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Flickr user Larry Myhre

15 Creative Converted School Buses

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Flickr user Larry Myhre

School buses are nostalgic for many people. They’re the wild and wonderful social scene that bookmarks the school day. They’re iconic in shape and color, and they have a certain smell that takes former schoolchildren back. But they eventually become too old or outdated to carry kids safely.

What happens to all those retired school buses? They’re the guest room out behind Grandpa’s house. They’re a more colorful element of the street food scene. They’re mobile houses for wanderers who don’t actually want to leave home.

We picked out a few good ones, but there are many more. Let us know in the comments what you’d do with a retired school bus if you had one.

1. Rustic Bus

Photo courtesy Flickr user Johnny Vintage

This 1978 school bus is heated by a wood stove.

2. Cheesy Goodness

Photo courtesy of Flickr user CamKnows

A school bus in Oregon serves grilled cheese.

3. Art Bus

Photo courtesy of Flickr user 3CENT

An artist used this bus as a temporary studio.

4. Home Sweet Bus

Photo courtesy Justin Evidon

An architecture student made an amazingly efficient living space in an old school bus this past summer.

5. Party Bus

Photo Courtesy of Flickr user Manuel W.

Why tailgate when you can roof deck?

6. Lofty Ambitions

Photo courtesy of Tiny House Listings

This school bus from Dallas has a loft made out of cedar.

7. Steampunk Bus

Photo courtesy Jake von Slatt

A Victorian sensibility works well in this converted bus.

8. Oil Change

Photo courtesy of Tiny Home Listings

The headline on this one says it’s veggie oil ready. Well, then!

9. Literally

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Farrell Link

This school bus is now a mobile classroom for adult learners.

10. Cool Bus

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Bret and Robin

The owners of this bus can beat the heat with an air conditioner during the day, then hang out on the roof deck in the cool of the evening.

11. A Very Little Bus

Photo courtesy of Tiny House Listings

If you don’t want to drive a great behemoth of a bus, this one is barely bigger than an SUV.

12. Here Comes the Sun

Photo courtesy of Flickr user 350.org

This bus carried California schoolchildren until 2003. Now it’s used to educate the public about renewable energy.

13. Big as a Boat

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Larry Myhre

Bob Waldmire’s Road Yacht is now on display at the Route 66 Association’s Hall of Fame and Museum.

14. A New Spin on Food Trucks

Photo courtesy Flickr user Origimadon

This school bus in Vermont has become a restaurant-on-wheels.

15. Double Decker

Photo courtesy of Tiny House Listings

If you can’t decide between a Volkswagen camper van and a school bus, why not stick a couple Volkswagens on top of the school bus?

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politics
Why America Has So Many Empty Parking Spaces
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When you’re driving around looking for a spot to park on tight downtown streets, you’re probably not cursing city planners for mandating too much parking space. (You’re probably thinking the opposite.) But while some areas, depending on the time of day, are inundated with more cars than spaces, for the most part Americans lead lives of parking privilege, surrounded by empty spaces they don’t need to use. By one estimate, there are eight parking spots for every car in the U.S. (Others say it's more like three, which is still a lot considering that number doesn't take into account home parking.)

Why does the U.S. have so much extra parking? A new video explainer from Vox (spotted by Arch Daily) has the answer. It’s because laws mandate it.

In the video, Will Chilton and Paul Mackie of the transportation research initiative Mobility Lab explain the rise of the parking meter, which was invented in the 1930s, and the regulations that soon followed, called mandatory parking minimums. These city laws require that those building an apartment complex or shopping center or store have to provide a minimum number of spaces in off-street parking for customers to use. The cost of providing this service is carried by building developers—giving the city a free way to get new parking without having to manage their street parking situation closely. Go to any suburb in America, and the parking lots you leave your car in are probably the result of these parking minimum rules.

The ease of parking in America isn’t a good thing—though it may feel like it when you slide into an open spot right in front of the grocery store. Experts have been calling for an end to zoning laws like these for years, arguing that excess parking encourages unnecessary driving (why take the bus or carpool if it’s easy to drive yourself and park for free?) while simultaneously making it harder to walk around a city, since parking takes up a ton of land that’s difficult to traverse on foot, interrupting the urban fabric.

These parking minimum regulations take very specific forms by building type, including number of spaces required per hole at a golf course, per gallons of water in a public pool, and per beds in a nursing home. Before you cheer for free, plentiful parking, let the experts at Vox explain just why this is a problem for cities:

[h/t Arch Daily]

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environment
London Unveils New Electric-Powered Black Cabs
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Black taxi cabs (or Hackney carriages, as they're often called) have been a fixture on London's streets for decades. A redesign from the London Taxi Company should ensure they stay that way well into the future. As The Guardian reports, the newly unveiled model of the city's black cab runs on gasoline and electric batteries.

The cabs most Londoners are used to hailing are currently powered by diesel fuel, which releases much more toxic emissions than regular gas. With London facing deadly air pollution levels, city officials are pushing to replace the smog-producers with cleaner modes of transport.

The new cab runs on an electric battery for the first 70 miles of its journey before switching to a fuel reserve for the next 400. (The average cab travels about 120 miles a day.) The London Taxi Company, which will soon rebrand as the London Electric Vehicle Company, plans to have as many as 150 cabs on the road by next year, with the first vehicles debuting in November.

Starting January 1, 2018, Transport for London will require all new taxis in London to be electric or have zero-emissions capabilities. Diesel cabs introduced before the cut-off will be allowed to stay, but after turning 15 they will need to be retired—therefore, the city should be completely diesel-free by 2032.

The black cab isn't the first four-wheeled London icon to receive an earth-friendly update. In 2016, Transport for London launched its inaugural fleet of all-electric double-decker buses, vehicles the agency claimed were the first of their kind.

[h/t The Guardian]

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