Better Cities (S1e00)


This is a prototype of what is intended to be a regular email newsletter on the topic of ‘Better Cities (towns and villages..)’ that I will be doing for work but I wanted to (i) see if I could find enough interesting content to use (ii) see how long it would take to put it together and (iii) see if anyone was remotely interested 🙂

Barcelona is getting green(er) with a project to introduce new mini parks and forests in amongst the city sprawl in an effort to battle against some of the environmental challenges they are facing.

Meanwhile over in Seoul they have demonstrated that just because London couldn’t make it work the idea of a ‘garden bridge’ isn’t necessarily a terrible idea.

The Economist gets into the detail of how the demand for (free) parking effects how cities look and work as well as contributes to the growing air pollution problems for big cities. In Bogotá illegal parking is so bad a team of singers dressed as traffic cones have apparently taken to policing the situation after the failure of officials.

The big news in certain circles in recent weeks has been the announcement that CityMapper, the popular app for finding your way around London and elsewhere, is launching a ‘smart’ bus in London. The aim, eventually, is to use all of the data they have been privy to thanks to people like me getting lost in London to provide more data driven, creative public transport. One to watch.

Closer to home (for me) YoBike has launched in Bristol. A kind of next generation, Boris Bikes, YoBike offers bike sharing managed via their app and the distinctive yellow bikes have immediately made themselves at home in the more hipster areas of the city.

Gateless Gatelines seem like a slightly creepy and over designed solution to a problem — given it already essentially relies on you having your phone to work why wouldn’t you use something similar to TfLs various contactless approaches?

An interview with Theo Blackwell, a councillor in Camden, is a useful antidote to what can often seem like a wall of negativity when it comes to the topic of the opportunity for digital to improve local public services. Blackwell is optimistic but also realistic and we need more people like this.

Finally the Guardian has published a collection of political street art from around the world inspired by the latest Banksy in Dover. Proof that street art is truly a global phenomenon now.

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