The Year in Ideas

The New York Times just released its ninth annual “Year in Ideas” list, picking out some of the most fascinating – but not necessarily fantastic – ideas that were discussed over the past year. The list includes some very interesting ones worth noting:

1) Artificial car noise for quiet hybrid cars, which may pose a danger to pedestrians and bicyclists. The irony of the entire situation is captured by the article: “Having spent years trying to make cars quieter, manufacturers of hybrids and electric cars now find themselves in the curious position of figuring out the best means of warning people that 3,000 pounds of metal is rolling their way.”

2) Bicycle highways. Copenhagen is moving forward with building something close to it, with segregated bike routes connecting the suburbs to the center of the city. This might only be a pipe dream for the United States (though I remain optimistic).

3) Man-made greenery, involving artificial trees and solar technology. The Times’ writers cleverly dub these “Franken-forests.”

4) The cul-de-sac ban. Yes, they are abhorred (usually) by smart growth advocates, but, rightfully so – they limit connectivity, which is crucial in building community. Virginia recently passed a measure that will limit cul-de-sacs in new developments, with the hope of increased efficiency and cost-savings. Supporters of sustainable development are on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what the implications will be and whether the ban will become a trend.

View the entire list on the New York Times website, and post your comments below.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on December 15, 2009, in Media Coverage, Neighborhoods, Public Infrastructure, Regions, Trends, Urbanism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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