Monday, October 1, 2012

Quarterly Fun

Continuing the now six-month-old tradition of celebrating April Fool’s Day four times a year, here is the autumn list of odd urbanist stories from the internet.  There is no particular agenda to the items below.  It’s just a list of stories that made me smile.

We’ll start with one of the hazards of using transit, the non-human passengers.  Here is a photo of a Great Dane, an unusually large Great Dane, riding the Tube in London.  What a way to start a workday, having a moose like that starring across the aisle at you.

On a visit to Venice a few years ago, I noted a similar situation, a full-sized mastiff on a vaporetto.   (Vaporettos are the canal boats that provide public transit in Venice.)  I wasn’t able to get a great picture but share my ill-focused effort above.  I wish I could have gotten a better image of the drool that was escaping around his muzzle.

Next, the world of urbanism is filled with interesting people, including folks who pay particular attention to park benches.  Here is a photo survey of the range of park bench designs.

Moving up the urbanism scale from park benches are bus stops.  Here is a photo survey of interesting bus stops from around the world.  I find number eight to be particularly intriguing, with the bus fare collected at the entry to the bus stop rather than on the bus.  The stated goal is to improve the speed of bus loading, but it would also reduce loitering at the bus stop.

On the subject of loitering, here is a quick survey of any loitering measures adopted around the world.  The headline approach is the use of pink streetlights to highlight the facial blemishes of adolescents and presumably send them scurrying away.

Loitering is a subjective problem for urbanism.  What one merchant may perceive as a gang of loitering youths, the next merchant may consider a desirable level of street activity by potential customers.  Pink streetlights seem a ham-handed and likely ineffective approach to an issue that requires a more nuanced approach.

Concluding on the subject of street life, here is a story from New Zealand about the damage being done to street signs by prostitutes doing pole dances to attract clients.  As a member of the local governing board notes, “Some of the prostitutes are big, strong people.”

This seems a good place to end.  At least until the next quarter.

As always, your questions or comments will be appreciated.  Please comment below or email me.  And thanks for reading. - Dave Alden (

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