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robertogreco : roads   25

dandan the transient on Twitter: "I see these two found each other, bleh. For the record decolonization is about a return to traditional values and ways of thinking, adaptation to and of tech is a cornerstone of most Native traditions." / Twitter
[via and see also: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:1fb6a90208e0 ]

“I see these two found each other, bleh.

For the record decolonization is about a return to traditional values and ways of thinking, adaptation to and of tech is a cornerstone of most Native traditions. [quoting @kendrick_mccabe:]
@loisdum I’m convinced it’s a buzz word now with roots in something honorable but has lost its way. Wanting “decolonization” but utilizing the wheel, western technology, doesn’t make sense to me…

My ancestors didn’t see steel and think, “how nice but that’s not traditional.”

No they traded for and adapted it to their needs. The took the improved material and formed it into their traditional (and better) shape (the ulu).

I have any old ulu made out of a food lid that an ancestor made when Russians gave them canned foods.

Natives were often better armed then the US Army, with plains NAtives going from bows to repeater rifles while the cavalry still often used black powder.

(Note in most situations a good bow is better then black powder).

From methodology to material when most tribes found something useful they traded for it and found a way to impRove it for their use.

Adaption, ingenuity, and cleverness are traditional values.

That is why the majority of modern foods (like 87% from one article) originated from precontact Native food science.

Medicine, architecture, leadership, governmental systems, pragmatism, the list goes on, all because we experimented, discovered, and improved.

All that said, the wheel was known by most tribes before contact, and it was surely seen and understood not soon after.

It was deemed for the most part not very useful when we had canoes that could go farther, faster, and with less work.

The wheel requires roads to not only be built, but maintained. Don’t believe me, ask why the military has been trying to develop mechanical legged gear haulers since WW2. Or why hikers aren’t taking trailers on thru hikes.

And tracked vehicles are extremely damaging.

The wheel is great if you want to build and maintain an infrastructure, something pre industrial societies needed cheap or free labor to do the building and maintaining.

Laborers weren’t considered disposable to most Native cultures.

And why even go to that work when a river gets you there twice as fast and a fraction of the work?

Why struggle with a wagon up a mountain pass when a travois will glide along? I know which I’d rather have to repair on the fly.

A better question than “why didn’t Natives build wheels?” is “why did Europeans spend decades blocking, damming, and covering their natural roadways instead of just discovering kayaks and canoes?”

But now we have roads so not taking advantage of that with the wheel would be silly and untraditional.

The environment has been changed and we adapt as we always have.

A lot of folks bringing up “no domesticated beasts of burden” so let me remind you llama, dogs, and horses.

Just cause colonial history taught y’all an entire continent was filled with horses in 30 years from 8 escaped Spanish mounts don’t make it true.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y815zgfbox6wknk/Collin.Horse.Dissertation.pdf?dl=0&fbclid=IwAR1lLBDf6SD9hl9ivIpGnuN_z7G-mlhtx54wKMpD3QJVqKq1yEptAGDuNI8

Add to your knowledge even European history (though untrustworthy compared to Indigenous history) records that at least 3 Inuit at different times crossed over to England, one of them kayaking into London on a rainy day, all preColombus

We discovered you [quoting @DanDanTransient:]
And Inuit in kayaks crossed into England and back as is recorded in history and story so I mean, there ya go

I guess I should connect these two as one does [quoting @DanDanTransient:]
Ok so I love the positive and informative comments on my wheel thread, but I want to address my favorite flavor of statement that I just couldn’t believe anyone like believed.

Summing them all up “Natives didn’t use the wheel because we didn’t have agricultural societies.”

Ok once I got done laughing at this wrong statement I doubled down on any of them in that I believe pre industrial societies require a system of forced labor to build and maintain roads. Few tribes had that here, laborers weren’t widely accepted as disposable.

I mean like Europeans may have tried for an agricultural society but I think it’s pretty verifiable that the rest of the world was doing it better.
dandan the transient

Like 87% of the world’s food today comes from pre contact American food science, and the majority of the rest came from outside europe.

Now that’s based on articles cause the closest I’ve came to being a scientist is wearing a lab coat and waving a microscope at climate change deniers.

So my numbers may be off, but we still gave the world most of its modern food.

But what I’m not off about is many tribes had flourishing agriculture both in the generally accepted method and in what I would consider non standard.

First in the generally accepted category those dudes in central America like created corn from grass, they weren’t just kinda playing around, they like made something.

Tomatoes are another example of “hey look at this little berry I’m gonna create something the size of an apple.”

Not too mention quinoa, rices, grains, and orchids that covered the land. Just cause Europeans burned a lot of it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

But let’s go beyond the standard accepted forms because innovation is traditional in both method and thought.

The spread of bear poop filled with huckleberry seeds to increase the amount of plants, clearing one style of tree to make room for more useful trees, clearing brush to prevent damaging fires, or carrying seeds to easier each locations for medicines and craftable plants.

When settlers arrived here they were shocked at the “wild” paradise filled with useful things, it was like forests were engineered to suit the tribes’ needs.

Spoiler it was like that because we engineered it that way.

We did the work.

Their inability to see terraforming for what is was doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. They benefited and continue to benefit from thousands of years of planning and labor.

The fact that we didn’t clear cut trees or make long straight rows to labor over doesn’t mean we weren’t planning out and caring for our lands, it means we were working smarter not harder.

Clearing wide spaces opens the door for erosion and a lack of diversity ruins the soil, increasing salt content and sapping nutrients.

Sure you can rotate crops or haul fertilizer to combat this, but why add that labor when animals and other plants will do it for you?

And let’s remember when thinking about both our ancestors and our place in modern society that: [quoting @DanDanTransient:
Adaption, ingenuity, and cleverness are traditional values.

And I think the environment will agree with me, if your definition of agriculture is limited to back breaking labor that destroys the land than agriculture needs 🚮.

But if your definition can expand to land stewardship that improves the land for human and nonhuman people 👍

And link to the next stage I guess [quoting @DanDanTransient:]
Before someone comes at this with the same energy they did the wheel thread talking about population let’s hit that myth.
indigenous  technology  wheels  steel  decolonization  tradition  culture  trading  horses  natives  blackpowder  guns  adaptation  food  science  medicine  architecture  leadership  governance  government  pragmatism  canoes  kayaks  transportation  roads  vehicles  terrain  mobility  infrastructure  society  industrialization  labor  maintenance  repair  environment  waterways  nature  land  history  inuit  2019  agriculture  ingenuity  cleverness  work  terraforming  clearcuts  trees  crops  croprotation  fertilizer  animals  plants  horticulture 
5 days ago by robertogreco
Street Naming Controversy--1909 - FoundSF
"The commission sought to address the confusion of numbered streets in the established area of the city versus the numbered avenues in the growing sections west of the cemeteries and the sparsely populated southern section of the city designated as "avenues, south." They worked at finding distinct names for all the numbered or lettered streets. In the Richmond and Sunset districts they devised a full set of Spanish names to conform to an alphabetical pattern for each of the numbered avenues. The scheme called for First Avenue to become Arguello, Second Avenue to become Borcia, Third Avenue to become Coronado, continuing for all 26 letters of the alphabet. Starting with Twenty-seventh Avenue, the streets would be designated by male or female saints, starting with San Antonio and ending with Santa Ynez at Forty-Seventh Avenue. Unable to find Spanish saints with names beginning with K, Q, W, X or Z, they chose first Alcatraz, then Ayala for Forty-eighth Avenue and La Playa for Forty-ninth Avenue.

For the east-west streets in these neighborhoods that were lettered, two breaks in the alphabetical pattern were already in place. "D" Street had already been made an extension of Fulton Street from downtown and the development of Golden Gate Park had eliminated streets bearing the letters E, F and G over thirty years previously. Since there were three minor streets named for Lincoln, the commission wanted to change the names of those streets and rename "H" Street to honor President Lincoln with the more prestigious thoroughfare that bordered the park. The commission then chose eight names for the remaining streets in the Sunset District as Ignacio, Joaquin, Kaweah, Linares, Moncado, Noriega, Ortega and Pacheco. They had only to name the first eight streets, because the Parkside Realty Company had already been using the last eight names, Quintara, Rivera, Santiago, Taraval, Ulloa, Vicente, Wawona and Xavier streets for the area it was developing. In the Bayview District in the southeast corner of the city, an alphabetical sequence of names commemorating patriotic military or civic heroes were suggested for both the numbered avenues and lettered streets.

When the San Francisco Chronicle first published Charles Murdock's ideas of changing the numbered avenues to names a year earlier on October 4, 1908, there was no notice taken by the neighborhood newspapers. The suggestion was speculative and suggested names of explorers, generals or statesmen for avenues in the Richmond, Sunset and Bayview. On November 8, 1909, the Commission on the Changing of Street Names submitted its suggested changes to the Board of Supervisors for first reading and it got an immediate reaction. All the daily newspapers showed full support for the changes. The Examiner published the entire list for all the public to read. The Call's editorial said, "some of the suggested Spanish names may be a little difficult of negotiation by the American tongue" but suggested that the city schools could address that problem as part of the history curriculum.

Topsy-Turvy Town

The Chronicle showed its support with the argument that "if we are ever to emulate our enterprising neighbor, Los Angeles, in attractiveness" employing "musical Spanish names which our history entitles us to appropriate" might even bring in tourist dollars to San Francisco. Despite the positive spin given by the newspapers, the idea of changing all the numbered avenues in the Richmond and Sunset Districts to Spanish names brought immediate negative reaction from the residents of those neighborhoods. Yet when the Board of Supervisors met one week later to address the street-naming issue, the two offended western neighborhoods argued that the names were so repugnant that if approved the "avenues" would forever be known as "Spanish Town." The Spanish "heroes" were vilified as robbers and freebooters and Spain was called "one of the worst nations that ever tyrannized over the human race." There were comical attempts at saying the "unpronounceable" names of Xavier and Ximenes.

Despite the heated rhetoric, the Board voted twelve to five in favor of the changes, and over 250 street names were altered as recommended. When this news got back to the Richmond and Sunset districts, action was immediate. The Richmond had the oldest continuously operating neighborhood improvement club in the city and had been fighting the downtown bureaucracy for years to get services. They were politically savvy and would not tolerate being treated like squatters out in the sand dunes. Since the earthquake and fire, the district had experienced tremendous growth, and most of the new residents were homeowners. They were a force to be reckoned with. The neighborhood newspaper, The Richmond Banner, editorialized on November 19: "If the wishes of the twelve of our "patriotic" supervisors are carried out, our Sunset and Richmond districts will soon be known as the Spanish Town of San Francisco, and 'The Spanish will then have taken San Francisco' notwithstanding Dewey's victory at Manila Bay several years ago."

The editorial contrasted the twelve who voted for the name changes against the five "true Americans" who resisted the proposal to "Spaniardize" the districts. "The people of Sunset and Richmond are fully aroused and will never submit to the insult and injustice heaped upon them by the majority of the Board of Supervisors." In closing, the editor pledged, "Sunset and Richmond districts will stand together and fight this miserable surrender of American names to a finish." The districts didn't have much time to "fight." The commission was to decide quickly, since it faced dissolution at the end of December and the new P. H. McCarthy administration, which would take office in January, had a labor agenda and may not want to waste time on frivolous street-naming. A week of public and private meetings in the Richmond and Sunset districts brought results. Lobbying and pressuring of public officials brought the naming commissioners to a special Saturday meeting to hear the concerns of the neighborhoods.

The following morning the Examiner reported that "thirty-five thousand residents of the Richmond and Sunset districts arose en masse yesterday and voiced such a protest against having the names of their avenues and cross streets changed, that the commission was forced to capitulate." Bowing to the pressure, the Commission agreed that the avenues could remain unchanged except for First Avenue and Forty-ninth Avenue and the alphabetical cross-streets would be the only other western district streets to be renamed, except for the Geary Street extension. The name of Point Lobos was removed from most of the Richmond, but would be given to the curving road that extended from Fortieth Avenue to the Cliff House.

The indignation rally scheduled for the next afternoon at Richmond Hall was turned into a huge victory party for the Richmond, but was bittersweet for the Sunset. Neither neighborhood would lose its numbered avenues, but there was still the issue of the un-American streets to deal with. The Sunset District felt it wasn't getting a fair shake, since it had sixteen streets to be renamed while the Richmond only had three. At the Board of Supervisors' meeting on the next day, the spokesmen for the Sunset Improvement Club presented the argument and pleaded for names of Americans "that reflect glory and luster upon our civilization." Additional speakers made it clear that the two western neighborhoods, through their efforts in fighting the attempt to make wholesale changes to their numerical avenues, were now unified and supporting each other for the next round.

The Board essentially had thrown the street naming to the neighborhoods. The historian from the commission, who had championed and researched the names of Spanish explorers and pioneers, was so incensed by the compromise that he resigned to protest the capitulation. Now the horse-trading for street names was on. Anza had true historical significance to San Francisco's origins and was agreed to by all. "B" Street became an extension of Turk Street. "C" Street was Starr King for a while, but they kept alphabetical order and settled on Custer, for the "hero" killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Lincoln Way met with everyone's approval. Ignacio remained on the list at first reading, rejecting Irving for fear of confusion with Irwin Street.

John Jay, statesmen and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was decided upon for the next street in the alphabetical sequence. Two American generals, Kirkham and Lawton, were chosen next. Moraga seemed acceptable to the residents because he'd been Anza's lieutenant and first commander of the Presidio. Noriega had been a commander of the Monterey Presidio so that seemed close enough to stave off local opposition. Ortega, as a scout who was credited with the discovery of San Francisco Bay, relaying the news to Portola, made him a logical choice for a street name. Pacheco, while only a foot soldier in the Anza expedition, at least had stayed on as an early settler in the area.

The remaining names had been chosen by the powerful Parkside Realty Company and were already in use, but one name was objected to. Xavier had been a source of pronunciation controversy, so it was decided to break the alphabetical pattern and move to the next letter. Yorba had been a sergeant in Portola's expedition of 1769, and with those credentials, was a better choice to be honored with a street name. First Avenue's new name was unsettled between Arguello and St. Francis Boulevard. La Playa, Spanish for "the beach," was adopted without "avenue." Before the Board met on November 29 for final reading, some negotiation had taken place in the commission because Balboa and Cabrillo had been restored and Irving and Judah, originally proposed for the Bayview District, were substituted now for Sunset District streets. The Sunset had stood its ground and settled for Lincoln Way and four "American" names for streets "I" through "L."

There was no more … [more]
sanfrancisco  1909  streets  names  naming  richmonddistrict  sunsetdistrict  spanish  español  roads  bayview  hunter'spoint  religion  nationalism  classideas 
december 2017 by robertogreco
crap futures — Back to nature
"We live on a remote island - mountainous, mid-Atlantic, still heavily forested and pretty wild - and for that reason nature sometimes sneaks into our otherwise technology-centred work. It is hard not to think local when you live in a place like this. We’re neither farmers nor pioneers - except in the sense that resident aliens on this island are few - but lately our reading has got us thinking about ancient paths and rural places. We’ll discuss the paths today and save most of the farm talk for a future post.

Paths v roads

In his 1969 essay ‘A Native Hill’, Wendell Berry - the American writer, farmer, activist, and ‘modern Thoreau’ - makes a useful distinction between paths and roads:
The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around. A road, on the other hand … embodies a resistance against the landscape. Its reason is not simply the necessity for movement, but haste. Its wish is to avoid contact with the landscape. … It is destructive, seeking to remove or destroy all obstacles in its way.


Aside from conversation as usual, the reason we are talking about Berry is the arrival of a new film, Look & See, and a new collection of his writing, The World-Ending Fire, edited by Paul Kingsnorth of Dark Mountain Project fame. Berry and Kingsnorth, along with the economist Kate Raworth, were on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week recently chatting about the coming apocalypse and how it might best be avoided. It is a fascinating interview: you can actually hear Berry’s rocking chair creaking and the crows cawing outside the window of his house in Port Royal, Kentucky.

The normally optimistic Berry agrees somewhat crankily to read ‘the poem that you asked me to read’ on the programme. ‘Sabbaths 1989’ describes roads to the future as going nowhere: ‘roads strung everywhere with humming wire. / Nowhere is there an end except in smoke. / This is the world that we have set on fire.’ Berry admits that this poem is about as gloomy as he gets (‘blessed are / The dead who died before this time began’). For the most part his writing is constructive: forming a sensual response to cold, atomised modernity; advocating for conviviality, community, the commonweal.

Paul Kingsnorth talks compellingly in the same programme about transforming protest into action, although in truth no one walks the walk like Berry. Kingsnorth says: ‘We’re all complicit in the things we oppose’ - and never were truer words spoken, from our iPhones to our energy use. In terms of design practice, there are worse goals than reducing our level of complicity in environmental harm and empty consumerism. Like Berry, Kingsnorth talks about paths and roads. He asks: ‘Why should we destroy an ancient forest to cut twelve minutes off a car journey from London to Southampton? Is that a good deal?’

It’s a fair question. It also illustrates perfectly what Berry was describing in the passage that started this post: the difference between paths that blend and coexist with the local landscape, preserving the knowledge and history of the land, and roads that cut straight through it. These roads are like a destructive and ill-fitting grid imposed from the centre onto the periphery, without attention to the local terrain or ecology or ways of doing things - both literally (in the case of energy) and figuratively.

Another book we read recently, Holloway, describes ancient paths - specifically the ‘holloways’ of South Dorset - in similar terms:
They are landmarks that speak of habit rather than of suddenness. Like creases in the hand, or the wear on the stone sill of a doorstep or stair, they are the result of repeated human actions. Their age chastens without crushing. They relate to other old paths & tracks in the landscape - ways that still connect place to place & person to person.


Holloways are paths sunk deep into the landscape and into the local history. Roads, in contrast, skip over the local - collapsing time as they move us from one place to the next without, as it were, touching the ground. They alienate us in our comfort.

Here in Madeira there are endless footpaths broken through the woods. Still more unique are the levadas, the irrigation channels that run for more than two thousand kilometres back and forth across the island, having been brought to Portugal from antecedents in Moorish aqueduct systems and adapted to the specific terrain and agricultural needs of Madeira starting in the sixteenth century.

Both the pathways through the ancient laurel forests and the centuries-old levadas (which, though engineered, were cut by hand and still follow the contours and logic of the landscape) contrast with the highways and tunnels that represent a newer feat of human engineering since the 1970s. During his controversial though undeniably successful reign from 1978 to 2015 - he was elected President of Madeira a remarkable ten times - Alberto João Jardim oversaw a massive infrastructure program that completely transformed the island. Places that used to be virtually unreachable became accessible by a short drive. His legacy, in part, is a culture of automobile dependency that is second to none. The American highway system inspired by Norman Bel Geddes’ (and General Motors’) Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair almost pales in comparison to Jardim’s vision for the rapid modernisation of Madeira.

But when you walk the diesel-scented streets of the capital, or you drive through the holes bored deep into and out of towering volcanic mountains to reach the airport - and even when you think back in history and imagine those first settlers sitting in their ships as half the island’s forest burned, watching the dense smoke of the fires they lit to make Madeira favourable to human habitation - it’s hard not to think what a catastrophically invasive species are human beings.

Bespoke is a word we use a lot. In our vocabulary bespoke is not about luxury or excess - as it has been co-opted by consumer capitalism to suggest. Instead it is about tailored solutions, fitted to the contours of a particular body or landscape. Wendell Berry insists on the role of aesthetics and proportionality in his approach to environmentalism: the goal is not hillsides covered in rows of ugly solar panels, but an integrated and deep and loving relationship with the land. This insistence on aesthetics relates to the ‘reconfiguring’ principles that inform our newest work. The gravity batteries we’ve been building are an alternative not only to the imposed, top-down infrastructure of the grid, but also to the massive scale of such solutions and our desire to work with the terrain rather than against it.

Naomi Klein talked about renewable energy in these terms in an interview a couple of years ago:
If you go back and look at the way fossil fuels were marketed in the 1700s, when coal was first commercialized with the Watt steam engine, the great promise of coal was that it liberated humans from nature … And that was, it turns out, a lie. We never transcended nature, and that I think is what is so challenging about climate change, not just to capitalism but to our core civilizational myth. Because this is nature going, ‘You thought you were in charge? Actually all that coal you’ve been burning all these years has been building up in the atmosphere and trapping heat, and now comes the response.’ … Renewable energy puts us back in dialog with nature. We have to think about when the wind blows, we have to think about where the sun shines, we cannot pretend that place and space don’t matter. We are back in the world.


In a future post we will talk about the related subject of sustainable agriculture. But speaking of food - the time has come for our toast and coffee.
2017  crapfutures  wendellberry  paths  roads  madeira  bespoke  tailoring  audiencesofone  naomiklein  sustainability  earth  normanbelgeddes  albertojoãojardim  levadas  infrastructure  permanence  capitalism  energy  technology  technosolutionsism  1969  obstacles  destruction  habits  knowledge  place  placemaking  experience  familiarity  experientialeducation  kateraworth  paulkingsnorth  darkmountainproject  modernity  modernism  holloways  nature  landscape  cars  transportation  consumerism  consumercapitalism  reconfiguration  domination  atmosphere  environment  dialog  conviviality  community  commonweal  invasivespecies  excess  humans  futurama  ecology  canon  experientiallearning 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Great Explorations: The Country Lanes Of Glen Park | Hoodline
"In Cool Gray City of Love, local author Gary Kamiya declares that “... Glen Park now holds the James Taylor title as Country Road Capital of San Francisco.” Sure enough, a trip to the neighborhood reveals three dusty roads—Poppy Lane, Penny Lane and Ohlone Way—snaking their way through the middle of the city, paying no heed to the hard-edged urban landscape around them.

Surfaced with loose gravel, dirt, vegetation and pine needles, these soft streets sneak between back yards, their boundaries defined by leaning fences and lush flowering bushes. If it wasn't for the occasional honking horn or the distant rumble of BART, you'd swear you were wandering the countryside.

Evelyn Rose, chair and founder of the award-winning Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project, tells us that these lanes were originally constructed as carriageways. Walking along Ohlone Way, you'll see a few of the old carriage houses lining the path, and half expect a horse to come trotting around the bend.

Poppy Lane, the longest of the three roads, spans both sides of Diamond Street, beginning at Conrad Street and dead-ending into a wild brush above Bemis Street on a steep hillside overlooking the city. Trees arch over the rough road as it rolls along. A scattering of garages face the lane allowing for limited local vehicle access.

East of Diamond Street between Sussex and Surrey streets, Penny Lane meanders along the hillside framed by bougainvillea, wild roses and nasturtium - a veritable butterfly heaven. Backyard gates line the road, ready to open onto this linear paradise. After about 200 yards, the road ends and a landscaped stairway steps down to Surrey Street, a project designed and constructed by neighborhood residents.

According to a history of the lanes compiled by Ms. Rose, Ohlone Way remained nameless until 1992. An adjacent property owner cleared the brush that had accumulated in the alley and spearheaded an effort to name the passageway after the Native Americans who had once lived in the Bay Area. Ohlone Way is very narrow—about 13 feet wide—and with a steep slope to Sussex Street, vehicle access is strongly discouraged.

The unpaved roads are shown on maps and marked with street signs. All of these streets, totaling one-half mile, are owned but not maintained by the city. The Department of Public Works calls them "unaccepted streets" because these rights-of-ways do not meet city standards for street construction. Your first instinct might be to feel sorry for these remnants of the past that have been excluded from the official public road network, but they are cared for by adjacent property owners.

San Francisco Public Works tells us there are approximately 1,017 miles of streets in the city and approximately 869 of those miles are "accepted streets," maintained by the department. "Paper streets," those that are planned but not yet developed, are included in the total mileage of city streets. Found in such places as Hunters Point, Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island, paper streets will likely be added to the list of accepted streets once they are constructed.

There is no official city inventory of natural surface streets, but there are more out there, hiding among their paved cousins, waiting for you to discover them."

[See post for images.

See also: https://thebolditalic.com/5-lesser-known-dirt-roads-in-sf-the-bold-italic-san-francisco-6758bd492c2a ]
sanfrancisco  glenpark  streets  roads  history  classideas 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Plastic Passion: The Civil Engineering Solution to Weak Roadways -
"Asphalt: it fades, dips, cracks, and needs constant repairing. This is the type of degradation seen throughout the large majority of construction work, and this is the type of common problem many have tried to address throughout the history of roadwork and construction. And while there have been solutions, none have been permanent or sustainable. One of the newest and most innovative remedies to tackle the common construction dilemma is the idea of actually using plastic to replace asphalt; IE: plastic roads.

Known as Project PlasticRoad and headed up by Dutch company VolkerWessels, the actual plastic in the PlasticRoad project is made out of entirely 100% recycled materials and is the company’s sustainable alternative to conventional road structures. VolkerWessels’s plastic solution basically turns recycled plastic into prefabricated road parts that can later be installed in single pieces.

Lightweight in design and virtually maintenance free according to the company, using plastic in place of asphalt would reduce construction time by nearly a fraction and last three times the expected lifespan of conventional roadwork. Whereas a typical road can take months to be built, the plastic alternative provides construction with the opportunity to cut time in half and complete road work within weeks instead of months. According to VolkerWessels, using plastic as an alternative construction material opens up innovations typically limited by asphalt, such as:

• Power generation
• Quiet road surfaces
• Heated roads
• Modular construction

In addition to plastic’s advantage of being a lightweight material, it also acts as an appropriately durable solution that can take wear and tear in a way asphalt cannot. Plastic is unaffected by corrosion and weather and can handle temperatures as low as -40 degrees celsius and as high as 80 degree celsius without difficulty. The green material is resistant to chemical corrosion, too, and is a true portrait of a low-maintenance construction material.

Because of its predicted lifespan and relatively little to no road maintenance, plastic opens up construction roadwork to less time and labor spent on repairs and less traffic congestion within cities.

But one of the biggest advantages of using plastic instead of asphalt is the way VolkerWesssls envisions its design: a hollow space beneath the road that can be used for basic roadway amenities like cables, pipes, wirings, rainwater, and other infrastructural necessities. In the event of flooding or water retention, the hollow space can also be used to keep roads dry by using efficient drainage built into the roadways.

And because we’re talking about plastic and not asphalt, smart elements can be integrated into the prefabrication process of the actual road. Elements like traffic loop sensors, measuring equipment, and connections for light poles would all be possible by using plastic on roads instead of denser, less manageable asphalt.

Construction is in the midst of a technology intervention and process overhaul, and while asphalt will most likely continue to be the dominant material of choice, plastic as a viable and sustainable construction alternative is on the table for discussion. Could this be the beginning of plastic passion? It just might be."
plastic  roads  materials  infrastructure  construction  2015 
january 2016 by robertogreco
The 5, the 101, the 405: Why Southern Californians Love Saying 'the' Before Freeway Numbers | LA as Subject | SoCal Focus | KCET
"Southern Californians have a distinctive -- "Saturday Night Live's" Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig might say funny -- way of giving directions. To get from Santa Monica to Hollywood, take the 10 to the 110 to the 101. Burbank to San Diego? The 134 to the 5. And, if you can, always avoid the 405.

Why the definite articles? After all, a resident of the Bay Area enjoys coastal drives along "101" or takes "80 east" to Sacramento. Most of North America, in fact, omits the "the" before route numbers.

The answer begins with the region's early embrace of the freeway. Long before the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 gave most U.S. cities their first freeways, Los Angeles had built several. These weren't simply extensions of federal interstate highways through the city; they were local routes, engineered to carry local traffic and (partly) paid for by local funds. It only made sense that, as they opened one by one, they'd get local names, ones that succinctly denoted their route or destination. The freeway through the Cahuenga Pass thus became the Cahuenga Pass Freeway, and Angelenos knew the freeway to San Bernardino as the San Bernardino Freeway.

State highway officials did affix route numbers to these freeways. But clarity dictated that Southern Californians continue to use their descriptive names. In their early years, most Los Angeles-area freeways bore signs for multiple numbered highway routes. The Pasadena Freeway, for example, was Route 6, 66, and 99, all at once. The Harbor Freeway carried both Route 6 and Route 11. The Hollywood, Route 66 and 101. Who wouldn't prefer the simplicity of a name over a confusing array of numbers?

Soon a shorthand emerged for describing a route through the city. Joan Didion captured this Southern California vernacular in "Play It As It Lays" (1970), in which Maria "drove the San Diego to the Harbor, the Harbor up to the Hollywood, the Hollywood to the Golden State, the Santa Monica, the Santa Ana, the Pasadena, the Ventura."

How, then, did that morph into "the 405 to the 110, the 110 up to the 101, the 101 to the 5, the 10, the 5, the 110, the 134"?

Two developments convinced Southern Californians to refer to freeways by number rather than name. In 1964, the state simplified its highway numbering system, ensuring that, with few exceptions, each freeway would bear only one route number. Around the same time, a flurry of new construction added unfamiliar freeway names to the region's road maps. Drivers found it easier to learn new numbers like the 605 or the 91 rather than new names like the San Gabriel River Freeway or the Redondo Beach Freeway.

Although the transition was gradual -- numbers only eclipsed names in common usage in the late 1970s, and Caltrans still included the old names in signage through the 1990s -- Southern Californians eventually joined the rest of North America in referring to freeways by number. But when they did, they retained their old habit of prefixing a definite article, the, giving rise to a regional idiom that still confounds and amuses outsiders today."
socal  freeways  losangeles  sandiego  language  history  transportation  cars  names  naming  roads 
november 2015 by robertogreco
The hidden inequality of who dies in car crashes - The Washington Post
"The underlying issue here is not that a college degree makes you a better driver. Rather, the least-educated tend to live with a lot of other conditions that can make getting around more dangerous. They own cars that are older and have lower crash-test ratings. Those with less education are also likely to earn less and to have the money for fancy safety features such as side airbags, automatic warnings and rear cameras.

The number of trauma centers, the researchers point out, has also declined in poor and rural communities, which could affect the health care people have access to after a collision. And poor places suffer from other conditions that can make the roads themselves less safe. In many cities, poor communities lack crosswalks over major roads. The residents who live there may have less political power to fight for design improvements like stop signs, sidewalks and speed bumps. As a result, pedestrian fatalities in particular are higher in poor communities.

"It's true that there are big differences in the quality of the residential environments that people have in terms of their risks of accidental death as pedestrians," Harper says.

The role of behavioral differences is murkier. Some studies show lower seat-belt use among the less-educated, but seat-belt use has also increased faster among that group over time, meaning socioeconomic differences there are narrowing. Data on alcohol use is also conflicting.

The chart above, based on National Center for Health Statistics data used by the researchers, captures miles traveled not just by car, but also bus or other motor vehicles (the poor are more likely to use transit, while the wealthy travel more by private car). The fatalities, though, also include the deaths of pedestrians and cyclists struck in car crashes.

In 1995, these death rates — adjusted for age, sex and race — were about 2.5 times higher for people at the bottom of the education spectrum than those at the top. By 2010, they were about 4.3 times higher. That means the inequality of traffic fatalities is getting worse, even as it looks nationwide as if our roads are getting safer.

As we increasingly fantasize about new technologies that will save us from our own driving errors — cars that will brake for us, or spot cyclists we can't see, or even take over all the navigation — we should anticipate that, at first, those benefits may mostly go to the rich."
cars  safety  health  us  poverty  inequality  cities  roads  2015 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Hullabaloo: Rewarding failure by design?
"For the investor class, it is a tragedy of the commons when they don't get a cut from it. That's why, for example, they are so hot to see a middle man in every middle school."



"David Dayen wrote yesterday at Salon about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's opposition to investment banker, Antonio Weiss, President Obama's nominee for Treasury Department undersecretary for domestic finance. One of Weiss' biggest clients is Brazilian private equity fund 3G. Dayen describes deals that would make Paul Singer blush. (Okay, maybe not.) They seem almost designed to reward failure:
The deals also exhibit the modern hallmark of corporate America: financial engineering. Decisions are made to satisfy shareholder clamoring for short-term profits rather than any long-term vision about building a quality business. The manager class extracts value for their own ends, and the rotted husk of the company either sinks or swims. It doesn’t matter to those who have already completed the looting.
"
capitalism  investment  investors  middlemen  privatization  2014  failure  tomsullivan  us  policy  politics  education  schools  forprofit  infrastructure  commons  bankruptcy  finance  banking  bankers  barrysummers  looting  corporatism  financialengineering  management  roads  tollroads 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Examining The New Los Angeles Paradigm: An Interview With Victor Jones | Los Angeles, I'm Yours
"Victor Jones thinks about Los Angeles in a way few people do: he thinks about it in the future tense, as a place of myriad possibilities. “Los Angeles, unlike most well known cities, is a twenty-first century paradigm in terms of its ability to inform how people live and what people do and how they experiences civic and public space. It is a new physical model of urbanity: I think Los Angeles is a fantastic case study.”

“Thats the draw here,” he says. “While perfect weather, a great economy, and geography have made life easy to take for granted my work in academia and design pushes back on the city, forcing people to reconsider the evidence of things not seen. This push back is to say—Hey.—let’s stop and revisit this, acknowledging that we are a part of a discussion, that we are not completely inside ourselves and that we are becoming a greater reference globally. When we look at urban development in Beijing, Dubai, Mexico City for example, Los Angeles has become a reference versus traditional nineteenth century cities. Let’s try to understand the physical implication of these things.”"



"The irony is that Victor is a native who never liked it here. “I always hated Los Angeles,” he explains. “I was always overwhelmed by the expanse and horizontality of the city and the lack of continuity. It wasn’t until I moved back from France and got my driver’s license that a whole new relationship with the city emerged.”

“I really didn’t get to know the city that I was born and raised in until my late thirties,” he adds. “That’s when I began to understand how special this place is.”

Victor had lived in Los Angeles from birth through late elementary school and high school. He attended Cal Poly San Louis Obispo for his undergraduate degree in Architecture and found the experience to be quite profound: it created opportunities to try different metropolitan settings. “My Architectural History professor, Dr. Joseph Burton, radically changed my life: he proposed that I moved to Paris after graduation to work,” Victor explains. “Initially, I was very resistant to the idea. But, what was supposed to be a three month internship ended up being twelve years living in Paris: that was a life changing experience. I never thought that I would end up back in Los Angeles! I completely found myself and found a completely different world order in France.”

Paris brought a lot of important things to his life: he met his partner of twenty five years, he worked for Jean Nouvel and Louis Vuitton, and took a break during his time there to get a graduate degree in Architecture from Harvard. After, he found himself back in Paris—but soon left to further his own practice. “We arrogantly thought our club membership to Paris would never expire,” he says. “There was a lot of discussion between my partner, Alain Fièvre and I on where to go and we decided that Los Angeles was the best place for an architectural practice, Fièvre + Jones. So, we came here in the late nineties. It is a very challenging experience to uproot our Parisian existence and move to the United States.”

“We do miss Europe quite a bit, though,” Victor says with a longing—but positive—undertone. “That’s what brought us to Silver Lake and to an office in Hollywood: we’re such urban creatures that we were looking for that simulacrum of urbanity in Los Angeles. Both Silver Lake and Hollywood have their own special version of that, Silver Lake being a bit of Brooklyn and Hollywood being a bit like every popular zone in every major city in the world. From certain angles, Hollywood may look like Times Square in the eighties and, from another it may look like Pigalle in Paris. It has a very special and unique quality to it.”

You could confuse his comparisons for nostalgia but analyzing Los Angeles in this manner is Victor’s job: he studies space, formed communities, and urban infrastructure to discover its flaws and successes. “My principal concentration at USC’s School Of Architecture is research on community based projects and understanding what that means in a post-racial culture. Rather than looking at community service as a direct response to under-served individuals or minorities, I look at how we as a more urban, global, and heterogenous community can construct a better quality of life.”"



"“There is a natural tendency to create villages for practical reasons. But, there is a beauty in having a passport to all neighborhoods. If you are of a certain curiosity, you’ll breach those boundaries, not letting your universe be defined by a street. But, [Angelenos] religiously stick to their boundaries. We have to question the curious way that infrastructures—like freeways—impact our lives, organizing us in as architect Craig Hodgetts says the mish-mosh we call Los Angeles.”

These views do not mean that Victor has a pessimistic view of Los Angeles. That is why he is so passionate about it changing for the better. Arguing for more opportunity for how people engage the city, he says, “Generally speaking, Angelenos tend to isolate themselves. They have a trajectory of work and home and their neighborhood. All due to limitations set by the city’s infrastructure – whether we are talking about public space, transportation, cultural institutions etc,” Some of my most fond memories of the city are from cinema and how ‘the industry’ illustrates the city. I remember in Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta would be in the Valley and then drive miles to another part of the city without any hesitation: the city in that film is a forest of pockets full of different opportunities. They were not restricted by cultural biases, distance, demographics – nothing stopped them from moving from one place to another."
victorjones  architecture  losangeles  2014  beijing  dubai  mexicocity  mexicodf  urban  urbanism  cities  race  community  diversity  integration  boundaries  borders  segregation  roads  freeways  michaelgovan  film  design  landscape  lacma  transportation  isolation  mobility  traffic  sustainability  craighodgetts  df 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Slime Mold and Highways Take the Exact Same Paths
"Slime mold is weird stuff: despite having no brain or nervous system it's ruthlessly efficient at hunting down food. So efficient that if you lay out food for it in the pattern of major cities across the US, it grows in the exact same paths as the highways we've already built.

Andrew Adamatzky, a researcher at the University of the West of England, UK, takes a petri dish of agar and holds it over a map. Then, he places oats where each of the major cities is, and dollops a lump of slime mold at the nation's capital. The networks that the slime forms pretty much tally exactly with the roads humans have built between the real cities.

If you don't quite believe that, I don't really blame you. But he's done the same experiment using maps of Canada, China, Australia, the UK, France, and a bunch more—12 in total—and the same thing happens each time. He speculates that it's because roads are actually based on unplanned paths that were also originally chosen by living creatures…"
highways  organic  mold  nervoussystem  andrewadamatzky  pathways  growth  roads  france  china  canada  uk  australia  us  cities  slimemold  2012 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (9780674057593): Jo Guldi: Books
"In debates between centralist and localist approaches, Britons posited two visions of community: one centralized, expert-driven, and technological, and the other local, informal, and libertarian. These two visions lie at the heart of today’s debates over infrastructure, development, and communication."
books  toread  joguldi  power  libertarianism  informal  technology  roads  uk  britain  history  highways  infrastructure  development  communication  centralism  localism  experts  transport  trade  commerce  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
The Most Beautiful Road in the World
"I found it! I’ve looked at travel guides and driven on a ton of beautiful, scenic roads all over the world, but I think this road to Queenstown (on the way to/from Glenorchy) is the most beautiful in the world. The road winds down one side of a perfect, fjord-like lake, and every few kilometers, the mountain views change dramatically. Depending upon the time of day you travel it, the entire landscape transforms before your eyes."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/1446737533/landscapelifescape-glenorchy-new-zealand-the ]
newzealand  roads  travel  photography  beauty 
october 2010 by robertogreco
The Ruleless Road « Snarkmarket
"In the long list of books I’ll never write, there’s one that’s about a the­ory of risk. The the­ory is that there’s a thresh­old of risk aver­sion beyond which our attempts to extin­guish risk actu­ally exac­er­bate it. It would be filled with the case stud­ies you might expect — things like the overuse of antibi­otics and how a finan­cial insur­ance prod­uct short-circuited the econ­omy. But the open­ing anec­dote would be about roads. And I’d basi­cally copy and paste it from from this Decem­ber ’04 Wired story: …"
comments  mattthompson  snarkmarket  risk  behavior  roads  driving  antibiotics  insurance  finance  riskaversion  helicopterparents  handmoderman  complexity  simplicity  helicopterparenting 
august 2010 by robertogreco
China to build ginormous buses that cars can drive under (video) -- Engadget
"Seriously, this is the future that China's envisioning: huge friggin' buses engulfing smaller cars on the road. Despite the silly picture and the eccentric "3D Express Coach" branding, this cunning project by Shenzhen Huashi Future Car-Parking Equipment actually makes sense. The idea is to make use of the space between regular-size cars and bridges, thus saving construction costs as well as minimizing congestion impact by allowing cars to drive underneath these jumbo buses. Fancy hitching a ride? You better start planning your move to Beijing's Mentougou district, which is where Huashi will commence building its first 186km of track at year's end. For now, enjoy the Chinese demo video after the break (translation text at source link)."
busrapidtransit  buses  2010  transport  transportation  china  travel  roads  cars 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Ascent Stage: Lessons from unmaking urban mistakes
"We've got more data about cities than we know what to do with. It's lying in archives, published on government websites, being sensed from instrumentation in the environment, deduced from aerial imagery, and built from the ground-up by citizens updating, tweeting, and texting a kind of pointillist painting of city life.

There's simply no reason that we can't design tools to bring city-dwellers into a closer relationship with information that can inform their choices. All the raw materials are there: data, visualization, analytics, and tools for socializing one's insight or commentary. This would not obviate the need for town hall meetings or public presentation of a city's plans, but it would equalize the power imbalance, bringing a Jacobsian emergent planning ethic to a suasive critical mass that can interact with top-down planning around a common set of facts."
urbanplanning  urbancomputing  complexity  design  infrastructure  transportation  urban  systems  streets  community  datamining  roads  planning  cities  highline  portland  nyc  chicago  johntolva  via:adamgreenfield  janejacobs  boston  freeways 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Worldchanging: Bright Green: New Report: U.S. Road Funding From Non-Road Users Doubled in 25 Years
"The myth that U.S. roads "pay for themselves" thanks to user fees is a subject that's likely familiar to many Streetsblog readers -- but just how much of the nation's highway funding is provided by charging drivers?
roads  funding  transportation  us  highways  freeways  taxes  government  subsidies  cars  driving 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Golden State Highways Are A California Nightmare : NPR
"California is known for its car culture. But it turns out those wheels are rolling over some of the worst roads in the nation. A recent study ranked California 49th out of the 50 states for the quality of its pavement. New Jersey came in last. But California has the distinction of having the nation's worst roads in urban areas."
california  roads  infrastructure  cars  bikes  biking  maintenance  repair  losangeles  sandiego  sanfrancisco  repairing 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Huh?! 4 Cases Of How Tearing Down A Highway Can Relieve Traffic Jams (And Save Your City) » INFRASTRUCTURIST
"One example is reducing traffic congestion by eliminating roads. Though our transportation planners still operate from the orthodoxy that the best way to untangle traffic is to build more roads, doing so actually proves counterproductive in some cases. There is even a mathematical theorem to explain why: “The Braess Paradox” (which sounds rather like a Robert Ludlum title) established that the addition of extra capacity to a road network often results in increased congestion and longer travel times. The reason has to do with the complex effects of individual drivers all trying to optimize their routes. The Braess paradox is not just an arcane bit of theory either – it plays frequently in real world situation.
cities  urban  urbanism  traffic  congestion  transportation  portland  seoul  sanfrancisco  design  architecture  infrastructure  planning  highways  paradox  braessparadox  roads  ecology  cars 
july 2009 by robertogreco
TheWashCycle: The Myth of the Scofflaw Cyclist
"Cyclists in general know the law better than drivers...And better than the police even. So much of the myth stems not from willful disregard for the law by cyclists, but rampant ignorance of the law by drivers." "Now then, I'm not trying to claim that cyclists don't break the law. Let me state clearly and upfront, they do. What I'm saying is that there is nothing unique about the frequency with which cyclists as a class break the law when compared with drivers or pedestrians. And even if cyclists broke the law more flagrantly than others, this would not negate the need to share the road."
bikes  cars  mobility  politics  roads  safety  streets  urbanism  law  culture  washingtondc  dc  via:migurski 
july 2008 by robertogreco
WorldChanging: Do Gas Taxes Cover the Costs of Roads?
"the idea that roads don't pay for themselves -- and instead, must sap money from other funding sources -- seems like quite an admission from a highway department"
infrastructure  oil  roads  taxes  transit  us  public  policy  transportation  politics  cars  texas 
july 2008 by robertogreco
all streets | ben fry
"All of the streets in the lower 48 United States: an image of 26 million individual road segments. No other features (such as outlines or geographic features) have been added to this image, however they emerge as roads avoid mountains, and sparse areas c
maps  visualization  mapping  us  streets  transportation  processing  via:adamgreenfield  geography  roads  datamining 
april 2008 by robertogreco
The Cars That ate London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome, Madrid, Vienna, Athens .. - TIME
"In A.D. 125, a limit was placed on the number of vehicles that could enter Rome. For as long as there have been roads, it seems, there have been crowds of swearing, sweaty drivers — and schemes to get rid of them."
cities  traffic  roads  regulation  circulation  2003  london  rome  history  cars 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Suspension Bridges - Inca - Andes - New York Times
"So bridges made of fiber ropes, some as thick as a man’s torso, were the technological solution to the problem of road building in rugged terrain."
andes  inca  latinamerica  architecture  technology  roads  history  ropes  bridges  americas  perú 
may 2007 by robertogreco

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