Delhi metro now moving more people per day than the entire Dutch national railways

This was mentioned in passing in an item on carbon trading that ran in today’s NOS evening news: the delhi metro is now transporting more passengers per day than the dutch national railways. a quick check on wikipedia shows that this is a bit of an understatement: daily ridership of the delhi metro system is 1.8M passengers per day while the NS is moving a mere 1.1M passengers per day (and struggling to do so i might add). This figure pretty much blows my mind in a number of ways. while there h…

Beyond City Limits

Kimon pointed me to this impressive article by Parag Khanna in which he argues that (mega)cities are slowly emerging as the dominant international actors replacing nation states along the way. His article titled ‘Beyond City Limits’ is well worth a read and a refreshing take on the subject of urban growth. Ever since the publication of Mike Davis’ ‘Planet of Slums‘ in 2006 contributions to the discussion about this subject seem to have deteriorated to become a constant stream of repetitions of t…

Mall of hyperbole

The National (from that other place of hyperbole, the UAE) runs an fascinating article (‘Mall of misfortune‘) about a desolated shopping mall in Dongguan in China’s Pearl River Delta: The South China Mall which opened with great fanfare in 2005, is not just the world’s largest. With fewer than a dozen stores scattered through a space designed to house 1,500, it is also the world's emptiest - a dusty, decrepit complex of buildings marked by peeling paint, dead light bulbs, and dismembered manne…

EU also sponsors trash bins

I had noticed the questionable priorities of the EUs ‘reconstruction’ efforts in south lebanon when I was down there in January. Now bech over at remarkz confirms (the rest of his post is pretty interesting as well) that there indeed some unusually incompetent people at work for the EU in south Lebanon: not only do they waste their money on street lighting, they also seem to sponsor all the trash bins: The Iranians make themselves visible all right from billboards in villages they financed recon…

Laptop/USA for Africa/textese/forgotten vegetables/NGOs

There are two articles about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in the spring 2007 issue of بدون/bidoun. the second one (‘let them eat laptops’ (p72ff.) – not available online) is a relatively serious email discussion about the merits of the project between a couple of academics. the other article ‘glory‘ by Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina) takes the OPLC project as a starting point for a fascinating exploration into how technology is appropriated. It’s one of the best texts i have read in a long…

Christian(?) Hezbollah youth

We spend all day today in south Lebanon, which is not as badly destroyed as i had thought (sometimes it is a bit difficult to tell if a ruin is the result of the local culture of leaving lots of buildings unfinished or of an israeli air raid). Some of the villages seem more or less undamaged, while others look like it has been attempted to raze them from the ground for good. We spend some time in Bint Jebel, where the entire center of the the village is in ruins (the place saw intense house to h…

Delhi metro

While not being as efficient as the São Paulo metro system (efficiency being rather absent from public services in india in general), the delhi metro system – which has been growing from one 5 station line to 3 lines with more than 40 stations in the last 3 years – is quite an experience as well: First there are those constant recorded security reminders that are either unrivaled in their directness (‘do not touch abandoned objects as they might contain explosives’) or simply absurd (‘do not bef…