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Community / Public space

Skyscraper highways, night cyclists and a sidewalk class action

Our weekly round-up of urban stories we enjoyed elsewhere .

High in the sky

Next time you think your city’s investing in an insane and unnecessary piece of infrastructure, remember this: someone once tried to build a highway on top of some Manhattan skyscrapers. 

The gentleman in question, John K Henckman, wanted to built 26km worth of road across a series of 12-storey buildings during the 1920s. 

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Oh, and if that weren’t nuts enough, he also wanted a moving walkway through the buildings’ second and third floors. You can read the full story at Gizmodo.


Night cyclists 

In Guadalajara, the daytime roads are so dangerous that cycling aficionados go for special group night rides instead. The night riding movement was led by Gustavo Sánchez, affectionately known as Don Gus, until his death in a cycling accident in March. 

According to this piece at Guardian cities, Don Gus’s death has only made the city’s cyclists more determined to sort out the roads. One fellow cyclist said:

The roads are in a complete mess. This is what we want to change, and the death of Don Gus can create an icon to drive this change.

Paying the price

The Economist  has launched a handy little tool comparing indexed house prices across Great Britain and Ireland since 1970. 

It’s worth a look just to see London whizzing off merrily ahead of the rest, like the Usain Bolt of pricey properties: 

Click for a larger image.

What a time to be alive. 

The other side of the street

And finally, it looks like LA’s been forced to confront its drivers-first mentality. The city, famed for its wide streets and lack of pedestrians, has settled in a class action suit brought by disabled people whose wheelchairs and scooters couldn’t cope with the city’s badly maintained sidewalks. 

From CityLab

Broken sidewalks are an inconvenience for many residents, but for those with mobility disabilities, they can be a life-altering barrier. “A lot of our people are already isolated socially,” says Lillibeth Navarro of Communities Actively Living Independent and Free (CALIF), one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

“On the one hand there’s the ADA, promising opportunities to jobs and all the facilities that society has, and you want so much to be a part of that. But of course the first step into the world is the street outside your door. So we have been struggling in traversing the miles and miles of sidewalks. People have gotten hurt tipping over in their wheelchairs.”
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