Urban Diary – Interesting reads

Beginning this post, in this new blog series we will bring together interesting reads and discussions from around the world on urban issues every fortnight.

How to Design a City for Women

In 1999, officials in Vienna, Austria, asked residents of the city’s ninth district how often and why they used public transportation. The majority of men reported using either a car or public transit twice a day — to go to work in the morning and come home at night. Women, on the other hand, used the city’s network of sidewalks, bus routes, subway lines and streetcars more frequently and for myriad reasons. Writing for Atlantic Cities, Clare Foran takes a fascinating look at how Vienna, Austria redesigned its city to accommodate women. What unfolds is an exercise that all Indian cities can learn from.

Can Urban Planning Help India’s Cities Reduce Sexual Violence?

Janaki Sharma, 24, a producer with a radio station, commutes for about 40 kilometers, or 25 miles, from her home in West Delhi to work across the city. Ms. Sharma uses multiple forms of public transport — subway, bus and shared auto-rickshaw, to get to her office. And the last stretch of her commute is a mile-long walk on a desolate stretch to reach her office. This article compiles expert opinion on how to make our cities safe for women.

Spatial plans to play key role from 2014 in urban renewal projects

The government is likely to ask city authorities to justify projects based on their impact on a comprehensive, spatial view of the city in order to receive funding in the second phase of JNNURM.

An ex-soldier leads Yangon from backwater to megacity

Every evening, long after Yangon’s office workers have squeezed onto packed buses for gruelling commutes to the suburbs, a single room remains lit up on the top floor of City Hall. Read the incredible story of Toe Aung, a former army major who almost by accident bears one of the biggest responsibilities in reform-era Myanmar: planning Yangon’s unstoppable transformation from a regional backwater into Southeast Asia’s next megacity.

City forgotten

Through the eyes of residents, local activists and civil society members, ‘City Forgotten’ documents the story of Malegaon’s fall from what was once the ‘Manchester of India’, to a town blighted by communal violence and in serious decline.

Nigeria to build biomimetic ‘smart city’ to celebrate its centenary

In 2014, Nigeria marks 100 years since it gained independence from the UK. To mark that occasion, plans are afoot to build a centennial “smart city”, following the design principles of bio-mimicry in everything from city planning to architecture to energy production and beyond.

Striking Photos Show the Ghosts Of New York City’s Seedy Underbelly

New York City today is rapidly gentrifying, with crime becoming more and more rare. A unique, new project mashes up the old, dangerous New York with today’s sanitized version by overlaying classic photographs of mid-century New York atop images of contemporary locations.

This lens man captures Chennai one day at a time

The heritage sites have been talked about, the statues and mementos have been written to death, the history of Madras has been dissected to its final thread. But Ramaswamy, in his 1,700-odd collection of photos, posted each a day, brings out the city in its crudest form, having the frames capture the common man, the narrow streets and the slightest of bustle.

Tomorrow’s cities: Rio de Janeiro’s bid to become a smart city

Rio de Janeiro’s famously chaotic favelas are as much a landmark of the city as the Christ statue or Sugarloaf Mountain but few would see them as the natural home to smart technologies. Now, a UNICEF coordinated project looks to bring tangible change by using teenagers to document the problems of favelas using cameras mounted on kites.

The Moscow Metro Is Like a Gorgeous Russian History Museum

The Moscow metro is one of the most extensive and heavily travelled subway systems in the world, transporting about 9 million people around the city each day. One photographer peeks into an average day in the life of the metro.

Artists and Urban Development

In this post Carol Becker, Dean of Columbia University School of the Arts, writes about the importance of artists in the context of cities and how they have always been central to the allure of cities, from classical Greek sculptors; to Impressionist painters; to the musicians, poets and artists of the Harlem Renaissance; to the Beats of Greenwich Village and North Beach.