"The appeal of autonomous cars carries the risk of adding to urban sprawl and pollution as they may encourage commuters to travel farther to work…“U.S. history shows that anytime you make driving easier, there seems to be this inexhaustible desire to live further from things” [says Ken Laberteaux, senior principal scientist for Toyota North America]"

Automated Cars May Boost Fuel Use, Toyota Scientist Says | Bloomberg.com, Jul 16, 2014

Pink and blue sky at sunrise this morning, Atlanta
Also: here are a few interesting urbanism links from this week for your reading pleasure
Interesting: Toronto’s past experience with car-sprawl and new trend toward walkable places is similar to Atlanta’s
Coming Soon: An Atlanta with Cooperating Transit? 
What’s the best formula for creating a bike friendly city?
The Hurt Building, Edgewood Avenue, Downtown Atlanta
What a great photo! This comes from natlanta. It shows the flatiron-shaped Hurt Building on Edgewood Avenue. In 1913, when this 17-story early skiyscraper was built, it was said to be the 17th largest office building in the world.  
It was designed by J. Edwin R. Carpenter, a Paris-trained architect who later designed over 50 apartment buildings in Manhattan, and also the Lincoln Building on 42nd Street. 
In this photo, I like that you can just make out the hanging wire for the upcoming (one hopes, anyway — it’s been delayed so much) Atlanta Streetcar. Edgewood Avenue was, in fact, the site of Atlanta’s first electric streetcar line in 1889. It was operated by a group of Atlanta notables including businessman Joel Hurt — the namesake of this building — who intended the cars to reach Inman Park, which Hurt himself designed and developed as the city’s first streetcar suburb. 

The Hurt Building, Edgewood Avenue, Downtown Atlanta

What a great photo! This comes from natlanta. It shows the flatiron-shaped Hurt Building on Edgewood Avenue. In 1913, when this 17-story early skiyscraper was built, it was said to be the 17th largest office building in the world.  

It was designed by J. Edwin R. Carpenter, a Paris-trained architect who later designed over 50 apartment buildings in Manhattan, and also the Lincoln Building on 42nd Street. 

In this photo, I like that you can just make out the hanging wire for the upcoming (one hopes, anyway — it’s been delayed so much) Atlanta Streetcar. Edgewood Avenue was, in fact, the site of Atlanta’s first electric streetcar line in 1889. It was operated by a group of Atlanta notables including businessman Joel Hurt — the namesake of this building — who intended the cars to reach Inman Park, which Hurt himself designed and developed as the city’s first streetcar suburb. 

"Parking spaces create heat islands and sources of polluted stormwater runoff. They hollow out cities and divide neighborhoods. They are significant generators of emissions, accounting for as much as 12 percent of energy consumption and greenhouse gases, and at least 24 percent of other emissions."

How Parking Spaces Are Eating Our Cities Alive | Citylab

Road Trip: Historic Downtown, Carrollton, GA

I’m determined to eventually visit all the historic downtown districts of Georgia’s cities. I’ve seen many already, but my to-do list is still large.

This weekend we visited the lovely downtown of Carrollton, about 50 miles west of Atlanta. They’ve done a good job of preserving the old buildings and providing nice sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians. We saw a couple of people on bikes, too.

If you’re ever here for a visit, I recommend Gallery Row Coffee, pictured at top, above. It’s a really nice place.

There are some beautiful old homes along the streets that connect directly to the downtown district — which is something that I’m always happy to see, since there are a lot of old cities that have huge gulfs of highway infrastructure or parking lots that separate the historic commercial districts from homes.

Next up on my list is Milledgeville. If you have suggestions for things to see there — or for little-known historic cities in Georgia to visit — let me know!

Friday afternoon, Downtown Atlanta.

This was my experience walking to lunch today: (starting at top, left) a lovely view from inside Anatolia Cafe; a man dressed as Jesus resting in Woodruff Park; and a multi-modal wonderland on Peachtree with pedestrians, cyclists, buses, taxis and cars all on the street with me.

Friday Freakout! Southeastern US cities doomed to heat-island destruction; my prescription…

image

Jokey post title, but this is actually pretty serious…

A Yale study finds that urban heat islands are worse in the climate of the southeastern US. The effect on cities like Atlanta & Nashville could be huge as global temps rise, according to the report. 

The culprit turns out to be a toxic mix of wet, hot weather and the vast surfaces of our human built environment. In that climate, the surfaces trap heat longer instead of letting out slowly into the lower atmosphere.

My amateur prescription for our future’s health: reduce the surface area of our built environment by building up instead of out (multistory instead of detached, low-rise structures), narrowing our road surfaces and reducing highway infrastructure (which will require undoing car dependency, of course) and, most importantly, shedding ourselves of our deadly heat-trapping parking lots. 

Region saved. Lives spared. You’re welcome!

Above image from an equally scary NASA page on Atlanta heat islands.