Technology

September 28, 2007, 9am PDT
<p>World-renowned environment experts have proposed a system of huge tubes placed in the world's oceans that would cycle nutrients to encourage booms in the population of algae -- organisms that naturally consume and sequester carbon.</p>
The Guardian
September 23, 2007, 9am PDT
<p>In six states, test runs will assess public attitudes and acceptance of road taxation systems that ditch gas taxes and charge drivers based on how many miles they drive.</p>
USA Today
Blog post
September 21, 2007, 7am PDT
I'm posting this blog entry live in front of a panel session of approximately 200 participants at the 2007 Ohio Planning Conference at the Columbus Conference Center to demonstrate, live, how one posts to a blog.

Columbus Conference Center in walkable downtown ColumbusI'm presenting on "Web 2.0 Tools to Communicate Planning Ideas". Here's the pitch:
Chris Steins
September 20, 2007, 8am PDT
<p>In this column, urban planning professor Justin Hollander asserts that online games such as “Second Life” have the potential to enable genuine public participation in civic affairs.</p>
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
September 16, 2007, 11am PDT
<p>Predictions that our high-tech age of connectivity and wire-free communications would drain big cities, the world's financial centers remain heavily populated and their economies are thriving.</p>
The Economist
September 15, 2007, 9am PDT
<p>After a flurry of announcements regarding blanketing cities with free Internet access, the actual forecast for these wireless networks looks rather bleak.</p>
The Economist
September 14, 2007, 12pm PDT
<p>Motorists beware - if you double-park in a transit-only lane in San Francisco next year, that bus behind you could take your photo resulting in a $250 citation, if AB 101 is signed by Governor Schwarzenegger.</p>
The Examiner
September 14, 2007, 5am PDT
<p>The rural communities of Kentucky are wiring up, and a statewide effort to convince rural residents of the benefits of internet access expects nearly 98% of the state to have internet access by the end of the year.</p>
The Economist
September 13, 2007, 11am PDT
<p>Over the summer, plans fell through on a number of major municipal Wi-Fi projects in major American cities, such as Chicago and Houston. But these networks are thriving in smaller communities around the country.</p>
The Christian Science Monitor
September 13, 2007, 9am PDT
<p>A high-tech elevator for cars is being considered as a way to save space in a condo conversion planned in Charlotte, North Carolina. The elevator will also help preserve the historic building's facade.</p>
The Charlotte Observer
September 11, 2007, 2pm PDT
<p>The city of Rome recently launched a dynamic mapping project that utilizes cell phones and GPS devices to display the city's flow of traffic and pedestrians on a publicly accessible website.</p>
Discovery
September 6, 2007, 2pm PDT
<p>U.S. cities such as Chicago, San Francisco, and Sacramento are becoming more energy efficient in an effort to attain the title of the nation's greenest city.</p>
The Sacramento Bee
September 2, 2007, 9am PDT
<p>Cities reconsider the economics behind free citywide Wi-Fi networks. Plans have already fallen through in Chicago and San Francisco, and more are expected to follow.</p>
The Detroit Free Press
September 2, 2007, 7am PDT
<p>High-tech traffic signals have been developed that predict and warn drivers of possible collisions.</p>
Discovery
August 30, 2007, 8am PDT
<p>Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, has been widely celebrated in recent years as one of the most historic and, at the same time, most thoroughly high-tech cities in Eastern Europe.</p>
Der Spiegel
August 28, 2007, 12pm PDT
<p>Cars and shipping will all be controlled automatically and traffic jams will be a thing of the past, according to a new book that posits a futuristic transit system within 50 years.</p>
The Observer via Guardian Unlimited
August 22, 2007, 11am PDT
<p>This article from <em> Ecogeek</em> offers an introduction to green roofs, and shares pictures of some existing green roofs and some ambitious projects in the works.</p>
Ecogeek
August 20, 2007, 11am PDT
<p>Traffic sensors on Germany's Autobahn enable researchers to predict traffic jams a day in advance -- with surprising accuracy.</p>
Der Spiegel
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
August 9, 2007, 2pm PDT
<p>High technology and the Internet will have an increasingly broad impact on the way our cities and communities deal with transportation, traffic, and mobility, according to commentator John M. Eger.</p>
Government Technology