Monday, August 26, 2013

Global Innovation and Diffusion in Public Transport

Duncan A Smith has created some great animations of 'Global Innovation Diffusion in Public Transport'. Here is the video showing the diffusion of BRT systems. Neat work! You should check it out the other videos.

Animating Global Innovation Diffusion- Bus Rapid Transit from Duncan A Smith on Vimeo.

[Image Credit: Duncan A Smith]

Friday, August 23, 2013

replay: The world's shifting centre of gravity

Few weeks ago, The Economist magazine published a short piece on the world's shifting centre of gravity*. The map is based on this study by the McKinsey Global Institute.

According to the study, "the centre is rapidly shifting east—at a speed of 140 kilometres a year and thus faster than ever before in human history". As you have already guessed, the main reason for this is rapid urbanisation in developing countries, in particular China.

*The global center of gravity is calculated weighting the approximate centre of landmass of the world by countries' GDPs.

The Census Bureau of the US also calculates the National Mean Center of Population. This is the animated map displaying the evolution of its position (and here is a different static version of the map).

PS. Dear readers, my life is undergoing some major (good) changes so I'm out of time to post. I hope you don't mind a 'replay post'!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Chinese Ghost Cities + Copy & Paste Cities

It's been a while since I don't make any post on the Chinese empty cities. So here is an updated 12-minute video on the "Chinese Ghost Cities":

Besides these famous Ghost Cities, China has also a growing number of copycat towns, the 'Copy & Paste Cities' as I like to call them. They have built a fake Paris, fake Hallstatt (Austrian village), fake Venice and a fake White House.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Urban Picture

Esplanada dos Ministérios Construction site in Brasilia, Brazil (1958)
by Marcel Gautherot

More here and here.

Thanks T de Aragão for sharing.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Quote of the Day

Hard choices:
... he also gave me some of the best advice I've ever received. Trying to decide whether to major in psychology or art history, I had gone to his office to see what he thought. He squinted and lowered his head. "Is this a hard choice for you?" he demanded. Yes! I cried. "Oh," he said, springing back cheerfully. "In that case, it doesn't matter. If it's a hard decision, then there's always lots to be said on both sides, so either choice is likely to be good on its way. Hard choices are always unimportant."
(Adam Gopnik writing of his former teacher Albert Bregman)

I saw this at The Drunkeynesian Blog. A great blog by the way!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Haussmann Effect

A recent study by Marc Barthelemy and colleagues analyzing more than 200 years (1789–2010) of the evolution of the street network of Paris. This paper has just been added to my reading list. (via Emily Badger). By the way, Micahel Batty and his team at UCL have done a similar study analyzing the evolution of London’s street-network over a 224 year-period (1786-2010).

Barthelemy's Abstract:
Interventions of central, top-down planning are serious limitations to the possibility of modelling the dynamics of cities. An example is the city of Paris (France), which during the 19th century experienced large modifications supervised by a central authority, the ‘Haussmann period’. In this article, we report an empirical analysis of more than 200 years (1789–2010) of the evolution of the street network of Paris. We show that the usual network measures display a smooth behavior and that the most important quantitative signatures of central planning is the spatial reorganization of centrality and the modification of the block shape distribution. Such effects can only be obtained by structural modifications at a large-scale level, with the creation of new roads not constrained by the existing geometry. The evolution of a city thus seems to result from the superimposition of continuous, local growth processes and punctual changes operating at large spatial scales.

Figure 2: (a) Map of Paris in 1789 superimposed on the map of current 2010 Paris.In the whole study, we focus on the Haussmann modifications and limited ourselves to the 1789 portion of the street network. (b) Map of Haussmann modifications.
[click on the image to enlarge it]

[Image Credit: Barthelemy et al (2013)]

Related links/posts:

How many authors can fit in a paper?

What should be the ideal number of authors in a paper? Of course there's no simple answer to this question and it it depends on many questions, like the field of the publication.

But here is my rule of thumb: The list of authors should not be longer than the abstract.

Clearly, some guys go way beyond this limit. Take a look at this paper, with 2,991 authors! (I saw this in Leo Monasterio's book Survival Guide to University Life).

Judging by the abstract, I can't understand a bit, except that it is has something to do with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and that's enough to earn my respect.

Related post:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Urban Observatory

The founders of ESRI and TED have created a new project called The Urban Observatory (I saw this via
Ariel Schwartz). It's an interactive platform that allows you to visualize and compare many world cities regarding some of their key statistics (population density, urban footprint, land use, senior population etc).

One strong point of this project is to use standardized comparative data. Besides, the platform is very easy to use. It's a great way to spend your time  if you have any  playing with maps. But that's it. The data displayed on the website are not available for download, at least up until now. Moreover, it looks there are still some MAUP issues to be addressed by the project team. I'm sure these limitations will be overcome as the project develops further.

Howsoever, it is a great initiative. You should take a look.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Music for the weekend

I can't stop listening to this guy. The whole thing is amazing but I suggest you skip to 8:31