Blogs

Most people that I know want to act responsibly, but when it comes to daily travel decisions they often choose driving over more resource-efficient but less comfortable and convenient alternative modes, such as walking, cycling and public transportation. As a result, they feel guilty, and communities suffer from problems such as congestion, infrastructure costs, consumer costs, accidents, energy consumption, and pollution emissions. Opinion
Apr 26, 2007   By Todd Litman
The 1950’s and 1960’s were boom times for planning and building in the northeastern United States. Projects were designed and built seemingly overnight. For those who idolize Edmund Bacon (Philadelphia's director of city planning from 1949 to 1970) and Robert Moses (New York City’s master builder from 1924 to 1968), that was the time to plan and design and implement and build --quickly. Opinion
Apr 26, 2007   By Barbara Faga
These days, there are many important city-building issues we’re promoting here in Vancouver. The first of which is always sustainability, and particularly ecological sustainability (its difficult to consider an economic or socially sustainable future, if the powerful changes necessary to truly address climate change and other ecological implications do not happen). But beneath (or within) sustainability, there are countless issues and debates about the nature of city-building that need to have powerful voices, particularly within the broader public (as opposed to us converted). Opinion
Apr 25, 2007   By Brent Toderian
The new San Francisco Federal Building, designed by Morphosis starchitect Thom Mayne, opened earlier this year. It's visible from the windows of our kitchen at work, so I see it at least five times a day, every time I make myself a decaf double americano. And I knew it looked familiar. Today I finally figured it out. The building:And what must have been the inspiration: (Oh, come on. It's the Sandcrawler from Star Wars. The nerds got it.) Opinion
Apr 24, 2007   By
I've been spending a lot of time over the past couple of years examining the planning literature on sustainable development. Sustainable development, as a concept, remains vague. For those interested, take a look at my recent article in the journal Property Management. Opinion
Apr 24, 2007   By Samuel Staley
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