Are politicians becoming obsolete in the age of the Internet? Are they simply the 'middle-men' that will be replaced by votes cast directly by citizens? This was the issue before a veritable rock-star cast of poliltical insiders from California and around the country. So what is the G-Word?
How useful is planning scholarship to planners in practice? Thirty years ago, the author of a British study of information use by planners found, "The journal is not a source of major importance to the planner in practice, though this statement must be taken to reflect inadequate privision and inadequate timeing for reading" (White, 1974). Perspectives differ, but at least some of the problem has been the difficulty of finding relevant scholarship at the moment it is needed. I believe that these difficulties have greatly reduced in the past few years, and that we are on the verge of an unprecedently increase in the use of scholarship in practice fueled by online bibliographic searching and retrieval. From both the scholar's and the practitioner's perspectives, this change will have substantial effects.
The impact of the urban grocery store gap, particularly on low-income communities, has been well documented. The presence of full-service grocery store can raise the economic value of surrounding property, serve as an anchor in commercial districts, provide an important source of jobs, and lower the daily cost of living for residents. In an era of skyrocketing obesity rates, public health research shows a strong correlation between the presence of a grocery store and the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
About two years ago, after teaching a course at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program on "Digitally Mediated Urban Space", I wrote an article for the architectural design journal Praxis that sought to do do two things: 1) make sense of the wide array of digital technologies that are being deployed in urban space, and 2) present a couple of places that I thought exemplified good and bad "design" of digital public spaces.
Recently, my research on context-aware computing - computing based on sensors and artificial intelligence - has led me to revisit this piece. Around the same time, I got a call from Lucas Graves, a friend who writes for Wired, and was doing a piece on technologies that are "perpetually around the corner". Lucas was mainly interested in things like videophones, but it coincided with a turn in my research to the applications side of context-awareness: smart cities, smart places, smart homes, and smart objects. As an urban planner, I immediately gravitated to thinking about smart cities and smart places, but wondered in the back of my mind - is this something that is really happening, or just another one of those technologies that are perpetually around the corner?
Greetings Planetizen readers! I'd like to welcome everyone to our new blog -- called Planetizen Interchange. This is our latest effort to provide exposure to new ideas, encourage discourse that cuts across disciplinary boundaries, and bring together allied professionals.