Remapping cities

SmartPlanet: Video: How ‘augmented reality’ will make boring cities beautiful

I imagine a new art form, recoding existing cities with more beautiful ones. As I walk down the streets of Minneapolis with my new Augmented Reality glasses, it looks like Paris or Venice, as someone has carefully remapped Parisian buildings to Minneapolitan ones. It will be much cheaper to draw nice buildings digitally than to actually build them. We can now have a new way to avoid the negative externality of ugliness. We can further subscribe to the city of our choice, I want to be in Tokyo today, I just download the Tokyo skin ($0.99 at the Apple AugmentedRealityStore) and I feel like I am in Tokyo. Even the plants are Japanese, all the Maple Trees are now Japanese Maples.
We could just let our cities crumble, since all that matters is their virtuality.

(Via Kurzweil.)

Google-Motorola and Land Value Capture

Value Capture
Value Capture

The analyst Horace Dediu writes in Harvard Business Review: Google’s Strategic Mistakes Drove Motorola Buy:

It’s an innovative, if not convoluted, business model: Building and giving away the plumbing so that homes are granted unhindered access to free Google utility services (whose meter readings are sold to the highest bidder). But it comes with more complications.

Instead, with Motorola, Google got a hold of the vehicle through which it can create and sell integrated products. The company is thus no longer just a plumber but also a house builder and real estate developer. It can now build showcases that demonstrate the value of its services. The challenge then is how it will sell plumbing to contractors while it also competes with them by building houses. Android’s big bet has yet to pay off and Google just doubled down.

This is a really interesting metaphor. Replace plumbing with roads, Google with transportation agencies, and Motorola with land development, and you have the model of Land Value Capture we have been talking about. Like Google giving away the OS plumbing and make it back in advertising, states give away roads and transit lines to users, hoping to make it back (somehow) in tax revenue (maybe?). Google, following Apple’s lead, has decided it needs to internalize the value chain to avoid the convolutedness of the market model they had created, which gave them large share, but few profits in mobile. We need to come to the same realization in transportation, in favor of more direct vertical integration of transportation and land use.

Accessibility Futures

Accessibility Futures Transit Network Scenario Maps
Accessibility Futures Transit Network Scenario Maps

Working paper:

  • Anderson, Paul, David Levinson, and Pavithra Parthasarathi (2011) Accessibility Futures. (working paper)

This study uses accessibility as a performance measure to evaluate a matrix of future land use and network scenarios for planning purposes. Previous research has established the coevolution of transportation and land use, demonstrated the dependence of accessibility on both, and made the case for the use of accessibility measures as a planning tool. This study builds off of these findings by demonstrating the use of accessibility-based performance measures on the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. This choice of performance measure also allows for transit and highway networks to be compared side-by-side. A zone to zone travel time matrix was computed using SUE assignment with travel time feedback to trip distribution. A database of schedules was used on the transit networks to assign transit routes. This travel time data was joined with the land use data from each scenario to obtain the employment, population, and labor accessibility from each TAZ within specified time ranges. Tables of person- weighed accessibility were computed for 20 minutes with zone population as the weight for employment accessibility and zone employment as the weight for population and labor accessibility. The person-weighted accessibility results were then used to evaluate the planning scenarios. The results show that centralized population and employment produce the highest accessibility across all networks.

Linklist: August 16, 2011

High-fives all around for another leg of Hwy. 610: “State and local officials will hold a party Wednesday that’s been nearly 50 years in the planning: They’ll be celebrating completion of a new stretch of Hwy. 610, heading west from Brooklyn Park into Maple Grove. Plans from the 1960s called for 610 to connect U.S. Hwy. 10 in the north metro to Interstate Hwy. 94, a link intended to ease frustration for commuters and make the area more easily accessible. The newest extension brings the roadway 2.74 miles closer to the goal, and also has local officials seeing strong prospects for development.”

Glasgow Evening TimesTransport Museum hits the half-a-millon mark : “Bosses of the [Glasgow] transport museum expected it would attract around 800,000 people in its first year. But the stunning attraction on the banks of the Clyde has reached the half million mark in just seven weeks.” [I went to the previous incarnation of the museum which was quite nice, and had a huge collection of cars. Would be nice to have one as good in Minnesota. – dml]