Transportation

Louvre Café Syndrome: Misunderstanding Amsterdam and America

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Tourists, journalists and urban planners are often smitten with what might be called the "Louvre Café Syndrome." This occurs when Americans sit at Paris cafes in view of the Louvre and imagine why it is that the United States does not look like this. In fact, most of Paris doesn't even look like this, nor do other European urban areas. Like their US counterparts, European urban areas rely principally on cars for mobility (though to a somewhat lesser degree) and their residents live in suburbs that have been built since World War II.  read more »

Subjects:

Thoughts on the Future of Seattle: A Vision of 2040 for Pugetopolis

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I have been attacked as a defender of ‘sprawl’ although I consider myself a man of the left, with a political-economy philosophy that is ‘social democratic – far to the left of the contemporary Democratic party. I view global warming as very serious, but consider continuing global warfare over resources, land and religion, and increasing national and global economic and political inequality as even more critical.  read more »

Long Island Express: The Surprisingly Short Commutes of Suburban New Yorkers

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One of the most enduring urban myths suggests that most jobs are in the core of metropolitan areas, making commuting from the far suburbs more difficult. Thus, as fuel prices have increased, many have expected that people will begin moving from farther out in the suburbs to locations closer to the cores. Indeed, in some countries, such as Australia, much of the urban planning regime of the last decade has been based upon the assumption that urban areas must not be constrained because the residents on the fringe won’t be able to get to work.  read more »

The South Rises Again! (In Automobile Manufacturing, that is)

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Volkswagen’s announcement last week that it will build a new assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN is the latest sign of triumph for the South’s growing auto industry. The new plant will sit within close proximity to one Toyota is building north of Tupelo, MS (where the popular Prius will be manufactured), and another that Kia broke ground for last year in West Point, GA on the Alabama border. This joins existing plants such as those operated by Nissan in Nashville and Smyrna, GA, BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, SC and three assembly plants in Alabama.  read more »

Guzzling BTUs: Problems with Public Transit in an Age of Expensive Gas

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As gas prices inch up toward $5 per gallon, many environmentalists and elected officials are looking to public transit as a solution to higher transportation costs and rising fuel consumption. A closer look at the numbers, however, warrants more than a little skepticism that public transit can fulfill the nation’s energy conservation goals.  read more »

Which Cities Will the High Cost of Energy Hurt (and Help) the Most?

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A high cost energy future will profoundly impact the cost of doing business and create new opportunities, but not necessarily in the way most people expect.

By Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires

The New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly and the rest of the establishment press have their answer: big cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco will win out. Our assessment is: not so fast. There’s a lot about the unfolding energy economy that is more complex than commonly believed, and could have consequences that are somewhat unanticipated.  read more »

Suburbs Will Adapt to High Gas Prices

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Will high gas prices doom the suburbs? The short answer is no. America’s investment in suburbia is too broad and deep and these will drive all kinds of technological and other adaptations. But the continued outward growth of new suburban housing tracts and power centers is unsustainable.  read more »

What does the end of cheap oil mean to our urban futures?

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The Contrasting Views.
One of the most common topics on blog sites and newsgroups here and around the world is "What does the end of cheap oil mean to the future of our cities?"  read more »

Commuting Patterns in Multi-Centered Urban Settings: The Case of Southern California

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American suburbs are gradually leaving behind their Ozzie and Harriet days and evolving in ways that might surprise even their critics. Today’s suburbs are more diverse, are populated with double income families and offer more job opportunities than were the old “bedroom” communities of the past. Many suburbs, particularly newer ones, are designed to be ‘greener’ and more sustainable, combining planned medium densities with functioning pedestrian-friendly town centers and other urban amenities.  read more »

Commuting Suicide -- the District of Columbia wants to be a residential suburb

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The Washington Post’s recent article about how the District government is making plans to make the city “less-welcoming to suburban cars” is one more example of suicidal behavior that the city is known for.

Unfortunately, other cities are thinking similarly.  read more »