and now for my next trick

Posts Tagged ‘energy

masdar city

leave a comment »

Written by Peter Rudd

April 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm

no subway

leave a comment »

no subway frumination

Frumination asks what would Manhattan’s central business district – 60th street and south – look like if there were no subway and all commuters came to the city by car?  He did the math and the geography and … well, it’s not pretty.   Here is the daily capacity –

from 8:00AM to 8:59 AM on an average Fall day in 2007 the NYC Subway carried 388,802 passengers into the CBD on 370 trains over 22 tracks. In other words, a train carrying 1,050 people crossed into the CBD every 6 seconds.

At best, it would take 167 inbound lanes, or 42 copies of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, to carry what the NYC Subway carries over 22 inbound tracks through 12 tunnels and 2 (partial) bridges. At worst, 200 new copies of 5th Avenue. Somewhere in the middle would be 67 West Side Highways or 76 Brooklyn Bridges. And this neglects the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, NJ Transit, and PATH systems entirely.

The map above is a sketch of the additional parking space and bridges and tunnels that would be required to pull it off.  No doubt there are lunatics out there that will interpret this interesting study as a beneficial proposal and will try to implement it – like the crackpot airport scheme.

Now for a bit of editorializing.  This quick study speaks volumes about what energy and space and infrastructure hogs cars are.  I like cars but everything in moderation.  In a sense the author is taking Manhattan and asking what it would be like if it were LA, or nearly every other American ‘city.’  I think it’s time to start talking about how the form of the city – dense vs sprawl – affects energy consumption patterns.  Taken seriously, mass transit vs car transport has an enormous impact on the environment and on per capita energy consumption – an impact almost noone is talking about.

I found this on

Written by Peter Rudd

August 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Posted in energy, the city

Tagged with , , , , ,


leave a comment »


Velowala is a site that documents mostly through photos bicycle commerce in India.  A wala is someone who does something and a velo is a bike.  Wala is a common tag put on the end of a job title.  Like – a dishwala is a guy who washes dishes, a dhabba walla is a guy who delivers dhabba (lunch) and a sodabottleopenerwala is someone who opens soda bottles.  You get the picture.

Written by Peter Rudd

April 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm

what makes a sustainable city

with 2 comments


[photo by tommy au at flickr]

The true measure of sustainable living is per capita energy consumption or per capita footprint.  If you read articles that leave out the phrase per capita, be sceptical.  It’s probably telling you half the truth for one reason or another — trying to sell a perception of green; trying to sell a green product; trying to avoid making structural change by doling half measures. 

Here’s an article about Vancouver which has it right.  The city has recognized that it is in density that per capita energy consumption is reduced.  But despite planning efforts, the greater Vancouver region ranks higher than desirable for per capita footprint.

Here’s the first paragraph:

Vancouver is often praised as one of the most liveable cities in the world with its location between the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. For many years, planners in Vancouver have worked towards a high-density city. Despite this, Vancouver – like most other North American cities – has a large environmental impact. Today, Greater Vancouver has 2.1 million residents and an ecological footprint  of 6.7 hectares per capita. The ecological footprint available pr. capita is only 1.8 and thereby the ecological footprint of Greater Vancouver amounts to almost 300 times its geographical area. This is, however, not unusual for a North American city of the equivalent size.

From the article:

Eight pillars that support a sustainable city:
1: A complete walkable community
2: A low-impact transportation system
3: Green buildings
4: Flexible open space
5: Green infrastructure
6: A healthy food system
7: Community facilities and programmes
8: Economic development

Written by Peter Rudd

March 19, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Posted in energy, the city

Tagged with , , , , ,

energy information administration

leave a comment »

Energy statistics for countries from the US government.   Here are some observations:  Canada, a large oil exporter, uses an almost equal mix of oil, natural gas and hydroelectric.  India uses 50% coal.

The website is here:

Country Analysis Briefs.

Written by Peter Rudd

March 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm

masdar desert city

with one comment


Masdar City is the Emirates new energy city.  The gulf, which was on the vanguard when the petroleum based environments were developed and sold – will try now to pioneer a new model using new energy models.  Foster and Partners architects in London have made the masterplan. 

From the website –

Article – A Zero Emissions City in the Desert

The Masdar Initiative’s headquarters

An animated fly-through shows the major components of a new zero-emissions, zero-waste city being built in the Middle East.  Video by Foster + Partners.

Written by Peter Rudd

March 17, 2009 at 9:59 am

what a city is

leave a comment »

Here are some videos of experts speaking on what it means to have a sustainable city.  Notice noone is talking about having a sustainable suburb?  A sustainable city is a complex and fantastic mix of beauty, walkability, minimum per capita energy consumption and of course much more.  You simply can’t talk about sustainable life without committing to the city.

From the site:

Sustainable cities are cities that are pedestrian paradises, where anybody would want to live downtown, says Mathis Wackernagel.

With half the world’s population living in cities, there can be no solutions to environmental, social or economic problems without major reconstructions and reconfigurations of urban living, says David Harvey.

Sustainability starts with people and a truly sustainable city will put people first, says Barabara Southworth. 

Written by Peter Rudd

March 9, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Posted in energy, the city

Tagged with , , ,