June 13, 2017, 9am PDT
The 5th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is now available. The new Guide includes Planetizen's updated ranking of the Top 25 graduate urban planning programs.
The Planetizen Team
Blog post
March 31, 2005, 5pm PST
You know the end is nigh. Now the big brains at Columbia have confirmed it. The Center for Hazards & Risk Research has released a report (PDF chunks of which available here) called Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis. It lists (and maps and charts) the places on Earth most in danger of drought, earthquake, volcano, landslide, flood, or tornado.
March 30, 2005, 12am PST
Marisa Cravens examines planning through the cinematic lens with a recent compilation of important planning movies reflecting the instincts and hidden goals of planners.
Marisa Cravens
Blog post
March 25, 2005, 8am PST
Front RangeAnn Oliveri from the Urban Land Institute kindly pointed me to an article, Toll road gets tangled in Web of defeat, in the Rocky Mountain News.

The developer says he was "blindsided" by the rapid an online opposition on legislation that would make it possible for the development of a privately financed $2 billion tollway
Chris Steins
Blog post
March 24, 2005, 11pm PST
Thanks to James Carberry for pointing me to this article on the slightlly academic, but consistently readable and relevant, Knowledge@Wharton journal.

Blogs & BloggingBlogs, Everyone? Weblogs Are Here to Stay, but Where Are They Headed? wonders about the future of blogging.
Chris Steins
Blog post
March 18, 2005, 8pm PST
I'm in San Francisco this weekend for the annual 2005 American Planning Association Conference. On Saturday, I'm presenting on a panel, "Computer-Based Decision-Support and Visualization Strategies", organized by Kenneth Topping, FAICP of Topping Associates International.

I'll be releasing my annual list, "Top Five Technologies For Planning, 2005". After the session, I'll post my top technologies here also.

Rumor has it that the Moscone West Conference Center is outfitted with wireless Internet access. If so, I'll blog the presentations, as well as publish a few photos of the event.

Conference photo

Other presenters include:

  • Mark Sorensen, University of Redlands: Linkages between knowledge-base, multiple criteria analysis and GIS
  • Chuck Donley, Donley & Associates Inc.: Using vector data for site selection, land use allocation, forecasting, and visualization.
  • Ken Snyder, PlaceMatters.com: Using visualization and GIS tools on the neighborhood scale
  • Dr. Michael Flaxman, Assistant Industry Manager for Design, ESRI: A Conceptual and Technical Framework for GIS-Based Land Use Planning: Alternative Futures for La Paz, Mexico

    The official panel description: "Presenters will showcase IT-based approaches to community outreach and decision making. Case studies include redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and other high-pressure planning situations. The enhanced program includes 3-D visualization geared for use in public settings, electronic democracy techniques, scenario-building models, web-based GIS, and multi-media tools. "

  • Chris Steins
    Blog post
    March 18, 2005, 5pm PST
    Hey, if any of y'all are going to be in Kobe after April, find out if it's true that the city is running a pilot project to embed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in public places, to be read by anybody's PDA. According to RFID in Japan (which says the story comes from an article, in Japanese, on CNET Japan).
    Blog post
    March 16, 2005, 11am PST
    Japan has cooler cell phones than us. We just have to accept. My sister-in-law lives over there, and every time she comes to visit, her phone does more stuff than mine. I get a camera; she gets a camera with a flash. I get downloadable ringtones, she gets to play MP3s. Grrr.

    Now, Japanese cell-phone app company Navitime (in Japanese) is offering a navigation service that gives you overhead maps (with real pictures) to guide you to destinations.
    Blog post
    March 10, 2005, 12pm PST
    The Museum of Chinese in Americas is undertaking an installation of a digital media project that explores New York City's Chinatown.


    Its an extremely interesting example of digital archiving that recognizes the multiple ways we learn about cities - both physically and virtually. A hope of things to come? Putting our information and databases to use in helping us learn more, and subsequently, feel a stronger connection to place is an increasingly utilized concept already expressed in more mundane sites such as Citysearch.
    Scott Page
    Blog post
    February 28, 2005, 7pm PST
    An article in Computerworld, Political Animals offers an interesting glimpse into how senior IT professionals see urban governance and the battle for wireless zones in cities.

    Chris Steins
    February 21, 2005, 12am PST

    Critical Mass, a monthly gathering of cyclists originally founded in San Francisco, has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon.

    Rocco Pendola
    Blog post
    February 17, 2005, 2pm PST
    I appreciate Charlie's post on Wifi. Can't we believe that cities are still capable of providing public services? There are a number of problematic examples of private companies taking over public utilities such as water and electricity. The experience from these experiments illustrates a number of useful lessons in who gets left out and how and where the money is spent.

    That said, I also believe that broadband is a fundamentally different kind of service than water and sewer. We no longer live in an age when cities provided all services as well as funding for revitalization activities.
    Scott Page
    Blog post
    February 16, 2005, 10am PST
    I came across this image created by the Philadelphia Daily News some time ago. It depicts all of the potential problems one might encounter in living within Philadelphia and the associated number to call. Many neighborhood organizations have copies of this image as it was difficult to immediately figure out whom to call for different problems until this information was gathered in one location. The graphic has some particularly interesting graphic depictions of urban issues. In the end, its an amazing contrast to initiatives like the 311 service implemented in New York City.
    Scott Page
    Blog post
    February 10, 2005, 11am PST
    Interesting assessment on Slate today (here) of the Disney-developed planned community Celebration. It's from their architecture critic, the always-readable Witold Rybczynski, who likes the town more than a cynic might expect (though he does go for the inevitable Main-Street-at-Disneyland lead). His main complaint: it's too damn popular:

    Like all American real-estate ventures since colonial days, it's a mixture of vision, business, and blarney. The design and planning are an order of magnitude better than what is usual in planned communities. If there is a trickle-down effect—and the financial success of Celebration has not gone unnoticed by commercial homebuilders—Celebration may push developers in the direction of denser, more varied, and better designed suburban communities, which will be a good thing. But Celebration is hardly the model for the future that Disney intended. A four-bedroom house on a small lot—like the relatively modest Craftsman-style Bungalow pictured here, hardly a McMansion—now sells for $450,000. This is more than three times the average selling price of houses in metropolitan areas nationwide, which is currently $140,000, making Celebration the residential equivalent of a Lexus. The truth is that despite its best efforts, the populist Disney Co. has produced an elitist product.
    Blog post
    February 9, 2005, 2pm PST
    An article by Shane Petersen in the publication Government Technology
    provides an update on how government agencies are using Open Source Software (OSS).

    OSS has finally achieved an aura of legitimacy, paving the way for government agencies to pursue higher levels of OSS integration...OSS has moved from fringe applications to core business functions because more enterprises now trust its stability.
    Abhijeet Chavan
    Blog post
    February 4, 2005, 10am PST
    Thanks to Larry Segal (former editor of The Planning Report, now at KBHome) for pointing me at an interesting observation from LA Observed about open source:

    Eric Garcetti: The blogging councilman and colleagues Wendy Greuel and Jack Weiss offered a motion to push the city toward using more open source computer programs and re-routing the money saved on software to hiring more cops.
    Chris Steins
    Blog post
    January 30, 2005, 11am PST
    When I was living in Boston the first time, in 1993, I had a conversation with my cousin, a longtime resident, about the then just-starting Big Dig project, putting the Central Artery highways underground (and increasing their capacity). Boston has terrible traffic (and terrible drivers -- I have never been closer to a stress-induced stroke than trying to drive around the Hub in rush hour) and I told my cousin, Jeff, that the Big Dig was a good thing, since it would certainly reduce congestion in the city.
    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.
    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