Planning

The Evolving Urban Form: Madrid

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Madrid is the capital of Spain, as well as its largest built-up urban area, with an estimated 6.4 million population in 2018. Madrid’s urban area plus economically connected rural and small town areas make up the metropolitan area, which has nearly 7,000,000 residents. The area has an urban population density of 4,700 per square kilometer (12,200 per square mile), ranking it third among the European Union’s built-up urban areas over 1,000,000 population.  read more »

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop.  read more »

Neat, Plausible, and Wrong

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The Antiplanner is frequently reminded of H.L. Mencken’s statement that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem: neat, plausible, and wrong.” Millennials, for example, blame baby boomers for ruining the world. Most of the mistakes that baby boomers made were in adopting simple and plausible but wrong solutions to complex problems.  read more »

Eyes From the Street – The Neighbourhood Fabric That Matters

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In the 50 plus years since Jane Jacobs coined the phrase “eyes on the street”, most planners have taken it as an article of faith. After all, some argue, it is common sense. But as we found out when looking at complex, self-organising systems such as cities, common sense is woefully inadequate to explain, let alone predict, outcomes.  read more »

Shovel Ready

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Many years ago I remember a television commentator saying more Americans have outhouses than computer connections. This was in the early days of dial up modems. He seemed to suggest that household computers were little more than Japanese video games, which was actually true at the time. Well, thirty years have passed and this afternoon I received a package for one of my neighbors. Evidently he ordered a shovel on the interwebs.  read more »

Nashville’s Hopeless Rail Transit Proposal

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Nashville is the 36th largest metropolitan area in the nation, having long since passed historic Tennessee leader Memphis. Nashville was the 10th fastest growing major metropolitan area in 2017. At the current growth rate Nashville will reach 2 million residents by the 2020 census and seems likely to pass slower growing San Jose soon after.  read more »

The High Speed Rail 2018 Business Plan – A Classic Model Of Deception

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The California High Speed Rail Authority has released its 2018 Business Plan. It portends to finally reveal the true cost for construction of Phase I of the project. The new cost estimate is at a base of $77.3 billion to a possible $98.1 billion dollars. Completion of Phase I is now projected for year 2032. Please remember the old promise to the voters was the project would be running by 2020 and the cost to California voters would be $10 billion (the rest of the $32 billions needed to build Phase I would come from Federal and private sources).  read more »

Suburbs Could End Up On the Cutting Edge of Urban Change

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Over the past decade, the old urban model, long favored by most media and academia, became the harbinger of the new city. We were going back to the 19th century, with rising dense urban cores, greater densities and thriving transit systems.  read more »

What Can We Do to Reduce the Spike in Pedestrian Deaths?

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The recent pedestrian death by a self-driving Uber car brought renewed attention to a major problem in this nation, pedestrian deaths, which have risen from 4,000 to 6,000 annually in just 2 years!

An increasing number of people are walking and biking, resulting from a renewed awareness in the health benefits of a stroll over a drive. Today’s driver is distracted not only by their smart phone but a multitude of screens with cumbersome touch controls distracting the driver.  read more »

Orange County Focus: Forging Our Common Future

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How can Orange County become a better place to live for all of its residents? Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky explore the challenges and solutions in Orange County Focus: Forging Our Common Future, a research brief from Chapman University's Center for Demographics and Policy. Read an excerpt from the report below:  read more »