d be worth your while to make a trip below Threadneedle Street, or ride on the Waterloo & City line at weekends. 

This article is from the CityMetric archive: some formatting and images may not be present.