Posts Tagged: urbanism



Yurikamome AGT, Tokyo – Coordinated Urbanism

Yurikamome - 15km elevated AGT system - in Tokyo. Notice how the transit line blends into the surrounding urban fabric - almost making it appear invisible.

Elevated infrastructure can elicit different responses and reactions from cities and communities. Some find a gap in the underutilized spaces below a structure (such as with the boxing ring built under the Sao Paulo highway) while others enjoy the convenience of well-planned, multi-layered cities. For the latter let us turn to Japan.

The Yurikamome (aka Black Headed Seagull) is a 15km elevated AGT line built in the Odaiba and Shiodome districts of Tokyo, Japan. The districts are home to several important commercial, residential and touristed-oriented building and considered one of the most modern areas in the city. (In fact, Obaida was first redeveloped in the 1990s as part of a showcase of futuristic living.) Today, the districts have some of the most visually stunning mixtures of architecture, urban design and transit planning in the world. Check it out:

Obaida, Tokyo in Japan.

Shiodome, Tokyo in Japan

For more photos, click here and here

The built form is immaculate and in some ways, rather surreal — as though it was plucked straight out of a science fiction film. The Yurikamome’s design is no different and in my opinion, the elevated transit infrastructure and stations are some of the most beautiful examples of above grade transport in the world.

Elevated station, tracks and train. Notice how the different layers of transport connections are all melded together making multi-modalism simple and easy.

The Yurikamome is a vital piece of rapid transit in Shiodome and Obaida.

Station interior within Yurikamome. Bright lighting and platform doors ensure safety for passengers.

It is incredible how the stations and tracks all appear to be seamlessly integrated and blend into the existing urban fabric. This serves as solid evidence for elevated infrastructure, that if planned and designed properly, can be built to enhance the cityscape. As with the case of gondolas, successful elevated system designs can provide strategies and best practices that will guide future city-builders as they continue to create and construct urban transit solutions.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.



Boxing and Highway Viaducts – Ad-Hoc Urbanism

An underground boxing ring in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A unique human layer that brings into perspective the beauty (and tragedy) that sometimes exist in many developing cities. Image by Nacho Doce.

In the past, we’ve discussed the implications of creating aesthetically-pleasing elevated infrastructure (recall the Ranstadrail and Most Beautiful Elevated Transport Infrastructure). While these examples exemplify the capabilities of planned transit infrastructure, I believe informal uses (and their spinoff effects) may deserve a little more attention.

One of the most inspiring case studies that I’ve come across is Sao Paulo’s underground boxing gym, located beneath the Alcantara Machado viaduct. This training academy was started by a former boxer, Nilson Garrido, as an attempt to help disadvantaged youth. Although Garrido’s pupils train with rudimentary equipment (tires, rocks, plastic containers), their dedication to the sport and their tenacity appears relentless.

Training facility located adjacent to highway overpass in Sao Paulo. Image by Nacho Doce.

I think this type of ad-hoc urbanism is a testament to human ingenuity and adaptability — one that is often unaccounted for and ignored by modern North American city-building principles. In other words, it begs the question: How many unique uses of urban space are lost when planners and decision-makers are confined to stagnant and outdated zoning laws?

For more photos, click here.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.