Blogs

I had the opportunity to spend a day at the Vacant Properties conference late last month which, if you’re not familiar with the “movement,” you should be.  Granted it’s not for everyone.  At the opening plenary session, the moderator asked “who is here from a weak market city?”  A room full of hands went up with a collective giggle.  It felt like an AA meeting for cities.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward addressing it.    Blog Post
Oct 23, 2007   By Scott Page
Most people don't know anything about planning. Sure, they may understand the general gist of it, but many planning concepts just haven't yet made it into the public consciousness. In an effort to accelerate the education of the public, here's an easy-to-use pictorial guide that relates some of those not-so-familiar planning concepts to something we're all familiar with: food. Blog Post
Oct 22, 2007   By Nate Berg
Technology creates new challenges and opportunities, and this came home to me a couple of weeks ago when I was previewing a rough cut of Gridlock: Hell on Wheels, a video on traffic congestion released by Reason Foundation today. In the video, Comedian Drew Carey makes the following off-the-cuff comment on a morning drive-time radio show: “I would love to own a freeway in LA.” Blog Post
Oct 16, 2007   By Samuel Staley
There are lots of Wi-Fi buses popping up in Northern California. The Google shuttle from San Francisco to the Valley has been running for a while and I think Yahoo! has a similar service, but I saw this Wi-Fi enabled AC Transit bus (that's Alameda County folks) crossing the Dumbarton Bridge last week. Apparently, the service is being subsidized by a grant from the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency. Blog Post
Oct 13, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
To paraphrase the New York Times' summation of the Anaheim Angels' rhetorical exodus to Los Angeles a few years ago: some ideas are so stupid that you just have to stand back and watch. To that I would add, some things are so stupid that they deserve derision no matter how long ago they occured. Though it crawled out from the Senate floor in the summer of 2005, SAFETEA-LU -- the $240 billion federal transportation bill -- has, for the past two years, gotten off way too easy. Blog Post
Oct 1, 2007   By Josh Stephens
I live a ten-minute cab ride from the airport. I love it. Many a morning, I have stumbled down the porch steps in flip-flops and a business suit, carrying an overnight bag and high heels to make a flight in an hour’s time. Several weeks ago, I stepped into a cab and chirped my usual, “Good morning—National Airport, please!” and settled back into the seat, ready to finish applying eyeshadow. “Do you know how to get there?,” the driver asked. Blog Post
Sep 30, 2007   By Jess Zimbabwe
The newest Texas Transportation Institute Urban Mobility Report was recently released, stimulating discussion of congestion costs and potential solutions. Here are some things you should know when evaluating these issues. Blog Post
Sep 27, 2007   By Todd Litman
 We all saw it on the Internet—the fellow at a public meeting being hauled away from the microphone before getting wrestled to the floor and tasered during a Q&A with John Kerry. Fortunately, silencing argumentative speakers with a taser is not a common occurrence at most public meetings. While I might confess that there have been meetings where, in retrospect, one might have secretly wished one was armed with a stun gun, facilitators generally try to avoid confrontation. Blog Post
Sep 27, 2007   By Barbara Faga
Since making the switch from architecture to planning / urban design, I’ve been fascinated by the continuing dialogue that surrounds what we do to explain… what we do. There is less emphasis on this dialogue in architecture of course as the tacit assumption is that architects build. (I would say not all great architects need to build but this is a debate for a different setting.) What did often emerge in architecture was the common concern that “design” is not valued to the degree that it should. And why not? Blog Post
Sep 25, 2007   By Scott Page
What if the utility company asked you how much you made when you called to start service in a new home?  What if they wanted this information to tie your bill to your salary and not to how much gas, electricity or water you used?  Would that seem fair?  That’s how some communities are treating developers when determining how much stormwater they should be required to manage.  But regulations that link stormwater standards to the developer’s ability to pay are neither fair nor efficient. Blog Post
Sep 25, 2007   By