Internet

March 23, 2010, 11am PDT
A handful of American cities are hoping to become testing grounds for a new fiber optic Internet connection being offered by Google. To catch the company's eye, many of these cities are making concerted -- and sometimes audacious -- efforts.
NPR
February 13, 2010, 5am PST
We may not be driving flying cars, but the futuristic city is here -- in the form of a more intimate connections, communication technologies and social interactions. Former Planetizen Managing Editor Christian Madera discusses.
Next American City
January 28, 2010, 12pm PST
In one North Carolina county, the land development process -- from permitting to building plan submission to inspection -- is now organized under one electronic, online system.
Government Technology
January 22, 2010, 6am PST
The U.S. Federal Government has released a new online tool to help in the collection of feedback and ideas from the general public.
CNET
August 31, 2009, 9am PDT
The application period has opened for federal stimulus grants to fund broadband Internet access projects in underserved areas. The response has been overwhelming.
USA Today
August 23, 2009, 5am PDT
When Lafayette, Louisiana set out to build a high-speed fiber optic data network, legal challenges caused major delays. Other cities are likely to experience the same issues as they try to expand their information infrastructure.
Governing
Blog post
August 10, 2009, 9am PDT
 

Some commentators think that Internet technology will liberate us from the constraints of place; for example, one amazon.com book review of Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography states “Because today's connected workers can live anywhere they want, they will live anywhere they want.”  Kotkin himself is a little more circumspect, but writes: “Telecommunication allows people who want privacy, low-density neighborhoods and good schools to live in small towns in a way never before possible.”(1)  There is a tiny amount of truth to this claim: the Internet does make it

Michael Lewyn
July 10, 2009, 5am PDT
Telecommuting should be considered an aspect of transportation, according to this piece from <em>New Geography</em>.
New Geography
April 25, 2009, 9am PDT
The city of San Jose decides against adding filters to public library computers to block websites with pornography.
San Jose Mercury News
February 19, 2009, 6am PST
This piece from <em>NPR</em> looks at the debate over plans to use more than $7 billion from the stimulus plan to expand broadband Internet access in rural areas.
NPR
December 3, 2008, 9am PST
The mayor of San Francisco delivers his annual state of the city message in ten 45-minute segments on YouTube rather than in person.
NPR
Blog post
September 28, 2008, 4pm PDT

In thousands of planning and zoning laws across the nation, official announcements are required to be published in the local newspaper of "general circulation." In an era of newspaper decline and expanding diversity of media, are these laws becoming obsolete? Furthermore, should we be concerned with newspapers at all if a newer, more universally accessible medium is available: the Internet?

A variety of announcements are legally required to be published in a local periodical of "general circulation," sometimes in addition to being published in an official government gazette. The practice entered the planning world through the U.S. Department of Commerce's highly influential standard zoning and planning enabling acts.

Robert Goodspeed
August 1, 2008, 8am PDT
<p>An online "time bank" has opened in Los Angeles, allowing members to barter services with each other.</p>
The Los Angeles Times
July 29, 2008, 8am PDT
<p>With increasing amounts of data collected and held by governments, there's a lot of opportunity to make use of it for the betterment of communities, according to this column from Neal Peirce.</p>
Citiwire
June 19, 2008, 5am PDT
<p>The rise in virtual connections and Internet-based communities had many worried that traditional community interaction was dying out. <em>Governing</em>'s Alan Ehrenhalt argues it hasn't yet, and probably won't.</p>
Governing
June 12, 2008, 12pm PDT
<p>Santa Monica, CA is succeeding where other larger cities have failed, creating a public WiFi system that actually makes money.</p>
Marketplace
April 15, 2008, 8am PDT
<p>Avoiding traffic congestion may soon be as easy as surfing the web, thanks to new web software that maps out congestion and calculates the best and most efficient driving routes.</p>
The New York Times
Blog post
January 11, 2008, 10am PST

Often times I’m struck by the advances we’ve made in mapping, modeling and depicting our cities.  What was once the purview of mapmakers, surveyors or architects is now a democratized, engaging process that brings unexpected results.  And the more advanced the technology, the more transparent our cities seem to become. 

Scott Page
Blog post
August 10, 2007, 6am PDT

After the dramatic collapse of the Minneapolis freeway bridge last week, the collective hand-wringing began. The bridge was known to be faulty, but had not been replaced. Our entire public transit system is underfunded, we were told.

In addition to transportation infrastructure, those concerned with urban issues have a litany of complaints about American cities. Our transit systems are not adequately linked to zoning laws. Our high parking requirements doom alternative modes of transit and drive up development costs. Our policies encourage uncontrolled sprawl, which seemingly nobody likes. Planners' recommendations are too often overruled by ill-informed and politicized zoning boards. Our buildings aren't energy efficient. City mayors and councils play politics with projects painstakingly approved through highly democratic review processes. And nobody's happy when local activists hold undue power over individual projects.

The solutions we are given are almost as varied as the problems. More centralized planning is often called for, or perhaps more regional planning. However, this seems highly difficult and unlikely in most places where land use is regulated by many small municipalities. Some suggest the solution is more public input on infrastructure and private projects to enhance their quality, while others think we need less input to speed them along and reduce the costs incurred by delays. Some are convinced elaborate flexible or form-based zoning holds the key to better cities, although implementation seems frustratingly difficult. Some cynics conclude that perhaps it is American cultural biases that produce our flawed cities: maybe Americans just like it this way, living with decaying infrastructure, long commutes, but low taxes.

The motley list of solutions almost never includes the one thing that actually has overcome the myriad of obstacles to good city building before: a broad-based and robust conversation to create solutions, money, and political support.

Robert Goodspeed
Blog post
April 21, 2007, 3pm PDT

Constantly updated, the internet has created an important tool for accessing up-to date information—text, still images, and video. Increasingly it also provides a window into aspects of history, including planning history, that have previously been difficult to find. Documents, indexes to archival materials, and the photographic and map collections of historical societies are accessible online. Less well known are film and video resources—resources that can be played online or downloaded. The Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division now boasts an outstanding collection of hundreds of videos relevant to urban issues.

Some examples illustrate the range:

Ann Forsyth
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