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
July 1, 2004, 4pm PDT
Chris has been flacking the idea of metadata specific to urban planning and related fields for a while now (and hey, if you go read that article from planning, ignore the lead -- I just re-read it and, well, what can I say except I was just a kid when I wrote it).

So the basic notion is pretty cool: all the data that an architect, planner, contractor, builder, etc.
Blog post
July 1, 2004, 9am PDT
Via Taiwan News, via Smart Mobs, comes word of a project to build a mobile phone broadband Internet cloud over all of Taiwan by 2008. Salient bits:

The target is to set up the basic infrastructures to combine cellular phone network service, IT computer platforms, and broadband Internet links with a total 6,000 kilometers of the broadband fixed networks, and 10 "mobile cities" plus 15 "special mobile districts" around Taiwan by 2008, according to Kao Tien-tzu head of telecommunication and information section at the advisory group.

Kao said the project has now been underway and the government has the goal of taking Taiwan from number 20 to among the top 5 countries in the world for wireless on-line access, while at the same time lowering the charged service fees to up to 80 percent to be competitive with the top ten most inexpensive national rates in the world.
Blog post
June 29, 2004, 1pm PDT
The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute has a (extraordinarily slow-loading) report out (in Swedish but with an abstract that comes very close to being in English) on tram and bus use. Here's the PDF of the report, but in a TechTalk public service, here's the salient bit, with a couple teeny edits, from the abstract:

...public transport makes much more efficient use of the street area than car traffic. Trams are more than twice as efficient as buses, when the number of passengers carried is considered. IN the period 1986-1996 the European cities which based public transport on trams show a bigger growth in the number of passengers carried than do cities which rely on buses.
Blog post
June 29, 2004, 1pm PDT
The Environmental Rehearsal Studio at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has been working on developing a Planning Data Model and a Planning Markup Language (PML) based on the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and the Geography Markup Language (GML) developed by the Open GIS Consortium.
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
June 29, 2004, 8am PDT
Why should architects, planners, and developers be concerned about software interoperability and open standards for data exchange? Communication and the exchange of data between partners in a development project is crucial to the success of the project. Anyone who has been involved in a construction project before knows how many opportunities exist to mis-interpret even the smallest detail on a plan.

Architect Jonathan Cohen concludes in Islands of Automation
Chris Steins
Blog post
June 25, 2004, 6pm PDT
Thinking more about my Spider-Man post, as well as the science fiction work of China Mieville -- who has a third book coming out about the steampunk/magic megacity New Corbuzon in August....

So which made-up cities would you visit? I think I'd like Gotham City better than Metropolis. You get the sense that the bars and restaurants are better in Gotham.
Blog post
June 25, 2004, 2pm PDT
Via Scobleizer, a supercool Web-based traffic monitor with live video of intersections. SMART Corridors, a joint project of a dozen or so Bay Area regional transit authorities, is supposed to let commuters see where the clogs are. But the surveillance cameras are kinda spooky. If you timed it right and knew which one to click on, you'd see me walking to my bus every morning (quit stalking me!).
Blog post
June 25, 2004, 10am PDT
Wonderful article on Mike Melvill, the guy who flew the SpaceShipOne into space over Mojave this week, here. It's by non-reader but talented New York Times writer John Schwartz.
Blog post
June 23, 2004, 4pm PDT
Marvel Comics has announced that it plans to license out Spider-Man, one of its flagship characters, to an Indian comic book company, for a re-made Indian version of the character. Newsarama did a nice write-up on the details that you can read here.

India Spider-Man The really important bits:
...the Indian version of Spider-Man, in the form of young Mumbai resident, Pavitr Prabhakar, gains his powers from ancient mystic instead of Peter Parker who got his powers from a radioactive spider. Green Goblin is also reinvented as Rakshasa, an Indian mythological demon.
Blog post
June 22, 2004, 3pm PDT
The ABC Entertainment Center in LA is being demolished? Why does no one discuss these things with me? Well, okay, to be fair, Blogging LA did.

Man, I loved that place when I was a kid. It wasn't just the futuristic-by-way-of-the-1960s architecture, or the ability to gape up through the tiers of shops and see the aluminum-framed Century City towers.
Blog post
June 22, 2004, 10am PDT
It's behind schedule, over budget, and, thanks to celebrity architect Frank Gehry, looks more than a little familiar, if you know what I mean. It's soon to open, and thanks to reader (and my cousin) Vanessa Jones, you can see lots of good construction pictures here. Thanks, Vee.

Blog post
June 21, 2004, 11am PDT
Mojave, Calif. - This morning I watched a space ship take off. The SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan and funded by Microsoft gazillionaire Paul Allen, made it to just above 100 km (62 miles or, according to the rocket's own systems, 328,491 feet). That's space, baby: high enough so pilot Mike Melvill could see "white clouds above the LA basin [that] looked like snow on the ground."

The craft, carried to 50,000 feet by a mother ship called the White Knight (it looks a lot like the White Star from Babylon 5
Feature
June 21, 2004, 12am PDT

In the fifth and final edition of our ongoing series profiling urban planning, development, and design students from across the country, masters students from Rutgers University, Cal Poly,

Justin Hollander, Cuauhtemoc Perez, Ethan Bindernagel
Blog post
June 18, 2004, 6pm PDT
David Flether's Government and Technology Weblog frequently makes for great reading. Today he discusses CORE.GOV - Component Organization and Registration Environment.

CORE.gov uses the CollabNet SourceCast tool for sharing and tracking business and technical components available as part of the Federal Enterprise Architecture.

Now I'm not sure I entirely understand this, since it is heavily buzzworded:

Chris Steins
Blog post
June 17, 2004, 4pm PDT
Five years ago, in an article titled "GRASS Is Now Greener" [Linuxpower, Oct 1999] , I had written about the significance of the GRASS GIS being released under the GPL and the potential of combining the newly "open-sourced" GIS with the open source MySQL database. A reader had commented that the open source PostgreSQL database was more commonly used with GRASS.
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
June 15, 2004, 9am PDT
This from reader Matt Bai, who responds to my observation that all the buildings in Times Square are coated with animated, lighted advertising signage: "I noticed the same thing when I was staying in Times Square recently. It's like a sci fi movie--everything is live action distraction. (I just coined that term,
by the way--live action distraction. I want to be credited in your blog.)"

Okay, Matt. There you go.
Blog post
June 14, 2004, 11am PDT
We knew about this already - Reuters is reporting yet another United Nations report that says global warming and population growth are increasing vulnerability to floods. This time they say there'll be 1 billion people exposed to the threat by 2050.

I didn't go back and re-read before posting, but if I remember right that's much the same as what the Pew Oceans Commission said about coastal sprawl
Feature
June 13, 2004, 12am PDT

"If we wish to preserve a free society," Friedrick Hayek once wrote, "it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the

Owen Courreges
Blog post
June 10, 2004, 5pm PDT
San Francisco - The current issue of Science has an interesting Policy Forum laying out some of the challenges of building in earthquake country (fulltext here; pdf here). The salient point:

...basic data and analysis are lacking for how buildings and structures perform under the extreme loads produced by earthquakes. Some experts think structural damage prediction models are based largely on opinion. Application of laboratory data is difficult because of soil- structure interactions and difficulties simulating excitations at high frequencies. These limitations are increasingly important as the postearthquake performance goal for critical buildings moves toward immediate occupancy and functionality.
Blog post
June 9, 2004, 4pm PDT
Kevin Leeson, Special Projects Coordinator and Chris Alvarado, Associate Senior Planner, setup and run the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Weblog. As far as I know, this is the first public-sector planning blog in existence.

The purpose of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Weblog primarily is to act as a news gathering and dissemination resource for the Greater Cleveland and Cuyahoga County planning community, which includes 59 communities, cities, villages and townships.
Chris Steins