Blogs

I find it intriguing when I hear folks talk about how high energy prices will cause a tipping point and everyone will rush back into the city in order to afford to commute to work.  If, or as, higher costs for energy begin to play a greater role in location choice it is as likely that they will force even more employers to move to the suburbs.  In many urban areas we may be well past the point where fuel price pressures to minimize travel would result in land use changes that move population back to town.  Opinion
Jul 8, 2007   By Steven Polzin
This year in Parents Involved in Community Schools Inc. v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County (Ky.) Board of Education the Supreme Court ruled that school districts could not assign students on the basis of race, even if the goal was to promote integration. To some this is the end of an era, with affirmative action and other diversity promoting programs in jeopardy as the court has now come full circle using the Brown decision to outlaw programs that promote integration. Opinion
Jul 6, 2007   By Lance Freeman
As an educator who also enjoys practice, I periodically weigh up where my efforts are best spent. Is it making a difference via educating students in the classroom, and through my research and writing, as they use this knowledge in their work in the distant future? Or can I make a difference more directly though practice now? It is hard to know which path is best and the path of teaching is a riskier choice. Truly exceptional teachers and scholars, however, can make an enormous impact. Opinion
Jul 4, 2007   By Ann Forsyth
I’ve confirmed that it is possible to take public transportation to the most suburban of suburban locations: the outlet mall. Opinion
Jul 3, 2007   By Diana DeRubertis
I’m not basing this quick observation on any specific historical research or book, so bear with me. Cities grow and shrink; in effect they change rapidly (although sometimes it doesn’t seem rapidly enough and at other times all too rapidly). Where we operate in that continuum I think shapes much of how we see our role as professionals. Planning to address either shrinking cities or growing ones can seem, at times, like totally different professions. A colleague of mine remarked that planning for shrinking cities is definitely a niche market. Opinion
Jul 1, 2007   By Scott Page
Last week I was up in Vancouver participating in a "Roundtable" discussion focused on whether Vancouver's politicians should pass policies to "protect" commercial activity downtown from displacement caused by the red hot residential condo market. At this roundtable, I had the opportunity to meet Brent Toderian. He is the City of Vancouver's Director of Planning. I was very impressed with him. It now strikes me that "free market" enviro/urban economists (such as myself) and urban planners should talk more often. Permit me to generalize based on 2 data points! Opinion
Jun 30, 2007   By Matthew E. Kahn
By North-American standards, Vancouver is already a density-friendly city, relatively speaking. Although we've had our share of density related brawls and debates over the decades, by comparison to the wars fought in other cities, the "D-Word" gets a better reception here than in most places. Opinion
Jun 29, 2007   By Brent Toderian
Thanks to Planetizen, I found “Opportunity Urbanism,” a report that posits Houston as “an emerging paradigm for the 21st century.” (There's a related op-ed here.) The report, regrettably, is a manifesto as empty as the title -- which Kotkin clearly hopes will become a catchphrase. So why is it important? Opinion
Jun 28, 2007   By James S. Russell
Let's begin by killing off one of the cherished half-truths about Vancouver.Vancouver, it is said, is the only major city in North America without freeways. Opinion
Jun 26, 2007   By Gordon Price
“Getting” Universal Design creates an “Aha!” moment. Experiencing Universal Design creates a “Wow!” moment. Opinion
Jun 25, 2007   By Barbara Knecht