For example instead of brutalist bollards and jersey barriers, pedestrian ways could be set aside via grade elevation or attractive, gapped structures that invite walking instead of looking threatening. Water plants could have "water temples" again.
It seems like some theory that doing anything beyond the functional minimum is a waste of the taxpayer's money. But isn't a crude structure also a tax on the psyche?
In general, at least in Northern Europe, we have beautiful well kept and functioning cities, libraries and I think it's some kind pride or attitude in the culture, that while things are necessary, they can be also be beautiful, it doesn't necessarily have to cost more.
Yes. Art and beauty happen where private money is funding the construction. There are some great corporate buildings, private houses and churches. But public structures, things funded by governments spending tax dollars, lack heart. Compare US manhole covers to those in Japan, or even Germany. The cost difference is negligible, but US cities just lack the whimsy. Or compare US coinage to Canadian. American money is covered in symbols, crests and dead guys. Canada went with polar bears, beavers and loons.
Maybe America is not to your taste.
American architecture is certainly not the center of brutalism.
I have no idea what you are alluding to. Can you name a city you would consider aesthetically bankrupt so I can understand what you’re refer maxing?
At least not necessarily.
1) you’re in the wrong neighborhoods
2) you have bad taste
3) there is no good street art in Chicago
... I don’t think #3 is the most likely.
It’s also unfair to compare the the nicest parts of Amsterdam with the worst parts of SF, just as it’s unfair to compare the nicest parts of Boston with the worst of Mumbai. What America is full of is natural beauty, but generally outside of the cities. From sweeping desserts to warm beaches and deep forests, they have it all, and it really is beautiful. Northern Europe is lovely too, but it’s also small, far from densely populated, and homogenous. America is vast and varied, and if we’re talking about the whole continent it has everything from glaciers to rainforests.
America is pretty young and grew a ton in the past century, so there's still a ton of 50's era mass-produced architecture and car-centric civic designs. They're not old enough to need replacing yet. I don't think those will stand the test of time, but there's still some gems in there that I hope to see persist. I think we just need more time for the cities to evolve.
No, I don’t think that’s the cause.
The cause is that we are in a period of financial intermediation. Every sip of coffee, every home construction, every dentists office needs to be a financial instrument, easily tracked so that the markets can be made.
Essentially: as long as every endeavor is a private money-making endeavor, we can only do one thing at a time.
How would you even do the accounting on some sort of pedestrian walkway that both covered your liability and provided a public right of way? That’s some sort of public/private partnership... how would you short something like that?
Integrated systems are not amenable to finance so we have to wait.
In a few years we might have software that could efficiently underwrite multi-purpose projects like that, but it’s just not possible on today’s markets.
Bollards (wide gap structures) are not for protecting pedestrians. They are very dangerous for fast-moving vehicles. Bollards are to stop slow stuff like cars trying to park. They are for keeping drivers from driving into defined areas, not for shielding pedestrians from car accidents. Bollards are placed to stop cars entering city parks, not between a sidewalk and the highway.
For example, bollards stopped the vehicle from the 2007 Glasgow Airport attack from entering the terminal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Glasgow_Airport_attack
The point is that if people are going to insinuate that bollards are not intended for protecting pedestrians, there had better be some evidence to the contrary. (They may not actually do so in the same way that guardrails don't actually help, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/13/business/highway-guardrai...)
I think you're making two separate distinctions here. Bollards are not appropriate as a first defense on motorways because they present a great risk to motorists. Bollards are however often built to shield pedestrians from car accidents (and other situations where cars enter pedestrian space inappropriately, like ram raids and vehicular terror attacks), they're just not good for protecting motorists when they do so. The most common bollards in major American and Canadian cities are explicitly specified and built to protect against fast-moving vehicles of a certain weight and center of gravity).
More rotation after impact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3DC-Ryx7RA
And more rotation->roll->stop off the road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY7xo61drg4
At the 2010 winter olympics a luge slider also illustrated this as he left the track and hit a series of uprights/bollards. He died, his body landing outside the track. Anyone standing there could have also been killed.
Modern traffic safety is about keeping cars away from pedestrians during a crash. Smooth barriers without gaps keep the crashing vehicle on the road. Many are designed to redirect front wheels, literally stearing the vehicle back into the road and away from people. The goal is to slow everything gradually while keeping the crashing vehicle away from pedestrians. Barriers are even tied together in a big chain so that they can gain strength from each other, allowing very small/low barriers to redirect enormous vehicles. They might not look pretty, but they work.
A little background about issues involved: if you have a noise source on (or just above) the ground, and a receiver on (or just above) the ground with line-of-sight to one another, there are three paths that noise can take from the source to the receiver:
1. The source can emit sound that goes up into the atmosphere, but under certain atmospheric conditions, that sound can be reflected back down to the receiver.
2. The sound travels directly, in straight line, between the source and receiver.
3. The source emits sound that travels downward at a shallow angle into the ground, and is reflected up to the receiver.
For path #3, if the ground is acoustically "hard" (generally meaning non-porous), the reflected ground path adds to the noise heard at the receiver. If the sound is acoustically "soft", generally porous, the sound is absorbed  so the reflected sound does not add to the direct sound, and the resulting total noise is quieter compared to the situation with hard ground. This explains the reduction in sound level when the land was plowed - the hard ground (dense, packed soil) was transformed into soft ground (loose, tilled soil). This also explains why background noise levels drop when snow is on the ground.
It looks like the Schiphol landscaping addresses mostly #3, possibly #2 (by blocking direct LOS between the source and receiver). This is interesting, but the same can also be achieved by a noise wall at the airport taxi and run-up areas (which is the typical solution), or creating a wide, dense tree belt. The claim is that spacing the berms by the wavelength of the (presumably dominant) airport frequency creates greater reduction, but I'd really like to view technical data to see how well that works.
The articles claims the berms have "reduced noise levels by more than half" - is that in terms of sound pressure, sound power, or sound perception?
If sound perception, that's ~10 dB and that's really impressive.
If sound power, that's around 6 dB, which is decent.
If sound pressure, that's 3 dB, which is strictly in the "meh" category.
 Technically the sound isn't absorbed, it goes through a phase change so that the reflected sound cancels out part of the direct sound.
So, it is basically a lake bed that was drained and then stuff built on it. This means it lacks a lot of the usual natural baffles of irregular ground and various types of plant growth.
They are basically creating baffles on, apparently, previously essentially flat terrain with little to no natural baffles.
I'm thinking given that context, it wouldn't take much to make a dramatic difference.
It might work like a Bragg Grating: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiber_Bragg_grating
Later in the article they mention including more measures from the airlines' planes and operating procedures to achieve a total of a 10db reduction, which gets rid of 90% of the energy and people will say "Oh yeah, that's about half as loud."
I am very polite on the phone, but if you choose to retire beside an AIRBASE! Our helicopters have been flying over your house decades before it was ever a house. Sue your real estate agent for not telling you exactly why zoning limits your neighbourhood to two-story non-commercial structures.
The problem with that position, at least in the UK, is that the social contract between the airport operator and the local residents was never revisited.
Most of the UK's airports and airbases date from the 1920s and 30s and are named after the nearest postal village, which are centuries old.
But a Dragon Rapide or a Bristol Bulldog from that period had a very small noise profile. When the big-props and the jets arrived the noise levels increased hugely, but the residents weren't given any concession. Society was required to adapt to the new noise and pollution levels in the name of progress.
And now the operators have the audacity to complain about local residents complaining. If you really want to operate 24/7 in a drone-free environment, go and build an offshore island airport.
There is a common joke in air forces, at least western air forces: Plane to loud? Did you see a red star on it? You're welcome.
Who knows what they are speaking of, it's a very poorly written article.
> The distance between the ridges are roughly equivalent to the wavelength of the airport noise, which is about 36 feet.
The airport noise is broadband noise, it doesn't have a definite wavelength. 36 feet means a frequency of 31Hz. 31Hz is not even the dominant frequency...
There are in fact at least two listening ears, a few hundreds of meters apart, but they’re not exactly opposite each other so they don’t communicate. Also we never realized the meaning of that weird pond haha.
It’s relatively new, it was built between 2011 and 2013.
It's also why we have an enormous offering of car brands and models none of which are produced domestically. It's a good market to try new stuff in.
Humorously, the quote is from an article critical of The Netherlands:
The world seems to largely forget that the Dutch had a major empire at one time. I'm not quite sure why that is. But I think you wouldn't make a comment like this about, say, Great Britain. We read stuff about the US and UK all the time and take it as a given. No one is surprised to read the umpteenth American or British piece.
How The Netherlands manages to be such a powerhouse and seemingly go largely unrecognized as such strikes me as an intriguing question in its own right.
I've had to spend quite a bit of time at the airport unfortunately (say 6 hours each time) and it felt almost like Chinese water torture. I could hear it for the next day after leaving the airport.
I find it very hostile.
If you leave from the D pier, for instance, enjoy a coffee at the restaurant halfway down until 30 mins before your flight departs. Then walk to your gate, getting there just in time to stand near the front of the queue for your boarding group.
(I had three years of travelling Schiphol to London each week, and now do it roughly monthly...)
I'll keep this in mind for next time.
Changing the color of the landscape might also have a small effect on how the area heats up on sunlight and so how often unusual sound propagation develops. silly...
Next time you're at a park with a skatepark, I bet you'll see it's packed, and generally there is a totally disused baseball diamond next to it.
Anyway, the point is that you're building it anyway and it looks super skate/bikeable because it's just a bunch of ridges. Add a few more obstacles and bam, awesome skatepark.
If they can achieve that goal, it sounds very good .
Great, now we can increase air traffic by a factor of two! /s