This early, Brazil is laying down the ground work to mobilise the World Cup crowd in 2014. A total of 12 cities will host the soccer matches. The transportation network will be one of the boosts for the many cities in Brazil.

I personally am interest in the effects of big sporting events to a city, such as the World Cup and the Olympics. Offhand, the physical changes are obvious, a stadium, an Olympic city, hotels, etc. are propped up in record speed. Usually the financial burden is huge, but the return of investment is supposed to be worth it. South Africa will be a city under scrutiny, now that the World Cup 2010 is over. The city vindicated itself for successfully holding the event, despite its many detractors. The city can complement and literally build up on its newer infrastructure in case it  wins an Olympic bid.

If you want more in-depth analysis on the topic, Nate Berg, specifically blogs about the cities and global sports events.

Two topics have been making the round of online urban news of late. Both involve public financing and public service in California.

First is the blatantly shameless news of the Mayor of Bell, who receives an annual salary of $800000. Even the US President Barack Obama earns much less than that. He was given the choice to resign or get fired, as if keeping the position would be a viable option. Bells will be ringing in the city of Bell once the mayor gets booted out.

The second concerns the outsourcing of public service in the the city of Maywood. Anarchy didn’t reign the city however. In fact, people are so far contented with signs of police effectiveness: a young guy is stopped by a police for carrying an over-stuffed bag and a resident is fined for illegal parking. Will this be an increasing trend in cash-strapped US cities? Coincidentally, Maywood will acquire the services of its neighboring city, Bell. No more kickbacks for Bell’s Mayor though.

China’s growth is unstoppable, and so does the bus rapid transport (BRT) that will connectits cities in the future. It is a smart move that the city of Guangzhou is slowly laying down the backbone of its transportation network with BRT in mind. This can serve as a good example to China’s other burgeoning cities. As population in China’s cities increase, moving them within these cities becomes crucial. Will they be driving cars, cycling, or taking the train or BRT?

I’m curious how these cities actually made the transition from non-BRT to BRT system. What was previously the mode of transportation? Assuming there should only be one BRT operator, how does a city deal with many bus operators in a pre-BRT system? To what extent do car manufacturing lobby groups meddle with the transportation politics?  There are too many questions, and China seem to have the answers. I won’t be surprised if soon these buses will be running on hydrogen fuel.

From ClimateWire via The New York Times

Video via babes060675

Gentrification knows no mercy. Not even for the C/O Berlin photo gallery, an institution of sorts in the Berlin art scene. I had the chance to visit an Annie Leibovitz exhibit last year, and I remember paying no more than 6 Euros to see her commercial and more intimate work. I think it was a bargain.

The news from Der Spiegel took me aback. They need to pack their bags by March 2011. Their next home is still unkown. At the very least, I hope they find one that is appropriate and just as beautiful in Berlin.

Photo via C/O Berlin.

If you want to slow down climate change and thinking of a roof paint job, choose the color white. Researchers concluded that painting roofs white increases albedo, the amount of light reflected from the earth’s surface back to space. In effect, the heat on the planet is reduced.

This report reminds me of Peru, where stones in Chalon Sombrero are being painted white to restore an extinct glacier.

Should we stop installing solar panels or tending the green gardens on our roofs, and switch to this cheaper alternative to cool the earth’s surface? One thing is for sure: if there were a worldwide contest for the highest albedo, Santorini would win.

From Popsci

Photo via travelpod

The NYT featured the HafenCity development in Hamburg. These are two of my favorite things, the former for its writing style and the latter for its ambitious urban development. They will get preferential treatment in this blog. And my playing favorites starts now. I forgive the article for taking light the issues plaguing the development, such as the ever-rising cost of the Elbphilharmonie opera house and construction of a tube line that will connect the quarters to the city center (instead to a more populous part of Hamburg). But then again, the article is written as a travelogue, which is most of the time indifferent to social issues.

Some tips the author missed out:

1) You can visit the Elbphilharmonie even if it is still under construction

2) Affordable coffee can be had at Campus Suite near the Elbphilharmonie (Am Kaiserkai 60-62)

3) If you are on a budget, eat your lunch at the Markt Halle (Am Sandtorkai 23/24). A rice and curry meal is about 7.50 Euros. Expensive? Welcome to Hamburg.

4) Yummy soups and salads at the Kesselhaus (am Sandtorkai 30). A miniature model of the HafenCity is also inside.

from The New York Times (including photo) via Planetizen

They don’t fix roofs, they trespass properties in seek of thrill and a sense of identity. Meet Moscow’s roofers. They border on breaking trespassing laws, yet forming a subculture in Moscow’s streets, or more appropriately, rooftops. The New York Times wrote a feature on them. I can understand the sense of thrill and fulfillment, which is probably akin to what keeps mountaineers from trekking and conquering mountain peaks. Moscow roofers don’t have a view of lush forests however. Instead, they get a constant glimpse of the changing urban jungle.

photo via Christopher Fowler