Reuniting a Divided City with an Ambitious Covered Highway Project
Teodora Zareva is an entrepreneur, writer, board games geek and a curious person at large. Her professional path has taken her from filmmaking and photography to writing, TEDx organizing, teaching, and social entrepreneurship. She has lived and worked in the U.S. and Bulgaria and is currently doing her MBA at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Her biggest passion lies at the intersection of media and youth development. She is the co-founder of WishBOX Foundation, a Bulgarian NGO that helps high school students with their professional orientation by organizing events, courses, summer camps and developing digital media resources.
Connecting Austria, Germany and Denmark, Autobahn A7 is the longest motorway in Germany and one of the most important North-South links between Scandinavia and central Europe. When it was constructed, some 30 years ago, however, the highway divided the city of Hamburg, separating three districts and driving people away from the area.
With traffic expected to rise to 165,000 cars daily in 2025, the city had to face the problem of increasing noise pollution. The solution came from the office of POLA landscape architects in Berlin who proposed turning sections of the highway into covered tunnels, reducing the noise to almost nothing, providing new green spaces, and reuniting the neighborhoods.
"Imagine that there now is a big, loud gap in the city, about 70 to 100 meters wide, with cars, dirt, noise, day in day out, 24/7/365. After that building is finished there will be parks, gardens, quietness, bird songs, fresh air. And the parts of the city in the west and the east of the autobahn will be reunited again."
The construction will expand the highway to up to 8 lanes in certain areas and then cover them with a 10-foot thick canopy, capable of supporting full-grown trees. The covers will be built in sections and will cumulatively stretch for three miles, creating 60 acres of new green space. They will feature parks, meadows, woods, bike lanes, and the construction of almost 2,000 residential apartments, as the city’s expectations are that the project will attract new residents.
The project is expected to be completed by 2022 at a cost of around $1 billion, mostly funded by the federal government. It is part of the European Green Capital program, which each year recognizes a new city for accomplishments in environmental sustainability.
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Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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