Monday, 22 August 2016

Stuff to read: Driverless buses and trucks, night parks, stupid planning rules and Tokyo's housing

Driverless buses in Finland:

Residents of Helsinki, Finland will soon be used to the sight of buses with no drivers roaming the city streets. One of the world's first autonomous bus pilot programs has begun in the Hernesaari district, and will run through mid-September. 

Finnish law does not require vehicles on the road to have a driver, making it the perfect place to get permission to test the Easymile EZ-10 electric mini-buses.

The buses look cute too:

And self-driving trucks are on the way too:

By joining forces with Uber we can fast forward to the future. Together, Otto and Uber can build the backbone of the rapidly-approaching self-driving freight system. We can help make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone, whether you’re talking people or packages.

All web-enabled too:

Veniam, a startup coming out of the University of Porto with offices in Silicon Valley and Singapore (besides its homebase in Portugal), turns moving vehicles such as cars and buses into live networks that allow people to be online without being dependent on a cellular network. The platform is also capable of using the data it collects to keep track and better manage traffic flows and alternate routes. Veniam’s technology was launched 18 months ago in Porto, where its hardware has been installed onto the public transport system. The company claims that about 73% of the city’s bus riders are using Veniam’s free Wi-Fi. The next market for the company this year is Singapore.

And yet again Singapore is at the forefront.

Anyway. Should parks be open at night?

A couple weeks ago, it was a beautiful summer evening in Milwaukee and some friends and I decided to meet up at our favorite park to toss our light-up frisbee. It was about 9:30pm when we finally gathered, so we spent the next couple hours tossing the disc. We also spent the next couple hours keeping a constant eye out for the police. This is because all the parks in our area “close” at 10pm and it is technically illegal to be in this public space at night.

Singapore embraces new technology the disruption of existing market models - Spain on the other hand:

A month ago, Barcelona City Hall introduced a €1.3 million raft of measures to crack down on owners letting out apartments using sites like Airbnb, but without a license. The authorities set up a website and called on residents to report apartments being rented out illegally. So far, some 500 complaints have been made.

And you wondered why Europe was falling behind?

Mind you it's not just Europe with daft planning rules - here's New Zealand:

Just look at the mess in Auckland where a developer wanting to build housing for 1500 households in an old gravel pit at Three Kings, turning much of it into parks and open spaces, has bought almost a decade’s worth of objections and processes and hearings. How can anybody build anything to scale under those conditions? In the middle of a housing crisis, with daily news stories about the number of children having to live in cars with their parents because there are not enough houses to go round, NIMBY activists block new construction.

This consultation has been going on for eight years - helps explain why Auckland is one of the world's least affordable cities.

It doesn't have to be that way - here's Tokyo as an example:

As FT’s Tokyo bureau chief Robin Harding wrote in the article, the city had 142,417 housing starts in 2014, which was “more than the 83,657 housing permits issued in the state of California (population 38.7m), or the 137,010 houses started in the entire country of England (population 54.3m).” Compare this, also, with the roughly 20,000 new residential units approved annually in New York City, the 23,500 units started in Los Angeles County, and the measly 5,000 homes constructed in 2015 throughout the entire Bay Area.

And this is in a city with no empty land. This is what laissez faire planning policies get you. Take note London.


1 comment:

James Higham said...

Parks closed at night - all for our own good of course. Never know when some crazed frisby maniac will lop your head off, a la Goldfinger's Oddjob.