April 18, 2018

Library mis-use

This isn't to say that vulnerable people, children, and low-income families shouldn't be welcome in libraries: the monumental role they play in enabling social mobility cannot be overstated. Rather, it's to say that, when people are forced to use their local library as a replacement for child care, social care, or services for the homeless, something's gone seriously wrong.

With over 22,000 coffee shops in the UK, it's little wonder that workers-from-home flock to them in their droves. In many cases, they've got a much better shot at desk space, long opening hours and a hushed atmosphere than they could bank on at their local library today.

The sad thing is, many accept this situation without ever wondering what a generously funded library system could look like for them. You only need to visit the home page for Stockholm's public libraries for a stark comparison: bookable group study rooms, homework help, librarian appointments and well-stocked shelves. There's even, bizarrely, an electric piano available in one of them.

April 16, 2018

Strategic cycle network map, London

The strategic cycle network map

This is the capital's "strategic cycle network". The thick red lines are the existing routes - the Cycling Superhighways and Quietways, that have been spreading across the capital over the last few years. The thin red lines are those that are currently planned, and the green dotted lines are possible later connections.

If all this is delivered, the strategy says, 70 per cent of Londoners would live within 400m of a cycle route - a distance you can cycle in a couple of minutes.

t6_bikes LondonENG .png

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April 12, 2018

VIA rideshare: redlining in DC ?

Washington, D.C., has some of the world's strongest nondiscrimination laws, with a robust Human Rights Act that protects a whopping 20 traits, from race and sex to political affiliation and personal appearance. That doesn't mean, however, that discrimination never occurs in the District--or that it's always remedied promptly. On Friday, the Washington Post revealed that Via, a popular ride-sharing service, has been violating the city's nondiscrimination laws since fall of 2016 by excluding two of the District's predominantly black neighborhoods from its coverage area. Even worse, the city has failed to enforce its own laws against the service, undermining its putative commitment to equal rights.

The story of Via's illegal service in Washington is a vivid illustration of how a company's policies can disproportionately burden minorities even if the company itself harbored no explicit animus. Although it recently introduced private rides, Via is primarily a ride-pooling service like Lyft Line or Uber Pool, allowing drivers to pick up and drop off multiple passengers. When it launched in the District, it hoped to catch riders bailing on Metro over seemingly endless safety maintenance. But unlike Uber and Lyft, it covered only a segment of the city, encompassing downtown D.C. and some surrounding neighborhoods, mostly to the north.

Sheds and scaffolding of NYC


The de Blasio administration released an interactive map Wednesday showing the location of every sidewalk shed--the reviled wooden structures built to protect pedestrians from construction work happening above (or not).

The sheds, which are often referred to as scaffolding, have drawn the ire of New Yorkers because many owners leave them up for years. In 2016, Crain's looked into the billion-dollar scaffolding industry and the state law that created it and found that there were 190 miles of sidewalk sheds in the city. Some had been standing for well over a decade.

As of Wednesday, there were 7,342 sheds covering 290 miles, a 42% increase since 2016.

April 9, 2018

Removing road signs in busiest areas of cities ?

Some cities in Europe are undergoing a fascinating transformation: they're getting rid of all of their road signs. That's thanks to a design concept called "shared space," where urban planners drastically lessen the presence of traffic lights, signs, and barriers, encouraging all forms of transportation to share the road.

There's evidence that drivers often totally ignore road signs, so the heightened risk forces commuters to remain on high alert as they pass through an intersection, in theory leading to safer travel. But by stripping cities of their traditional traffic control systems, they leave disabled residents in the dark -- and that's sparked a powerful debate of how to balance ease of movement with all residents' needs.

Compare to woonerf.

Recognize and count things with opendatacam from moovel lab

Recognize and count things with open data cam from moovellab.com.


April 8, 2018

Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions

Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions, a great animated dataviz.

April 3, 2018

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

A growing movement in Japan is choosing to part with their possessions and appreciate the beauty of less. These extreme minimalists may limit their wardrobe to only 20 items of clothing or choose to forgo a bed, paring their home down to the bare essentials. Inspired by the aesthetics and principles of traditional Zen Buddhism, Japan's new minimalists say their transformation to simple living has freed them to spend time on other pursuits.

Fumio Sasaki, minimalist and author of Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism, joins us at Japan Society to discuss how he opted for minimalism over materialism and share his insight on this life-altering philosophy. Moderated by filmmaker Matt D'Avella, whose latest film Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things examines the cultural movement of simple living

April 1, 2018

Visual-artist-turned-UX/UI-designer

Visual-artist-turned-UX/UI-designer is an increasingly common career trajectory. We'll explore why this trend is happening, and examine how artistic practice involves stewardship of data sets. Whether you're an artist who'd like to pivot into UX/UI, a leader or recruiter in search of fresh approaches to product thinking, or a UXer who wants to think more like an artist in your day-to-day work, you'll come away with practical suggestions you can put into practice as soon as you'd like.

March 31, 2018

Pete Warden on machine learning reproducibility crisis

Pete WardenM.a> on the understated
reproducibility crisis in machine learning, with aside on technical debt.

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