Related articles: (Alentejo: Solar Region)
Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
After writing several articles and making two photographic reports related to Photovoltaic Solar in Portugal (visit the links below), on Expresso Multimédia I found this interesting video, which give us a different visual perspective from the "giant" Moura PV power station.
Related articles: (Alentejo: Solar Region)
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Portuguese government and the Renault-Nissan alliance signed the final agreement “Zero Emission Mobility”, under which Portugal will create a national recharging network for its project of electric cars, that will be built across the country over the next 3 years.
Portugal will have 320 charging stations for electric cars in 2010.That number will reach 1300 at the end of 2011.
The final agreement took place four months after the government and Renault-Nissan attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the project, in order to Portugal becomes one of the first world markets (and the first European) where will be introduced the models of Renault-Nissan electric cars, with release scheduled for the beginning of 2011. French carmaker Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan have been working on the development of a battery powered car with a 160 Km range.
The Portuguese Prime Minister, José Sócrates, announced incentives to electric vehicle purchasers, including an income tax credit for individuals and corporate tax reductions for fleet purchases. The government also wants that 20% of public fleet vehicle purchases be zero-emission, from 2011. Other measures, such as reduced parking rates, preferential access and financing subsidies are being studied further.
“Portugal is a global leader in renewable energy. The next step is to make Portugal a pioneer in zero emission mobility. Electric vehicles offer major benefits to our society by reducing imports of fuel, improving energy security, reducing CO2 emissions and offering a reliable and secure alternative towards sustainable mobility,” said the Prime Minister.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Yesterday, Google Portugal announced two services in the Portuguese language: Google Maps and Google Transit for Lisbon (Lisboa). After Vienna, the Portuguese capital is the second European city to receive this service. Now, it’s possible to get Google information of how to travel in Lisbon on public transport, a service provided by Google Transit.
We are satisfied with these news, because one year ago Google announced the launch of Google Transit trip planner in Europe, having only information for some places and transport companies. Nowadays, over 70 agencies in 10 countries make their information available in Google Maps.
When the project was only available in some selected cities, not located in Europe, we published a simple plan for a trip across Europe, between Lisbon and Helsinki, to observe which of the transit agencies’ schedules might be integrated to increase the Google database. This year, Google Transit was developed in partnership with Metro and Carris, companies where is available all the information relevant to public transport in Lisbon, such as the location, travel time and ticket prices.
To plan a trip, you can simply click on the "Get directions " link. Then, it’s only necessary typing the start and end address in the "Get directions" boxes to get the results.
Google believes this is an important step in encouraging people to use public transit. The company hopes that folks will decide to leave the car at home if they can easily discover a transit stop next to a business as they're searching for it, or if they realise it's easy to take a train as they plot their journey from point A to point B.
In a yesterday press conference, Inês Gonçalves, Google Portugal responsible of marketing, said:
"It’s obvious that we want more cities, now it depends on the partners"
"Google Maps is not only put a map online, it’s to get a location where the language is understood, and with local content."
As we notice, on November 2007, Google established in Lisbon to concentrate on online publicity, trying to attract investments from Portuguese companies.
Yesterday, Paulo Barreto, chief executive of Google Portugal, said that "since a year ago that we operate directly in Portugal, our priority has been to adapt products to Portuguese."
Companies can also advertise for free on Google Maps through a Local Business Center, a service now available in beta Google Maps PT or in Google Maps for Mobile. In addition, there is also accessible the Google Maps API that will help developers, webmasters and designers to incorporate the functionality of Google Maps on their websites.
The world integration of the public transit schedules (in different transport modes) will surely be a great challenge to improving the schedule-based service. Indeed, IT and modern real-time logistics are crucial keys for the design of the future public transport.
So, to increase the integration of their schedule-based services, the agencies should have a public transportation data for their cities, and get it included in the Google Transit trip planner. The Google Transit Partner Program describes how to share agencies information on Google Maps. For participating the agencies should provide a transportation service that is open the the public, and operates with fixed schedules and routes.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Kaisla shop gallery (Kaisla kauppa galleria) is a rectangular two-story old house with solid red-brick walls and interior open spaces, nicely situated at the port of Korpilahti, Central Finland (Korpilahden satama, Keski-Suomi), which offers the Päijänne lake beautiful landscape. The first floor has the arts & crafts shop function, revealing many pieces of local artists and the second floor is a single room gallery for artworks exhibition.
Last summer - in a particularly rainy and thunderstorming August (elokuu) in that Finnish region - my friend Haukka and I visited Kaisla. However, this time we’ve noticed there an open book with more than thousand signatures. What would be that? Talking with the kind hosts, they told us that it was a petition against the transformation of Kaisla shop gallery into a restaurant-bar, a decision of the Korpilahti municipality, the building owner. Signing the petition was a little contribution to support an arts and crafts collective that, like many others, have been caught in a web of market interests.
It’s good to notice the context of this situation. In fact, after the February decision for the extinction of the city of Jyväskylä (Jyväskylän kaupunki), the rural Jyväskylä (Jyväskylän maalaiskunta) and the Korpilahti municipality (Korpilahden kunta) - merging the three into one new municipality, established on the current areas of the abolished authorities (New Jyväskylä would be born on January 1 2009) - it took place the June confirmation by the Finnish government (Valtioneuvosto).
Either the “extinction” of Kaisla – yes, because the house is an intrinsic part of the arts and crafts project - is political or technocratic, it would be lamentable, in the future, not to find there beautiful handcrafted art pieces, like those of Ulla Huttunen and Arto Salminen, among others.Images: Luis Alves / www.flickr.com/photos/mokkikunta
Monday, November 10, 2008
Here is my contribution: a "pipe" from the feed of the “geoblog” World is Witness.
World is Witness, a new “geoblog” from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiatives, in partnership with Google Earth, documents and maps genocide and related crimes against humanity. The initial entries are from a Museum visit to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to learn about the legacies of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, and the most recent entries are from a Museum visit to South Sudan and a return visit to the Congo.