• The periphery of Paris has generally been viewed as, well, peripheral, with the city’s extraordinary monuments huddled at the center. But the newly renovated Tour Bois-le-Prêtre has added a landmark in the 17th arrondissement. Instead of replacing the aging housing block, which opened in 1961, a local architecture team—Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton, and Jean-Philippe Vassal—revamped the structure in an example of urban retrofitting, a topic we’ve explored on Lab | Log.
• For good measure, and because we couldn’t resist, here’s a lovely time-lapse from the City of Light.
• The MTA is shedding light on underground art. Their new app offers information about artwork in New York City’s subway stations. Catch a Sol LeWitt at Columbus Circle, a Roy Lichtenstein in Times Square, and more.
• Are people who live in cities meaner? As Salon reported this week, research shows that urban dwellers may be as self-centered as they’re rumored to be. This is in part due to the “Bystander Effect,” which means that we’re less likely to stop and help a stranger in need if others don’t stop either. Other contributing factors include the speed at which we walk and our city’s overall economy.
• When it comes to our commutes, the shorter the better. In another study on happiness, the Huffington Post points out that commuting can decrease the time we set aside for family and friends. According to Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, with every ten minutes of commuting, we lose ten percent of our social connections.
• Best person to ask for directions in New York City? It might just be Matt Green, who has set out to walk every street in all five boroughs, mapping his progress along the way. This totals about 8,000 miles and will take more than two years to complete. This comes on the heels of Green’s walk across the United States, which took five months and three pairs of Timberland Chocorua Trail boots.
• There are 800 million nonresidential parking spaces in the United States, covering an area larger than Puerto Rico. Eran Ben-Joseph, professor of urban planning at MIT and author of Rethinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking, argues that parking lots have the potential to become significant public spaces. In his own words, “What can a parking lot be?”
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