Blogs

This week, a few stories circulated around our office that generated some discussion. One was a piece in The New Yorker by Nick Paumgarten on commuting in America entitled "There and Back Again". The tease at the beginning sums up the entire piece: "People may endure miserable commutes out of an inability to weigh their general well-being against quantifiable material gains."In this story, the writer accompanies commuters in Manhattan and Atlanta while attempting to understand the life of an "extreme commuter." Opinion
Apr 24, 2007   By
It's increasingly clear that the future of the car in Asia, and possibly Africa and the Middle East as well, is going to be shaped as much by what happens in the Shanghai region as Western cities were by Detroit in the 20th century.Last week General Motors (GM) unveiled a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered version of its Chevrolet Volt concept, a family of electric cars that get a portion of their energy from being plugged into the electrical grid. The first version, announced in January, married plug-in electric drive to a gasoline or ethanol generator that can recharge the battery. Opinion
Apr 24, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
It's been a great week for city planning here on the East Coast. The American Planning Association's 99th National Conference held in Philadelphia drew more than 6,000 attendees, a fact noticed by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Inga Saffron in her April 13th column titled "Welcome, Welcome City Planners," where she took the opportunity to draw local and national lessons from the event. Opinion
Apr 23, 2007   By Eugenie Birch
Typically I have fallen into the “every day is earth day” camp. But this year, April 22nd offered a moment for reflection, although of a more professional than personal nature.Green is everywhere these days – from Vanity Fair to the Wall Street Journal. The decades long debate about the validity of climate change appears to be over – as the discussion seems to be quickly shifting to either: a) how do we make it less dramatic, or b) how we prepare for the inevitable. Opinion
Apr 23, 2007   By Walker Wells
Last week, my home city, Los Angeles, lost out to Chicago for the right to represent the United States in the international competition to host the 2016 Olympics.  Since an Olympic city selection represents the ultimate inter-urban beauty contest – dare I say, a kind of urban “International Idol” – what did this process tell us about the state of urban planning in two of America’s largest cities?  Opinion
Apr 23, 2007   By Ken Bernstein
In 1996, my professor at the University of Colorado introduced a new concept – Transit Oriented Development (TOD). An emerging group of professionals that included New Urbanists were advocating the idea, but few on-the-ground examples existed. The debate within the planning field during those years focused on the marketability of a mixed-use product. TODs would have to overcome large obstacles. Banks were hesitant to finance an “unproven” product. Opinion
Apr 23, 2007   By John Renne
On the Sunday that the April Nor’easter dumped the second highest rainfall ever recorded in Central Park, I waded to the New York Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center. I wasn’t there to see the mighty floor show of preening cars inside the convention center, I went to see the Taxi ’07 exhibition outside on the wind and rain swept lower roadway. For anyone who has tried to hail a taxi in a Manhattan rainstorm, visiting the exhibition on that Sunday raised a familiar feeling: nearly a dozen yellow taxis in sight, not one of which was going to pick me up and whisk me away to dry land. Opinion
Apr 23, 2007   By Barbara Knecht
Constantly updated, the internet has created an important tool for accessing up-to date information—text, still images, and video. Increasingly it also provides a window into aspects of history, including planning history, that have previously been difficult to find. Documents, indexes to archival materials, and the photographic and map collections of historical societies are accessible online. Less well known are film and video resources—resources that can be played online or downloaded. Opinion
Apr 21, 2007   By Ann Forsyth
This post is a few weeks after the fact but the recent APA conference only solidified my resolution to say something.  In early April Teddy Cruz gave a lecture here in Philly at the School of Design.  For those of you not familiar with his work, he has a unique and thoughtful perspective on the relationships between culture, planning and design.  Opinion
Apr 20, 2007   By Scott Page
What is wrong with this map? Opinion
Apr 19, 2007   By Abhijeet Chavan