National Museum of Natural History- This Washington D.C. Smithsonian Institution museum houses millions of natural science specimens along with cultural artifacts. In the museum’s O. Orkin Insect Zoo, visitors can observe live insects and watch tarantula feedings. The museum offers downloadable lesson plans and in-depth guides on exhibit topics.
National Postal Museum- Located in Washington D.C., this Smithsonian Institution museum gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the postal service. Along with interactive exhibits, the museum displays the largest stamp collection in the world.
Newseum- This unique Washington D.C. museum offers 250,000 square feet of news history spanning five centuries. With fifteen major galleries of interactive exhibits, the museum seeks to educate visitors on the value of the free press.
The context of municipal governance and the system in which Lerner worked were important to his ability to implement innovative ideas. During two of his three terms as mayor, Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship. The state was highly centralized and Lerner was appointed by a strong central government. Innovative urban development strategies were possible due to the institutional structure present in Brazil at that time. Lerner had overall responsibility for transport and land use development that was inclusive of zoning, building codes, public space, and park development. This responsibility extended to social development in areas of education, childcare, favela (slum) improvement, and healthcare (Instituto de Pesquisa Planejamento Urbano de Curitiba, quoted in Tadamun, 2014). Lerner also had discretion in policy making, administering, and financing. This provided a holistic context for him to make and implement decisions.
Lerner tackled the city’s problems by giving due weight to the citizens’ preferences, and to the quality of life and habitability. These had largely been ignored or given a low priority during previous administrations. Lerner’s success stemmed from an effective mix of leadership, innovation, and institutions. The result was job creation, accessible public transport, housing development, and improvement in waste management. The ensuing TOD accentuated the significance of consolidating urban uses around transport corridors. Curitiba is now recognized as the most successful example of TOD (WRI, 2014). This success is evidenced by data: from 1975 to 1995, Curitiba’s GDP increased 75 percent more than that of the total state of Parana, and 48 percent more than that of the country as a whole. The interventions during these decades transformed the city into a location that attracted multinational industries, including automotive manufacturing and information technology (WRI, 2014).
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That leadership instigated from the bottom up is crucial is demonstrated in the Chicago Adopt-a-Station Project, which is a partnership of community organizations, local businesses, and individuals. The partnership adopts a station and is involved in developing it to reflect the history and diversity of the community it is serving (Village Well, 2006). The result has been a high-quality place developed as an iconic ‘gateway’ to the locality (Village Well, 2006).
Platform for Art is a public art program on the London Underground. The permanent installations and changing exhibitions are coordinated through community engagement. Schoolchildren, youth ethnic groups, the elderly, and community artists in theater, the visual arts, and music are encouraged to participate. The program works closely with the local community. This is evidenced in the way in which the curated exhibitions become intercultural expressions, especially of marginalized groups (Village Well, 2006).
These programs, by being inclusive, ensure that citizens have a stake in their environment, consequently ensuring their success. Citizens, for their part, benefit directly from the programs. Research from the US shows that residents in neighborhoods around transit hubs spend 16 percent less on transportation, and the value of these neighborhoods increases by as much as 50 percent compared with locations away from transit stops (City of Winnipeg, 2012, p. 8). TOD housing generates 50 percent less traffic and can reduce new infrastructure costs by up to 25 percent through more compact and infill development (City of Winnipeg, 2012, p. 9). Prioritizing developments that support public transport over auto-centric developments not only leads to high-quality connected places but also generates economic benefits for the community.
A paradigm shift to reconfigure movement systems is occurring worldwide. Considering streets as places, removing elevated freeways, using urban green connectors for active mobility, and prioritizing efficient public transport through transit-supportive development are some ways to respond to residents’ desire for improved livability, and to pave the way for connected places. Travel is a derived demand that can be kept in check by developing connected places where people live, work, shop, and play. These places drive economic growth and community development with key transport and place-making investment. Developing connected places does not preclude profiting from real estate. More importantly, connected places can generate environmental benefits through shrinking the footprint of movement space dedicated to private transport modes. The movement system needs to be seen as a means to an end, not an end in itself.