OpenCity Weekly Review

Here’s our weekly review rounding up the best stories and ideas in public space from cities around the world. This week we bring you a fake sun over London’s Trafalgar Square, San Francisco’s e-bike sharing experiment, the business case for beautiful libraries, and an underground video tour of Hong Kong’s subway expansion.

  • Winter Sun Over Trafalgar Square
  • Winter can get a bit depressing, what with the lack of light and all. It’s hard to wake up in the morning and go to work in the dark, then come home from work in the dark. So on the darkest day of the year, an artist collective named Greyworld, with backing from orange juice maker Tropicana, created a glowing fake sun hoisted in the air at Trafalgar Square for one day. Sunscreen, not required. (via The Pop-up City)
  • San Francisco Will Pioneer Electric Bike Sharing
  • As the proliferation and popularity of car-sharing services shows, we are beginning to leave behind the age of car ownership–at least in dense urban centres. Then came bike-sharing services like Montreal’s Bixi, which has expanded to cities all over North America. Now, San Francisco is trying it’s hand at electric bike sharing, adding e-bikes to stations around town. Leave it to the city of massive, rolling hills to be the first to attempt to leave manual peddling behind. (via Good)
  • The Business Case for Beautiful Libraries
  • For centuries we have housed our books in some of our most impressive architectural structures, but in these trying times of economic austerity, many libraries are facing dramatic cuts. Now, a new study shows that libraries offer large economic benefits to their cities, while their often stunning architecture breathes life and excitement into the urban environment. (via The Globe and Mail)
  • Minding the Gap as the City Expands
  • When we ride the subway, it’s hard to imagine how anything so large could ever have possibly been built underneath the streets. In this video, we get a firsthand tour of the massive construction under the streets of Hong Kong as that city expands its subway system beneath one of the densest cities in the world. (via CNN)

photo of the Rem Koolhaus designed Seattle Public Library by Theodore Scott from Flickr (cc)

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