Blogs

Having sat through a Transportation Task Force committee meeting recently where a representative of local government requested funds to enable the completion of a particular road project, I had to chuckle – folks had been asking for the final funds for that road for several years and, several times, various community leaders had touted the resolution of the funding problem with “full speed ahead” declarations.  While not quite as embarrassing as the President Bush’s now dated declaration of “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq, it was gaining the same notoriety locally.  The actual construction was Opinion
Jun 12, 2007   By Steven Polzin
For the last couple of years I have been tracking decision support tools that bring audio into the planning process. At our PLACEMATTERS06 conference, Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH) demonstrated their suite of acoustical environmental tools for planning, including a simple online soundbuilder enabling visitors to create  different mixes with several sound overlays. Opinion
Jun 11, 2007   By Ken Snyder
It is now about 22 months since hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. I was recently in New Orleans for the first time and had plenty to see. The city is still very much in a state of devastation. But there has also been a lot of progress.In this post, I'd like to share some pictures I took when I was there and some facts and figures I've come across that help illustrate the current situation in the city. Opinion
Jun 11, 2007   By Nate Berg
Some people choose to work in planning because they see it as a relatively interesting and stable job. Others have dreams of being the equivalent of an all-powerful SimCity-style mayor. However, many choose planning as a career because they want to make a difference in the world. They want to do good and to help those who are the least advantaged. They are attracted by the potential, if limited, for planning to foster environmental justice and social equity. Opinion
Jun 9, 2007   By Ann Forsyth
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of sharing several stages over two days in New York, with some of the most influential urbanists anywhere. Opinion
Jun 8, 2007   By Brent Toderian
WARSAW, Poland --I'm on my fourth city in a two-month excursion, and so far I've found all the quaintness, density, pedestrian life, and vernacular architecture that I was looking for as an antitode to my beloved, loathed Los Angeles. The cores of Riga and Vilnius come right out of proverbial fairy tales, and even Helsinki, though historically torn between Sweden and Russia, has plenty of the best trappings of Boston and San Francisco (as well as some of the worst of Atlanta or Dallas; more on that later). Then there's Warsaw. Opinion
Jun 8, 2007   By Josh Stephens
The solution to so-called "automobile dependence" within the contemporary planning community is almost alway more mass transit: more trains and buses. But is this realistic, particualarly given current strategies and approaches to providing mass transit? Most investments in mass transit are patently unsustainable, requiring huge investments in capital and dramatic reductions in mobility (measured by travel time) to achieve ridership goals. Proof of mass transit's unsustainability is obvious to anyone willing to look at it objectively: Opinion
Jun 7, 2007   By Samuel Staley
Do yourself a favor: Go check out the latest issue of IEEE Spectrum, either online or in hard copy. Spectrum is the trade magazine for the international engineers' society—it's really quite good—and this issue features an extensive package on megacities.This is the engineer's take on many of the issues we all grapple with on Interchange. So it's not about making public meetings go more smoothly or trying to understand how to use GIS for placemaking. It's about building stuff and making sure it'll keep working. Opinion
Jun 6, 2007   By
Although the latest immigration bill being debated upon in congress has attracted relatively little attention from planners, the planning implications of reforming or not reforming current immigration policy are huge. Immigration impacts labor markets, and thereby commuting patterns, transportation planning and economic development. Immigration swells the population of many cities and towns forcing planners to rethink their plans for housing, schools and other public services. Often overlooked, however, is f immigration’s impact on the planning process itself. Opinion
Jun 6, 2007   By Lance Freeman
The protesters at Chicago’s Grant Park in 1968 might have been talking about Denver’s multi-billion dollar FasTracks rail expansion while they chanted “the whole world is watching.” With 50+ new transit stations the Denver region has an opportunity no modern American city has been able to realize – to build a regional rail network and link it with land use planning to accommodate growth without diminishing livability. Part of the conversation in Denver is will FasTracks help the region’s competitiveness and capture more growth than it would otherwise? Opinion
Jun 5, 2007   By G.B. Arrington