Monday, December 29, 2014

Public transit around the world

"- Do you want to go from Korsvagen or the City center? Bus goes from Korsvagen at some minutes over every hour, then you take the same bus all way over the mountain, or, you can take the other way around; catch the bus at Svingeln, you go by a tram there, hurry! you have to go now! or, well, we can go together to Heden and then you take the bus in either direction.. [..] another option is to go from Linné to the center, change to the express bus and change in Partille Centrum at '45".. but at what time does that leave..?"

Maps are good to have for public transit, and some imaginary maps clues into our heads. Transit seems to have endless of solutions both as the visual system and as the vehicles, as these dubbel-busses from Luzern and the tripple-busses from Hamburg.

In the book from 2007, Transit Maps of the World, Mark Ovenden and Mike Ashworth collected all urban rail systems on earth and here we can take a closer look at some of the cities with rail-ways; above a picture from Geneva, the street is a mix between cars, trams, walking people and bikes.

Above: Freiburg, trams have the space in the middle of the road, and cars at the sides. they have to cross some. In Vauban where cars are limited and ground covered with grass to reduce the sound (left above), the tram takes most of the transportation to the citycenter, as well as bikes. City center in Freiburg is also car reduced and it's only the tram you have to watch out for.
Heidelsberg is an old town in Germany which is not so beautiful in the new part as in the old part. What can be done in this picture? Some grass maybe?

A little funny sign in Stockholm, which got a new tram line 2012. The city also runs a big subway system, light trains and buses.

Oslo, again a mix between pedestrian, buses, cars and trams. A little bit chaotic at this sight.

San Francisco, famous for their hills with old trams for the tourists also got a more modern kind of tram system Muni, buses in town and BART (Bay Area Rapit Transit), a mix betweeen subway and train, for longer distances in the San Fransisco Bay area. But most, they use cars. As a tourist it is quite hard to find the bus routes if you don't know them, and it seems as they don't allow people who are not in the system to go to the system.

Another city in Europe: Warszawa has a tram system from 1865, which converted to electric trams in 1907. The system is actually the second largest in world. Another beautiful thing in Warszawa is the 1/4 green space, see more pictures from the city here.

Above; Göteborg runs with both several tram lines and buss routes. In the picture, one of the old tram cars. Göteborg are having plans to make Västlänken, a subway with a wish to reduce the car commute to the city, but opinions are divided whether it will help or hinder the city to go more green.

 Istanbul, the city with an estimated number of 10 million inhabitans: a tram road without cars, and pedestrian on the sides. Cars have to turn another way (right picture). A very common sight were the trams are is that it is a little bit more harmonic, with people walking and not so many cars, but were the cars are.. it's a lot of cars.

From a terrible city of car jams and accidents to a city with a bus system that works as a subway, and that with less money invested; the city with a big change was Bogota in Colombia (click to read more).
What can we expect from future? Bigger and more systems for public? In this picture, Lausanne in Switzerland, the new metro line; "the mountain goat" goes straight up the hills.

And Zermatt with no cars, a so called completely car free city, use the lift system to go to the mountains and also a mountain train, The Gornergrat Bahn, which takes you from 1,604 to 3,089 meter above sea, a distance of 9.34 km. The line opened in 1898 and was the first electric rack railway in Switzerland. If you want visit the small town, you got to leave the car in the city before, travel in by train, then walk or use small electric vehicles (only for packaging and police, actually) to go around.

What do we see more of in future? More public transit or more roads and cars? A complete listing of Light Rail, Light Railway, Tramway, Metro systems throughout the World, can be found at this homepage.

If you still consider cars before public transport, just watch this video in another future before you say decide.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


 The center of Ivry just in the outer of Paris is one of Jean Renaudie largest projects. Here, we can see the three-dimensional structure so essential for an ecocity, see my post What is an ecocity?

 Instead of building big and high, this is residential buildings on-top of each other, the apartments has a balcony of its own, very much like a small garden. You can actually walk around at the facade at this house! Jean Renaudie had the idea, much like the idea of an ecocity:

Architecture is the physical form which envelops 
human lives in all the 
complexity of their relations with their environment. 
Jean Renaudie, 1968

Unfortunately, parts of the building are not maintained. Green "stuff" is climbing around the corners and some facilities are poorly managed.

The tree is probably a bit bigger now than when it was planted 40 years ago, and someone forgot that it needs more space.

 The small citycenter under the residential apartments are still in use.

 And some other parts of the building looks quite fresh. Here is a view in the other direction and stairs on the outside of the house to go to some other apartments higher up.

 Impressive of the work is the facade in the only material concrete.

It is also worth to mention Irenee Scalbert's book: A Right to Difference at AA Publications.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The perfect society?

What do people need? Why do we have thousands and thousands of ideas of how to live?

The environment is close to collapse and so are we. And the qustion that we have to ask us is; can we rebuild how we live and the surroundings so it is more environmental friendly, or do we need to change the way we look upon things?

The question about a market for environmental friendly stuff, and more over the energy-efficient stuff, is one way to look at it, and the other is.. ?

A change.

A new way to look at it.

Or is it new by the way?

In this blog I use to talk about ecocities, how a more narrow way of living will make a more joyful life. Because, we dont just have to live someplace, we also have to enjoy it.

Ecocities is the idea of Richard Register and he started to talk about it back in the 70s. The first ideas of the environmental collapse was about that time. We have Rachel Carlsons book Silent Spring as early as 1962. So why does it take so long time, and will the market force it the "right way", really.

Sure, we need better technology for cheap solutions of passive houses, or wind power turbines for example. But the real thing is done, when we look at the solutions that are of a structure manner.

I mean now, how we plan.

We have examples from Freiburg, Tübingen, and the little neigbourhood in Södra Hamnen, Sweden. More and more of this is coming. Another way of how we look upon how we live.

So whats the different? For example, we have a closer living, things are built closer, buildings. But thats not just it. In between the buildings we have streets and places to be. That means restaurangs, stores, kindergarten, benches, lakes, waterlines, balconies, tunnels, bridges and you name it.

Here we find the big society in the small.

So whats the problem?

Why do we still build buildings with straight walls, with no place to interact inbetween? Dead neigbourhoods so to say. People are there to go to their homes and stay there.

In Arcosanti, the experimental "city" in Arizona, USA, they started big scale, but what came out of that? An ideal city, which noone had the interest to finance. A started project which is just a piece of the masterpiece.

What we have to do is to think bigscale in the small neigbourhood. And how do we finance that? Market? How? Please tell me how?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

To bring nature to town

This was a day not long ago. I took some friends, travel by foot and saw this spring marked outside Alingsås. At first picture is Naturama, a Swedish entomologist who educate kids by making art with insects. In a frame (in gold), you can see crickets, beetle larva and walking sticks.

The spring market at Nolbygård, Alingsås.

After a fika (coffee, cakes and saft), we check everything at the small market.

Friends at the field. 

Sheep at the field.

Green wall 

Construction of a farming lot next to the neighborhood.

Barefoot in sun.

And a green roof.

A new housing area with  solar panels.

As I walked down to the lake. I could walk along this river.

You are free to go here with your boat. The lake is quite big, and the river there is long. 


Similarities with some green cities in Germany, like Freiburg. This is how a neighborhood can look like.

Inside a frame of asphalt.

Barefoot in town is the best.