11 rich and famous people who took the Tube (because they're actually just like us)

Duhcesses commute too, OK? Image: Getty.

The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his son, Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, were in London this week. The pair are known for their opulent lifestyles, and the prince's Twitter feed is a reliable source of photos of the family playing polo, attending important meetings and wearing fancy suits.

So when he posted a picture of their London trip, I assumed it would be pretty swish: inside Buckingham Palace, say, or on that funny moving walkway in front of the jewels at the Tower of London. 

But no: it was a casual shot of the two taken aboard the London Underground.

Yes, the Tube is a great way to bypass London's gridlock, but as a world leader the Sheikh must know it's harder to stay safe in a tube carriage than an armoured car, or even a taxi. It's also, as you may have noticed, extremely hot on the Tube at the moment. So why did they do it? Because the Tube has somehow become an actual tourist attraction? Or were they hoping it would make them look like men of the people?

Whatever the reason, they aren't the only ones. Below are a whole load of celebrities for whom travelling by Tube can't be entirely practical, but who decided to do so anyway. 

Jay-Z, Chris Martin, and Timbaland

...travelled to a gig at the O2 by Tube in 2013. Given the trio were apparently surrounded by an entourage of 10, this was probably not an off-the-cuff visit. (The photo evidence sadly disappeared from this tweet, but the BBC has a copy of it here.) 

Eddie Redmayne

Oscar-winning actor Eddie actually takes the Tube all the time, implying it's not just a bid for good PR. Unlike most of the other entries on the list, he does not seem to bring his own photographer along. 

Kate Middleton 

K-Mid visited Baker Street station to mark the London Underground's 150th birthday with the Queen, Prince Philip, and approximately no normal passengers. She looked incredibly out-of-place the whole time:

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Just a normal gal, hanging out on the Tube with a small bouquet and a fascinator. 

Rihanna

Rihanna travelled to a 2011 London gig by Tube, with minimal fuss. No, really – there were only a few news crews there, filming the whole thing. 

David Cameron

Ex-Prime Minister David Cameron is often officially photographed on the Tube. and no one around him ever seems to notice or care. Perhaps frustrated that he wasn't being adequately praised for his brave descent to the level of us normal folk, in 2015 he had a go at driving one instead.

George Osborne looks on stonily and then comments: "This is a great bit of kit." 

Harry Styles

Image: via Twitter.

Harry seems to have ditched his usual array of bodyguards for this picture. Is it a lookalike? Or is his entourage lurking just out of shot? 

Kendall Jenner

Image: Kendallj.com.


Kim K's younger sister showed her authentic, Kendall-from-the-block side when she visited the Underground on a recent London trip. You can just how down-to-earth she is by viewing the full video of her journey, "Moves on the Tube", available if you pay her website's very reasonable $2.99 monthly subscription fee.

 
 
 
 

To transform Australia’s cities, it should scrap its car parks

A Sydney car park from above. Image: Getty.

Parking may seem like a “pedestrian” topic (pun intended). However, parking is of increasing importance in metropolitan areas worldwide. On average, motor vehicles are parked 95 per cent of the time. Yet most transport analysis focuses on vehicles when they are moving.

Substantial amounts of land and buildings are set aside to accommodate “immobile” vehicles. In Australia, Brisbane provides 25,633 parking spaces in the CBD, Sydney 28,939 and Melbourne 41,687. In high-demand areas, car parks can cost far more than the vehicle itself.

However, parking is not just an Australian problem. By some estimates, 30,000 square kilometres of land is devoted to parking in Europe and 27,000 km² in the US. This parking takes up a large part of city space, much of it highly valued, centrally located land.

Traditionally, transport planners believed that generous parking allocations provided substantial benefits to users. In reality, excessive parking is known to adversely affect both transport and land use. These impacts, along with recent land-use, socioeconomic and technological trends, are prompting cities to start asking some important questions about parking.

Australian planners must engage with emerging trends to help cities work out the best way to reclaim and repurpose parking space in ways that enhance efficiency and liveability while minimising disruption.

Here we chart likely challenges and opportunities created by these trends over coming decades.

Key trends affecting parking space in cities. Image: author provided.

Land use

All Australian cities have policies to encourage densification, consolidation and infill development in their centres. In conjunction, some cities are setting maximum limits on parking to prevent it taking over valuable inner-city properties.

Transit-oriented development (TOD) has also become popular, at least on paper. This is another form of urban consolidation around transit nodes and corridors. It is known to benefit from high-quality urban design, “walkability”, “cyclability” and a mix of functions.

These developments mean that people who live in CBDs, inner-ring suburbs and near public transport stops will use cars less. Consequently, demand for parking will decrease.

Some non-TOD suburbs are trying to replicate inner-city features as well. For example, some suburban shopping centres have introduced paid parking. This is a significant shift from previous eras, when malls guaranteed ample free parking.

Suburbanites who lack easy public transport access will continue to rely on cars. But rather than driving all the way to a CBD, commuters will increasingly opt for park-and-ride at suburban stations, thereby increasing demand for park-and-ride lots at public transport interchanges. However, excessive capacity might hurt rather than help patronage.


Social trends

In addition to land use, several social trends will affect the need for parking.

First, young people are delaying getting drivers’ licences because driving is culturally less important to them than in previous generations.

Second, people of all ages are moving from outer suburbs to inner cities. For many, this means less driving because walking, cycling and public transport are more convenient in inner cities.

 

inally, the emergence of Uber, Lyft and vehicle-sharing arrangements means that people are not buying cars. Research suggests that each car-sharing vehicle removes nine to 13 individually owned vehicles from the road.

Together, these trends point to a reduced need for parking because there will be fewer cars overall.

Technology

The importance of technology in parking is rising – paving the way for “smarter” parking.

The emergence of a host of smartphone apps, such as ParkMe, Kerb, ParkHound and ParkWhiz, has begun to reshape the parking landscape. For the first time, users can identify and reserve parking according to price and location before starting their journeys.

Apps also make available a host of car parks that previously went unused – such as spaces in a residential driveway. This is because there was no mechanism for letting people know these were available.

In addition, smart pricing programs, such as SFPark in San Francisco, periodically adjust meter and garage pricing to match demand. This encourages drivers to park in underused areas and garages and reduces demand in overused areas.

The advent of autonomous vehicles promises to have dramatic impacts on transport and land use, including parking.

According to one school of thought, mobility services will own most autonomous vehicles, rather than individuals, due to insurance and liability issues. If this happens, far fewer vehicles and parking spaces will be needed as most will be “in motion” rather than parked most of the time.

More space for people and places

The Tikku (Finnish for ‘stick’), by architect Marco Casagrande, is a house with a footprint of just 2.5x5m, the size of a car parking space. Image: Casagrande Laboratory.

The next decade promises much change as emerging land-use, socioeconomic and technological trends reshape the need for, and use of, parking. Cities will devote less space to parking and more space to people and places.

Parking lanes will likely be repurposed as cycling lanes, shared streets, parklets, community gardens and even housing. Concrete parking lots, and faceless garages will likely be converted to much-needed residential, commercial and light industrial use.

The ConversationBy transforming parking, much urban land can turn from wasteland into vibrant activity space.

Dorina Pojani, Lecturer in Urban Planning, The University of Queensland; Iderlina Mateo-Babiano, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning, University of Melbourne; Jonathan Corcoran, Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, and Neil Sipe, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Queensland

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.