May 5, 2008
On the bus this morning I was handed a survey asking me to detail my satisfaction with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's public transit system. As a daily bus commuter, I was more than happy to spend my two cents, but I'm a bit skeptical that those two cents will really do anything.
April 18, 2008
From public transit to public parks to public space, this past week brought a lot of interesting and innovative ideas in the world of urban planning.
April 11, 2008
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Amtrak Train 715. We're expecting a smooth ride today and should be moving along right on time," said the voice of the train conductor over the loudspeaker. He then continued, "And thanks for joining us for National Train Day". The loudspeaker then turned off, and was followed instantly by the voice of an incredulous woman a few rows behind who said "What?"
April 4, 2008
Another week has passed, and some more exciting and interesting ideas have taken root in the world of urban planning.
March 21, 2008
We all know there's a lot of planning going on around the world. Much of it is poor, short-sighted and generally just no good. But there are also some really great ideas being developed and adopted, and they should be considered by cities and communities all over the world as instructive examples of good planning. Here are what I think are some of the best ideas in urban planning from the last week.
February 27, 2008
Every city has blight – the unsightly, derelict, abandoned, disheveled, and under-utilized spaces of our urban areas. It drains the life out of neighborhoods, drives down the values of surrounding properties, and just looks really bad. So what do cities do about it? Some seize it through eminent domain for redevelopment and others offer incentives to developers to replace it with something better. Many of them, though, don’t do anything at all. But removing blight from a city is not impossible, and it doesn’t have to be an elaborate multi-party scheme or a drawn-out political process. It can be as simple as a coat of paint.
February 14, 2008
Public participation turned ugly last week in suburban Missouri, where a man burst into a city council meeting and shot and killed two police officers and three city councilors.
January 18, 2008
The other day, half a million plastic balls bounced down the Spanish Steps, one of Rome's most visited and historic public places. Many visitors, picture-takers and members of the media were caused to wonder 'what's up with all these balls?
November 27, 2007
A bit of bizarre news caught my attention recently and it got me thinking. It was about these roads in Japan that had been designed to play music as cars drive over them. The engineers behind this idea cut thousands of grooves into the roadway, separated them by certain specific intervals, and then drove their cars. What resulted is a weird humming melody that reverberates in the cars as they drive. The video linked below showing the roads and their songs is awesome, but so much more could be done.
November 6, 2007
The strike has begun! Negotiations have broken down between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, forcing Hollywood's TV and movie writers into a strike. What, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with planning? Well, to put it bluntly, this strike is arguably the most important opportunity in American history for the widespread development of infrastructure and public works projects.