Run when you hear the sirens coming

(I suggest to listen to Dizzee Rascals ‘sirens’ while reading this post). so I am in Johannesburg (or some elite gated community called ‘Sandhurst‘ that tries hard not to be part of the rest of the urban fabric) for less than two hours and I am already not used to a lot of things: Physically i am totally not used to run up and down hills. it’s something we just don’t do in Holland (because of the general flatness of the place). Even worse i am not used to running up hills in the mid day summer h…

The knowledge vs GPS

I have written about virtues of ‘the knowledge‘ and the dangers of GPS to human evolution before. Now the good old BBC is running an article that actually pits the one versus the other in some kind of technology versus humans death match. They held a race through London in which a cab driver (in possession of ‘the knowledge’) had to compete against a BBC hack who was following the instructions of a Tom Tom GO 720 navigation unit: We chose waypoints that took us through extremely busy parts of Lo…

The boom bikes of N.Y.C

The New York Times runs an article with fantastic photos about a bunch of teenagers in Queens that build ‘Bicycles That Carry Powerful Beats, and Even a Rider or Two. One of the is being quoted saying: "People say, it's the next best thing to having a system in a car". But it's better because you don't even have to roll down the windows. I could not agree more with that… [via boingboing]…

Tehran traffic ...

… so i am back from Iran after having spend the last two days in Tehran. it is pretty much difficult to make sense of Teheran in 4 days, which is probably due to the sheer size of the place. there are about 14 million people living in the metropolitan area of Tehran and one would guess that at most 5 of them are working as city planners. On the other hand every second inhabitant has at least one car (either a pre-historic Paykan or a grey Peugeot 206) which, during rush hour, is too much for the…

Everything is ok....

Which – off course – is totally not true, but this barricade tape by San Francisco design firm MINE is just brilliant: Picture (cc-by-sa-nd) by laughing squid.…

Slideshows

Ran into some amazing slideshows in the last couple of days which somehow remind me of my trip to Dubai, India and China (see here) late last year. First, the New York Times (which apparently is one and a half inches less wide these days) has a beautiful slideshow from construction sites in Dubai (see my own pictures here): Photo by Tyler Hicks nicked from NYTimes.com And the Atlantic Monthly hosts an extensive slideshow by James Fallows (complete with voiceover and cheesy pseudo Chines…

Moebius (urban knot theory)

There is an amazing post about sewer systems under the big cities of Europe, America and Australian over at BDLGBLOG (amazing pictures as well!). It argues that the complexities of these sewer/tunnel systems is best being understood as more or less complex mathematical systems (knot theory): Manchester's storm overflow sewers, the rumor goes, are actually topological models. They are knot theory in built form. Other rumors claim that a former student of that program is now Chief Engineer for the…

Spectacular city...

Is the title of a photo exhibition at the Netherlands Institute of Architecture in Rotterdam (on show till the 7th of january 2007). the exhibition consists of about a 100 mostly large scale large-scale reproductions of – well – spectacular urban landscapes, exceptional buildings and all kinds of eerie views. Many of the pictures contain very little traces of human live (which has a strange calming effect on me). One notable exception is São Paulo, Sé by Andreas Gursky: On display this pict…

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…