Exclusives

Blog post
5 days ago
A blog post comparing the Athens Charter, written by modernist architects in the 1930s, to traditional urbanism and modern sprawl.
Michael Lewyn
Blog post
January 25, 2005, 4pm PST
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.
Blog post
January 24, 2005, 2pm PST
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
Blog post
January 24, 2005, 8am PST
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.
Feature
January 18, 2005, 12am PST

The current tsunami disaster should cause serious rethinking of seaside development for all coastal locations, but there is little evidence that it will.

Joel S. Hirschhorn
Blog post
January 14, 2005, 9pm PST
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.
Blog post
January 11, 2005, 7pm PST
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.
Feature
January 10, 2005, 12am PST
Jeff Speck offers advice -- in the form ten City Design Resolutions -- for city mayors who want to build better places.
Jeff Speck
Blog post
January 9, 2005, 3pm PST
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.
Ken Snyder
Blog post
January 5, 2005, 11am PST
I wanted to offer this picture as a New Year's gift for those interested in the sometimes strange mix of technology and space. I took this a couple years back in Chang Mai, Thailand.

Scott Page
Blog post
January 3, 2005, 2pm PST
Because I can: here's another Wired story I can flack. Writer David Goldenberg collects half a dozen examples of supercool, high-tech bridges in the latest issue. When Chris or Abhijeet teach me how to upload pics with our new software, I'll put a couple here. Meanwhile, the story's online. Salient bits:

Today, an explosion of new designs and materials is creating a third golden age of bridge building. Cable-stays transfer the load on the roadway to towers via radiating wires. Electromagnetic dampers and giant underwater shock absorbers resist the kinetic energy of wind, quakes, and collisions. Sensors - fiber-optic cables, digital cameras, and accelerometers - let engineers know how bridges are holding up in real time. And higher-performing steel, concrete, and carbon fiber-reinforced polymers are making spans lighter, stronger, longer, and taller.
Blog post
December 21, 2004, 12pm PST
Exciting improvements in planning are possible when GIS tools are used in combination with public participation tools such as keypad polling. During a comprehensive plan update meeting in Hayden Colorado, flip charts were replaced with computerized systems and keypad voting tools to gather resident input on a proposed development and future growth. CommunityViz and GIS were used to analyze the impacts of growth and to create a visualization of what the proposed development would look like in the landscape.
Ken Snyder
Blog post
December 19, 2004, 7pm PST
Because I'm kind of a dumbass, I forgot to post the link to this really interesting story from the December issue of Wired, the magazine for which I work. Does it still count as flacking my mag if I didn't write or edit the story?

Anyway, the point of the piece is that you can control traffic by not controlling it -- let chaos reign, and people naturally slow down and find their own order. Wisdom of crowds, or something like that.
Blog post
December 16, 2004, 4pm PST
This time I didn't make it up. From the strange, inventive, and apparently European Web site socialfiction.org comes Psychogeographical Markup Language, a way to tag urban environments with metadata that's not cartographic but emotional. They say, "PML incorporates work done in fields like annotated space, geo-tagging, mental mapping, GIS & collaborative mapping but is different in that it aims at the invisible & the absurd."

As socialfiction's explanation
Blog post
December 16, 2004, 12pm PST
David Sucher argues that France's spectacular new bridge is not just a feat of engineering -- it's architecture.

"...I'd suggest that it qualifies as architecture, maybe even top-notch architecture..."


Brian Micklethwait wonders about the reason for building the bridge:

"Economically it looks crazy to me. A few more curves on the road and they could surely have saved themselves billions."
Abhijeet Chavan
Feature
December 16, 2004, 12am PST
Weblogs are helping the World Wide Web realize its potential, writes Planetizen co-founder and editor, Abhijeet Chavan.
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
December 15, 2004, 7pm PST
Walt writes (subscription required, unfortunately) in the Wall Street Journal:

"The most important development this year in U.S. wireless communications wasn't the headline-grabbing mergers of various wireless carriers. It was the quiet, gradual rollout by Verizon Wireless of a technology called EV-DO, which for the first time is providing broadband-speed Internet access over the air from anywhere in the cities where it has been deployed."
Chris Steins
Blog post
December 13, 2004, 3pm PST
Hey, look, it's another way to look at city/non-city living! It's from the New York Times Magazine's Year in Ideas issue (reg. req'd). Here it is: your moment of geographic zen.

Micropolises

What does it say about you if you live in a dark green region? Um...that you shop at WalMart? That you have satellite TV? That you're more likely to drive a truck?

I've read the Times article and I still don't really get it.
Blog post
December 12, 2004, 10pm PST
Liferay thumbI just discovered Liferay, an open source portal, after reading David Fletcher's discussion of Portal Architectures on his blog.

Although I have seen and evaluated PHP Website", I haven't seen see Liferay, which is equally -- perhaps more -- impressive.
Chris Steins
Blog post
December 10, 2004, 1pm PST
According to Urban Legends References Pages, the widely circulated 1954 photograph of what a home computer in 2004 would look like is an Internet hoax. The website provides details:

Although the photograph displayed could represent what some people in the early 1950s contemplated a "home computer" might look like (based on the technology of the day), it isn't, as the accompanying text claims, a RAND Corporation illustration from 1954 of a prototype "home computer." The picture is actually an entry submitted to an image modification competition, taken from an original photo of a submarine maneuvering room console found on U.S. Navy web site, converted to grayscale, and modified to replace a modern display panel and TV screen with pictures of a decades-old teletype/printer and television (as well as to add the gray-suited man to the left-hand side of the photo).
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
December 8, 2004, 11am PST
Albuquerque, NM -- I've been in Santa Fe, 60 miles north of the airport from which I'm now writing, for the past three days. Was attending a conference put on by a CIA think tank, and even though I'm a reporter I think it's pretty badass that I'm actually not allowed to tell you anything about the conference. Nyah nyah.

But Santa Fe put me in mind of a book on my shelf that I haven't read yet, The Tourist City.