Los Angeles ponders the ethics of slip-and-sliding in a drought. UNESCO is being blamed for killing the cities it protects. Ebola is slowly decimating village by village in Africa. It's this week's look at What's Ruining Our Cities.
Urban water slides are super fun (we've written about a few ourselves) unless the city you want to slip-and-slide through is facing the worst drought in recorded history. In Los Angeles, over 6,000 people have signed a petition against one such water slide, which is planned to unfurl along a downtown street on September 27. Organizer T.R. Gourley says that the slide will use up to 16,000 gallons of water, which he mentioned is the same size as a small pool. While I'm sure there's a way to do this responsibly, it probably sends the wrong message. Meanwhile, thousands of Californians are dumping gallons of ice water on their heads. [Los Angeles Times]
Declaring an aging city a UNESCO World Heritage site is usually a cause for celebration, as the attention also brings local government the funding and preservation efforts it needs. But a particularly scathing attack from Marco D'Eramo in this month's Domus accuses UNESCO of turning vibrant historic cities into overprotected corpses: "Its touch is lethal: wherever the UNESCO hallmark is applied to a city, the city dies out, becoming the stuff of taxidermy." While he makes a point—and a very thorough one, listing dozens of World Heritage sites and how they've been transformed—there must be a certain level of protection for these places. However, turning them into Disney-like theme parks is not the answer. [Domus]
The two U.S. patients infected with Ebola left Atlanta hospitals healthy today, giving the country a huge sigh of relief. Not so the African country of Sierra Leone, where the disease has claimed at least 300 lives, wiping out entire households and creating a culture of fear. Residents are abandoning villages where the outbreak has struck particularly hard, and quarantines and road closures are putting more people's health at risk by cutting off much-needed supplies. This heartbreaking video shows a nation in crisis, with no end in sight. [New York Times]
Here's a somewhat helpful update to our previous story about the "love locks" weighing down Paris bridges: The City of Love has launched a campaign encouraging would-be romantics to eschew the locks in favor of a selfie + hashtag combination that will immortalize their bond. #lovewithoutlocks is the proposed way to tag your image and forever ensure that your love will be eternal, at least on Instagram. [Betabeat]