Talking Headways Podcast: Get Off My Lawn

Jeff Wood and I talk about the news of the week that most tickled us or burned us — the BBC’s exposé of anti-social urban design features intended to repel people, San Francisco’s social tensions over the Google bus, and the decision by Cincinnati’s new mayor and City Council to “pause” construction of the streetcar. (Update: The streetcar might be salvaged!)

Meanwhile, I wax nostalgic for public space in Havana and Jeff laments slow progress on San Francisco’s Geary Boulevard BRT.

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This will be our last podcast of 2013. Have a Happy New Year and we’ll see you in January!

  • davistrain

    The article on “anti-social” and “aggressive” architecture and street-furniture design reminded me of how the classic PCC streetcars and old-look buses had nice, comfortable seats, while today’s transit vehicles have seats designed for durability, not comfort. I see this as a mark of the deterioration of public behavior over the years. Regarding the “hostile” architecture: it probably doesn’t bother the motorcar drivers; I would guess that many of the buildings referred to have built-in parking, and the owners have no interest in attracting the interest of pedestrians, and they do want to discourage the “winos and weirdos” from hanging around. If it were up to many city dwellers, the “street people” would be rounded up and taken off to the county poor farm or (as would be applicable to many of them) an insane asylum.

  • He sits and he says…

    Cincy Enquirer is reporting that Cranley has found a third way out of the streetcar crisis: privatization.

  • The video you’re talking about in NYC during the 1960s was about William H. “Holly” Whyte’s research book ‘The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces’. It is a brilliant piece of research that uncovers many “well, duh” findings, but quantifies them in a way that hadn’t really been done before.

    The original book can be difficult to come by, but you can also check out his book ‘City: Rediscovering the Center’ which includes much of all the same information, just packaged in a different manner than the original book. The video does also summarize these research findings pretty well.


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