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Chicago Holga-ish

A city bus in Downtown Chicago. Photo (cc) CameliaTWU

News & Notes→ Will Rahm Emanuel Show America What BRT Can Do? [Streetsblog]

With impressive urgency, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has spent his first months in office retooling and reconfiguring how the “City That Works” works. Emanuel’s energy is evident in changes from beat-cop deployment to the push for a longer school day, but perhaps the mayor’s most tangible efforts can be seen in his ambitious transportation agenda.

With Chicago DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein at his side, Emanuel has already implemented the city’s first protected bike lanes as part of a plan to add 100 miles of bike lanes within four years, announced a $1 billion upgrade to the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line, and passed a $2 “congestion fee” on downtown parking garages that will go towards the creation of a CTA Green Line stop that serves McCormick Place – the nation’s largest convention center – and a downtown circulator bus route being billed as bus rapid transit.


→ Top cities stories of 2011 [The Grist]

It’s that time of year again: When public schools everywhere cast about desperately for a holiday celebration that doesn’t involve Jesus or a dude in a red suit; when families gather from thither and yon to spend a few days remembering why they’ve scattered thither and yon in the first place; and yes, it’s time to take stock of the year past, and look ahead to the one coming up. As the guy charged with keeping an eye on all things urban around here, I curled up with my laptop on a winter’s night that was definitely not as cold as they used to be, dug through the archives, and now offer this, my most humble (and totally non-denominational) retrospective of 2011.


→ High-tech greenhouse planned for city parkade rooftop [The Vancouver Sun]

The roof of a city-owned downtown parkade will be converted to a high-tech vertical growing space capable of producing 95 tonnes of fresh vegetables a year.

The inside of the greenhouse will be anything but ordinary. Four-metre-high stacks of growing trays on motorized conveyors will ferry plants up, down and around for watering, to capture the sun’s rays and then move them into position for an easy harvest.

The array will produce about the same amount of produce as 6.4 hectares (16 acres) of California fields, according to Christopher Ng, chief operating officer of Valcent.


→ Send in the Food Trucks [The New York Times]

AN urban farm off the East River. Artisanal food and crafts sold out of recycled shipping containers at the Dekalb Market. Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea on the Williamsburg waterfront.

They all share a hipper-than-thou aesthetic. They also share a pedigree: they were all set up to breathe some life into vacant lots.

In an unlikely convergence of interests, it is the real estate executives who have invited the vendors to set up shop on their stalled construction sites.

You know, 195 lands, 35 Weybosset, any parking/vacant lot anywhere in the city…

Related: Top Pop-Up Shops: 14 Temporary Retail Stores [Web Urbanist]


→ The Best City Time Lapse Videos of 2011 [The Atlantic Cities]

A good time-lapse video has a number of distinguishing characteristics: detailed photographs, imaginative angles, seamless editing, an appropriate score. A great time-lapse video — at least when the subject matter is a city — also gives viewers insight to the essence of a place: the frenzy of its traffic, perhaps, or the grace of its buildings or the jobs of its people. Those aren’t easy objectives to conquer in a matter of minutes, and probably with zero compensation, but these ten videos managed to do so in 2011. Here are ten of the best city-related time-lapse videos completed this past year, presented in no particular order.


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