Blogs

More Unwelcome News for the California High Speed Rail Project

Decidedly, early June has not been the best of times for the California high-speed rail project.  read more »

Counting Trees in San Diego

Recently, I came across “Taking Inventory of County’s Trees” in the San Diego Union Tribune, an article that describes Robin Rivet’s “ambitious effort to map every urban tree in San Diego County”. Rivet is an urban forester-arborist at the Center for Sustainable Energy California and she ”aims to quantify the value of all local trees and make a statement about a huge but often underappreciated resource.” My concern is that this article may be alerting San Diegans to more regulations, costs and loss of property rights coming our way.  read more »

How the Tobacco Companies Should Spend Their Money

Once again, in the debate over California’s Proposition 29, the tobacco companies seem to have all the money in the world, even though relatively few people smoke nowadays. Under the circumstances, I don’t shed much of a tear for them.  read more »

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Thoughts on High-speed Rail and Buses

I’m back from a California trip – beautiful state, beautiful weather, completely dysfunctional government.  For example, even with massive fiscal problems it’s still trying to build a vastly expensive high-speed rail line from San Francisco to San Diego. On a related note, a private group is exploring building a Houston-Dallas HSR line with no subsidies of any kind. I’m totally okay with private efforts.  read more »

Architecture Critic Paul Goldberger on Silicon Valley, San Jose, and Apple

Last week Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize winning architecture critic for the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, sat down with Allison Arief of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) in downtown San Jose to discuss the state of 21st Century urbanism with a focus on Silicon Valley. Though admired the world over as the preeminent center for technological innovation, Silicon Valley has never been known for its great architecture.  read more »

84% of 18-to-34-Year-Olds Want To Own Homes

A survey by TD Bank indicates that 84 percent of people 18 to 34 years old intend to buy homes in the future. This runs counter to thinking that has been expressed by some, indicating that renting would become more popular in the future.  read more »

Sydney's Long and Lengthening Commute Times

The New South Wales Department of Transport Housing and Transportation Survey reports that the average one way work trip in the Sydney metropolitan area (statistical division) reached 34.3 minutes in 2010. As a result, Sydney now has the longest reported commute time in the New World (United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), except for the New York City metropolitan area (34.6 minutes).  read more »

A Free Range Life

Some may have never heard of the term exurbia before now. According to the free on-line dictionary it means: The exurbs collectively; the region beyond the suburbs.

Exurbia to me is an expression that defines a free range lifestyle. Where I live there is space, nature surrounds my house, I can play music as loudly as I care to, trails connect me to beautiful places, when a recipe calls for lemons or rosemary, I can walk outside and collect whatever I need, and a seasonal garden provides all the abundance I require to make healthy and organic meals.  read more »

Manila Shantytown Fire: 800 Homes Destroyed, 10,000 Homeless

London's Daily Mail reports upon a May 11 fire in a shantytown (informal, illegal settlement) destroyed 800 dwellings and left 10,000 people homeless.  read more »

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Observations on Exurban Trends

Getting the Migration Story Straight: Analysts continue to misunderstand the recent metropolitan area census estimates. Much of the misunderstanding arises from a misinterpretation of a chart produced by the Brookings Institution, which indicates that the rate of population growth has fallen in exurban counties and was, last year, less than the rate of growth in what Brookings calls emerging suburbs and "city/high density suburbs."  read more »