The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.

Posts about Video

History


Watch how cities have spread over the last 6000 years

Those of us who love cities might think of the world as a collection of them, but it obviously wasn't always that way. This video shows a timeline of how cities popped up and spread across the globe, starting with Mesopotamia in 3700 BC.


Watch cities pop up as humans move across the globe. Video by Max Galka.

Max Galka of Metrocosm used extensive data on urban settlements recently out of Yale University to create the video. In it, cities appear at the time they were first documented, with the earliest cities' dots being yellow and the newest ones being red.

Galka also gives context by noting different historic events at the bottom of the map, like the beginning of the Egyptian Kingdom and the formation of different dynasties in China.

The first North American city that appears on the map is St. Louis, in 1000 AD, about a hundred years before the first crusade.

What surprises you about this video map?

Bicycling


Here's a Spanish satire of the downsides of driving

The Spanish government wants its residents to consider cycling as a viable mode of transportation. So much so that it made a video to point out the humor in the frustrations that driving a car can bring.

El mismo día. DGT Campaña de movilidad 2015

Sean felices :D ¡Buen Lunes!¿Les gusta su trayecto al trabajo? Pueden cambiarlo si les es posible, usar la bicicleta contamina menos al medio ambiente y a ti :D

Posted by Vida Sobre Ruedas on Monday, November 30, 2015

Called "The same day", the video is part of a campaign by Spain's Ministry of the Interior called "#Muevateconconciencia," which basically means "get around consciously."

"Same thing, different day," the narrator says at the end. "It's time for a change. Get around by biking, walking or taking public transit and use a car only when you have to."

Do you know of other government campaigns that promote riding a bike over driving?

Development


2015's greatest hits: South Park weighs in on gentrification with "SoDoSoPa"

To close out 2015, we're reposting some of the most popular and still-relevant articles from the year. This post originally ran on October 5. Enjoy and happy New Year!

As more people seek urban living, communities around the country are trying to meet the demand. That even goes for fictional places like South Park, which skewers gentrification this season with a new neighborhood called "SoDoSoPa":

In last week's episode, the town decides to redevelop the poor part of town into a trendy arts and restaurant district called "SoDoSoPa" in order to attract a Whole Foods. This fake ad for the community, complete with shots of sleek lofts, fancy restaurants, and bearded hipsters, could pass for lots of places in our region.

The episode also looks at how revitalization projects impact the people who already live there. South Park's mayor reassures Kenny's blue-collar family that she'll listen to their worries about the development. Instead, SoDoSoPa uses Kenny's blue-collar family as a marketing tool, advertising its proximity to "historic Kenny's house." Kenny's little sister asks her dad why they can't go outside to enjoy the cleaned-up neighborhood, and he replies that they can't afford to.

The video inspired a lengthy thread on Reddit's South Park board asking commenters to name their city's "SoDoSoPa" neighborhood. Naturally, one commenter suggested NoMa for the DC area, in addition to other redeveloping areas, including downtown Silver Spring, Bethesda Row, and Tysons Corner.

What depictions of urban issues on TV have you enjoyed recently?

Video


Happy holidays!

Enjoy your holiday, however you're spending the time. Also, enjoy this video, called Christmas Eve in Washington:

This is either either ludicrously-delivered claptrap or a sincere (if a bit sappy) love note to DC. Either way, it's fun for Washington-area locavores.

Greater Greater Washington won't publish anything on Christmas or New Year's Day, and we'll be running a light schedule in between.

Pedestrians


Video: Crossing a city street should not be this dangerous

Crosswalks are supposed to make it safer to walk across a street, but they don't work if drivers don't stop or slow down. This video of my morning commute shows how scary walking can be, and why it's worth taking efforts to make crosswalks better.



Video of the walk across North Capitol at Pierce Street NE by the author. "Please pardon the Blair Witch Project-style framing," he says!.

Motorists in DC are required by law to stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, just as if there were a stop sign. But morning commuters on North Capitol Street don't seem to know or think much about this law.

Every day, the 80 and 96 buses let off passengers by a crosswalk on North Capitol at Pierce Street NE. There aren't any signs reminding drivers to yield, and trying to cross the street to get to NoMa is something people do at their own peril. Check out the video to see what I mean.


North Capitol and Pierce Street NE, where the author shot the video. Image from Google Maps.

I didn't set out to film this video. I was more focused on crossing the street alive than documenting the experience. But I had my camera out and it just occurred to me to hit record since nobody would otherwise believe what I face every morning trying to get to work.

As you can see, drivers don't stop regardless of whether a person is standing in the middle of the intersection long before they get there. And that's even when cars may have to stop after they get through the crosswalk.


Wildebeest migration across the Mara River. Photo by jeaneeeem on flickr

In my 14 years here, I've seen DDOT add more prominent street paint, signs, and bollards, all of which I have to assume is to remind motorists to stop and to make streets safer.

For the specific problem I'm talking about, perhaps WMATA could move the bus stop to coincide with a traffic light one block south of Pierce Street at L Street. DDOT could also make the light timing accommodate people crossing instead of just motorists turning left. Either way, leaving a crosswalk there and no protection for anyone using it is a recipe for disaster.

As an occasional motorist myself, I know it's not fun to stop every few blocks when you're trying to get somewhere. But if we can learn to yield to people in crosswalks, we won't need a dedicated light or stop sign and everyone can get where they are going safely.

Another crossing that's particularly dangerous because drivers rarely stop is where Rhode Island Avenue NW meets 7th Street, right by the Shaw library. Do you know of others? Let us know in the comments. Maybe DDOT will take note.

Transit


This transit nerd music video is the best thing ever

Yes, yes there is a music video about transit nerdery. And it's fantastic.

The video comes from the band TSUB Analysis, an "Americana/Bluegrass/Indie" group made up of transit professionals from Denver.

And yes, VelociRFTA is my personal favorite too.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Development


South Park weighs in on gentrification with "SoDoSoPa"

As more people seek urban living, communities around the country are trying to meet the demand. That even goes for fictional places like South Park, which skewers gentrification this season with a new neighborhood called "SoDoSoPa":

In last week's episode, the town decides to redevelop the poor part of town into a trendy arts and restaurant district called "SoDoSoPa" in order to attract a Whole Foods. This fake ad for the community, complete with shots of sleek lofts, fancy restaurants, and bearded hipsters, could pass for lots of places in our region.

The episode also looks at how revitalization projects impact the people who already live there. South Park's mayor reassures Kenny's blue-collar family that she'll listen to their worries about the development. Instead, SoDoSoPa uses Kenny's blue-collar family as a marketing tool, advertising its proximity to "historic Kenny's house." Kenny's little sister asks her dad why they can't go outside to enjoy the cleaned-up neighborhood, and he replies that they can't afford to.

The video inspired a lengthy thread on Reddit's South Park board asking commenters to name their city's "SoDoSoPa" neighborhood. Naturally, one commenter suggested NoMa for the DC area, in addition to other redeveloping areas, including downtown Silver Spring, Bethesda Row, and Tysons Corner.

What depictions of urban issues on TV have you enjoyed recently?

Bicycling


This video shows why it's important for black women to bike ... and organize

The Washington area has two organizations devoted to getting black women and girls to ride bicycles: Black Women Bike and a local chapter of the national group Black Girls Do Bike. This video by Groundswell talks about why these are important.

Greater Greater Washington contributor Veronica Davis co-founded Black Women Bike in 2011. In the video, she talks about why she started the group. When riding through a neighborhood, she overheard a little girl tell her mom excitedly that she saw a black woman on a bicycle—an unusual sight for that girl, but an opportunity to show the girl that she, too, could ride.

In addition to Veronica Davis, the video includes interviews with Najeema Davis of Black Women Bike and Monica Garrison of Black Girls Do Bike. One big question they answer is about why it's necessary to have groups like theirs in the first place. Can't it just be "people of all colors and genders bike"?

Veronica Davis explains that there is a persistent stereotype that bicycling is just something that black women don't do. Some reinforcement comes from black women themselves, but also society at large. Getting over those mental barriers is an important step even though the act of riding a bike isn't all that hard.

Despite the best intentions of other bicycle groups, if there are few black people and even fewer black women in a group ride, some people will feel that bicycling just "isn't for them."

The group rides encourage people to try out something that might have seemed too hard or too risky before. Davis says that the group rides with black women of all ages and sizes is the best way to expand the community.

You can check out the other videos in the series at Groundswell.

Bicycling


Oregon plans to rebuild an iconic tunnel for bikes and pedestrians

Oregon is rebuilding the 73-mile Historic Columbia River Highway, which runs through the beautiful Columbia River valley, as a bike and pedestrian trail. Check out this video of their plans to dig a new tunnel through a mountain along the river to complete the trail.

The planned about a quarter-of-a-mile Mitchell Point Tunnel would recreate the former tunnel on the site that was demolished to make room for the construction of Interstate 84 in the 1960s.


The old Mitchell Point tunnel. Photo from Oregon DOT.

The proposed tunnel—including plans to recreate the iconic "windows"—and associated trail connections along the five-mile Mitchell Point section of the trail are expected to cost $35 million. Funding has yet to be secured.

"Our goals of reclaiming that are going to be the most expensive aspect of the state trail segments but our hope is to one day be able to provide that experience," says Kevin Price, Oregon Parks & Recreation district manager, in the video.

Oregon's Mitchell Point tunnel plan is far and above any trail plans under development in the Washington DC region. Is there anywhere that our region could do the same to improve regional trail connectivity?

Roads


If car commercials were honest, this is what they'd look like

A sporty coupe glides joyfully along a seaside highway, all by itself. It's heaven for the anonymous driver. That's the standard, ridiculous car commercial.

This video shows what car commercials would look like if they were actually honest.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Support Us
DC Maryland Virginia Arlington Alexandria Montgomery Prince George's Fairfax Charles Prince William Loudoun Howard Anne Arundel Frederick Tysons Corner Baltimore Falls Church Fairfax City
CC BY-NC