Blogs

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
Last week I was at an interview for a potential real estate developer client who wanted transit-oriented development (TOD), but weren’t sure he wanted transit. This was a progressive developer who wanted more density, a mix-of uses and walkability. How could it be he wasn’t sure he wanted the planned transit line? Is it possible the developer had it right? Opinion
Apr 18, 2007   By G.B. Arrington
In my hometown—and yours, too, I'm sure—a small, one-story house was for sale, and then it was gone. The guy who bought it promptly tore it down and then, because the new house he had designed was too big for the site, let the hole sit there for a year, a broken tooth in the 1950s neighborhood. Of course, the house he built was still too big for the lot, but there it stands, three feet from his seething neighbors: a McMansion. Opinion
Apr 17, 2007   By Margaret Foster
I had heard stories about this the last time I visited Japan in 2004, but this month's Tokyo city briefing from The Economist brought this trend back to my attention. It seems retiring boomers are abandoning their suburban bedroom communities to return to the metropolitan core - presumably to be near friends, cultural attractions, and other amenities (health care? education?). I've seen rumblings of this as well in the New York metro area. Opinion
Apr 17, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
(Prefatory musing: As the title implies, this is Part 1 in a series. I haven't yet mapped out any of the other parts, but considering the boundless errata that clutter American cities, I anticipate little trouble finding objectionables to raise my ire next time my monthly deadline approaches. I welcome my fellow Interchangers to follow suit.) Opinion
Apr 13, 2007   By Josh Stephens
This message is brought to you by the frustrated residents of a city where strip malls prosper and the stock of affordable housing struggles to keep up with demand. A new strip mall being constructed at the intersection of Venice Blvd. and Western Ave. in Los Angeles inspired this public display. Strip malls are in no short supply in L.A., and this is just one example of yet another being built in the city. Unmixed-use retail developments like this are popping up all over the place. Much less new housing is being built. And a sharply lower amount of new affordable housing is being built. Opinion
Apr 13, 2007   By Nate Berg