Blogs

Two moments in this trip bring home the pace of change here. Sunday morning, 8am, I wake up in the Zhongshan Park section of west-central Shanghai. Head out into the backlanes of the superblock behind the hotel and construction on a high-rise gated apartment building is already at full tilt. Two other construction projects intitimate in my life... Opinion
Mar 28, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
I'm in Shanghai this week conducting workshops for two of my Fortune 500 clients looking at the future of mobility in the Shanghai region and Chinese cities more broadly. If you've never been to China, get on a plane now and come here. You will never think about cities or urbanization the same way again.Shanghai has created a city larger than Manhattan in less than 20 years, and is set to create another in the next 15. The earth literally sags under the weight of the new buildings, as they push the former rural swampland into the earth. Opinion
Mar 27, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
As one of my favorite colleagues says, all anyone ever cares about at any public meeting is “where do I live and where do I park?” Public process, in short, asks people to accept changes to their homes and lives. And people generally do not like change. Opinion
Mar 26, 2007   By Barbara Faga
This week, the Economist’s cover story, "The trouble with the housing market," details the downward-spiraling "subprime" mortgage market and its potential effects on the U.S. economy. The collapsing market certainly poses problems to Wall Street traders and taxpayers in general, but what about the physical toll it's taking on our cities? Abandoned, foreclosed homes now increasingly dot the nation's inner ring suburbs, helping spread neighborhood decline out from inner cities, while developers build more homes farther into the urban periphery. Opinion
Mar 25, 2007   By David Gest
How important are the names we use? As Shakespeare said, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I’ve been struck by this thought recently as I’ve been considering the myriad of organizations and stakeholders trying to have their particular term for stormwater management techniques be more widely adopted in the nomenclature. Opinion
Mar 25, 2007   By
Historic preservation still suffers from an image problem, even in the face of all available evidence. Some critics still have the misimpression that preservationists are fussy (even fusty) antiquarians. When I hear complaints about the requirements of historic review commissions, I’m amazed that the griping is often accompanied by a crack about the local “hysterical society.” Even the Wikipedia entry on “historic preservation” contains the passage, “‘historic preservation’ is sometimes referred to as ‘hysterical preservation’.” (And, of course, Wikipedia is ever-infallible). Opinion
Mar 23, 2007   By Ken Bernstein
Since this is my first blog, let me introduce myself. My name is Brent Toderian. In 2006 I was appointed the City of Vancouver, British Columbia’s Director of Planning. Before that I was the Manager of Centre City Planning and Design for the City of Calgary, Alberta. I am a founding member of the Council for Canadian Urbanism (CanU) which is discussed below. I look forward to your comments on this and future posts. Opinion
Mar 22, 2007   By Brent Toderian
In spite of my sense that we are heading pell mell into the gloom of global warming, catastrophic conflict and hopeless mediocrity, I’ve noticed a hopeful trend. Beauty and happiness have been rehabilitated from irrelevant to necessary.  It may not be an avalanche, but proponents are showing up in unusual places: a book by an environmental conservationist, another by an historian philosopher, and a Mother Jones article about the economy.  Can this portend a trend? Opinion
Mar 22, 2007   By Barbara Knecht
As I said in my last posting, the main, if not the only, topic of discussion in planning circles in New Orleans these days is recovery planning from Hurricane Katrina. A year and a half after the storm, we are getting close to having a recovery plan. In late January the Citywide Strategic Recovery and Rebuilding Plan, otherwise known as the “Unified New Orleans Plan” (UNOP), was presented to the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC), of which I am the Chair. The CPC has held several public hearings on the plan and we have at least one more scheduled. Opinion
Mar 22, 2007   By
As the current fascination with all things green grows with leaps and bounds, the question arises – are there any limits to what can be green? Opinion
Mar 21, 2007   By Walker Wells