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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/business/global/hip-cities-that-think-about-how-they-work.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&smid=fb-share The story of young people, full of ambition, energy, skill and talent, moving to enticing cities that call to them like a siren’s song is as old as modern civilization. And in a world where national borders are easier to traverse, where more countries are joining the prosperous global middle class and where the cost of a one-way plane ticket is more affordable, young professionals probably have more cities to choose from than ever before. This survey is not based solely on quality of life, number of trees or the cost of a month’s rent. Instead, we examine some cities that aim to be both smart and well managed, yet have an undeniably hip vibe. Our pick of cities that are, in a phrase, both great and good: Auckland With its beaches, inlets and lush coastal climate, the Kiwi metropolis has always had great natural beauty going for it (and, now, for the first time in 24 years, it is the home to the World Cup Rugby Champions). But we digress. Currently counting 1.5 million residents , the government is projecting the city to hit the two million-mark in just 30 years. The city has recently voted to create a new central core that mixes sustainable housing and mixed-use development. The public transportation system, which includes subways, trams, busses and ferries, is constantly being expanded. Measures to increase the density of the urban landscape, meant to ultimately prevent encroachment on surrounding lands, as well as planting “green carpets” along urban roads demonstrate a keen eye toward creating a greener future. Plus, the city is expanding its free Wi-Fi coverage, according to a city official. Auckland is doing its best to “up their game with urban design,” said Angela Jones, a spokesperson for the city, turning a beautiful but provincial capital into a smart city. Berlin This culture capital combines low rents, a white-hot arts scene, good public transportation and myriad creative types — from media to design to technology — from all over the world. Known as Europe’s largest construction zone for at least 10 of the past 20 years, 4.4-million-strong Berlin has probably changed more in that time than any other large European city. And while the restaurants have become more expensive, the clothes are now more stylish and the D.J.’s have added more attitude, there is still plenty of real city left to be discovered by the thousands of artists and young professionals who move here every year to make this the pulsing center of Germany, the powerhouse of Europe. Besides radical renovations to the government center, main train station and the old Potsdamer Platz, the city recently turned a historic airport in its heart into a vast urban park. A short-term bike-rental system is in place and the old subway system, reunited after the fall of the wall, like the city itself, is as efficient as ever. Besides artists and bohemians looking for the vibe, the city — home to several prestigious universities, research institutes and many a company headquarter — is brimming with smart scientists and savvy businessmen. Barcelona Anyone who has walked down Las Ramblas on a summer evening or has stared at the Sagrada Familia for long enough understands why this city attracts planeloads of tourists. Music, good food, great weather and strong technology and service sectors compete to make this city of 1.6 million a home for all those who want to stay beyond summer break. If all the traditional charms of Barcelona were not enough, an active city government is trying to keep this city smart, too. Under its auspices, photovoltaic solar cells have been installed on many public and private rooftops. Charging stations for electrical cars and scooters have recently been set up around the city, in preparation for the day when residents will be tooling around in their electric vehicles. A biomass processing plant is being built that will use the detritus from city parks to generate heat and electricity, and free Wi-Fi is available at hotspots around the city. Cape Town Wedged between sea and mountain, Cape Town’s natural setting is stunning. Nor does the city — with its colorful neighborhoods, historic sites, and easy charm — disappoint. And while its one of Africa’s top tourist destinations, it also attracts many new residents from around the globe. The local government is trying to lead the growing city of 3.5 million with a more inclusive government and development structure, to overcome the gross inequities of South Africa’s past. Four major universities and many research institutes make Cape Town one of the continent’s bustling research centers. Named the 2014 World Design Capital last month, the city government is encouraging a cluster of design and creative firms in a neighborhood called the Fringe. The 2010 World Cup of soccer was a boon for infrastructure, especially public transportation. A new bus system, with dedicated lanes, has been rolled out in recent years to keep the many suburbs connected and alleviate crushing traffic. Under a program called Smart Cape, libraries and civic centers have computer terminals with free Internet access. Poverty and crime are still issues in Cape Town, but overall quality of life indicators rank the city as one of the best in Africa. Copenhagen Progressive, cozy and very beautiful, the young and the elegant flock to this northern light. Rents might not be as low as in other hip cities, but the social infrastructure in this metropolitan area of 1.9 million cannot be beat. Offering a prosperous blend of art, culture and scene, this highly tolerant city is attracting young professionals lucky enough to work in the center of Danish industry and commerce. A mix of stately old European buildings and modern, green-oriented architecture speaks of a city that treasures the old but loves experimenting with the new. Despite its cool Scandinavian climate, the Danish capital might just be the most bicycle-friendly city in the world. Bike superhighways crisscross the city, and statistics show that more than a third of the city’s inhabitants commute to work or school on their trusty two-wheelers. A metro system was inaugurated in the last decade for those who choose to go without. With sunlight-flooded underground stations and clean, driverless subway cars, the system looks more like a people-mover at an international airport than an urban transport system. Having committed itself to reducing carbon levels by 20 percent before 2015, some of the city’s power is generated by wind. The city has been so successful in cleaning up its once-industrial harbor that it has been able to open three public baths in a harbor waterway. Curitiba, Brazil One of the smartest cities in Latin America, Brazil’s wealthy regional capital attracts many new inhabitants with jobs in service and production sectors, and with the promise a functioning city. The 1.7 million residents have access to a bus-based rapid transport system so good that more than 700,000 commuters use it daily. Buses run on designated lanes that, because of a unique and modern urban design, have right-of-way and preferred access to the city center. A beautiful botanical garden and other city parks, along with other strong environmental measures, keep the air largely clear of pollution, despite Curitiba’s land-locked location. The city strives to be sustainable in other ways, too. According to reports, it recently invested $106 million, or 5 percent, of its budget into its department of environment. The city government makes itself integral in the lives of Curitibans, not just seeking comment and feedback on policies, but also organizing a host of events. “Bike Night” is the latest craze in the active city. Each Tuesday, residents take to their bikes and peddle through the night, accompanied by municipal staff members. Montreal With its hearty French and North American mix, this city of 3.6 million has a real soul thanks to low living costs and long winter evenings. And it is no slouch when it comes to good food, hip culture, well-appointed museums and efficient transportation. With four major universities and plenty of bars, the nightlife in this bilingual city has a well-deserved reputation. Because the winters tend to be long and cold, the city possesses an extensive underground network connecting several downtown malls and a subterranean arts quarter. When spring finally does arrive, and snow is cleared from the many bike paths, the city puts out its 3,000 short-term-rental bicycles, known as Bixi. City-sponsored community gardens are sprouting around town, giving urbanites a chance to flex their green thumb. Montreal is an incredibly active town where festivals celebrating everything from jazz to Formula One dominate the city’s calendar during the summer. Thanks to Mount Royal, a large central park and cemetery that serves as cross-country, snowshoe and ice-skating terrain in the winter and becomes a verdant picnic ground and gathering spot in the summer, Montrealers never have to leave city limits. Santiago A vibrant mix of Latin American culture and European sensibility, this Chilean city is modern, safe and smart. The rapidly growing city of 6.7 million — , which, perhaps surprisingly, was first subject to urban planning mandates in the mid-20th century — is still ahead of others in South America when it comes to urban governance. A law curtailing urban sprawl and protecting the few natural spaces close to the city is exemplary. Beautiful old cultural jewels like the library and fine art museum are dwarfed by serious commercial skyscrapers. The smell of local food, good and inexpensive, brings life even to the streets of its financial district. One of the most extensive public transport systems on the continent whisks more than 2.3 million commuters to and from work or school every day. Because of its high altitude, pollution is a problem — one that the national government is trying to curb with various green initiatives. Short-term bike rentals exist in one of the more active parts of town, and significant city funds have been used to construct bicycle lanes. For a city this modern, however, Santiago has few parks. But the ocean is just a short drive to west and the mountains to the east. Shanghai China’s commercial heart has grown tremendously in the past couple of decades. Attracting young professionals with its jobs and opportunities rather than with museums and hip nightlife, this megacity of 23 million is surprisingly smart. Its top-down urban planning approach is efficient in a city made up of separate 16 districts and one county. City coffers are put to use building enormously ambitious infrastructure, like a deepwater port, tunnels, bridges and roadways. A good indicator for the rapid and deliberate growth of the city is the metro system. First opened in 1995, it is now the world’s longest subway network, according to city officials. Adding a futuristic aspect to the utilitarian system is a Maglev (magnetic levitation) line that connects the airport to the city, and on which the train travels at speeds of up to 431 kilometers, or 268 miles, per hour. But Shanghai’s urban development is also green. The city claims that it put the equivalent of $8 billion into environmental improvement and cleanup, which include sewage treatment systems but also an impressive number of city parks. In addition, Shanghai has made its city government more accessible by running a Web site were residents can find municipal information, and read a blog entitled “mayor’s window.” Vilnius, Lithuania One of the greenest of the former Eastern bloc capitals, Vilnius has a forward-thinking city government. In a recent Internet video that spread virally, the mayor, Arturas Zuokas, is seen crushing a Mercedes parked on a bike path with a tank. Beyond the obvious political theater of the stunt, the city, whose metropolitan area population is 850,000 takes providing good public transportation seriously. A recent study suggested that some 70 percent of the capital’s citizens either walk, bike or take the bus. Vilnius, a verdant city that despite some communist architectural clunkers is charmingly medieval and surprisingly well maintained, boasts an old town that is a Unesco world heritage site. After the fall of the old regime, the city took great pains to retool its waste disposal systems, building a modern landfill in 2005. The capital attracts young professionals, and not just from Eastern Europe, who see in Vilnius a rising star in business and appreciate all that the extensive cultural scene in the little capital has to offer.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/10/travel/justin-trudeau-canada-having-a-moment-feat/ It's been years since the U.S. has looked so lovingly upon its neighbor to the north, Canada. Sure, there were Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics, when Montreal was the center of the world. Sure, Bob and Doug McKenzie invited us to the "Great White North" in 1980 and had a big hit with their song "Take Off." But recently, the country some wags have called "America's Hat" has been more in the news than ever, thanks to its handsome prime minister and our less-than-handsome election campaign. Described by Vogue as "dashing" and "strikingly young and wavy-haired," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reviving the Trudeaumania inspired by his father's entry into politics. Frolicking with pandas and a knack for selfies have only deepened the younger Trudeau's appeal. As the new prime minister launches into his country's first official visit and state dinner in 19 years, here are some reasons why Canada is always in season -- even when it's underneath several feet of snow: A warm welcome Canadian radio DJ Rob Calabrese created the "Cape Breton If Trump Wins" site in late February as a joke. But a few weeks and more than 800,000 clicks later, he says that thousands of his U.S. neighbors are seriously considering a move to Canada if Donald Trump becomes president. Serene Canadian island courts Trump refugees It's actually much harder to immigrate to Canada than simply fleeing north in your packed Prius, but Trudeau has put out the welcome mat. "Cape Breton is lovely all times of the year," Trudeau said. "And if people do want to make choices that perhaps suit their lifestyles better, Canada is always welcoming." Creative exports While Canada has long provided Hollywood with a diverse collection of talent, there's a wide array to admire right now. Rachel McAdams was recently nominated for an Academy Award for her role in best-picture winner "Spotlight," Ryan Reynolds has gained a new following with "Deadpool," and Drake's "Hotline Bling" made a big splash in 2015. Ellen Page, Seth Rogan and television and movie star Michael J. Fox, whose foundation may help unlock the clues to a cure for Parkinson's disease, are also bringing Canada to Hollywood. And we always enjoy the work of that mighty fine Ryan Gosling. Gosling is always having a moment. The redheaded orphan who put Prince Edward Island on the map for young readers may be fictional, but the "Anne of Green Gables" series by Lucy Maude Montgomery has lured generations of tourists to the picturesque island. The author's birthplace is a museum, and the Green Gables Heritage Place features a house like the one Anne occupied. And yes, there are Anne tours. Natural beauty and cultural preservation Americans have the Colorado Rockies and the 59 parks of the National Park Service. But Canadians have incredible, wild protected nature as well. Ask a Canadian, and they'll tell you (politely) that they prefer the Canadian Rockies. We recommend starting with Banff National Park, Canada's oldest national park. For travelers looking for a bit of Old World charm, there's the lovely city of Montreal, where many residents don't mind if your French is terrible. Are you trying? That counts for something. Stay longer and learn how to speak the North American version of French, all the while reading all official government publications and commercial product labeling in both English and French. Bon voyage/enjoy your trip!
Cape Town’s first post-apartheid skyscraper commences construction The Portside project, Cape Town’s first post-apartheid skyscraper, designed by Louis Karol, has commenced construction following planning approval. Designed for Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments (OMIGPI), and located on the old Malgas/Porters/Shell site, opposite the V&A Waterfront entrance, the tower will rise to approximately 148 metres in height. Commanding views on to Table Mountain and Table Bay, Portside will have 24 office floors above a 5-storey hotel and retail component, with parking on five basement levels and eight above ground. The last tall building to be built in Cape Town’s city centre was OMIGPI’s Safmarine House in 1993 – rising to 123 metres and designed also by Louis Karol. Cape Town’s 15 year skyscraper hiatus can be ascribed to a number of factors, including low economic confidence, 9/11 and conservative planning policy. Robert Silke of Louis Karol, said: “We were in negotiations with the City of Cape Town for 18 months and have been grateful for the high levels of co-operation and participation by the city officials in fine tuning the scheme, and who ultimately made positive recommendations to the city councillors. “Until Portside was given consent, it was felt in many quarters that tall buildings were impossible to achieve under the present planning system but events have proven that appropriate, well-designed tall buildings still have a place in our city,” added Silke. OMIGPI’s executive for Property Development, Brent Wiltshire says the Portside development aims to achieve a four-star rating according to the Green Building Council of South Africa’s Green Star rating system. “Tall buildings play an important role in green architecture and their role is three-fold – to promote sustainability, reduce energy use and develop innovative technologies,” says Wiltshire. As part of the focus on safety, lifts can be stopped every third floor to access an emergency exit from within the lift – that is without exiting through the lift doors. Lift studies are being conducted to determine a benchmark for lift waiting times. Completion of this development is scheduled for April 2011. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11435
:: Joey Cape :: Joey Cape has posted his fifth new song of 2010. "Montreal" is the newest chapter of Doesn't Play Well with Others, Cape's new solo album that's being released on a song-per-month schedule. As with previous months, the single features artwork created by Joey's daughter, Violet. http://www.myspace.com/joeycape