From The Vancouver Sun:

A 30-foot-long lunch table that pops up in the middle of a street just long enough for office workers to eat lunch is the newest idea for creating impromptu meeting places in Vancouver.

Starting in July and running once a week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, volunteers will close a downtown city street, erect the table and put out chairs. For two hours, anyone can come down and brown-bag it at the Lunch Meet event. The city is also looking at encouraging street food vendors to set up near by.

And then, just as fast as it is put up, the whole thing will be taken down and the road opened to vehicle traffic again.

The idea is the newest project of Viva Vancouver, a $390,000 city-sponsored program that is behind a number of other summertime street closures and public-space activations.

The project is being done in partnership with the Vancouver Public Spaces Network and will only run for the month of July. But other street activations, including a complete closure of Robson Street between Hornby and Howe will run the entire summer.

On Tuesday city council was notified Viva Vancouver will set up 10 projects, some of which will be roving events while others will be semi-permanent installations on side streets.

Starting June 23 and running until Labour Day, the Granville Mall will be closed to vehicles every Saturday and Sunday. The Robson Street closure covers the same period, and starts with the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in its new downtown home.

Additionally, the city plans to create a few more “parklets” similar to its Parallel Park installation¬†on West 14th Avenue at Main Street.

The Lunch Meet table was made last year by students in the CityStudio Vancouver program from a fir tree that fell in Killarney Park. The table, which is in three sections, has been used for other public events including as “a centrepiece of dialogue” for community information around the city’s Greenest City Action Plan.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Vancouver Sun)

From Grist:

The AAA states that the average yearly cost of maintaining a car is $8,500, a lot of money for a possession that, on average, sits idle for 23 hours of the day. For many members of Gen Y, that sort of cost is untenable. Some 15.2 percent of 20-24 year olds are unemployed, and many more are desperately trying to pay back student loan debt while working low-wage service jobs. So it’s not surprising that the younger generation are doing as I did and abandoning the car in favor of an agile, mobile, smartphone-enabled life.

In an article for the New Statesman, Andrew Pendleton examines the phenomenon of “peak car” in England, citing a report [PDF] that showed that between 1992 and 2007, the proportion of 21-29 year olds with drivers licenses dropped from 75 percent to 66 percent. Pendelton writes, “Young people aren’t simply swapping cars for buses or bikes; they are choosing to own and use other technology instead, such as smartphones and tablet computers.” A survey of smartphone usage habits by college students in Colorado indicates similar trends stateside. Expect this trend to spread to those of us in our thirties and forties as solutions like ZipCar make it easier to maintain a household without owning a car.

For the price of a regular checkup and a couple months of insurance, you can get a smartphone, a transit card, and a decent bike and ditch the headaches and the endless money drain that come with even a hybrid.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Nokton)