Tim Halbur's blog

Tim Halbur is communications director for the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU).
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Compact in Nature: An Urbanist in Japan

It’s always tempting returning from a vacation to a foreign country to come to conclusions about how that society works. This isn’t entirely a bad thing- after all, exposure to different ways of life are mind-expanding and suggest new possibilities. My first trip to Rome redefined the way I think of public space, and set me on a path  leading to a career in urban planning.

Along the Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto.

Along the Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto.

The New Urbanist Omelette

On this week's KunstlerCast (James Howard Kunstler's podcast, with host Duncan Crary), you can hear me leaving a comment. I just listened to the episode, and I sound like I took a shot of codeine cough syrup before recording it. I think the point is relevant enough to reiterate in the safety of print.

Making Urban Planning Fun, For Kids (and Everyone)

When Chris Steins approached me with his idea to write a kids book about urban planning, I was a little skeptical. We had gotten a hold of a book from 1952 called Neighbor flap foot. The City Planning Frog, by Bill Ewald, Jr. and Merle Henrickson, and to be generous, it wasn’t fit for a modern audience. Here’s a sample:

“Did you know that there is a special rule from City Hall to make sure each house has plenty of light and air, Mickey?” the wise frog asked.
“No, I haven’t heard about that.”
“Well, there is. Blue Nose told me about it,” answered Flap Foot, hopping about to limber up his stiffened legs. “It’s is called zoning. It is a good rule, like brushing your teeth, only this rule is for people who build buildings.”

Unbridled Fun in an Electric Car

 

This weekend, I had the pleasure of taking a ride up the Pacific Coast Highway in a hot-off-the-assembly-line Tesla sportscar. While I normally fall in with the camp that thinks the focus on alternative fuel cars is distracting from the need to move people out of cars and into transit, walking and biking, I have to say, the Tesla Roadster is a beautiful piece of machinery.

Planetizen's 2008-2009 Student Bloggers

A couple months ago, we posted an announcement seeking student bloggers for the 2008-2009 school year. We received a pile of great applications, but two new students stood out. Each week, they will bring you reports from their master's programs at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.

Tamika Camille Gauvin                      Jeffrey Barg

A Word from the New Managing Editor

It's a unique time to be joining the staff of Planetizen as managing editor. The world seems to be awakening for the first time to all of the issues we deal with everyday, whether we work in urban and regional planning, environmental preservation, architecture and placemaking, landscape architecture or transportation. Suddenly, everyone understands that these niches are, in fact, interconnected, and that "place" as a general concept affects everything we do. Unfortunately, it took $4.85 gasoline and a mortgage crisis that is sinking our economy, but at least people are thinking!

The Quest for Energy: The Input/Output Problem

In August of 2006, an unknown Irish company called Steorn took out a full-page ad in The Economist to announce that they had created a magnetic technology that produced more energy than it used- essentially, a perpetual motion machine, the Holy Grail of energy.

Watch for Desire Paths

My graduate school education left me with a lot of general ideas and a handful of specific ones. One that stuck with me is a concept from landscape architecture: the desire path. Technically, the term means a path where there isn't supposed to be one, a trail of wear and tear that wasn't planned.

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