Blogs

NGVideo: Reviving Plotlands

Everybody knows we urgently need to build more homes in Britain, but how, when and where will this happen? WORLDbytes interviewed Ian Abley, an architect and manager of Audacity at the plotlands in Dunton, Essex where from the 1920s East End working class couples built cheap homes themselves. Could we do this now?  read more »

Bad Times Getting Worse for Older Americans

Olivia S. Mitchell, of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, told ABC News that “roughly $2 trillion has been lost in 401(k)s and pension plans during the recession.” (According to The Economist, worldwide private pension funds lost $5.4 trillion last year. I wonder if/when the media will start calling it a depression?)  read more »

Smart Growth Bill Vetoed

Texas Governor Rick Perry has vetoed a bill that would have created a state level “smart growth” program. The veto message is below.

June 19, 2009

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto Senate Bill No. 2169 of the 81st Texas Legislature, Regular Session, due to the following objections:  read more »

Report on the Jobless Recovery: 18.7% Effective Unemployment Rate in May

Is the recent talk of "green shoots" coming out of this recession realistic? A recent report from the New America Foundation outlines the strong likelihood of a jobless recession that "could perpetuate the crises in the housing and banking sectors and prevent a sustainable and healthy economic recovery." A jobless recovery will prevent the wage growth necessary to stimulate business investment, maintain consumption, and pay down debt.  read more »

Debates on Airport Rail

Running a little behind this week, so I just wanted to pass along this story from USA Today on domestic airports adding rail service. People love the service, of course, and many airports are doing it, but later in the article they get to the economic irrationality of it in America's decentralized car-centric cities (as opposed to Europe and Asia).  read more »

New Mitsubishi Car: Climate Friendlier than New York Transit

Further demonstrating the ability of technology to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Mitsubishi has announced development of a lithium battery driven car, to be sold within two years. The car, the "MIEV Plug-In Electric First Drive" would travel as much as 100 miles (160 kilometers) between charges.

United States Data and Comparisons: GHG Emissions per Passenger Mile/Passenger KM are indicated below (From power plants – variation is due to mix of fuel sources used in producing electricity)

Average United States: 61 grams/37 grams  read more »

Mapping Democratic Primary Shifts in Virginia

In the first Democratic primary for Virginia governor in ages, the boy from Bath County embarrassed the two guys from NoVA.  Creigh Deeds won a strong 50% over Terry McAuliffe’s 26% and Brian Moran’s 24%.  What’s striking is that  read more »

Chicago: Preventing the Self-Destruction of Diversity

Chicago's urban core has boomed in a way that makes most other cities jealous. Every time you turn around, it seems, another gem is added to it. The Renzo Piano designed Modern Wing at the Art Institute recently opened its doors to general, if not universal, acclaim, for example.

But while this boom is to be celebrated, and clearly it has been necessary to sustain the animating life force of the city as a whole, there are long term threats that need to be considered.
 read more »

Balancing the California Budget

The battle to find ways to close California's gaping $24 billion budget shortfall continues, with Governor Schwarzenegger calling for deep cuts and reorganization throughout state government. Last week, making a "rare speech to a joint session of the Legislature," Gov. Schwarzenegger argued that the state has "run out of time," and faces a situation where "Our wallet is empty, our bank is closed, and our credit is dried up".  read more »

A New Auto Industry Model: Not Too Big to Fail

“A new business model” is what Jack Nerad of Kelly Blue Book called the proposed sale of Saturn by General Motors (GM) to Roger Penske’s Penske Automotive Group.

What makes it a new model is that Penske would only buy the brand and the dealer network. Penske would subcontract vehicle production other manufacturers, though for the first two years, the GM Saturn plant would produce the cars.  read more »