TheCityFix Picks, October 1: Sweet Potato Fuel, Traffic from Sprawl, Funny Pedestrian Plazas
A new report from CEOs for Cities ranks Nashville, Tenn. as having the longest peak travel times, largely because of urban sprawl. Photo by debcll.

A new report from CEOs for Cities ranks Nashville, Tenn. as having the longest peak travel times, largely because of urban sprawl. Photo by debcll.

Welcome back to TheCityFix Picks, our series highlighting the newsy and noteworthy of the past week. Each Friday, we’ll run down the headlines falling under TheCityFix’s five themes: mobility, quality of life, environment, public space, and technology and innovation.


Southwest London is one of the most congested places in Europe, according to a new report from navigation company TomTom.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded more than $9.2 million in grants to seven universities to research urban transportation challenges and solutions.

CEOs for Cities released a new report, “Driven Apart: How sprawl is lengthening our commutes and why misleading mobility measures are making things worse,” which says the real reason Americans spend so much time in traffic has more to do with how cities are built than how roads are built. The list of cities with the worst commutes varies drastically from the commonly cited Urban Mobility Report, published annually by the Texas Transportation Institute, which does not include metrics for trip distances or total travel times, underscoring the importance of land use when examining mobility issues.

Quality of Life

City officials, architects, urban planners and business leaders gathered in Singapore this week for the 2010 Sustainable Cities conference.

The Queensland government in Australia is trying to curb attacks on bus drivers. There have been 79 recorded assaults on bus drivers in the last financial year.


The U.S. Green Building Council announced the winner of the first Mayor Richard M. Daley Legacy Award for Global Leadership in Creating Sustainable Cities. Guess who won? Mayor Daley, himself. He will be presented with the award at the annual Greenbuild conference in Chicago this November.

Scientists have developed new methods to produce bio ethanol from sweet potatoes, a source of clean energy for transportation, according to two new studies by Taiwanese experts presented at the 11th World Renewable Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

ChinaDialogue interviews Kristina Hill, chair of the landscape architecture department at the University of Virginia, on how cities can adapt to climate change.

Public Space

A new bike lane on New York City’s First Avenue is provoking criticism from some riders, who claim the lane has made the street “slower and more dangerous” than it was before.

In a comedy skit on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” a cameraman quipped that on-air guest Mayor Michael Bloomberg, known for his urban sustainability initiatives, had installed a pedestrian plaza inside the studio.

Technology and Innovation

BMW launched a new website — to publicize its sustainability initiatives. The website is part of the company’s “sustainable mobility think tank,” which it launched in 2007.

The Kia Pop and other “environmentally friendly” concept cars were unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

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