Government / Politics

June 15, 2008, 5am PDT
<p>The federal government needs to recognize the economic power of the country's metropolises and work with them to create successful regions, according to a recent study from the Brookings Institution.</p>
The Christian Science Monitor
June 14, 2008, 5am PDT
<p>Dermot Finch of the Centre for Cities, an independent research group, says that the U.S. could learn a lot from the U.K.'s urban renaissance.</p>
BBC News
June 13, 2008, 1pm PDT
<p>Central European cities lead the world in this assessment of 'quality of living.' The survey is oriented towards companies who could locate workers in those countries and need to calculate 'hardship allowances.'</p>
June 12, 2008, 9am PDT
<p>Instead of sending an ambulance every time someone calls 9-1-1, the Houston City Council voted to contract with a telephone nursing service for non-emergencies.</p>
The Houston Chronicle
June 12, 2008, 8am PDT
<p>A report announced by Mayor Michael Nutter estimates that Philadelphia's park system has a combined economic value of $1.9 billion in services, income and taxes to the city.</p>
The Philadelphia Inquirer
June 11, 2008, 7am PDT
<p>Streetcars and rail in place of bus rapid transit said to jeopardize federal funding.</p>
The Kansas City Star
June 9, 2008, 1pm PDT
<p>Urban planning commentator Robert Goodspeed declares June "Public Participation in Urban Planning Month" and offers a four part series examining how technology and public participation might be more closely linked.</p>
The Goodspeed Update
June 9, 2008, 10am PDT
<p>The Wall Street Journal and other publications compare the energy and environmental policies of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, presumptive nominees for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.</p>
The Wall Street Journal
June 8, 2008, 1pm PDT
<p>A suburb of Dallas ponders charging a toll on a surface road, perhaps the first such plan for a surface road in the United States.</p>
June 8, 2008, 5am PDT
<p>A city councilwoman in Galt, south of Sacramento, is cited for violating city code rules on watering. That's despite the fact that the City Council had urged the public to water and care for lawns at foreclosed homes.</p>
Lodi News-Sentinel
Blog post
June 6, 2008, 8am PDT

Bank, Commission, Capital Budget or Business as Usual?

There's a growing consensus the U.S. needs to invest more in our infrastructure, especially our transportation infrastructure. Too many roads and bridges are in poor repair, and congestion is slowing the economy of many cities. High gas prices has only added to intense interest nationwide for new and enhanced public transportation. With the expiration of the SAFETEA-LU legislation, next year Congress has the opportunity to revise the policies guiding investment in this critical infrastructure.

Unfortunately, after the interstate highway system, the federal role in transportation infrastructure is mostly known for its excessive pork barrel spending (bridges to nowhere) and limited funds and Byzantine policies restricting mass transit investment.

How should we evaluate the various proposals to reform federal policy? The Urban Land Institute (where I am working this summer) proposed an 8-point "action agenda" for infrastructure in their second-annual infrastructure report. The agenda is a statement of principles that should guide investments. It includes: build a vision for the community, invest strategically in coordination with land use, fix and maintain first, reduce driving, couple land use decisions with water availability, break down government "silos," cut pork barrel spending and support smart growth, keep score and keep governments accountable.

Taking those principles as advice, let's take a look at what has been proposed.

Robert Goodspeed
June 5, 2008, 1pm PDT
<p>A peaceful suburb wanting to preserve its tranquility is pitted against a large rail company attempting to lessen freight congestion around Chicago by running its trains through it and other suburbs on an existing rail line it hopes to purchase.</p>
Associated Press via Miami Herald
June 5, 2008, 10am PDT
<p>Washington, D.C. police decide to stop everyone entering a neighborhood that has seen 22 killings so far this year, including a recent triple homicide.</p>
The Washington Post
June 4, 2008, 1pm PDT
<p>Election Day provided a big boost for proponents of redevelopment in California. A statewide measure to restrict use of eminent domain lost badly, while voters in San Francisco and Napa County showed support for redevelopment projects.</p>
California Planning & Development Report
June 4, 2008, 6am PDT
<p>As drivers complain about higher gas prices, one California lawmaker is promoting a new 9 cent fee on gasoline to fund public transportation and congestion relief in Los Angeles County.</p>
June 3, 2008, 12pm PDT
<p>Tackling urban infrastructure problems in Karachi, Pakistan, is an uphill battle for Mayor Syed Mustafa Kamal. With few services, continuing violence and a rising population, he has his work more than cut out for him.</p>
June 2, 2008, 6am PDT
<p>While mega-condo developments are enlivening districts in and around Miami's urban core, a long moribund downtown business district struggles to keep up. Many hope that small improvements will make a big difference in the area's quest for vitality.</p>
The Miami Herald
June 1, 2008, 7am PDT
<p>Downtown Knoxville has seen many improvements in recent years. This column calls on the city to be careful how it lets private interests use downtown's new public spaces.</p>
Metro Pulse
May 29, 2008, 9am PDT
<p>By some counts, the number of homeless people in New Orleans has more than doubled since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Aid workers are hoping a bill in Congress will bring extra aid to the struggling city.</p>
The New York Times
May 29, 2008, 5am PDT
<p>Requiring all cities and towns to building affordable housing is bad policy. The focus should be on building housing in existing urban areas near jobs and transit, not in rural and suburban towns.</p>
The New York Times