September 14, 2008
Earlier this month, researchers performed a test run of a bus that basically drives itself. It follows a line of magnets embedded in the pavement, coursing exactly along its route and eventually to the bus stop. The tiny magnets on the bus and in the street guide the bus to the perfect parking position at the stop for picking up passengers. It's a cool idea, and a lot of transit agencies are interested. But there are wider applications.
August 8, 2008
Pizza is delicious. Crop circles are cool. But what happens when you put them together? This happens. And it is horrible.
July 14, 2008
City cycling can be hectic. Let's be realistic: most American cities are not meant for cyclists. It would be great if they were, but for now, our city forms are primarily designed for the movement of cars.
June 19, 2008
Adaptation is a way of life. But we humans have been building our habitats and cities in pursuit of permanence. This is an unreachable goal. Making our cities and communities and lifestyles adapt to outside influences is typically an afterthought. We do tend to react, and we often react very effectively. But solving problems before they happen has never been a strong suit when it comes to urban development. This is especially true with regard to our impacts on the environment. A recent and bizarre example illustrates this point.
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.