Blogs

I was interested to find this interview with Bill Welt, the Chief Information Officer of theCalifornia Air Resources Board (ARB), discussing with ARB is increasingly building models and applications using Open Source software. The interview appears on the Mad Penguin Opinion
Mar 1, 2006   By Chris Steins
Several years ago I was with a group of people who decided to approach the makers of SimCity to see if we could convince them to develop a similar but more credible tool for planners, enabling towns and their residents to look at real planning challenges and experiment with different scenarios in their own community. Opinion
Feb 28, 2006   By Ken Snyder
Thanks to a kind invitation from Wally Siembab to present at the well-attendedSouth Bay Cities Council of Governments' Seventh Annual General Assembly, I had the opportunity to unveil my annual list of the top technologies for planning. I briefly presented each of the top eight technology tools, and then provide one or more examples of each. Opinion
Feb 25, 2006   By Chris Steins
My link-fu is strong. Please welcome to the Web Burb, a site dedicated to suburbs and New Suburbanism. From the manifesto:The suburbs, in short, are the American mainstream. Our major writers, dating back to Updike and Cheever, have focused on decoding suburban life, and today Richard Ford, Chang Rae Lee, Rick Moody and others continue that work. Suburban megachurches are the engine of American Protestantism. Opinion
Feb 16, 2006   By
A few hours ago I got home from my first stint as a reviewer of student urban design proposals. That's right, kids: I went from consumer to teacher without ever having to be a producer. Opinion
Feb 16, 2006   By
After Adam's last two thoughtful posts, I thought I should weigh in here being the resident urban design on Tech Talk. In general, I sometimes share others concerns with marquee architecture but usually when its seen as a way of boosting economic development or the status of a city. I think in those cases, there are far better ways to boost the livability and physical appearance of a place. Thinking of what an "icon" for say, Fort Wayne, would be is an uninteresting question as that city faces other underlying issues that a marquee project simply can't address. Opinion
Jan 31, 2006   By Scott Page
No, seriously. As I keep getting into arguments with urban planners about community involvement (they're in favor of it) and bitching about marquee architetecture (and marquee architects) someone else voiced my inner conflict before I got to a keyboard. Here's Robert McDonald on the Urban Cartography blog:MIT's new Stata Center lurches impressively over Vassar Street, a mélange of surfaces and cylinders intersecting at odd angles. Opinion
Jan 28, 2006   By
A few months ago, when I was still taking the bus to work - and walking from San Francisco's Transbay Terminal to my office - my favorite shortcut got strange. And I'm glad it did, because it helped me crystallize one of the necessary qualities for a great city: surprise. I'd taken to shaving a few minutes off the march by cutting down a narrow walkway between two skyscrapers. Tall brick on one side, tall concrete on the other. And at the end: pop. The backend of a simple plaza, bits of crummy retail and a Starbucks guarding the front. Opinion
Jan 21, 2006   By
Do I love this? I love this. Fake Is the New Real compares two dozen subway systems from around the world, at the same scale. All these fractal diagrams show, incidentally, a city's rough sprawl-to-core ratio, density, and size -- at a glance. Below, London versus Los Angeles (winner: London). via Curbed LA Opinion
Jan 18, 2006   By
I got a slew of responses (some positive, some not) on my post, "Top 8 Sins For RFPs". The best response came from Chelsea Pierce, an Associate Planner with the City of East Providence, Rhode Island , who offers a few of her proposal pet peeves. Chelsea writes:Great list of RFP sins! I'll keep those things in mind when I write my next one. I have a few proposal submittal pet peeves I'd like to share - small things, really, but also things that drive me bananas. Opinion
Dec 28, 2005   By Chris Steins