Exclusives

Blog post
3 days ago
If the country is about to embark on a new era of infrastructure investment, care will be necessary to ensure long-term benefits for mobility.
Steven Polzin
Blog post
July 22, 2005, 12pm PDT
I haven't clicked through all the links yet on this fantastic post on research in urban climate from Roland Piquepaille's technology blog. I plan to. As usual, it's a tremendously good aggregation of the state of research in a field. Meteorologists and urban planners, with the help of Earth-sensing satellites, are starting to get a sense of how even small features of cities -- individual skyscrapers -- have an effect on global weather patterns and pollution.
Feature
July 19, 2005, 12am PDT

Many criticize the idea of charging money for the use of roads, which are widely considered a public good.

Oded Roth
Blog post
July 8, 2005, 11am PDT
From this month's issue of Wired, I give you this roundup of interesting uses for Google's wicked cool mapping application. Salient bits:

It's Google's world, we just live in it. In the few months since its release, the search engine's latest info-appliance - satellite photos searchable by address - has spawned dozens of inspired spinoffs. Here's a look at some of the ways the hive mind is bending maps.google.com
Blog post
July 8, 2005, 10am PDT
Where have I been? I have no idea.

Take this with a grain of salt, for what it's worth, etc., but the consultancy Jupiter Research now says that municipal WiFi programs ain't worth the money. Excerpt from the release:

"Because the benefits of municipal wireless networks are inherently difficult to measure, and because it is too early to look at outcomes, examining breakeven thresholds provides the best reference point for decision-makers," stated Jay Horwitz, Senior Analyst at JupiterResearch. The report estimates that the average cost of building and maintaining a municipal wireless network is $150,000 per square mile over five years. According to the report, roughly 50% of current initiatives will fail to breakeven even if the benefit of the initiative is assumed to be $25 per user per month.
Feature
July 5, 2005, 12am PDT

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold the use of eminent domain was seen as an endorsement of professional planning.

Samuel R. Staley
Blog post
July 1, 2005, 2pm PDT



My colleague, Chris Haller, has done some great research on online mapping tools/techniques that can be used for community planning and community building.  Here's some stuff he discovered on GeoTagging. 


Since Google started its mapping service, based on xml and an API open to everyone, a lot of non-affiliated web applications have been emerging that bring GIS and online mapping closer to “Joe Internetuser”.

Ken Snyder
Blog post
June 23, 2005, 10am PDT
Just an added note on personal rapid transit. Some years ago, Bruno Latour wrote "Aramis" which documents the French government's attempt to create a PRT system for Paris (later killed by the government itself). Written as a cross between a socialogical study and a mystery novel, its worth a look for those interested in the subject.
Scott Page
Blog post
June 23, 2005, 10am PDT
Cities21 proposal for PRT at Microsoft CampusSo Steve Raney, directory of the nonprofit transit advocacy group Cities 21, emailed me a pre-packaged blog entry, including images and a proposed blog title, about a proposal his organization is circulating for a personal rapid transit (PRT) system on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. The visualization on the site were, in fact, fascinating, and a great introduction to how well PRT can work as a transit alternative.
Chris Steins
Blog post
June 23, 2005, 8am PDT
In Adam's spirit of "tweaking" fellow bloggers, (Hi All) I'd like to emphasize Adam's last point - "Is it still a utility if no one utilizes it?"

For all of the talk about municipal wireless, particularly in my hometown of Philadelphia, I've always been concerned about the ultimate use of the investment despite the fact I agree that anti-municipal broadband laws are detrimental to the flexibility of any City to serve their population. I'm reminded of an interview posted on Muniwireless
Scott Page
Blog post
June 21, 2005, 5pm PDT
Mostly I'm posting this just to maliciously tweak my fellow blogger Charles Kaylor. Hi, Charles!

It seems that not everybody wants free WiFi downtown. At least, not everybody in Orlando, Florida, which according to the Orlando Sentinel is cranking down the valve on the urban teat. Or something.

Sunday marked the last day of a pilot program that allowed those in certain downtown "hot spots" to access the Internet free of charge. The test program was initially supposed to last six months, but the city kept it going 17 months.

City officials said the service worked well -- as many as 200 people using laptop or hand-held computers could log on at once to check e-mail or surf the Web from a wireless zone bordered by Orange Avenue, Eola Drive, and South and Robinson streets.

The problem: Few people were interested.

Despite daydreams of working and browsing the Internet while lounging on a bench at Lake Eola Park, only about 27 people a day, on average, accessed the free service. City officials said they couldn't continue to justify the $1,800-a-month expense.
Feature
June 21, 2005, 12am PDT

Without policy reform to increase the use of revenue-generating programs like congestion pricing, the new federal Highway Bill is bound to hurt America's highways, in part due to a fa

Ryan Prince
Feature
June 14, 2005, 12am PDT
Claims that the threat of gentrification are grossly exaggerated belie a fundamental misunderstanding of the real threat, the real victims, and the real consequences of inner-city redevelopment.
Charles Shaw
Blog post
June 7, 2005, 6am PDT
Less a cool application and more of an example of the power of information put in the hands of neighborhood groups. The Philadelphia Inquirer a month or two back put together this interactive map showing the frequency of shootings in the City (which Charlie's map reminded me of). Illustrated like a topographical map, many neighborhoods reacted quite strongly to the information. The unfortunate trends, represented and placed on the front page, has further inhibited any ability to market specific neighborhoods as improving and/or attractive places to live.
Scott Page
Blog post
June 6, 2005, 9am PDT
BBC reports that government agencies and state-run enterprises in Brazil are switching from Microsoft Windows to open source alternatives. According to a source cited in the story, the primary motivation is economics. The Brazilian government estimates it could save $120m a year by switching and is considering making the use of open source software compulsory for government.




Abhijeet Chavan
Feature
June 6, 2005, 12am PDT

Should the social virtues of urbanism and new investment in cities get washed out in the hue and cry over gentrification?

John Norquist
Feature
May 31, 2005, 12am PDT
What does the architecture of the Star Wars universe represent? Jack Skelley offers an analysis of the various archetypes on display in the latest Star Wars movie.
Jack Skelley
Feature
May 23, 2005, 12am PDT
If we as planners don't do better in defining ourselves, we risk being seen as irrelevant and superfluous, writes Leonardo Vazquez. Do planners assure their own powerlessness by ignoring those in power?
Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP
Blog post
May 18, 2005, 9am PDT
Linux v. MicrosoftThis article, How Linux Could Overthrow Microsoft, in MIT's Technology Review caught me off-guard.

The article is a fascinating overview of the open source and proprietary software models. It appears to be well-researched and written, and makes a compelling case for open source:

...For all its flaws, the open-source model has powerful advantages. The deepest and also most interesting of these advantages is that, to put it grossly, open source takes the bullshit out of software. It severely limits the possibility of proprietary "lock-in"--where users become hostage to the software vendors whose products they buy...
Chris Steins
Blog post
May 17, 2005, 1pm PDT
Paul FarmerAmerican Planning AssociationExecutive Director Paul Farmer testifies before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Federalism and The Census that public investment based on unreliable data and analysis may constitute a hidden tax in the form of higher costs for infrastructure.

Farmer's compelling testimony (PDF, 150KB) is based on his role as CEO of the APA
Chris Steins
Feature
May 16, 2005, 12am PDT
Should a University invoke eminent domain in its plans for expansion? If so, what responsibility do developer-universities have to the community?
Emily Schwarz