The City as an Instrument of Public Health

The concept of urban health is becoming an increasing concern as awareness of the true extent of the issue spreads. Particularly for health services in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), which are already struggling to cope with the burden of infectious diseases, the added pressure of NCDs poses a serious threat.

And yet, this does not need to be the case. There is positive work that can make an enormous difference to the health of city-dwellers. We need to close the gap between awareness and action, recognizing cities’ potential enabling features to address public health issues.

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Integrating Formal and Informal Transportation Services into a Hybrid Network

Featuring Roger Behrens

Meeting of the Minds talked with Roger Behrens about planning for hybrid urban transportation systems that include both formal and informal transit services. Roger is an Associate Professor in the University of Cape Town’s Department of Civil Engineering. He is Director of the Centre for Transport Studies, and of the African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport (ACET). He graduated with a Master Degree in City and Regional Planning from UCT in 1991, and with a PhD degree in 2002. His current research activities relate to: the integration and improvement of paratransit services; the dynamics and pace of changing travel behavior; the use of transport systems by pedestrians; and the urban form prerequisites for viable public transport networks. 

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Bus Stops and the Future of Digital Placemaking

As two officials of a distressed public agency facing down the consequences of a long history of underinvestment, we are acutely sensitive to the need to get things done on a budget. We are also technologists, which brings us to the idea and potential of digital placemaking for mobility infrastructure: the repurposing of web, mobile and other software and hardware tools to bring new value to the places around the physical nodes and artifacts of the transit system.

Digital tools are often limited to a public engagement role in placemaking. We believe that they can play an important role in transit agency efforts to make its physical infrastructure work better for people.

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Local Climate Action Starts with Infrastructure

Infrastructure is a place where climate action, business interests, and political will have the potential to intersect. Infrastructure investment tends to be a bipartisan, business-friendly policy, in large part because the need is so great. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that the United States will need to spend $3.6 trillion between 2010 and 2020 to simply maintain our current transportation, water, and energy infrastructure. Yet there is an estimated funding shortfall of $1.6 trillion, or approximately 45% of the total requirement. In the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Infrastructure Report card, most infrastructure categories received a D+, with only one category, solid waste infrastructure, receiving a B- or higher.

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Urban Futures Road Map: It Finally Arrives in Your Bookstore

Urban Futures Road Map: It Finally Arrives in Your Bookstore

Review of “The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life”, by Jonathan F. P. Rose Roadmaps are sometimes hard to read. But you can be sure that they’re always much harder to create. I kept...

The Smartest Building in the USA

The Smartest Building in the USA

With the completion of the Duke Energy Center (DEC) in Charlotte (North Carolina, USA), the path has been laid for smart buildings to become the new standard in commercial real estate. What exactly does it take to be the smartest building in America? When they decided...

Questions and Answers on the Future of Urban Mobility

Questions and Answers on the Future of Urban Mobility

Meeting of the Minds 2012 featured an all-star line-up of urban mobility experts in the panel, Where is the Urban Mobility Revolution Headed? The participants included: Moderator: Bill Reinert Susan Shaheen Eric Cahill Susan Zielinski Scott Samuelsen A Q&A at the end...

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