Will Dean's Ideas Factory: London's streets are not as walkable as you'd think

Last week we looked at how the Art Walk had helped bring crowds back into downtown LA. And it's true that there's a correlation between cities where walking is easy (New York) and demographic plus points (income, high-tech firms, number of creatives, etc).

But an article by The Atlantic's Richard Florida suggests that walk-able cities aren't always the most obvious ones, ie West Hollywood in car-drunk LA. So how do big cities in the UK rank? I asked Adam Davies whose website Walkonomics collects UK "walkability data":

"If you take the 10 largest places in the UK, London comes a way down, about eighth. But if you look deeper, some of the most walkable areas are contained within the London data, like Covent Garden. Less surprisingly, the least walk- able cities are the ones that were built or redesigned around the car: like Milton Keynes and Bracknell. We're lucky that a lot of our street patterns are very old – we're at an advantage because our cities were built around walking."

Walkonomics.com; ind.pn/surpwalk

Own goals: the odd trend of bankrupt sports stars

A 2009 report by the US magazine Sports Illustrated revealed that nearly 80 per cent of NFL players and 60 per cent of NBA players find themselves broke just five years after ending their careers.

It's due to the "lottery win" effect of young men – often untrained for anything else – splurging at their sporting peak and having no means to fund their lifestyles after the mega wages stop. But do Premier League footballers have the same problem? A quick online search suggests so, with high-profile players such as Brad Friedel, John Arne Riise and Colin Hendry having declared bankruptcy. But does it compare? Not according to the head of the Professional Footballers' Association. "We have nothing like that [amount]" Gordon Taylor says. "We're very quick to stress that it's an eight-year career and they've got to prepare for life after it."

The PFA runs a wide range of post-career training schemes, money advice and hardship funds. But, as in the NFL, it can be the big earners who fall the hardest. That would seem to be the case for the likes of Jason Euell, who was declared bankrupt in January after being the victim of a property fraud. Meanwhile, Robbie Fowler has made millions in the same area. But perhaps it's not time to start a benevolent fund for Wayne Rooney just yet....

Read more: ind.pn/sportsbank

Forget 80mph... how 55mph is quicker

Coalition plans to increase the UK's motorway speed limit from 70 to 80mph, were met with glee by petrolheads. But, asked traffic expert Tom V in a post at Slate, would a 55mph limit actually make traffic flow more quickly? Vanderbilt describes trials in Colorado whereby – when traffic reaches a certain capacity – speed limits are lowered and kept at the same pace – F1 safety lap-style – by police patrol cars. Britain already has variable limits (monitored, unlike in the US, by cameras) in areas of high rush-hour traffic density – notably the M42 around Birmingham. That scheme was praised by the AA for its success. So, despite, what the Government thinks – perhaps the way forward is to go slower, not faster...

Read more: ind.pn/55not80

OK, the war's over, so what shall we do with this stuff?

Paleofuture is one of the Ideas Factory's favourite websites. It picks out futuristic plans from the distant past and how they've compared to what actually happened (we were promised jet packs, etc...). They recently dug out this wonderful ad from the Second World War-era architecture magazine Pencil Points (which later became Progressive Architecture). At the time of mass-production for the war effort, much advertising contained the promise of the good available after the war. This ad was aimed at architects, asking them to consider the air-con equipment built by Westinghouse for war use in new downtown department stores. Which is a more likely counterpoint to current US military supplier General Atomics asking Westfield shopping malls, "guys, have you considered drones?"

Read more: ind.pn/warcon

Send us your Ideas Factory fuel

The Ideas Factory is a weekly round-up of the best, weirdest and most interesting new discoveries, theories and experiments from around the world. If you're a scientist working on new research, a reader who's spotted something obscure, or an inventor who's knocked up the new Apple I in your garage, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me on w.dean@independent.co.uk or tweet me at @willydean

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower