April 29, 2010

Some recent items across the transom worth reading: Aaron Renn on federal urban policy; Mary Newsom chronicles former mayors Manny Diaz and Greg Nickels' thoughts on the contentious relationship between cities and states; and The Portland Mercury examines the fits and starts of the Rose City's South Waterfront redevelopment--home of the really cool aerial tram. See also my colleague Bill Frey's analysis of Arizona's demographics as they relate to the state's new immigration law.

March 24, 2010

In which we, hopefully regularly, highlight articles and resources of note:  Portland, Ore. is spending $47 million on an economic development project… for the homeless. Cleveland magazine argues the city won’t be reborn until it “buries its dead” and that means demolishing vacant properties.

The Cul-De-Sac Backlash
February 09, 2010

Via Sarah Goodyear, it looks like a number of city and regional planners are starting to declare war on the cul-de-sac: Early last year, the state of Virginia became the first state to severely limit cul-de-sacs from future development. Similar actions have been taken in Portland Oregon, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina. What they are beginning to realize is that the cul-de-sac street grid uses land inefficiently, discourages walking and biking, and causes an almost complete dependence on driving, with attendant pollution and energy use.

Rail Stimulus: Good Politics, But Don't Expect Bullet Trains
January 28, 2010

So the White House has finally announced the full list of where that $8 billion in stimulus money for high-speed rail is going. Here are the two big, headline-grabbing projects: * Florida will get $1.25 billion for a high-speed line between Tampa and Orlando, which is expected to cost about $3.5 billion all told. Read Adie Tomer's critical take on the Tampa-Orlando project below. * California will get $2.25 billion to help with a planned high-speed line between Anaheim and San Francisco.

Metro Home Price Recovery: Strong, Weak, Non-existent?
December 30, 2009

Yesterday’s release of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index has economists—and probably the Obama administration—on edge. The reason: an apparent softening of demand in October, which translated into weak home price growth across the 20 markets that the index tracks. That followed stronger, more widespread price growth in the summer months. The news has stoked fears of a “double dip” in house prices and the resulting havoc it might wreak in the mortgage market. Like the economy itself, though, what you make of U.S.

Real News On The Christmas Terrorist: He Was Already On A Watch List
December 26, 2009

I dimly remembered that Mohammed Atta and at least three of his brothers (a big word in Islam) had been known to security agencies at least a year before 9/11 as "likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States." This quote is from an August 9, 2005 article written by ace- investigator-of-intricate-matters Douglas Jehl for the New York Times.

How to Save Detroit
December 09, 2009

For much of the United States, Detroit has become shorthand for failure--not just because of the dilapidation of the town’s iconic industry, but because the entire metropolis seems like a dystopian disaster.

Today at TNR (September 16, 2009)
September 16, 2009

Why Is Obama Repeating Bush’s Iraq Mistakes…in Afghanistan? by Michael Crowley The Financial World’s Most Influential Columnist Is a Trash-Talking, Borderline Inscrutable Genius Who Makes You Sleep Badly at Night, by Julia Ioffe What Doctors Really Think About Health Care Reform, by Harold Pollack Galston: Unemployment Numbers May Put Democrats out of Work, by William Galston What Did It Mean to Die in the Warsaw Ghetto?

All Over the Map
September 15, 2009

“First Fridays” these days find Wall Street investors and Washington policymakers and pundits holding their collective breath. At around 8:30 AM, on the first Friday of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the latest round of job and unemployment figures.

Will Rooftop Wind Turbines Ever Catch On?
August 20, 2009

Does rooftop wind power have a future? Preston Koerner reports today that four new wind turbines are going up atop a 22-story building in downtown Portland. At first glance, it doesn't sound like a great deal: The turbines cost $40,000 in all and will satisfy just 1 percent of the building's electricity needs. But the developers at the helm of the project say they're mostly just interested in testing out the concept at this stage. In theory, rooftop wind has a ton to recommend it.