Chris Steins's blog

Chris Steins is co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Planetizen.

Open Source Business Readiness Ratings

First -- I just loved Ken's post on GeoTagging. What a great collection of links he's included in his post. We've got a couple projects at UI that could potentially use this type of interface/solution.

I just got my weekly Nemertes Impact Analysis (Nemertes specializes in quantifying the business impact of technology) and this one focuses on the growth of Enterprise use of Open Source tools.

Ultimate Planning-Tech Blog Marketing

Cities21 proposal for PRT at Microsoft CampusSo Steve Raney, directory of the nonprofit transit advocacy group Cities 21, emailed me a pre-packaged blog entry, including images and a proposed blog title, about a proposal his organization is circulating for a personal rapid transit (PRT) system on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. The visualization on the site were, in fact, fascinating, and a great introduction to how well PRT can work as a transit alternative.

The Powerful Advantage of Open Source

Linux v. MicrosoftThis article, How Linux Could Overthrow Microsoft, in MIT's Technology Review caught me off-guard.

The article is a fascinating overview of the open source and proprietary software models. It appears to be well-researched and written, and makes a compelling case for open source:

...For all its flaws, the open-source model has powerful advantages. The deepest and also most interesting of these advantages is that, to put it grossly, open source takes the bullshit out of software. It severely limits the possibility of proprietary "lock-in"--where users become hostage to the software vendors whose products they buy...

Bad Data = Hidden Taxes

Paul FarmerAmerican Planning AssociationExecutive Director Paul Farmer testifies before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Federalism and The Census that public investment based on unreliable data and analysis may constitute a hidden tax in the form of higher costs for infrastructure.

Farmer's compelling testimony (PDF, 150KB) is based on his role as CEO of the APA

Interactive municipal broadband legislative map

muni mapBroadband Reports reports on CNET's national map which offers a state-by-state summary of developing fiber or Wi-Fi projects, and the legal barriers states are are facing in implementing these projects.

From a CNET article

At The Intersection of Technology and Development

Front RangeAnn Oliveri from the Urban Land Institute kindly pointed me to an article, Toll road gets tangled in Web of defeat, in the Rocky Mountain News.

The developer says he was "blindsided" by the rapid an online opposition on legislation that would make it possible for the development of a privately financed $2 billion tollway

Weblogs Are Here, But Where Are They Headed?

Thanks to James Carberry for pointing me to this article on the slightlly academic, but consistently readable and relevant, Knowledge@Wharton journal.

Blogs & BloggingBlogs, Everyone? Weblogs Are Here to Stay, but Where Are They Headed? wonders about the future of blogging.

Computer-Based Decision-Support and Visualization Strategies

I'm in San Francisco this weekend for the annual 2005 American Planning Association Conference. On Saturday, I'm presenting on a panel, "Computer-Based Decision-Support and Visualization Strategies", organized by Kenneth Topping, FAICP of Topping Associates International.


I'll be releasing my annual list, "Top Five Technologies For Planning, 2005". After the session, I'll post my top technologies here also.


Rumor has it that the Moscone West Conference Center is outfitted with wireless Internet access. If so, I'll blog the presentations, as well as publish a few photos of the event.


Conference photo


Other presenters include:

  • Mark Sorensen, University of Redlands: Linkages between knowledge-base, multiple criteria analysis and GIS
  • Chuck Donley, Donley & Associates Inc.: Using vector data for site selection, land use allocation, forecasting, and visualization.
  • Ken Snyder, PlaceMatters.com: Using visualization and GIS tools on the neighborhood scale
  • Dr. Michael Flaxman, Assistant Industry Manager for Design, ESRI: A Conceptual and Technical Framework for GIS-Based Land Use Planning: Alternative Futures for La Paz, Mexico


    The official panel description: "Presenters will showcase IT-based approaches to community outreach and decision making. Case studies include redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and other high-pressure planning situations. The enhanced program includes 3-D visualization geared for use in public settings, electronic democracy techniques, scenario-building models, web-based GIS, and multi-media tools. "

  • CIOs And Urban Planning

    An article in Computerworld, Political Animals offers an interesting glimpse into how senior IT professionals see urban governance and the battle for wireless zones in cities.


    Make Los Angeles Safer: Use Open Source

    Thanks to Larry Segal (former editor of The Planning Report, now at KBHome) for pointing me at an interesting observation from LA Observed about open source:

    Eric Garcetti: The blogging councilman and colleagues Wendy Greuel and Jack Weiss offered a motion to push the city toward using more open source computer programs and re-routing the money saved on software to hiring more cops.

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