All photos by Roc Isem
A lovely catalogue, photos to inspire reflection upon urban design, history, creativity.
All photos by Roc Isem
A lovely catalogue, photos to inspire reflection upon urban design, history, creativity.
Sometimes you actually get what you voted for
❝ If you live in a city or a suburb, chances are you’ve seen the health of people around you improve over time — fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease, better cancer treatments, and fewer premature deaths.
But if you’re one of the 46 million Americans who live in a rural area, odds are you’ve watched the health of your neighbors stagnate and worsen.
❝ New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that rates of the five leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke — are higher among rural Americans. In other words, mortality rates in rural areas for these preventable deaths, which were going down, are now plateauing and even increasing…
❝ …More than income, more than the frequency with which you exercise, the simple fact of where you live can have a huge impact on your health…
…the most pronounced rural-urban gaps are deaths from unintentional injuries — like suicide or drug overdose — and deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease…
❝ …According to the CDC, part of it is that people in rural areas often don’t have access to health care facilities that can quickly treat severe trauma. The opioid epidemic is also overwhelmingly concentrated in rural pockets of the US, as are the related overdose deaths.
But it’s not just deaths from unintentional injuries that disproportionately affect rural Americans. Rural Americans are also far more likely to die from CLRD, which encompasses a wide range of lung diseases from occupational lung diseases to pulmonary hypertension. The CDC believes this discrepancy is largely due to cigarette smoking being far more prevalent among adults living in rural counties…
❝ Additionally, a higher percentage of rural Americans are in poorer health. Generally speaking, rural Americans report higher incidences of preventable conditions like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and injury. They also face higher uninsured rates in addition to fewer health services.
Yes, these folks represent one of the significant communities that voted for Trumponomics, Republican plans to repeal Obamacare, just about any government program predicated on mandating better healthcare and preventive medicine.
The operative question remains – stupid or ignorant? You might throw in gullible if you look at folks who rely on “good enough for Grandpa”.
❝ This year’s election has forced Americans to take notice of class divisions between workers. And while these divisions may at first ring of lazy stereotypes — the rural Rust Belt worker without a college degree and the coastal urban college-educated worker — they’re rooted in a real dynamic. Many of the most skilled workers — young people with college degrees — are leaving struggling regions of America for cities, specifically for cities in Southern and coastal states.
There are clear economic reasons for their choice. Dense metro areas tend to produce more jobs and make workers more productive. Wages, for all kinds of workers, are also higher.
❝ In theory, these incentives should prompt workers of all levels of education to move to metro areas. But moving outside one’s region is relatively rare these days, and even more rare for someone without a college degree…
❝ For America’s first century, internal migration was largely driven by farming — moving west to new land. But toward the end of the 19th and in the early 20th century, migration began to be driven by people moving to American cities — small and large.
This pattern added a twist after World War II, when more people began moving outside their local region, particularly to the Sunbelt. Before the 1940s, roughly 15 percent of Americans lived outside a census division in which they were born, and by 1970 that had jumped to 25 percent.
❝ But in the 1980s, people started moving less. Internal migration has been in gradual decline ever since across all demographic groups…In the regional competition for the most skilled and most mobile workers in America, noncoastal states are at a disadvantage. Although they have some large cities, they tend to be farther from other large cities than is the case in the coastal areas…This advantage provided by clusters of cities is helpful for coastal states, which tend to contain many big metro areas, like San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco in California, or the so-called Acela corridor stretching from Washington to Boston. But it can be bad news for inland areas with one or two large cities that are farther apart…
Folks in the article make the best point – for me – and that is the jobs also have to be someplace you want to live. Otherwise, it’s just a stop along the way…
“Whether the disease becomes manifest and when this occurs is not only due to lifestyle or genetic factors, but also due to traffic-related air pollution,” said Professor Annette Peters, director of the Institute of Epidemiology II at Helmholtz Zentrum München and head of the research area of epidemiology of the DZD.
For the current study, she and her colleagues…analyzed the data of nearly 3,000 participants of the KORA study who live in the city of Augsburg and two adjacent rural counties. All individuals were interviewed and physically examined. Furthermore, the researchers took fasting blood samples, in which they determined various markers for insulin resistance and inflammation. In addition, leptin was examined as adipokine which has been suggested to be associated with insulin resistance. Non-diabetic individuals underwent an oral glucose tolerance test to detect whether their glucose metabolism was impaired.
The researchers compared these data with the concentrations of air pollutants at the place of residence of the participants, which they estimated using predictive models based on repeated measurements at…up to 40 sites…in the city and in the rural counties.
“The results revealed that people who already have an impaired glucose metabolism, so-called pre-diabetic individuals, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution,” said Dr. Kathrin Wolf, lead author of the study. “In these individuals, the association between increases in their blood marker levels and increases in air pollutant concentrations is particularly significant! Thus, over the long term — especially for people with impaired glucose metabolism — air pollution is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.”
The authors are also concerned that the concentrations of air pollutants, though below EU threshold values, are still above the proposed guidelines of the World Health Organization… As a consequence, they demand changes in government policy: “Lowering the threshold for acceptable air pollution levels would be a prudent step,” said Dr. Alexandra Schneider, who was also involved in the study. “We are all exposed to air pollution. An individual reduction by moving away from highly polluted areas is rarely an option.”
Many folks currently focussed on the political battle over climate change have been at it for a long time. The crap air we’re all faced with as “normal” has been anything but normal for decades. Because we’ve moved slightly back from acid rain and a Love Canal in every backyard doesn’t mean we’ve won anything more than individual battles. Though significant, the full extent of poisoning of the Earth’s air breathers, water-drinkers, continues to demand a critical political movement against the polluters and their acolytes.
Indiana passed a revised Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, but some are saying the “fix” is not enough.
Several communities plan to pass their own anti-discrimination ordinances, while others are calling for a RFRA repeal. Lawmakers rushed the changes through after a statewide and national backlash after Gov. Mike Pence signed the original bill. The bill that the governor signed last Thursday that clarified that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow businesses to withhold services from LGBT people. However, that only extends to communities that have an anti-discrimination ordinance in place.
On Monday, Rep. Ed DeLaney (R-Indianapolis) said in a statement, “In the wake of the statements from both proponents of the bill and the Governor himself, it is clear what the intent of the bill was. It was intended to be used to discriminate. When asked several times on Thursday, Speaker Bosma would not agree to hold a hearing to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a ‘protected class’ in Indiana.
Throughout this whole debate, the Republicans have stated either with their words or actions that members of the LGBT community are second-class citizens who do not deserve legal protection under the law. I see only one remedy that needs to be taken. First, we need to repeal the current law-then we must reform our civil rights law to add sexual orientation and gender identity. Finally, we need to rewrite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to actually mirror that of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Only then will we be able to send a message to those living in the state and those watching that Indiana is open to all.”
The City Council in New Albany will consider a resolution Monday calling for the law to be repealed. The mayor has called for more changes to the RFRA. He says elected officials have a duty to create a welcoming environment for everyone.
In Lafayette, the Family Equality Council is partnering with “Citizens for Civil Rights” and “Indiana Equality Action” to host a town hall meeting. They hope to discuss the impact of the RFRA on gay, lesbian and transgender families. The meeting starts at 6 pm at the Columbia ballroom in Lafayette.
In Muncie, the City Council is expected to vote Monday night on a new human rights ordinance. Mayor Dennis Tyler says the resolution will make the city’s stance against the RFRA very clear and that the city does not want to discourage anyone from living or working in Muncie.
Look at the history of gerrymandering in the United States and once you get past racial bigotry, religious cultural bigotry stands next in line in opposition to democratic progress. The same motivation makes its unfortunate presence known in distorted laws like Indiana’s RFRA.
Creating a new 118-km rail route with 10 new stations and 42 km of new tunnels is no mean feat. The logistics of doing so in one of the world’s major cities, however, are staggering. That is the task for the UK’s Crossrail line. Major tunneling ends in May, so Gizmag went to take a look…
Work on Crossrail began in 2009 and the route is expected to start operating in 2018. Once completed, it will link Reading and Heathrow to the west of London with Shenfield and Abbey Wood to the east. The route goes directly through Central London, meaning that not only is it a huge undertaking, but one that is incredibly complex.
The facts and figures about Crossrail are mind-boggling. Over 10,000 people are employed across 40 construction sites. It is expected to increase rail capacity in London by 10 percent in a stroke, and will bring 1.5 million more people to within 45 minutes of the city’s major employment areas. Over 6 million tonnes (6.6 million tons) of excavated material will be removed to create tunnels at depths of up to 40 meters.
The list goes on, but perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the project is the tunneling itself. Not only must miles of new tunnels be created underneath London, but they must be created without disturbing the ground and buildings above, and avoid the subterranean tangle of existing tunnels, cables, sewers and so on…
The Crossrail tunneling has been being carried out using a total of eight tunnel-boring machines…Each machine is 150 m long and weighs 1,000 tonnes…They burrow an average of 100 m per week, with one machine setting the record of 259 m in a week. The clay and rubble excavated by the machines is transported out of the tunnel on a conveyor belt fed out behind them.
As they bore through the ground, the TBMs lay preformed concrete segments around the inside of the newly-dug tunnels. These form “running tunnels” that the future trains will run through. To create the much larger platform tunnels from where passengers will board trains the concrete segments are then removed so that the tunnels can be widened. The sides are then sprayed with a concrete mixture called “shotcrete” that contains steel fibres…A “shutter machine” then moves along the tunnel adding a final concrete lining…
Once Crossrail’s tunneling work comes to an end, much of the focus will move on to installing and setting up the required railway systems, as well as building and fitting out stations.
Something like this has to dazzle Americans. Excepting a few cities and states with the buck$ and determination to move beyond the constraints of American politics, there isn’t any consideration of taking on projects like this. Our politicians haven’t the backbone or economic good sense to repair and maintain the infrastructure we have – much less step towards the future.
In many cities, pedestrians get sidewalks to travel on, bicyclists have their own lanes and obviously automobiles do, as well. But Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, might at least consider a proposal to add one more to that list, seasonally anyway, with the introduction of a specific route for ice skaters.
Dubbed the Freezeway, the 6.8 miles of ice through Edmonton would use existing pathways in the city, including an abandoned rail line, according to Wired. Building curbs along each side of the route would allow water to freeze. The proposal is still being finalized in terms of location and cost, but in the summer months, bicyclists could use the lanes or artificial ice could handle skaters all year long.
The concept for the Freezeway was the brainchild of Matt Gibbs who came up with the idea in his master’s thesis in landscape architecture. He’s “trying to find ways to make people fall in love with winter as opposed to as if was some unbearable curse,” Gibbs said to Wired.
Conceivably the lanes could appeal to those simply looking for recreation or be actual transportation for some folks to commute to work. A very similar idea is already at work in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where people skate on the Rideau Canal in the winter (pictured above), and in Helsinki, Finland, it is common for people to ski on the city’s waterways in the winter.
I presume there will be the option of occasional fuel stops along the routes – purveying both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages of your choice.
Visitors to the ancient city of Teotihuacan—with its pyramidal structures arranged in careful geometric patterns, its temples, and its massive central thoroughfare, dubbed Street of the Dead — in Mexico may have the sensation they’re gazing at the remains of a society profoundly different from their own.
But new research from anthropologists armed with a bevy of recently derived mathematical equations shows that in some fundamental ways, today’s cities and yesterday’s settlements may be more alike than different.
In a new study led by a University of Colorado Boulder researcher and published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists show that the same equations used to describe patterns of development in modern urban areas appear to work equally well to describe cities settled thousands of years ago.
“This study suggests that there is a level at which every human society is actually very similar,” said lead author Scott Ortman, assistant professor of anthropology at CU-Boulder. “This awareness helps break down the barriers between the past and present and allows us to view contemporary cities as lying on a continuum of all human settlements in time and place.”
Over the last several years, Ortman’s colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), including Professor Luis Bettencourt, a co-author of the study, have developed mathematical models that describe how modern cities change as their populations grow. For example, scientists know that as a population increases, its settlement area becomes denser, while infrastructure needs per capita decrease and economic production per capita rises.
Ortman noticed that the variables used in these equations, such as cost of moving around, the size of the settled area, the population, and the benefits of people interacting, did not depend on any particular modern technology…
To test his idea, Ortman used data that had been collected in the 1960s about 1,500 settlements in central Mexico that spanned from 1,150 years B.C. through the Aztec period, which ended about 500 years ago…
“We started analyzing the data in the ways we were thinking about with modern cities, and it showed that the models worked,” Ortman said…
In the future, the equations may also guide archaeologists in getting an idea of what they’re likely to find within a given settlement based on its size, such as the miles of roads and pathways. The equations could also guide expectations about the number of different activities that took place in a settlement and the division of labor.
I have serious questions; but, no interest in pursuing the answers – right now. They come back to that division of labor and the basis of the economy. Are there no qualitative differences between a slave-based economy, a feudal economy, either the pre-industrial or industrial version of capitalism?
How many slaves were necessary to provide Aztec aristocracy with a satisfactory lifestyle? How many serfs tilling the soil of agrarian feudalism – and how were they housed, where were they housed? Will the current generation of plutocrats maintain their disdain for 21st Century workers and diminishing opportunities, a diminishing middle class?
Even the contrast between European and American concepts of where to enjoy luxurious living – with appropriate servants and service doesn’t seem to be mentioned. Yet, here in the United States once you’re away from the unique environs of Wall Street, the suburbs are the accepted direction of growth for most of the upper class. In Europe, that’s considered exile.
Maybe my questions are as much a reaction to reporting as analysis. There are few intellectual bodies I respect more than SFI.
Click to enlarge – UPI/Terry Schmitt
Construction cranes join the Transamerica Pyramid and 555 California Street (R) jutting through the fog at sunrise in San Francisco on October 20, 2013. San Francisco is seeing a boom in new housing and commercial construction alter the skyline.
A worker cleans the exterior of a new urban complex in Beijing – REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon