Blog post
3 days ago
Research in cognitive sciences is dictating that we can no longer rely on the presentation of scientific facts when building policy.
Steven Snell
Blog post
December 21, 2004, 12pm PST
Exciting improvements in planning are possible when GIS tools are used in combination with public participation tools such as keypad polling. During a comprehensive plan update meeting in Hayden Colorado, flip charts were replaced with computerized systems and keypad voting tools to gather resident input on a proposed development and future growth. CommunityViz and GIS were used to analyze the impacts of growth and to create a visualization of what the proposed development would look like in the landscape.
Ken Snyder
Blog post
December 19, 2004, 7pm PST
Because I'm kind of a dumbass, I forgot to post the link to this really interesting story from the December issue of Wired, the magazine for which I work. Does it still count as flacking my mag if I didn't write or edit the story?

Anyway, the point of the piece is that you can control traffic by not controlling it -- let chaos reign, and people naturally slow down and find their own order. Wisdom of crowds, or something like that.
Blog post
December 16, 2004, 4pm PST
This time I didn't make it up. From the strange, inventive, and apparently European Web site socialfiction.org comes Psychogeographical Markup Language, a way to tag urban environments with metadata that's not cartographic but emotional. They say, "PML incorporates work done in fields like annotated space, geo-tagging, mental mapping, GIS & collaborative mapping but is different in that it aims at the invisible & the absurd."

As socialfiction's explanation
Blog post
December 16, 2004, 12pm PST
David Sucher argues that France's spectacular new bridge is not just a feat of engineering -- it's architecture.

"...I'd suggest that it qualifies as architecture, maybe even top-notch architecture..."

Brian Micklethwait wonders about the reason for building the bridge:

"Economically it looks crazy to me. A few more curves on the road and they could surely have saved themselves billions."
Abhijeet Chavan
December 16, 2004, 12am PST
Weblogs are helping the World Wide Web realize its potential, writes Planetizen co-founder and editor, Abhijeet Chavan.
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
December 15, 2004, 7pm PST
Walt writes (subscription required, unfortunately) in the Wall Street Journal:

"The most important development this year in U.S. wireless communications wasn't the headline-grabbing mergers of various wireless carriers. It was the quiet, gradual rollout by Verizon Wireless of a technology called EV-DO, which for the first time is providing broadband-speed Internet access over the air from anywhere in the cities where it has been deployed."
Chris Steins
Blog post
December 13, 2004, 3pm PST
Hey, look, it's another way to look at city/non-city living! It's from the New York Times Magazine's Year in Ideas issue (reg. req'd). Here it is: your moment of geographic zen.


What does it say about you if you live in a dark green region? Um...that you shop at WalMart? That you have satellite TV? That you're more likely to drive a truck?

I've read the Times article and I still don't really get it.
Blog post
December 12, 2004, 10pm PST
Liferay thumbI just discovered Liferay, an open source portal, after reading David Fletcher's discussion of Portal Architectures on his blog.

Although I have seen and evaluated PHP Website", I haven't seen see Liferay, which is equally -- perhaps more -- impressive.
Chris Steins
Blog post
December 10, 2004, 1pm PST
According to Urban Legends References Pages, the widely circulated 1954 photograph of what a home computer in 2004 would look like is an Internet hoax. The website provides details:

Although the photograph displayed could represent what some people in the early 1950s contemplated a "home computer" might look like (based on the technology of the day), it isn't, as the accompanying text claims, a RAND Corporation illustration from 1954 of a prototype "home computer." The picture is actually an entry submitted to an image modification competition, taken from an original photo of a submarine maneuvering room console found on U.S. Navy web site, converted to grayscale, and modified to replace a modern display panel and TV screen with pictures of a decades-old teletype/printer and television (as well as to add the gray-suited man to the left-hand side of the photo).
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
December 8, 2004, 11am PST
Albuquerque, NM -- I've been in Santa Fe, 60 miles north of the airport from which I'm now writing, for the past three days. Was attending a conference put on by a CIA think tank, and even though I'm a reporter I think it's pretty badass that I'm actually not allowed to tell you anything about the conference. Nyah nyah.

But Santa Fe put me in mind of a book on my shelf that I haven't read yet, The Tourist City.
Blog post
December 6, 2004, 11am PST
From the Philadelphia Inquirer

"Dream isn't deleted yet. What happens when you take Mayor Street's trailblazing vision of Philadelphia as one huge wireless Internet hot spot and suddenly cool it to the temperature of long-dead star? The vision dies, and with it a shining chance to showcase the city as hip and technology-friendly.
Also shot would be the chance to redefine the "City of Brotherly Love" as a community that reaches across the digital computer divide. The vision doesn't die, though, if enough people start chanting - Neverland-style - that they believe... they believe... they believe."
Scott Page
December 6, 2004, 12am PST
Transportation policy often passes under the radar of political analysts and media commentators. Yet mobility is too important to the economic vitality of the nation to remain invisible in the policy dialogue.
C. Kenneth Orski, Stephen Lockwood, Alan E. Pisarski, and Robert W. Poole Jr.
Blog post
December 3, 2004, 3pm PST
Planning 50 years out is never easy -- in planning -- or in technology.

Thanks to Peter Gordon and Dowell Myers for the picture.

Computer of the Future.

Chris Steins
Blog post
December 2, 2004, 2pm PST
Merriam-Webster Inc. announced that the word "blog" was the "most looked-up word" [CNN] this year. The word will be a new entry in the next edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

A four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year's presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's list of the 10 words of the year.
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
November 30, 2004, 2pm PST
The best English-language science magazine, New Scientist, reports this week that London's congestion pricing -- 5 pounds to drive into downtown -- lowered emissions last year. The story's not online yet (next week it'll be in the archive at New Scientist.com) but I've thoughtfully copied out the salient bits:
...nitrogen oxides and particulates fell by 16 per cent. A fall in the number of cars and an increase in speed of 4 kilometres an hour were responsible for three-quarters of this fall, with greener technology in cars making up the rest. Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 19 per cent. Even an increase in the number of buses, whose diesel engines are among the worst polluters, could not offset the drop, partly because modern buses are fitted with particulate traps.
Blog post
November 26, 2004, 6pm PST
Web-based communication in e-government In case you missed this on Planetizen, Abhijeet has posted his presentation and proceedings paper, Developing an Open Source Content Management Strategy For E-Government from his presentation at the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association 42nd annual conference.
Chris Steins
Blog post
November 24, 2004, 10am PST
Journalistic truism #539: Headlines that reference 1980s pop songs draw in readers. Proof? Well, you're here, aren't you?

Just some musings about air pollution in honor of Thanksgiving. And no, I don't really get the connection, either.

First, CNN reports that five years worth of negotiations between state and local agencies and airports have failed to result in emissions cutbacks for airports.
Blog post
November 19, 2004, 8am PST
Cities are planning major wireless infrastructure projects to provide city-wide wireless access. Taipei wants to build the world's largest "hotspot" providing outdoor Internet access throughout the city. [Via Slashdot]

The article quotes a Taipei city official who talks about the Wi-Fi project as not only beneficial to businesses but also to improve residents' quality of life [Italics mine].
Abhijeet Chavan
Blog post
November 16, 2004, 3pm PST
I keep saying, urban life is not for the faint of heart. New article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (here's the abstract; fulltext is subscriber-only) says that elevated ozone events correlate to increased deaths.

They looked at 95 cities; here's the salient bit from the abstract:
A 10-ppb increase in the previous week�s ozone was associated with a 0.52% increase in daily mortality (95% posterior interval [PI], 0.27%-0.77%) and a 0.64% increase in cardiovascular and respiratory mortality (95% PI, 0.31%-0.98%).
November 15, 2004, 12am PST

Without a fundamental shift by government to address the fundamental policies that exacerbate urban sprawl, building new light rail systems and subsidizing select projects alone will have l

Chris Fiscelli