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Category: Europe (Page 1 of 4)

Could Almere provide a glimpse of what living in cities will be like in the future?

BBC »

Almere’s evolution is inspiring other cities too, by providing examples of innovative urban planning in action. “Professionals – politicians, architects, city planners – come from all over the world to look and learn from Almere,” says JaapJan Berg, citing particular interest from China. “They have been working on new towns and cities there on a completely different scale – places like Shenzhen. In the UK, I would mention Milton Keynes, and in France, Marne-la-Vallee.”

MVRDV, meanwhile, have drawn on principles from Almere in their ongoing redevelopment of the city centre of the Dutch city of Eindhoven, which aims at allow that city to expand significantly, yet still retain an air of “cosiness”. Cues from Almere include creating green city centre living spaces and using brightly-coloured buildings in striking shapes to enliven the feel of the cityscape.

Principles learned in Almere are also being deployed on a smaller scale in the little Dutch village of Overschild, which saw almost 80% of its homes badly damaged as a result of earthquakes triggered by fracking in the area.

Key ideas trialled in Almere that are being introduced here include the chance for residents to design their own new homes, alongside collective decision making on infrastructure and facilities. “Residents were asked what their wishes were and how they felt the village should look like in 10 years – [then] we have given the residents a toolbox which will give them the help and inspiration needed to take the future into their own hands,” says Winy Maas. »

The university lecturer who lived in a tent for two years

Anna Fazackerley, The Guardian »

Lê was awarded an annual fellowship of £16,000 for three years from Royal Holloway to do her PhD on minority ethnic groups in American literature, and won an extra scholarship from the US, where she is from, in her first year. But as an international student she had to pay £8,000 a year in fees to the university (fees that have been waived for UK fellows), leaving her with £12,000 a year to live on including her wages for teaching.

She says she was just about managing until the cheap postgraduate hall she was living in was closed for renovations at the end of her second year. She was faced with finding an extra £3,000 a year for rent, which she says she couldn’t afford. Determined not to drop out, she borrowed the tent from a friend.

Lê admits that at first “I was really scared. I found out there was a protest camp near campus so I turned up with my tent and asked if I could stay there so I wasn’t alone. And that was the start of my next two years.”

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Austria’s €3 per day go-anywhere travel card helps fight climate change

CNN »

Fifteen years after it was first proposed, Austria’s new Klimaticket, or climate ticket, goes live on October 26. Offering seamless travel across all modes of public transport it is intended to galvanize the Alpine nation’s fight against climate change.

The annual pass, priced at USD$1,267 (€1,095), works out at just USD$24 (€21) per week or USD$3.50 a day. If all goes according to plan, it should encourage people to swap their cars for more climate-friendly forms of getting around.

The Austrian government’s 2030 Mobility Master Plan aims to reduce private car use from 70% of total annual kilometers traveled to 54% by 2040, at the same time increasing public transport’s share from 27% to 40% and doubling active travel (walking and cycling) from 3% to 6% of the total.

A passenger on an electric train requires just 55% of the energy used by a battery electric car for the same journey, according to the master plan, meaning big carbon emission cuts can be made with a relatively small percentage shift to more sustainable modes of travel.

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