The Cloud 9 Architects, Deutsche Welle – euromaxx

Visionary green architecture from Spain – architect Enric Ruiz-Geli is founder of Cloud 9 and is famous for his futuristic designs, versatility and environmentally friendly sustainable buildings. His houses are extremely low in energy consumption.



The Atlas of Economic Complexity: Mapping Paths to Prosperity [PDF, 85 MB] measures the diversity of productive knowledge of 128 countries and demonstrates remarkable predictive value in forecasting how fast countries will grow. Its authors argue that it is 10 times more accurate at predicting growth over a decade than the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. The framework is used to project growth to 2020. 

China (1), India (2) and Thailand (3) top the rankings for per capita growth potential followed by Belarus (4), Moldova (5), Zimbabwe (6), Ukraine (7), Bosnia and Herzegovina (8), Panama (9), and Mexico (10). For these countries, the current level of productive knowledge is unusually high for their level of income which should allow them to catch up faster than other nations. Seven Eastern European countries rank in the top 20 in terms of expected growth in income per capita while only two Latin American countries (Panama and Mexico) are in that group. 

The Atlas identifies eight Sub-Saharan African countries among the Top Ten for expected GDP growth: Uganda (1), Kenya (2), Tanzania (3), Zimbabwe (4), Madagascar (5), Senegal (6), Malawi (7), and Zambia (10). The other Top Ten nations are India (8) and Guatemala (9). Unfortunately, Sub-Saharan African countries also dominate the bottom 10 countries in terms of expected growth per capita.

Meanwhile, several Eastern European countries rank surprisingly high in their Economic Complexity, which is a gauge to measure their productive knowledge. The Atlas ranks the Czech Republic eighth and Slovenia tenth while Hungary and the Slovak Republic appear in the top 20. Other Top Ten ranked countries in economic complexity include Japan (1), Germany (2), Switzerland (3), Sweden (4), Austria (5), Finland (6), Singapore (7), and the United Kingdom (9). 

The United States, at position 13, is not listed among the Top Ten ranking for economic complexity and is ranked 85th for expected GDP growth.

“A country’s competitiveness is driven by the amount of productive knowledge that its people and organizations hold and it is expressed in the variety and complexity of the products it is able to successfully export. Productive knowledge does a remarkable job at explaining why countries are rich or poor and why some catch up and others do not,” says Ricardo Hausmann, report co-author and director of CID. 

“In the short run, countries with natural resource wealth can be rich without much productive knowledge and get access to the world’s knowledge through imports. In the long run, however, wells run dry and mines get depleted, and income sooner or later will reflect the productive knowledge of the economy,” says César Hidalgo, report co-author and director of the Macro Connections group at the MIT Media Lab.

The Atlas of Economic Complexity is the result of a joint research initiative between the Center for International Development at Harvard University and the Macro Connections group at the MIT Media Lab. [Press release]

From the study:

The amount of knowledge embedded in a society, however, does not depend mainly on how much knowledge each individual holds. It depends, instead, on the diversity of knowledge across individuals and on their ability to combine this knowledge, and make use of it, through complex webs of interaction.

Ultimately, the complexity of an economy is related to the multiplicity of useful knowledge embedded in it. For a complex society to exist, and to sustain itself, people who know about design, marketing, finance, technology, human resource management, operations and trade law must be able to interact and combine their knowledge to make products. These same products cannot be made in societies that are missing parts of this capability set. Economic complexity, therefore, is expressed in the composition of a country’s productive output and reflects the structures that emerge to hold and combine knowledge.

Clearly, more complex economies have better institutions, more educated workers and more competitive environments, so these approaches are not completely at odds with each other or with ours. In fact, institutions, education, competitiveness and economic complexity emphasize different aspects of the same intricate reality. It is not clear, however, that these different approaches have the same ability to capture factors that are verifiably important for growth and development.

And from the New York Times explanation from May, before the study was released:

Economies that export many types of products are more likely to be sophisticated; products exported only by sophisticated economies are more likely to be complex. Sophistication and wealth do not always go hand in hand. China and India are more complex than their incomes would suggest; Libya’s economy is richer than you would expect but also simpler. When economies are relatively sophisticated but relatively poor, they often have the potential for quick growth, as we have seen in China and India.

More excerpts, graphs, country pages, and comparison between Ghana and Thailand follow.

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LA/2B: How Does Los Angeles Move?, GOOD, LA/2B

The Los Angeles Departments of City Planning (LA DCP), the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LA DOT) and GOOD/Corps, an affiliate of GOOD, have teamed up for LA/2B, a new initiative putting street use and alternative transit back in the creative imagination of Angelenos. It’s an opportunity for the Los Angeles community to weigh in on the mobility issues that affect our daily lives and offer sound solutions for the future.

Curious about how L.A.’s commuting behavior compares to other cities? Take a look to learn more about the city’s unique transportation landscape. And if you have any ideas for how to transform Los Angeles transportation, join the conversation here and become part of LA/2B.

Seoul Metro

Urban Rail: Seoul Metropolitan City Government
Wide-area Rail: Korea Rail Network Authority, Korail Airport Railroad

Seoul, South Korea
Incheon, Gyeonggi-do, Chungcheongnam-do, Gangwon-do

Transit type
Rapid transit, Commuter rail

Number of lines
16, including 9 urban rail lines in Seoul

Number of stations
328 only including lines operated by Seoul Metro,SMRT,Metro 9

Daily ridership
6.7 millions (2010)

Began operation

Urban Rail: Seoul Metro, SMRT, Metro 9, Incheon Subway
Wide-area Rail: Korail, Korail Airport Railroad

System length
897.9 km (557.9 mi)
including 317km (196.8 mi) of urban rail lines in Seoul

Track gauge
1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)


Miniatur Wunderland

…is a model railway attraction in Hamburg, Germany and the largest of its kind in the world. As of January 2011, the railway consists of 12,000 metres (39,370 ft) of track in HO scale, divided into seven sections: Harz, the fictitious city of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, and Switzerland. Of the 6,400 square metres (68,889 sq ft) of floorspace, the model takes 1,150 m2 (12,378 sq ft).

By 2020, the exhibit is expected to have reached its final construction phase, including at least a total of ten sections in a model area of over 2,300 m2 (24,757 sq ft). The next section covering an airport opened in May 2011. The exhibit includes 890 trains made up of over 11,000 carriages, 300,000 lights, 215,000 trees, and 200,000 human figurines. The creators will work on models of Italy and France now that the airport section is completed.

The construction of the first part started in December 2000 and the first three parts were completed in August 2001. The project was created by two brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun. Wikipedia


Greater Tokyo Train Map
Rail is the primary mode of transport in Tokyo. Tokyo has the most 
extensive urban railway network and the most used in the world with 
40 million passengers in the metro area daily. There are 882 interconnected rail 
stations in the Tokyo Metropolis, 282 of which are Subway stations, with 
several hundred more in each of the 3 surrounding suburban prefectures. 
There are 30 operators running 121 passenger rail lines (102 serving Tokyo 
and 19 more serving Greater Tokyo but not Tokyo's city center itself), 
excluding about 12 cable cars. Despite this vastness, the network is still 
being expanded, albeit with more service upgrades and fewer new lines. 

Most lines in Tokyo are privately owned and operated, though the Toei 
Subway is run directly by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Metro 
is owned indirectly by the Tokyo and national governments. Rail and subway 
lines are highly integrated and dense; commuter trains from the suburbs 
continue directly into the subway network on many lines, often emerging on 
the other side of the city to serve another company's surface commuter 
line. Shinjuku Station is the busiest train station in the world by 
passenger throughput. Trains are often extremely crowded at peak travel 
times, with people being pushed into trains by so-called oshiya 

It is estimated some 20 million people use rail as their primary means of 
transport (not trips) in the metropolitan area daily. In comparison, the 
entire country of Germany, with the highest per-capita railway use in 
Europe, has 10 million daily train riders.

Busiest stations
Passengers carried in Greater Tokyo stations daily (2007):
Shinjuku Station 	3.64 million
Ikebukuro Station 	2.71 million
Shibuya Station 	2.18 million
Yokohama Station 	2.09 million
Tokyo Station 		1.12 million
Shinagawa Station 	0.91 million
Takadanobaba Station 	0.90 million
Shimbashi Station 	0.85 million

Ridership (2007)
Transfers between operators are not counted unless they pass through a 
ticketing gate (not simply a platform).
Operator	                Annual ridership (millions)
East Japan Railway Company	5,459.000
Tokyo Metro			2,321.770
Tōbu Railway			877.683
Tōkyū Corporation		1,065.439
Toei Subway			1,705.959
Odakyū Electric Railway		717.211
Seibu Railway			628.781
Keio Corporation		637.180
Keihin Electric Express Railway	444.157
Keisei Electric Railway		258.505
Sagami Railway			230.889
Total				14,346.574


Global Economic Power Index: The 25 Most Economically Powerful Cities in the World, The Atlantic

1. Tokyo, 2. New York City, 3. London, 4. Chicago, 5. Paris, 6. Boston, 7. Hong Kong, 8. Osaka, 9/10. Washington, D.C., 9/10. Seoul, 11. Sydney, 12. Toronto, 13. Beijing, 14. Madrid, 15. Sao Paolo, 16. Mexico City, 17/18. Melbourne, 17/18. Singapore, 19. Montreal, 20. Vancouver, 21/22. Vienna, 21/22. Shangahi, 23. Buenos Aires, 24/25. Stockholm, 24/25. Dublin.

No US cities on the west coast or in the south made the list. Only Paris, Madrid, Vienna, and Stockholm made the list from Europe. Bit surprised a German city didn’t make it, though their most popular city, Berlin, is still dragging behind economically. Japan still doing quite well despite a 15 year economic decline, though the population size and importance of those cities within Japan plays a role in why they’re more powerful than much smaller cities on the list (over 30 million in the greater Tokyo metro area compared to London metro area’s nearly 13 million). Canada and Australia cities doing quite well considering their smaller populations.

EuroVelo: Discover Europe by Bike

EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, is a project of the European Cyclists’ Federation to develop 13 long-distance cycle routes crossing Europe. The total length is 60,000 km (37,282 mi), of which more than 44,000 km (27,340 mi) are in place.

EuroVelo routes are intended for bicycle touring across the continent, though they are also used locally. The routes are made of both existing bike paths and roads together with proposed and planned cycle routes to connect them. All the routes are unfinished.

The aim of EuroVelo is to encourage people to try cycling instead of driving. Although some will cycle across the continent, most journeys will be local.

Development is by national, regional and local governments and NGOs in all European countries. The international status helps in funds and political support for construction. Only routes approved by the EuroVelo route coordinator can call themselves EuroVelo.

For a route to be part of EuroVelo it must:

  • have no gradient above 6%
  • be wide enough for two cyclists
  • have an average of no more than 1,000 motorised vehicles a day
  • be sealed for 80% of its length
  • be open 365 days a year, have provision points every 30 km (19 mi), accommodation every 50 km (31 mi), and public transport every 150 km (93 mi). 



Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy – making a great city greener

The strategy aims to:

  • adapt our city to climate change
  • mitigate the urban heat island effect by bringing our inner city temperatures down
  • create healthier ecosystems
  • become a water sensitive city
  • engage and involving the community.

We will achieve this by:

  1. Increasing canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent by 2040.
  2. Increasing forest diversity with no more than five per cent of one tree species, no more than ten per cent of one genus and no more than 20 per cent of any one family.
  3. Improving vegetation health
  4. Improving soil moisture
  5. Improving biodiversity
  6. Informing and consulting with the community.


“Turkey – Wind power”, Deutsche Welle

The Turkish economy is growing fast, and that means electricity consumption is rising and is in increasingly short supply. Turkey wants to boost the share of power generated by the wind to help solve the problem. The first wind farm in the country went into operation in 2007, on the Gallipoli peninsula.

By the end of last year, Turkish wind farms had the capacity to generate 1.3 gigawatts of electricity; that’s enough to power a city with a population of a million.

BMW i8

Visit and find out more about BMW i.
We just unveiled the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept — What do you think? BMW i stands for visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability. With BMW i the BMW Group is adopting an all-embracing approach, redefining the understanding of personal mobility with purpose-built vehicle concepts, a focus on sustainability throughout the value chain and a range of complementary mobility services.

Part 2

BMW i3 and i8 Teaser

Solar Roadways

Our long range goal is to cover all concrete and asphalt surfaces that are exposed to the sun with Solar Road Panels. This will lead to the end of our dependency on fossil fuels of any kind.

We’re aware that this won’t happen overnight. We’ll need to start off small: driveways, bike paths, patios, sidewalks, parking lots, playgrounds, etc. This is where we’ll learn our lessons and perfect our system. Once the lessons have been learned and the bugs have all been resolved, we’ll plan to move out onto public roads.

Imagine one major fast-food chain retrofitting their parking lots across the nation: an all-electric vehicle (EV) could now recharge in those parking lots when needed. This removes the range limitation for EVs (eliminating their need to be recharged at home every night) and makes them far more practical. People would be more likely to trade in their internal-combustion engine vehicles for all-electric vehicles.

After the Solar Roadways technology is proven in parking lots, then the next logical step would be residential roads, where speeds are slower than highways and trucks are not as common.

The final goal should be the nation’s highways. We’re already investigating using mutual inductance to charge EVs traveling over the Solar Road Panels. While it may not (although we don’t know this yet) provide enough electricity to completely charge the EV in motion, it would certainly extend its range.

Another video, put together by Yert.

General Motors EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) is a 2-seat urban electric concept car jointly developed by Segway and General Motors that can be driven normally or operated autonomously, designed for urban environments.

The most significant feature of the vehicles is autonomous operation. The EN-V can detect and avoid obstacles – including other vehicles – park themselves and come to you when called by phone.

Accomplished through a combination of GPS, vehicle-based sensors, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, this autonomous technology is an extrapolation of that found in GM’s 2007 autonomous “The Boss” Chevrolet Tahoe created for the DARPA Grand Challenge (2007).

The EN-Vs can communicate with each other allowing platooning, with one or more EN-Vs tagging along automatically behind a leader. Also, if an EN-V detects another in close proximity, it can check what that other is intending to do and agree on how to pass it safely.

Shanghai concept
Powered by two electric motors, one on each wheel, and a lithium-ion phosphate battery, the EN-V has a top speed of 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph) and a maximum all-electric range of 40 kilometres (25 mi). The sensors and communications equipment which allow it to drive itself include short-range radio and GPS, as well as optical sensors, ultrasonic sensors and doppler radars. The two-wheeled balancing system the EN-V uses was developed by Segway, and it may be an extrapolation of that found in the P.U.M.A. prototype announced by GM and Segway in 2009.

XiaoXiao (笑), or laugh, was designed in Australia by the GM Holden Design Studio. Its design is intended to appear friendly.

Xiao Dimensions: 1,540 mm (L) × 1,420 mm (W) × 1,770 mm (H) (60.5 in × 56 in × 69.5 in)




Miao (妙), or magic, was designed at the General Motors Advanced Design Studio in California. Miao’s design is mysterious and high-tech.

Miao Dimensions: 1,520 mm (L) × 1,405 mm (W) × 1,635 mm (H) (60 in × 55 in × 64.5 in)


Jiao (骄), or pride, was designed at GM Europe and takes design cues from bullet trains and Chinese opera masks. Its design is supposed to be chic and stylish.

Jiao Dimensions: 1,500 mm (L) × 1,425 mm (W) × 1,640 mm (H) (59 in × 56 in × 64.5 in)

Chevy EN-VChevrolet EN-V concept
In October 2011 General Motors announced its decision to develop a second concept EN-V under the Chevrolet badge for use in field testing and demonstration programs in several cities around the world, beginning in Tianjin, China. The Chevrolet EN-V concept will add new features such as climate control, personal storage space and all-weather and road condition operation while several key elements of the original EN-V will be preserved, such as the small footprint, maneuverability, its battery electric propulsion, connectivity, and autonomous driving capabilities.

Wikipedia, GM Press Release 1GM Press Release 2

Global Expansion of High-Speed Rail Gains Steam, Worldwatch Institute

By 2014, high-speed trains will be operating in nearly 24 countries, including China, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United States, up from only 14 countries today. The increase in HSR is due largely to its reliability and ability to cover vast geographic distances in a short time, to investments aimed at connecting once-isolated regions, and to the diminishing appeal of air travel, which is becoming more cumbersome because of security concerns.

“The rise in HSR has been very rapid,” said Worldwatch Senior Researcher Michael Renner, who conducted the research. “In just three years, between January 2008 and January 2011, the operational fleet grew from 1,737 high-speed trainsets worldwide to 2,517. Two-thirds of this fleet is found in just five countries: France, China, Japan, Germany, and Spain. By 2014, the global fleet is expected to total more than 3,700 units.”

Not only is HSR reliable, but it also can be more friendly than cars or airplanes. A 2006 comparison of greenhouse gas emissions by travel mode, released by the Center for Neighborhood Technologies, found that HSR lines in Europe and Japan released 30-70 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger-kilometer, versus 150 grams for automobiles and 170 grams for airplanes.

Intercity rail in Japan accounts for 18 percent of total domestic passenger-kilometers by all travel modes—-compared with just 5 to 8 percent in major European countries and less than 1 percent in the United States.

Full report (requires subscription)