Interesting assessment on Slate today (here) of the Disney-developed planned community Celebration. It's from their architecture critic, the always-readable Witold Rybczynski, who likes the town more than a cynic might expect (though he does go for the inevitable Main-Street-at-Disneyland lead). His main complaint: it's too damn popular:Like all American real-estate ventures since colonial days, it's a mixture of vision, business, and blarney. The design and planning are an order of magnitude better than what is usual in planned communities. Opinion
Feb 10, 2005   By
An article by Shane Petersen in the publication Government Technology provides an update on how government agencies are using Open Source Software (OSS). OSS has finally achieved an aura of legitimacy, paving the way for government agencies to pursue higher levels of OSS integration...OSS has moved from fringe applications to core business functions because more enterprises now trust its stability. Opinion
Feb 9, 2005   By Abhijeet Chavan
Thanks to Larry Segal (former editor of The Planning Report, now at KBHome) for pointing me at an interesting observation from LA Observed about open source:Eric Garcetti: The blogging councilman and colleagues Wendy Greuel and Jack Weiss offered a motion to push the city toward using more open source computer programs and re-routing the money saved on software to hiring more cops. Opinion
Feb 4, 2005   By Chris Steins
When I was living in Boston the first time, in 1993, I had a conversation with my cousin, a longtime resident, about the then just-starting Big Dig project, putting the Central Artery highways underground (and increasing their capacity). Boston has terrible traffic (and terrible drivers -- I have never been closer to a stress-induced stroke than trying to drive around the Hub in rush hour) and I told my cousin, Jeff, that the Big Dig was a good thing, since it would certainly reduce congestion in the city. Opinion
Jan 30, 2005   By
So I'm reading the January 7 issue of the journal Science the other day -- because that's the kind of fun I have -- and I noticed two stories that looked related to me, though apparently not to the editors, who separated them. Science is subscription only on the Web, but I'll put links to the citations, at least. The first was from the journal's NetWatch page, where they highlight cool stuff around the Web. Opinion
Jan 25, 2005   By
The United States has a wicked high infant mortality rate compared to the rest of the industrialized world. Possible reasons: better reporting in the US, a more diverse population in the US, and a lack of universal health care. All those things are true. Another possible reason is that we have a lot of poor people in the States, relative to comparable nations. So a couple of researchers at NYU and Boston University decided to put that last assertion to the test. In the January issue of the American Journal of Public Health (subscription req'd; here's the abstract Opinion
Jan 24, 2005   By
Another city experimenting with another wireless network: this time it's Las Vegas, and according to this article in the always-educational IEEE Spectrum they're building not WiFi but a mesh network, and it's for municipal services, not bloggers drunk on the Strip. A mesh network, as almost everyone reading this will know better than I do, is nodeless -- that is, instead of having a hub that directs traffic to and from spokes, mesh networks treat every user as a place to route data. Opinion
Jan 24, 2005   By
In advance of a conference on natural disasters this week in Kobe, the United Nations is warning city-makers to...beware what lies beneath! Okay, so they're probably not flacking the kind of eldritch horrors that our friends in the Fantastic Four dealt with in their very first issue, but according to this article from the BBC they are concerned about concentrations of subterranean development in the same places that get hit with tsunamis and earthquakes. Opinion
Jan 14, 2005   By
What happens in a city where the rule of law and public health fall apart, but capitalism and technology do not? It's a different kind of post-apocalyptic town -- Los Angeles without the Blade Runners, or maybe just present-day Johannesburg. Here's an article from the Naval War College Review from a couple years back that sketches the map of such a city. All the problems of a megacity and none of the fun, it sounds like. Opinion
Jan 11, 2005   By
Take a planning challenge, add some technology and a pinch of public process, mix them just the right, and you have a recipe for good decision making. Orlando County Florida is cooking up such an event- and planners, practitioners, academics and members from all communities will be interested in watching their progress. Orlando Florida is embarking on a year-long initiative to address economic, environmental, land use, and transportation needs for a 90,000-acre study area in southeast Orange County. Opinion
Jan 9, 2005   By Ken Snyder