In my previous post, I made an exception to my usual rule that my commentary will be research-based, and offered some comments on homelessness and crime –— both spheres within which I claim no expertise beyond that of a concerned citizen. In this post, I return to a topic within my expertise: urban growth and development. Continue reading
The Passing Scene
NOTES ON THINGS THAT INTEREST, CONCERN OR ALARM ME
Find me on Twitter @PassingScene
18 December 2014
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Despite what you may have heard, Detroit’s misfortune continues. It still faces a sea of troubles, including a UN investigation of alleged human rights abuses.
16 December 2014
Gentrification, plutocratization, patrician ghettos: Are global cities turning into “vast, gated citadels”?
14 December 2014
The ultimate urban survivors: feral cats. They look well fed. For more urban cat pictures, click here.
10 December 2014
Here’s a single source for lots of easily accessible information about carbon pricing.
8 December 2014
Know anyone on Winnipeg City Council who relies on council salary for income? Tell your councillor you support the city's existing provisions for a modest severance allowance to keep her/him going while looking for another job -- or prepare for a council of developers, well-off lawyers and business people.
7 December 2014
Click on picture. Source: Ottawa Citizen.
Inside Kingston Penitentiary: An arresting collection of photos of the grey fortress on the Ontario lakeshore.
4 December 2014
Cutbacks, cutbacks, cutbacks: We North Americans and west Europeans live in the wealthiest society in world history. Why is so much of our politics about cutbacks? (If you see ads when you click, scroll down.)
2 December 2014
Interactive map of the best bus rapid transit systems in the world, together with an explanation of of the standards they meet.
28 November 2014
Despite some progress toward gender equality, women still suffer disproportionately from poverty, violence, inadequate housing, and a long list of other ills. Look up chapter and verse here.
24 November 2014
Don’t blink slowly: College tells female students to practice facial expressions in the mirror to avoid being raped.
21 November 2014
Drowning migrants is good politics: A deeply disturbing piece about refugees trying for a safe haven in Europe, and about possible future policies toward migrants.
19 November 2014
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In New York City, pay phones will be replaced by “links”, offering free local calling and wi-fi, paid for by advertising, even in low-income neighbourhoods. It’ll be interesting to see whether and how this works.
16 November 2014
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“Violet Is an Anagram of Love It”: An art exhibit that comments on connections among homelessness, urban decay and sprawl.
12 November 2014
A corporate consulting firm offers some sensible approaches to the world’s massive affordable housing problem.
11 November 2014
More evidence that devastated American inner cities are recovering. But what happens when all these young people have children and become middle-aged?
7 November 2014
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A fascinating map, superimposed on a London subway map, showing, for each stop, the language (other than English) most spoken nearby.
5 November 2014
How mental patients, pushed out of psychiatric hospitals, became burden on police and judges. Are the recent Canadian shootings a warning that North Americans are sweeping mental illness under the rug?
3 November 2014
Baltimore’s moral crisis: Lots of homeless people, and a glut of vacant houses. Is it time to create a community land trust?
27 October 2014
The turncoat poet: A fascinating and disturbing account of the classic totalitarianism that rules North Korea under the Kim dynasty.
24 October 2014
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How resistance to a development proposal generated community action that led to the transformation of a derelict park into a much-loved public space. The story of Congress Square Park in Portland, Maine.
22 October 2014
The carnage that follows when streets aren’t designed to accommodate pedestrians: A U.S. report with excellent resources and an action guide. We need something like this for Canada.
20 October 2014
Data vacuum makes it hard to track poverty. Is this the real reason for the Harper government’s cancellation of the long-form census? (If you don't have information about them, you may not have to help them.)
15 October 2014
Strong Towns: A different take on what many of us have called the problem of sprawl. Will it succeed where we’ve failed? (Like other cities referred to in the Strong Towns web site,Winnipeg is headed for bankruptcy.)
10 October 2014
The homeless person who earned a Ph.D.: A remarkable story, with, apparently, important policy implications. When will we start listening?
8 October 2014
Why are only one-quarter of American cyclists women? The answer has a lot to do with bike safety, but even more with gender. I expect it's much the same story in Canada.
6 October 2014
Google and Microsoft have figured out that favela residents aren’t necessarily as poor as you might think. As I noticed in Mathare Valley, Kenya, the appearance of such "slums" can be deceiving.
Mathare Valley (click on picture)
3 October 2014
The problem politicians don’t want to talk about: What to do as wealth increases and the numbers of good jobs decline.
1 October 2014
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has been battling big box stores and other community destroyers for decades, and they may be getting somewhere.
30 September 2014
The threat of prosecution, legal bills, low wages: The sad realities of life for most American whistleblowers.
29 September 2014
Energy efficiency, attention to the plight of the poor, walkable streets: Some examples of what municipal leaders can achieve if they try.
26 September 2014
The supermarket of the future has no packaging, says The Atlantic. Eco-conscious shopping that could save you money as well
25 September 2014
How everyone gains, in financial and other terms, if we break the habit of sprawl. Placemakers makes the case..
24 September 2014
Berlin, Germany, has developed strategy for preventing social segregation — the formation of exclusive districts for the wealthy and low-income ghettos.
22 September 2014
The benefits that accrue to cities if they get rid of restrictions on secondary suites, also called granny flats — an additional residential unit within a single-family home.
21 September 2014
Los Angeles commissions housing designed for homeless people. Right on. We live in the wealthiest society in world history. Why do we tolerate homelessness?
18 September 2014
In this article about car companies trying to get with digital communications, the best news is that young people are less interested in cars than their forebears were.
17 September 2014
Infill transit stations: one of the best ways to increase ridership, with little additional service, while helping to revitalize neighbourhoods, according to The Transport Politic, a very informative web site.
16 September 2014
With climate change a certainty, a beautiful Rhode Island beach, sure to be inundated, has an end-of-days feel.
14 September 2014
Can we get over our petroleum addiction the way our ancestors beat the slave trade? (Scroll down to “Naomi Klein says…” and click on “Listen”.)
12 September 2014
Using storage units to bring a measure of security and stability to the lives of homeless people.
11 September 2014
Wildleaks, a sort of Wikileaks for the environment, is launching an attack on poaching, illegal logging and the smuggling of wildlife products.
10 September 2014
Is Latin America teaching us how to do rapid transit right? With buses?
9 September 2014
Winnipeg mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis says it will take decades to fix the infrastructure. She's got that right. Look left for the whole story.
8 September 2014
Cheap labour: Who are the worst offenders? Here are some answers for the US. It would be interesting to know what, if any, are the differences in Canada.
5 September 2014
I'll be sleeping out with CEOs Sept 18. To help people who sleep rough in the world's second coldest city, go to http://bit.ly/1rG3W7s.
4 September 2014
Why is ISIS, the blood-soaked, self-appointed Islamic State attracting followers, and fighters. from all over the world? A well-informed explanation in plain English.
3 September 2014
Egalitarian society? Find out how wealth is distributed at a web site offering lots of information about income inequality in the US (with a nod to Canada).
2 September 2014
The Calgary DJ who’s making money manufacturing commuter bicycles in Detroit.
29 August 2014
A metric bike-sharing systems should consider: Does the CO2 saved by driving the bikes outweigh the CO2 generated by vans that cart bikes from where they aren’t needed to where they are? Thankfully, in some cities at least, the answer is yes.
28 August 2014
Some innovative companies are turning away from the bleakness of suburban “campuses” as they discover that urban environments generate synergies and support creativity.
27 August 2014
Turning downtown into a good place for families: Here are some good ideas from Seattle.
26 August 2014
Cities vs. Airbnb: A particularly interesting sideshow in the battle over the social and economic change spawned by the digital revolution.
23 August 2014
University professors and high school teachers beware: It appears, in plain words, that this web site offers to disguise plagiarism.
22 August 2014
What do European cities have that ours don’t? A European perspective.
21 August 2014
The Guardian, an excellent British newspaper, faces the woes besetting newspapers everywhere in the age of the internet. One of its survival strategies involves doing the right thing — promoting sustainable living. Novel idea, eh?
20 August 2014
Who pays when an Uber -- the 21st Century alternative to taxis -- has a fender bender? Another bump on the road to ride sharing.
19 August 20
Do you agree with the business publication that said “…if the government would just get off our backs most of us would do okay…”? We need more (intelligent) regulation, not less, as we should have learned from Lac-Mégantic.
18 August 20
The changing workplace, and changing hours of work, are bringing big changes for Toronto commuters -- and commuters elsewhere as well.
15 August 20
Will social change force us to rethink zoning and parking regulations?
14 August 20
The 10 best cities in the world for bicycling, according to The Active Times. Winnipeg doesn't qualify for top 10 status, but it's much improved in the last couple of years.
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13 August 20
Poverty in the United States has become both more suburban and more concentrated.
12 August 20
The Canadian federal government has been forcing foreign aid NGOs to fight paper wars in the name of market efficiency, instead of concentrating on their good work. The same thing happened to immigration settlement NGOs in BC. Will the government think again?
11 August 20
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This riveting video tells the story of Bete Desta, a Winnipeg-based aid organization that helps orphans and poor children in Korem, Ethiopia, while keeping them at home. To contribute, call 204-997-5358 or 204-334-0322.
8 August 20
The changing workplace, and changing hours of work, are bringing big changes to Toronto’s commuter rail service, GO Transit.
7 August 2014
Should public transit be free? Is it feasible? How much would it cost? What would be the consequences? Here are some answers.
6 August 2014
Has a pharmaceutical giant figured out a way to overrule the Supreme Court of Canada? (The pdf may be a bit wonky, but it’s legible.)
4 August 2014
The pricing of everything: A witty dissection of the natural capital agenda: the pricing, valuation, monetization and financialization of nature in order to save it.
1 August 2014
Things are taking a turn for the better in troubled Africa: Extreme poverty and HIV are less widespread than they were and economically, Africa is the fastest-growing continent.
31 July 2014
This article in the Huff Post is about revitalizing cities, but the most interesting thing about it is its account of how digital-age cities will differ from industrial cities
30 July 2014
Despite the current emphasis on dirty oil from the tar sands, Canada also exports clean energy. Why not more the latter and less of the former?
29 July 2014
Walkable Los Angeles? What’s going on? Actually, quite a lot. The tide is turning in favour of transit in some unlikely places. Question is: Are they building neighbourhoods or parking lots around the transit stops?
25 July 2014
In the age of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it seems almost subversive to say this, but government regulation does work, as we can see from this example in the on-line Atlantic of notable US success with fuel emission standards.
24 July 2014
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Winnipeg signals its dislike of cyclists: In English, the sign implies they’re trying to deny cars the right to use the street. In French the implication is that bicycles aren’t vehicles. (Judging by behaviour, some drivers think of them as toys that shouldn’t be on the street.)
22 July 2014
Bicycle commuting is on the increase in the US, but is it becoming a gilded ghetto on wheels?
21 July 2014
The geometry of suburban sprawl signals its disconnection from the environment. Interesting pictures and comments.
18 July 2014
American politics: Is the F-35 a case study in how to provide political cover for an indefensible policy? (Source: The FP Group: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/)
17 July 2014
The ballooning cost of Winnipeg’s police headquarters. Have we been suckered again by the bait-and-switch? Follow the links to this deplorable history. It’s instructive.
15 July 2014
Feeding the headquarters beast: Médecins Sans Frontières charges the UN and NGOs are too focussed on risk aversion and securing funding to put the best effort into relief.
14 July 2014
Trying to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from sweeping across West Africa. http://bit.ly/1k3Bmq7
11 July 2014
The automobile-driven bureaucratic tangle San Francisco had to go through to get a path-breaking bus rapid transit line approved. Luckily, next time it’ll be easier.
10 July 2014
New prescription for failing American urban neighbourhoods: Turn them into national parks.
9 July 2014
New prescription for failing American urban neighbourhoods: Turn them into national parks.
7 July 2014
Is transit the answer for congestion? A well-informed discussion of the answer to this question as it applies to the rapidly growing Research Triangle Region of North Carolina.
6 July 2014
By this account, the so-called “inclusive cities” movement, has marked progress, but still has a long way to go.
2 July 2014
In Minneapolis, bike sharing is being managed by a non-profit, and apparently producing better results than private management companies. The idea that public services always improve when they're delivered by businesses is as oversimplified as the idea that Big Brother knows best.
1 July 2014
A tool to help citizens become engaged in development issues and to push for higher quality urban development: Accidental Skyline
30 June 2014
Using urban design -- such things as the location, form and orientation of buildings -- to combat crime in Manchester, England.
29 June 2014
Protecting farmland from urban development, and dealing with ensuing dilemmas: Use-Value Assessment of Rural Land in the United States
27 June 2014
Robbers making their getaway on public transit. Apparently, it happens more than you might think.
26 June 2014
Why cheap labour is bad economics. Pay the living wage and it’s not just your employees who will benefit: Good article in The Independent, an impressive London newspaper.
23 May 2014
Check out the Planners’ Web for a wealth of urban concerns, including planning for healthy communities, growing the local economy, combatting blight, transportation planning for an aging population, and much more.
22 May 2014
Land titles enable slum residents in developing countries to make investments to improve their living conditions. Examples from Bogotá, Rio de Janiero, Johannesburg and Bangalore.
20 May 2014
Is strategic planning “a staggering waste of time and money”?
19 May 2014
Why U.S. President Obama shouldn’t be making speeches about energy at Walmart.
15 May 2014
Governments aren’t doing much about climate change, so will the job be left to private finance, and can it succeed?
13 May 2014
The United States Census Bureau makes large amounts of information available on line. The Canadian census struggles to offer a similar tool. Does that have anything to do with cutbacks?
11 May 2014
An Al Jazeera documentary about infant mortality in America.
8 May 2014
A new internet-based publication, The Intercept, focuses on a new political problem: Wholesale government spying on ordinary citizens, including you and me.
7 May 2014
The bike-share business may be the way of the future, but it’s not a sure thing yet.
6 May 2014
Google’s self-driving car navigates city streets. An illustrated description.
5 May 2014
Will investments in oil and gas stocks become unprofitable? Interesting article, part of The Tyee’s “Are we screwed?” series.
2 May 2014
Seniors are often walkers. Municipal decision-makers should be planning with that in mind.
1 May 2014
An opera about Robert Moses, the controversial city builder, and Jane Jacobs, who fought him to a standstill over plans for a freeway across Lower Manhattan. Read this article and follow the links.
30 April 2014
Do you know what a porch racist is? Here’s a thoughtful dissection of the Donald Stirling incident.
28 April 2014
The surveillance society: A huge political issue that affects us all, and that we have yet to tackle.
25 April 2014
“Sorry, gridlock is unfixable.” Well, not quite. Read to the end of this well-researched article and find out about constructive approaches.
24 April 2014
Is this how we got talked into accepting the mess cars have made of our cities? Disney’s vision of the future.
23 April 2014
EcoTipping Points: "Levers for restoring sustainability to our imperilled environment – small actions that tip the balance.” This is a well-constructed web site with loads of information about environmental success stories.
20 April 2014
Are car-free cities possible? This video offers an overview of how it can be done.
17 April 2014
Art and architecture of Boston and Cambridge: A picture essay.
15 April 2014
Temporary foreign workers are paying the price for the federal government’s scorched-earth termination of federal-provincial co-operation on immigration and settlement.
For an example of the good results that the federal-provincial immigration and settlement program achieved, take a look at this study. (To skip the theoretical genuflections, start with the last paragraph on p. 494.)
14 April 2014
For the remarkable story of a reclusive, talented artist who took riveting pictures of life on the streets of Chicago while making her living as a nanny, click here.
13 April 2014
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The Chinese real estate boom: The other shoe drops. Apartment buildings, hastily built in the 1980s and 1990s, are starting to disintegrate.
11 April 2014
In dealing with refugees, the Canadian government is a hard-nosed debt collector and administrator.
10 April 2014
A corporate think tank argues that making machine-readable government documents freely available would unlock substantial economic value.
9 April 2014
For ratings of America’s worst sprawl, as well as the most compact connected cities, click here, and scroll to pp. 4-8. There's more: The document is a gold mine.
8 April 2014
The resource revolution: A prominent corporate think tank on how we can stretch limited resources to meet growing demands.
7 April 2014
“How crime-ridden Medellín became a model for 21st-Century urbanism.” It's an impressive story but -- as we learn near the end of the article -- it's not all roses.
6 April 2014
Tolerating hate speech and misogyny on an Ohio news web site.
4 April 2014
Fracking and shale gas: Click here for a gold mine of up-to-date information.
3 April 2014
Scientists haven't yet determined the full environmental consequences of fracking, but what we do know isn't encouraging.
2 April 2014
Failed prophets: 13 grand architectural dreams that didn’t come true.
1 April 2014
Dealing with urban poverty: Examples from Johannesburg, Curitiba, Cali and Mumbai.
31 March 2014
If predictions hold, Vejle, Denmark, will be under water by 2100. Here’s what it’s doing to address the challenge.
The US is wrestling with a problem it’s never before faced on the present scale: long-term unemployment.
26 March 2014
Can you identify these cities by the sounds they make? An intriguing quiz in The Guardian.
24 March 2014
Britain is ready to do just about anything to protect the City of London’s hold on dirty Russian money, or so an article in The New York Times says.
23 March 2014
It’s not just the lower price of transit, it’s the growing volatility of gas prices that’s driving the increasing popularity of transit. in the US.
18 March 2014
Exploring New York City taxi trails and sharing our way to a more sustainable urban future: Clever videos and a really interesting idea for the future of transportation in the US.
17 March 2014
Are Manitoba cities becoming “more urban”? Multi-unit residential developments are up, and, thanks in part to the provincial government, a significant proportion are affordable and social housing.
16 March 2014
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New mega-skyscrapers are coming to New York City and Los Angeles, according to blogger Panethos.
14 March 2014
London’s outrageous housing prices: An opportunity to sell emigration?
13 March 2014
Here’s yet another education crisis. The claim: Most universities don’t teach leadership, humility, purposefulness and responsibility.
12 March 2014
The Frank Underwood of Venezuela: An absorbing look at power struggles behind the headlines.
11 March 2014
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SkyCycle: The proposal for overhead, exclusive bike paths in London is hailed as innovative, but Lujiazui, China, unveiled a similar path for pedestrians three years ago (See 5 February 2013 below).
10 March 2014
I’m not well-versed enough in finance to really understand Bitcoin, but common sense suggests that this acid assessment nails it.
Don’t look at me: Recriminations and denials amid the repercussions of the Bitcoin fiasco.
9 March 2014
A Harvard economist explains why higher wages are linked to higher profits, even in poorly paid service occupations.
7 March 2014
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How oil pipeline companies avoid full environmental scrutiny of the impact of their projects.
A giant, artistic light show will turn the San Francisco Bay Bridge into the world’s largest light sculpture for the next two years.
6 March 2014
Think the Nordic approach is the best way to deal with the sex trade? You might want to think again.
5 March 2014
Downtown Winnipeg is improving, after decades of disheartening decay, but it has a way to go.
Can non-profits solve social problems by becoming “profits”? A well-argued contribution to an interesting debate.
4 March 2014
A dictator’s guide to urban design: The role of public squares in political upheavals.
3 March 2014
Driverless cars are coming and they will change the world, but how quickly, how much, and how?
Made for walking: Density and neighbourhood form: A readable, profusely illustrated book (e-book or paper) that makes the case for walkable city neighbourhoods and lays out what’s involved in achieving them.
2 March 2014
What happens after the Olympics leave town? The answers to that question are different for these three cities.
28 February 2014
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Do you know what Agenda 21 is? I haven’t paid much attention to it, but I will now, because it draws the ire of people who like urban sprawl and hate the United Nations. Here are links to the text and the Wikipedia entry.
27 February 2014
Confronting suburban poverty in America: A rich web site with an effective video, blogs and community profiles. It would be interesting to know how Canadian suburbs compare.
26 February 2014
Walmart doesn’t just build big box stores. For cities that have the courage to demand it, they’re willing to produce much better designs.
Why is G8 agricultural aid being condemned as a new form of colonialism?
Quite abruptly, Winnipeggers have started worrying less about crime and more about the lamentable state of Winnipeg’s infrastructure, according to Probe Research.
But are American expressways on the way out? Not necessarily. Good thing Canada never committed itself as completely to expressways as the US.
The tragedy of the commons: A New York professor, arguing that the minimum wage benefits the middle class, provokes lively debate.
17 February 2014
Brazil’s anti-poverty initiative pays poor people to keep their kids in school and use government medical services. The goal is to reduce social inequality. It seems to be working.
14 February 2014
Who we are: Treaty elders’ teachings. in this book, the first of four volumes, more than 200 aboriginal elders share traditional stories in English and one of five other languages.
13 February 2014
Streetcars are making a comeback in the US, surprisingly because they’re proving to be an economic development tool. Unlike many other cities, Toronto had the smarts to keep their old Red Rockets.
Red Rocket (click on picture)
12 February 2014
Could a legal challenge to fracking become a charter case?
11 February 2014
Indianapolis has always been my favourite example of a radically automobile-dominated city, but it looks as if things have changed.
10 February 2014
Is a non-partisan Senate possible? Interesting article in The Tyee.
9 February 2014
Transit ridership outside the rush hours is increasing in major American cities. It’s not just about reduced auto-dependence. Work habits and job location are also reasons…
…The problem is, transit fails to serve a lot of the people who need it most.
7 February 2014
Free transit in Tallinn, Estonia: Exciting innovation or dumb idea?
5 February 2014
Here’s what Manitoba’s Green Action Centre is saying Manitoba Hydro has to do to improve energy conservation efforts.
4 February 2014
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A global network of the urban poor seeks solutions to problems that defeat bureaucracies.
3 February 2014
Financial journalists failed to connect dots, and, in 2008, left abusive, reckless, and criminal corporations free to drag the global economy into the abyss, says the author of The Watchdog that Didn’t Bark.
The world turned upside down: The European Union scales back its climate change commitments just as Coca-Cola and Nike embrace the idea that climate change is economically disruptive.
31 January 2014
Will New York City succeed in its remarkable campaign to end traffic deaths?
Unpleasant design: City facilities that, deliberately or inadvertently, repel people.
29 January 2014
What happens when a cool neighbourhood becomes too cool. Pay attention, Corydon Village.
28 January 2014
Tongue-in-cheek video, by Swedish trade unions, takes a swipe at the California lifestyle by comparing it unfavourably with living like a Swede.
24 January 2014
Watch the earth get warmer and stormier over time in this fascinating video.
Climate change intensifies the already crazy, shady competition over the delicious truffle.
23 January 2014
Global warming and urban infrastructure: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and other cities are working on new infrastructure policies to take account of climate change.
22 January 2014
A streetcar renaissance is underway in the US. Here’s a good overview of what’s happening and a collection of links to streetcar web pages that’s useful, despite the occasional dead link.
What happens when a city bans bottled water? It’s been done, and we can now start to look at the outcome.
21 January 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, addressing the ethnic media, admits temporary foreign workers are being abused. Go to minute 22:15 of this audio file. to listen to his remarks.
Land banks as a tool for the redevelopment of derelict American inner cities: promise and pitfalls.
14 January 2014
The Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities web site is an eclectic, informative resource for anyone interested in cities.
12 January 2014
Islamist extremism has more to do with urban poverty than with religiosity: A thoughtful reflection, backed by a compelling story from Kenya.
8 January 2014
A collection of stark, beautiful photos of Saskatchewan by Canadian photographer Vera Saltzman, reproduced in an American publication.
7 January 2014
Toronto’s Tower Neighbourhoods, unique in North America, but typical of much of the world, are bigger energy users than single family homes. Their renewal is key to a low-carbon future.
6 January 2014
This chart blows up the American myth of the welfare queen.
Taiwan-based non-government organization fights poverty and malnutrition by supporting the production and consumption of vegetables.
3 January 2014
Phoenix claims to have ended homelessness, while Vancouver struggles with many more in need of shelter. Is Vancouver’s problem really that much larger than Phoenix’s, or does Phoenix have lower housing standards?
Does your down coat or comforter come from live-plucked, force-fed geese? Look for the DOWNMARK® label.
The cost of a politics that attacks enemies, rather than seeking unity. A sad, eloquent comment from America’s rust belt.
19 December 2013
An empty world, or overcrowded? A fascinating map tool from the Smithsonian institute.
Food deserts — areas where healthy food is difficult or impossible to find — are a problem, in Winnipeg and elsewhere. (Stay tuned for U of M planning student’s investigation.) In Washington, D.C., they deal with the problem by growing their own.
18 December 2013
How the size of street grids affects the walkability of urban neighbourhoods. Trying to develop a mathematical walkability formula.
How a niche service company could drive a revolution.
17 December 2013
Even The Economist, a proponent of orthodox economics if ever there was one, endorses minimum wage legislation.
Al Jazeera English looks at the American infant mortality crisis, and finds that a major cause is poverty. Official neglect has a lot to do with it too.
16 December 2013
Nelson Mandela and his cause weren’t always revered in the U.S.
The mayor of Richmond, Virginia, with 26.3% of its population in poverty, launches a bold anti-poverty program. But can you abolish poverty if you start by tearing down public housing?
15 December 2013
"What next? Shall we tax the rubber tips on crutches?" "Oh, I know. Let’s use fake aid workers to rip off poor little East Timor."
13 December 2013
Facebook diplomacy: First secretary of the Ukrainian embassy in Canada quits her job on line.
12 December 2013
Harvard business professor criticizes corporate boards and managers for for failure to attend to long-term value creation. Value creation is the justification for the social supports for business that we all pay for.
11 December 2013
Provide advice, investigate complaints, report to council: An ethics commissioner with responsibilities, but no powers? Wonder why the delay in appointing one.
10 December 2013
Will the country town of Machakos, Kenya, (above) become the new Dubai?
9 December 2013
Battle of the titans over surveillance: American legislative factions and internet giants are locked in battle over the right of American government agencies to spy on individuals. The outcome of this battle affects us all. http://bit.ly/1iQ1yIQ http://bit.ly/19wpBCP
8 December 2013
The growing pressure worldwide for increased minimum wages: social, economic and political implications. Will the issue move us closer to a guaranteed annual income?
4 December 2013
European Council, European Commission, Council of Europe???? Confused? For a quick reference to sort it out, click here.
2 December 2013
I can remember when a “family wage” meant a wage high enough to make it possible for one person to support a family. Now even the left has redefined it to mean “two people working full time”. In the wealthiest society in world history, how did it come to this?
29 November 2013
Public-private partnerships, joint ventures and contracting out is the way a lot of governance is done in the 21st Century. Here are some thoughts about how to make it good governance.
28 November 2013
Adapting to flooding, heading off housing bubbles, and more good policy advice from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
27 November 2013
The struggle to save British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a rarity in North America. The ALR protects farmland from urban sprawl, and a lot of people would like to get rid of it. See also http://bit.ly/1aVm2tL
26 November 2013
Diverse neighbourhoods aren’t real communities and real communities aren’t diverse: Bad news for those of us who dislike the sameness most North American city districts. Is there a way out of this dilemma?
24 November 2013
Shoddily-built condos in Toronto make it clear that inadequately regulated development is as harmful in dense urban environments as it is in sprawling suburbs. (Read the Nov. 13th post to your left or click here. )
21 November 2013
Interesting proposal for a fundamental renewal of our democratic institutions. It’s reminiscent of Winnipeg’s Resident Advisory Groups, long since abandoned. I liked the idea and was sorry it didn’t work.
20 November 2013
How participatory budgeting actually works. An interesting account from Chicago, showing that it poses problems as well as fixing problems.
19 November 2013
Uber: The app that’s throwing the taxi business into disarray, and igniting a policy debate over networked technology. It’s likely only the beginning of much more extensive disruptions of long-standing regulatory procedures.
18 November 2013
Decades ago Manitoba experimented with Mincome, a guaranteed annual income program. Has its time finally come?
17 November 2013
We know that transportation shapes cities, but can even a future streetcar line influence city growth? The example of Kansas City
13 November 2013
Soccer, politics and freedom: The remarkable story of an Algerian soccer team, Mouloudia, that has has been central to Algerian politics for a century.
8 November 2013
Who said it, Rob Ford or Diamond Joe Quimby? Some much-needed light relief for my friends in Toronto.
7 November 2013
Is Manitoba Public Insurance tied too closely to government? Thoughtful commentary on an important public institution -- one, it's worth remembering, that has kept our auto insurance rates very affordable.
6 November 2013
What’s happened to “Do no harm”? US Department of Defence and CIA forced doctors to participate in torture.
5 November 2013
Keeping it local: Is this “indoor farmers’ market”an idea whose time has come? Will we see something like this in Winnipeg?
3 November 2013
Is the dysfunction of the American federal government bolstering the case for metropolitan self-sufficiency, or revealing its flaws? Interesting analysis of the position of cities in the face of the recent, and possibly future, federal government shut-down.
31 October 2013
Is this a fair sample of what we get when we elect people on the argument that their business experience will ensure prudent conduct of the public's business?
29 October 2013
When I was a kid, we used to say: "God made the country, humans made the city, but the devil made the small town." That's an old-fashioned quip still worth taking seriously, as this article suggests.
27 October 2013
I was invited to participate in a conference in Toronto, where I presented my blog, and listened to three other academic bloggers. Here's a summary of what I learned.
25 October 2013
Demand-responsive pricing for parking tries to free up spaces by raising prices when demand is high, and lowering them when spaces are available. It doesn't necessarily require high technology.
24 October 2013
New Manitoba legislation authorizes inclusionary zoning, a tool that helps municipalities create affordable housing. Will the city of Winnipeg, preoccupied with internal squabbles, take advantage of it?
17 October 2013
Stolpersteine, German for "stumbling blocks": Remarkable, touching tributes to victims of the Nazi regime, embedded in the pavement in front of their former homes throughout much of Germany and in other European countries. (Click on the pictures) Examples:
Translation: The former home of Josef Nawrocki, born 1880, arrested June 1936, imprisoned in Brandenburg and Sonnenburg, died 27 April 1941
The former home of Jakob Bergoffen (born 1892) and Felli Bergoffen (née Singer, 1893); both fled to Prague, 1938, and France, 1939; both deported in 1942, murdered in Auschwitz. Jakob died 31 August 1942. No date of death is given for Felli.
14 October 2013
Why San Francisco is pushing out everyone except the wealthy and the poor, while New York continues to accommodate everyone. An interesting reflection on urban growth, housing and transit.
8 October 2013
Drugs, Austrian economists, deflation, and the FBI: The strange nether-world of Bitcoin. Will Bitcoin prove that currencies can work without government control, or is it just an absurd, bungled scheme?
20 August 2013
Urban growth boundaries: How Oregon limits sprawl. An illustrated explanation.
18 August 2013
The many, many jobs that won't earn you enough to live in your city: This article reinforces a point I made in a recent blog, and shows the situation is even worse in cities that are economic magnets.
16 August 2013
Regenerating America's Legacy Cities A thoughtful, well-intentioned book, but what are the odds? Search this page on the keyword "Detroit" to get a sample of the size of the challenge.
13 August 2013
How Indianapolis resurrected its downtown: Leaders ignored "brain-dead slogans like 'cut taxes' and 'more stimulus,'" addressed problems in their complexity with consultation and compromise. Click here to read the article. (The headline misses the point.)
12 August 2013
Should the BC NDP look to affluent voters for support? Interesting analysis of the results of the recent provincial election.
9 August 2013
Raise the tax on land, ease up on buildings. A split tax could promote improvement of decaying downtowns.
7 August 2013
Planning to cut carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030, and 80 by 2050: Serious programming in place of the weak temporisation that's good enough for most North American jurisdictions. Here's how they're doing it in Portland, Oregon.
6 August 2013
Winnipeg's Downtown Biz, and a lot of others, would like downtown neighbourhoods to be more walkable. How to create regulations and incentives to make neighbourhoods walkable.
4 August 2013
A brief account of some interesting efforts the French government is making to impose controls on the rental market -- including measures designed to benefit landlords -- and prevent central Paris from becoming an enclave for the super-rich.
1 August 2013
China's rise to world leadership: McKinsey & Company, a global consulting firm, offers a well thought out, scannable overview of China's economic and social evolution, with links to more detail.
29 July 2013
Looking for a silver lining in the tragedy of Detroit. But how long will it take to fix this...
... and many other, similar neighbourhoods? (Click here or on the picture)
28 July 2013
It matters where you live: A really interesting, detailed, and nuanced study of income mobility in the U.S., ably summarized in a readable article in The New York Times.
25 July 2013
Defining standards for transit-oriented development: A discussion of many things Winnipeg policy-makers forgot to consider when they encouraged downtown housing and developed rapid transit.
23 July 2013
Can low carbon be synonymous with economic growth? What happens to individual freedom when Target can tell a woman is pregnant by analyzing her purchases? The future of the "internet of things".
21 July 2013
Globalization: Two can play that game. Can we hope that the G20 plan will start a process of subjecting global corporations to the rule of law? See also Passing Scene entry for 18 June 2013.
16 July 2013
Fight for survival or give up the ghost? America struggles over what to do with its dying cities. Next City
12 July 2013
The horrifying holocaust at Lac Mégantic had better focus our minds on regulation of the railways, which, by some accounts, virtually regulate themselves.
11 July 2013
How a narrow approach to land use policy robs communities of their ability to determine their own future, and how Cape Cod changed the rules. We need to look more critically at the impact of big box developments.
10 July 2013
Those of us who love cities sometimes have trouble articulating why. Politics of Urbanism: Seeing Like a City, by Warren Magnusson, not only offers an explanation that makes sense, it argues plausibly that city politics is the key to a more emancipatory view of politics generally.
For a different, but related view of where to look for democratic politics in the 21st Century, read this piece, and follow the links.
9 July 2013
Click to see the whole picture
The Lac-Mégantic train explosion ought to be a wake-up call for a railroad city like Winnipeg -- and for governments everywhere.
I love seafood, but I didn't realize how much damage I'm doing when I consume it, given current fishing practices. An arresting look at how we're messing up the oceans, and what we can do about it.
5 July 2013
Click to see the whole picture
With potholes and sinkholes multiplying across North America, it's time to think seriously about how to fund our infrastructure. A thorough, readable policy document looks at mileage-based user fees.
27 June 2013
Aspirational planning, chaotic development: My latest article looks at a typical urban planning mess in Winnipeg. Since Edmonton Metro reported on my article, I'm re-posting it here, for anyone who might want the whole story.
Suburban poverty: Seattle-area newspaper complains that a continuing emphasis on urban poverty fails to confront the reality that most American poverty is now suburban. (See also June 11th post in this column.)
Is Canadian poverty suburbanizing similarly? Will cancellation of the long-form census affect our ability to find out?
26 June 3013
How green is my city? A richly informative infographic that looks at how six major world cities, including Vancouver, are doing in their efforts (or their failure) to achieve sustainability.
23 June 2013
Let it die, in the Spectator Tribune: This brief history of the Royal Albert Arms is a great read for anyone who loves this quirky city. Other interesting links at the bottom of the article.
21 June 2013
China's next chapter: Urbanization, infrastructure and the environment. Fascinating video that gets a lot said in five minutes.
19 June 2013
Five spills and counting: The lamentable record of an American pipeline company with substantial interests in Canada.
18 June 2013
Globalization: Two can play that game. It's not just corporations that are globalized. There's also a long list of globally-networked political and social action groups. I keep a regularly updated list of them in a blog entry entitled "How is global political action organized?"
It takes budget shortfalls to finally get the City of Winnipeg interested in public participation, asking citizens how to make cuts, and where to increase spending and taxes. Check out the budget simulator and try it yourself.
17 June 2013
Public-private partnerships are represented as the modern way of avoiding bureaucratic rigidity in the delivery of public services, but don't jump to conclusions. Critical questions that should be asked.
Pastr blog entry on an issue that remains problematic. Do university ethics regulations pose a threat to critical research?
13 June 2013
Aspirational planning, chaotic development: My latest article looks at the rules covering new development in the Winnipeg area, how they're enforced, and what a mess it is. For your own copy click here.
11 June 2013
Photo essay: What we used to think of as urban blight is affecting inner suburbs across North America. Here's how it looks in Kansas City. (Scroll down for the photos.)
Past blog entry on an issue we still haven't resolved: Should Youth for Christ be involved in governance?
10 June 2013
Not the gates of hell, but worse: An affecting look at poverty, and at community development, in Manila.
Past blog entry worth a second look: Obama and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi as I saw them in 2010. What do we think of them now?
5 June 2013
The urban poverty paradox: Organizations trying to help people out of poverty have to find ways of addressing multiple problems -- but not too many problems. Thought-provoking discussion of a knotty problem.
1 June 2013
The IMF finds that women are still markedly underrepresented in politics and business, though, in politics at least, somewhat less so with the passage of time. (Scroll down to the bar graph and click on it for a good look.)
31 May 2013
The end of cheap labour in China? The International Monetary Fund predicts it, and foresees important impacts on the world economy.
29 May 2013
London's super-rich construct sumptuous multi-storey subterranean "digs" -- including swimming pools, servants' quarters and much more -- to evade building codes.
27 May 2013
Now that the majority of poor people in the US live in the suburbs, will there be a war on suburban poverty, like the 1960s war on inner city and rural poverty?
26 May 2013
Even the sex trade is apparently affected by the global tide of cheap labour. It's reported to be less profitable than it once was. However, posh sex workers and dominatrices are doing relatively well.
24 May 2013
In a cheap-labour economy -- including ours, unfortunately -- some people can't afford decent housing. In the absence of a national housing policy, what's to become of those people? The Globe and mail calls rental housing a national disaster.
23 May 2013
Better cycling facilities means mobility for everyone, not just cyclists. BC Cycling Coalition sets a good example.
20 May 2013
Creek Bend Hollow is a super-exclusive, large-lot condominium development in southeast Winnipeg. A thoughtful blog post reflects on how urbanization will change this part of the city.
19 May 2013
How will technology transform cities? Thought-provoking article on the BBC web site.
16 May 2013
A bit of the usual 21st Century good news/bad news: Toronto District School Board census finds growing diversity and growing income inequality.
10 May 2013
Living wage: "The story of child poverty in Canada is very much an urban story. One out of every 10 children living in urban areas was poor in 2010, compared to one in 20 children living in non-urban areas. Three-quarters (or 76 per cent) of all poor children"...
9 May 2013
Is the Harper government hostile to the free market? Interesting right-wing critique.
7 May 2013
How social media are changing politics: British Conservative and Labour parties now have more followers, on either Facebook or Twitter, than members. Interesting article analyses this phenomenon and assesses its significance.
6 May 2013
Greatest public markets: Photo essay kicks off a series of articles dedicated to the revival of public markets --
a great tradition that deserves a second chance.
2 May 2013
Walmart groceries promise healthy choices and low prices, but there's a dark side to this story: poverty. A readable, well-argued discussion.
1 May 3013
Interesting, brief discussion of co-operative community action, offering a number of examples of how economically depressed communities have organized to improve their circumstances.
30 April 2013
What's wrong with skywalks? As Winnipeg proceeds with the attempt to rescue a failing downtown core from the ravages of suburban sprawl, here's a friendly warning from Detroit, the poster child for downtown decay.
28 April 2013
"Cherry tea, please." (Click on picture.)
Touching story of an inner-city elementary school teacher who gave her grade five students the time of their lives by taking them to the Ritz Carlton for high tea. http://bit.ly/10GGqfT
26 April 2013
Participatory budgeting gets citizens involved in setting community priorities. Can we do it in Winnipeg? Find out next Tuesday. Want to get ready for the session? Here are some FAQs and a thorough handbook.
18 April 2013
There's still a lot of extreme poverty, but but the World Bank claims a lot of progress is being made and says it varies from region to region. Millenium Development Goals provide a focus for tracking progress.
11 April 2013
Poverty in Baltimore: An arresting photo essay depicting a devastated city.
Detroit is a similar case.
Why slow-growth cities are particularly vulnerable to such decline.
6 April 2013
Instead of taking pot-shots at Richard Florida, we should be building on his valuable work as this writer does in rustwire.com, a little-known internet publication that should be read much more widely.
19 March 2013
Planting 100,000 native trees in Porto, Portugal, without spending public money: The project relies on collaboration among multiple public and private partners and citizen involvement. http://bit.ly/11eTfgP
13 March 2013
Happy with the way Winnipeg city hall works? A forum to discuss public process and city decisions: Tomorrow, March 14th. Click on the link: Whose Winnipeg?
12 March 2013
Interesting, disparate collection of stories and pictures of dead shopping malls, mostly in the US and Canada, but also China and New Zealand. A fascinating, crowd-sourced history. deadmalls.com
11 March 2013
As taxpayer-subsidized suburban malls decline, the urbanization of the countryside falters in the face of economic decline, and urban living gains in popularity. Society and the economy are changing rapidly and cities are at the heart of the change.
8 March 2013
Detailed scrutiny of government expenditures is where democracy's rubber hits the road. Both Liberals and Conservatives have signalled their contempt for this process for decades, and now finally, the government is hoist by its own petard.
5 March 2013
How can cities cut car use downtown?
Public transportation by itself isn't enough. A menu of additional policy options from London, Paris, Rome and elsewhere in Europe.
3 March 2013
The Revenge of Geography: To what extent are our history and our future determined by our location? Fresh thinking about world history and geopolitics, featuring breathtaking intellectual leaps.
28 February 2013
Since many employers are able to move around the world in search of labour, the generation of poverty is a global phenomenon. It makes sense to globalize the search for solutions to poverty. Point your browser to: urb.im
27 February 2013
Detroit: Highest taxes, lowest property values, inadequate services. This is where the cycle of urban decay leads.
Click on picture
26 February 2013
10 reasons why Chicago is America's murder city. Interesting web site wrestles with the multiple, complex causes. Should lax gun laws be No. 5?
25 February 2013
France goes after suburban auto travellers with OuiGo, a low-cost, high-speed passenger rail service -- and with a name that disdains the traditional French preoccupation with language purity.
23 February 2013
The big shift: We know Canadian politics has changed, but how fundamental is the change? A thought-provoking analysis.
21 February 2013
Winnipeg has an arts community that ranks with the best in North America. Why don't we hype it the way Chicago does?
17 February 2013
Is it true that America will soon achieve energy self-sufficiency? Apparently not, says a well-argued and accessible article.
15 February 2013
Deterioration of infrastructure is a global problem that calls for fundamental rethinking. Here's a thoughtful discussion, that raises some tough ideological issues. Or, how about building less infrastructure?
8 February 2013
How to make sure that green jobs are good jobs. A manual.
5 February 2013
Lujiazui, China: New way to separate vehicles from pedestrians. (Click on picture.)
3 February 2013
African wars are becoming less frequent and smaller, continue to be fought where weak states are dependent on natural resources. Good developments: multi-party elections, international peacekeeping, diplomacy. Knowledgeable discussion.
1 February 2013
God knows who’ll win the Super Bowl Interesting article about the American (and not just American) belief that religious faith is rewarded by wealth.
30 January 2013
Why do aboriginal leaders refer to reserves as sovereign communities? Admirably succinct, well-informed discussion by someone who has the qualifications and knows how to write.
29 January 2013
Phoenix, Arizona, has more gun murders than Mexico: Part of a fascinating comparison of American cities with the deadliest countries in the world. Click on the map.
28 January 2013
According to the National Post, relatives of infamous Nazi propaganda boss Joseph Goebbels are dominant shareholders in BMW. Their fortune is managed by Harald Quandt Holding GmbH of Bad Homburg.
27 January 2013
Europe and North America pioneered democratic institutions in the 18th and 19th centuries, but now it's Latin Americans who have become the pioneers. When will we catch up?
24 January 2013
Made for walking: case studies of a few of the hundreds of new walkable neighbourhoods in North America - part of a culture change that's making ours a more urban society.
23 January 2013
Is mean-spiritedness the new charity?
21 January 2013
William Julius Wilson 25 years later: The "truly disadvantaged" in the US are even more disadvantaged today, but Obama has done more to lighten their load than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson.
20 January 2013
A gift for the Sultan: A wonderful historical novel. It took me into a world, and ways of understanding the world, that were completely new to me. The author made me experience them as if I had observed them first hand.
14 January 2013
South Africa has eliminated institutional racism, but Canada hasn't. A former South African ambassador, who has a long-standing relationship with aboriginal Canadians, delivers a rebuke we should think hard about. Podcast of an interview by Michael Enright.
11 January 2013
Bike trails and paths are proliferating in North America, even in sprawl cities like Winnipeg and Memphis. The Winnipeg link points to an excellent study by Ray Yuen, a great source of ideas for improvement of Winnipeg's bike facilities.
9 January 2013
America's great inversion: More affluent people living downtown, more poor in the suburbs. This is underway in Winnipeg, and has been the case in Vancouver and Toronto for a long time.
Click on picture
6 January 2013
How to distinguish guns for hunting and home defence from from guns best suited for mass murder: The kind of thing that needs to be thought through to get to good policy.
4 January 2013
Granting constitutional rights to nature and other innovations in resource development: Ecuador and Bolivia engage in the kind of policy entrepreneurship that seems an endangered species in wealthy countries. http://bit.ly/XsyDQc
2 January 2013
If you satisfy complaints about insufficient parking, you wreck the city: Insightful discussion about what you should do instead, and about the importance of a public realm where people gather physically. http://bit.ly/S5Kan3
31 December 2012
Revolutionize transportation by making bikes and buses a cool option. Reject the "false assumption that if given a cheap and effective option, people will use it." Fresh thinking about public transportation.
30 December 2012
When will the robots replace you? If you think your job is safe, be careful, and check out what my friend and former student, who writes under the pseudonym Cobalisk, has to say.
28 December 2012
Are American suburbs the mass murder capitals? Does more prosperity lead to crime reduction in U.S. cities? Cities are changing in new ways, and we need better data to understand them. http://bit.ly/U3CWg6
27 December 2012
It's not just corporations that are global. Anyone can be, and in fact large numbers of what we used to think of as community organizations are now communities of interest, operating on a global scale. http://bit.ly/bm6WXo
21 December 2012
Interesting doc about Cleveland deals with the city's rise to prosperity as a giant of technology and manufacturing, its subsequent decline in the face of sprawl, and the costs of sprawl, which make the newer neighbourhoods ultimately unviable.
14 December 2012
How is Toronto's Regent Park doing? Can a public housing development be successfully transformed into a mixed-income neighbourhood? http://bit.ly/SX5rf7
12 December 2012
Pity the city planners who have to compose planning documents to give the appearance of rational planning while concealing the reality of infrastructure and services that are spread too widely to be sustainable.
6 December 2012
"The sign industry [has] powerful tentacles that reach into... city hall." - Russ Wyatt. Memo: Memo to Coun. Wyatt: Anti-capitalist rhetoric is more convincing when it doesn't come from the corridors of power. http://bit.ly/THmmEr
1 December 2012
"Saving" the Plain Dealer: Interesting discussion of web and print journalism from Rustwire.com, an on-line news publication covering American rustbelt cities. http://bit.ly/TtYcK9
29 November 2012
Why we can't shop our way to a better economy, by Stacy Mitchell, of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a thoughtful opponent of the over-centralized American economy - a message that should resonate in Canada too.
23 November 2012
What's wrong with this picture? Huancayo, a city of less than 400,000 in Peru's central highlands, is building a metropolitan railroad, and Winnipeg can't afford another leg of bus rapid transit? http://bit.ly/UxvM3l
20 November 2012
Why people leave a declining city, even if they love it: The personal account of an obviously talented writer who understands Buffalo, finds much to love about it, but just can't take it anymore. http://bit.ly/T9HrUT
18 November 2012
Naming and shaming is the best way to deal with misbehaving global corporations. They may not care about third world working conditions, but they protect their brand as if it were their newborn. http://bit.ly/TLsG8U
16 November 2012
Poverty on the rise in Germany, according to census statistics: Is this the kind of thing the Canadian government wanted us not to find out about when it cancelled the long-form census? http://bit.ly/S2Bw4w
14 November 2012
Rochester's Susan B. Anthony vs. a dollar store: A blogger offers witty and telling commentary on the all-too-familiar tale of a city's destruction of its heritage. http://bit.ly/SpSTul
12 November 2012
Vacuuming the life out of oceans: A very informative documentary on CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks tells how, the more fisheries take out of the ocean, the harder they work to remove still more.
9 November 2012
Not a screed, not preachy: A really interesting film about the suburbs, why we live there, why we hate them, why we won't change them in the short run, what could happen to them eventually. Radiant City
7 November 2012
Iscandar Malaysia: A critical assessment of "the first 'smart metropolis'” in Southeast Asia. The economic strategy seeks to take advantage of the proximity of cheap labour to cheap goods.
6 November 2012
Searching for Sugar Man: The remarkable story of a hugely talented Detroit singer/songwriter who plunged to obscurity with his career barely begun, then rose to fame in South Africa. In Winnipeg, it's at the Globe Cinema.
5 November 2012
Clean Clothes: A wide-awake organization campaigning to improve working conditions in the global garment industry. They research labour conditions and hit offending global corporations where it hurts: Their public image.
31 October 2012
Suffering Pakistan: Food price inflation is making a bad situation worse for ordinary people. When we read about Pakistan's involvement in regional conflicts, it's well to bear in mind that it's always the innocents who are crushed. http://bit.ly/TU46mI
26 October 2012
The Climate Progress blog: An indispensable source on climate change issues. Sample: Eight ways humans are contributing to climate change.
25 October 2012
Click on picture
Vestige of a fallen empire: The rickety Trabant, an industrial product of the failed East German regime, spotted on a street in Prague.
20 October 2012
rustwire.com: Provides "thoughtful, constructive stories about post-industrial cities across the [US] Rust Belt", from Pittsburgh to St. Louis. Reliable source of information and insight.
18 October 2012
The growing appreciation for urban environments hasn't diminished the middle-class aversion to the inner city. It's about social class, not urban design. http://bit.ly/WEw5Mb
10 September 2012
The market for residence in urban environments is growing. http://bit.ly/PfqOIw A walk around the Exchange District and the Waterfront Drive area will tell you it's happening in Winnipeg too, but more affordable housing is what we really need.
Waterfront Drive: Click on picture.
7 September 2012
There's no need for acres of bleak parking lots: Automated parking and car storage, widespread in Europe and Asia, has barely begun in North America. http://bit.ly/OTjVKU http://bit.ly/QgsQnU
6 September 2012
Renewable energy co-operatives offer an alternative to centralized energy supply, allowing communities to take ownership of their own energy generation.
30 August 2012
Goodbye Osborne Village? With Papa George's about to close,
and McDonald's, Timmy's and the Sals eyeing this prime location, are we witnessing the steady advance of the self-destruction diversity, or is there still hope?
29 August 2012
An insightful discussion of the hazards of "professionalized" neighbourhood revitalization. Well-meaning people support bad art that contributes to bland urbanity. It's about Cleveland, but it's relevant almost anywhere. http://bit.ly/Rt6wM1
26 August 2012
Oakland, last refuge of radial America: A well-written account of political protest in a decaying city on the fringe of American politics that is the epicentre of what is left of the Occupy movement.
23 August 2012
The "skyscraper farm": A remarkable, visually dramatic, concept in urban agriculture, now in development. Comprehensive approach to both food supply and waste disposal. http://bit.ly/Nj6UgI
17 August 2012
The rich get richer, the poor poorer? Careful study of the likely impact of the proposed sale of Toronto Community Housing's scattered-site affordable housing.
15 August 2012
Turn parking spaces into public space: A new way to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars. Good for business because it promotes pedestrian traffic. http://bit.ly/Pku18A
Click on picture for a better view
14 August 2012
How can we make roads safer for everyone? Sharing the road: Optimizing pedestrian and bicycle safety offers answers. For a brief summary of recommendations, click here.
Safety's not enough. If you want people to walk or travel by bicycle, you have to take their perspective into consideration in designing traffic patterns and setting rules. http://bit.ly/NBAOHz
13 August 2012
How too much parking undermines the downtown economy, and what Zurich did about it. You might be surprised that strict parking limits gained public support. Zurich's Parking Revolution
12 August 2012
Interview with an eminent scientist sheds light, not only on the science behind global warming, but also on policy. Thought-provoking suggestions regarding electric cars, fuels, and more. http://bit.ly/RL2ZKf
9 August 2012
How is bus rapid transit doing in the U.S.? A federal government assessment looks at costs, ridership and economic impact. The study contains lessons for Winnipeg. http://1.usa.gov/MBX2sc
7 August 2012
The Murals of Winnipeg: A wonderful collection of bears, fire hydrants and all kinds of public art, as well as wall paintings. Only one of the many gems that show why we're the arts capital of Canada.
6 August 2012
In the US, are poverty ghettos gradually replacing racial ghettos? New research finds that residential segregation by income is increasing as segregation by race declines. The biggest change is the retreat of the affluent from mixed neighbourhoods. http://bit.ly/Ms4En7
2 August 2012
Stop apologizing for being a city. Resisting density, as many cities across North America do, doesn't produce semi-rural paradises. What you get, eventually if not right away, is boring cities.
1 August 2012
Complaints about downtown parking are a symptom of urban failure. In successful downtowns, people willingly pay outlandish prices for parking.
30 July 2012
How can we reduce crime? Some thought-provoking research findings, including comments on what we call Crimestat in Winnipeg and the "broken windows" theory.
25 July 2012
Our economy demands minimum-wage labour, but it doesn't supply affordable housing. How long will it be before we have as many homeless people as Toronto?
24 July 2012
The growing quality-of-life gap between American cities. Federal funding is a factor, but it's really more about local wealth. http://bit.ly/METmcU
19 July 2012
Admirably succinct, readable report on housing affordability in Manitoba, demonstrating that a place to call home is out of reach for too many.
18 July 2012
Counter-intuitive journalism: Rustwire.com focusses on the tribulations of cities like Cleveland, Rochester and Niagara Falls, NY. (Not like Niagara Falls, ON.) rustwire.com
17 July 2012
Underpass Park: Toronto plans to develop a public space and play area underneath a freeway overpass. http://bit.ly/M87J6O
16 July 2012
Pontiac, Michigan, iconic victim of the automobile, tries to repair the damage with a plan "that could reconnect downtown to neighborhoods, employment centers, and nearby communities." http://bit.ly/NP4J1H
15 July 2012
Even in Florida, they're recognizing that cars can suck the life out of city neighbourhoods. http://hrld.us/NJvPas It's not a matter of getting rid of cars, just don't let them dominate everything else.
12 July 2012
Poverty in America: What's happened in the last 50 years? There's less of it. More is being done about it. It's still racially concentrated. http://wapo.st/OdfUxk
11 July 2012
Here's a counter-weight to the stereotype of aboriginal rural poverty and misery. Urban aboriginal people are generally happy. And let's not assume that rural aboriginal people are unhappy.
9 July 2012
A serious urban agriculture initiative in Vancouver. http://bit.ly/OryWkJ We need more urban farms and greenhouses in Canada - and less second-rate California produce.
6 July 2012
Detroit architectural gem, designed by the legendary Mies van der Rohe, is up for auction.
5 July 2012
It's fun watching the Museum for Human Rights go up, but it's only one of many such projects. Is there enough demand to support them all? http://bit.ly/RkVsiw
3 July 2012
A sewage system saves the environment, but here's what happens when a government tries to build one. A number of good reasons for doing it, a thousand individual interests opposing it.
2 July 2012
Middle-class people living in shanty towns: Prosperity in Kenya, and elsewhere in Africa, is producing a demand for housing and a challenge for urban planning. http://bit.ly/Lstxty
29 June 2012
Jan Gehl: Think the car is king in London? I sentence you to a bicycle tour of Winnipeg. A leader in The Economist offers a quick look at how cities are humanizing public spaces.
28 June 2012
Back to the city? Since the 1920s, suburbs have outpaced cities in population growth, but that trend is reversing. In the most recent year, 27 of 51 U.S. cities have grown faster than their suburbs. http://on.wsj.com/MDNFJh
27 June 2012
Who's looking after your retirement savings? Many Canadian violators are getting away. The problem is that it's a provincial responsibility. Securities regulation ought to be a federal responsibility,
25 June 2012
Article about public transportation in Rabat, Morocco, shows just how much is involved in modernizing a Third World urban transportation system. http://on.mktw.net/LvHhs4
22 June 2012
Chinese sweatshop that has "gruelling", "miserable" working conditions does business with Motorola, AT&T, Sony and Phillips, according to the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
19 June 2012
Who's left? What's right? Intelligent commentary by Nelson Wiseman in the Hill Times, showing how confused most of us are about the meaning of left and right in politics.
18 June 2012
Could the oil sands pave the road to a green Canada? Looks like The Tyee, a B.C. alternative publication, has produced a rare, reasoned contribution to a shrill debate. I'll be following this series with interest.
Top 20 urban planning web sites. A gold mine of information and ideas. http://bit.ly/Na2q9p
9 June 2012
Why Foreigners are Still Attracted to Detroit. Fascinating photos of one of America's great cities, now a ruin. The photos follow an interesting American Public Radio reportage.
8 June 2012
Apparently, higher population density is associated with a rise in food allergies. Of course, that doesn't mean density is the cause. What else do cities have besides density? Long list, eh?
5 June 2010
An academic attack on Richard Florida's creative class. http://bit.ly/LxJKNT The vehemence of the reaction to Florida puzzles me. I find his argument interesting and don't see it as a threat.
Watch the Sydney Opera House disintegrate before your eyes: Fascinating urban art that creates fantastic images by projecting light against buildings. You have to see it to believe it. http://bit.ly/KBDwQD
3 June 2012
Relentlessly the post-modern economy impoverishes poor cities and enriches well-off ones. Dayton seeks improvement by promoting education, but will educated youth stay in Dayton? http://bit.ly/LdgSrP
31 May 2012
The Sierra Club believes, with some justification, that it's the object of a witch hunt. http://bit.ly/KAReC0
Back-to-work legislation drives down wages, reducing tax revenues, and makes business more dependent on government, putting the Harper government at odds with its own ideology. http://bit.ly/LZTmCP http://bit.ly/L9lOA6
29 May 2012
Pay people not provinces: Could this be a way to strengthen communities without enhancing the power of local élites? What impact would an increase in the purchasing power of the elderly have on your neighbourhood? http://natpo.st/K9wGS6
A news story that raises new questions about the DSK sex scandal, timed to coincide with a moderately-priced e-book that provides evidence. Is this the new face of book publishing in the internet age?
25 May 2012
An astonishingly original approach to local self-promotion: Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, incorporated in 2001, population unspecified, but lots of pretty pictures. Web site offers a one-page master plan. http://bit.ly/LhLqNt
24 May 2012
Really fair tuition is difficult to achieve. If it's too low, in practice, families whose children don't go to university subsidize those who do. If it's too high, even somewhat better-off young people may not get higher education. http://natpo.st/Lkj3uD
Can organic fertilizer out-produce chemicals and keep farmers out of the clutches of multinationals? Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK) says Yes. http://bit.ly/KNUn2f
23 May 2012
Honolulu is even more congested than Los Angeles. Other congested U.S. cities: San Francisco, New York, Bridgeport... http://bit.ly/LgU9vT
17 May 2012
Vermont looks critically at development proposals, instead of accepting whatever's proposed, as Winnipeg does. Developers are willing to accept restrictions if the rules are clear.
16 May 2012
Hunger in wealthy cities: The shameful fact we overlook. UN envoy visits Winnipeg to highlight food security deficits in the world's wealthiest nations. http://bit.ly/Kmo32k
14 May 2012
Escape from Camp 14: Shin Dong-hyuk's appalling story of life in a prison camp shows that the North Korean regime is even worse than I imagined. http://bit.ly/KblFcI
13 May 2012
The futility of barricades: Le Monde diplomatique finds you're no safer in gated communities than you are in similar communities without walls. http://bit.ly/LFOnX1
6 May 2012
Fix Young America makes realistic proposals for addressing youth unemployment, but adopts a zealous tone that's likely to drive away many of the people best equipped to lend a hand.
3 May 2012
How design technology stifles sustainable development. CAD could be used to serve sustainability, but a designer contends it's usually used to speed the production of conventional designs. http://bit.ly/IYS2hv
Jane Jacobs said it first: Cities are hotbeds of creativity, which comes from in-person interactions. Technology has produced marvels of innovative communication, but not substitutes for what happens on the street. http://bit.ly/Kx8tAg
2 May 2012
U.S. largest 25 cities ranked for women's well-being, by educational attainment, life expectancy and median earnings. Washington, D.C. is first, Riverside-San Bernardino last. http://huff.to/IKe6da
30 April 2012
Straphanger, by Taras Grescoe: Thoughtful assessment of accomplishments and failures of transit, and the challenges facing those who support it. Chapters on Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Copenhagen, and more.
29 April 2012
Citizen Budget: An online tool for citizen participation in municipal budgeting. http://citizenbudget.com/ It could also serve city councils as an aid to better-informed decision-making.
26 April 2012
Making Cities Livable: A lobby for compact, walkable, healthy cities. http://www.livablecities.org/
How the auto lobby made streets safe for drivers and unsafe for pedestrians. http://bit.ly/IefydL "Let me write the folklore and I care not who writes the laws."
22 April 2012
Bart Kives, weary, as I am, of Winnipeg apathy, makes the case that we may as well push harder for more public transit now, because, in the end, we'll be forced to anyway.
Description and comments on gentrification with a fine eye for the telling detail. This is why we need inclusive zoning, and also why it's so hard to achieve. http://bit.ly/Ix57yq Naheed Nenshi's views. http://bit.ly/I2VmeS
13 April 2012
Ninety-nine of the 100 fastest-growing American exurbs and outer suburbs "saw slower or no growth in 2011 compared with the mid-decade housing peak". Overall, exurban growth is down. http://bit.ly/IJjL8d
11 April 2012
There's already been an American-style management attack on labour at the U of Brandon, and now a similar attempt has been thwarted at the City of Brandon. Is that how we want labour relations to be conducted in this country? http://bit.ly/HwaTOF
9 April 2012
After two generations of North American flight from cities, is the tide finally beginning to turn? http://bit.ly/IrI1qA
Long after institutional reforms in London to end systemic discrimination against sex workers, Victorian attitudes toward sex workers thrive in Vancouver. Thoughtful piece in The Tyee.
3 April 2012
Will Winnipeg join a growing number of cities where urban agriculture is supported? Search this page on "agriculture" for eight other references to a growing trend. http://bit.ly/Hl17Nv
27 March 2012
The low population density of many of the American communities officially designated as "urban" demonstrates that Americans flee from cities, but still seek the opportunity and convenience of urban life. http://bit.ly/GVBBpa
26 March 2012
Minneapolis expands urban agriculture and market gardening. The policy provides for hoop houses, but don't try to market chickens. http://bit.ly/GRDge1
Unlike Winnipeg, Los Angeles is giving serious, systematic thought to the way transit stations can support dense neighbourhoods and vice versa. Our planned transit lines could do great things for Winnipeg if we did the same http://bit.ly/GUHXOY
25 March 2012
Winnipeg could fund rapid transit if we got serious about exploiting the development opportunities at the stops on the transit line. They get it in India, when will we?
19 March 2012
It looks like the privatization worm is turning. Private delivery of public services, especially water, hasn't lived up to the expectations of many. http://bit.ly/GzYvwQ http://bit.ly/GA2xsX
18 March 2012
Long-overdue evidence of some interest in understanding the differences between European and North American cities, a subject that I'm also pursuing. http://bit.ly/yCZFAa (Click and check out the column to your left.)
15 March 2012
Alternatives to urban sprawl: infill development and satellite cities, powered by the sun, wind, geothermal energy and hydrogen. http://bit.ly/wHQocG A world of possibilities, but when will we start?
14 March 2012
A new study works out exactly what has to be done to make rapid transit a success in Winnipeg, what obstacles need to be overcome, and how to overcome them. http://bit.ly/zWxfJd
13 March 2012
Interesting new books develop Jane Jacobs's theme that cities are the drivers of the economy. http://wapo.st/xcL0I1 For a long time, she was ignored by academics, but now everyone celebrates her insights.
8 March 2012
OURS Winnipeg wants to save our public space. All they're asking is that the city talk to the real owners of the property before they make a decision -- not after everything has been decided.
"Smart growth communism": The Tea Party's defamatory label for urban growth management. As usual, their pitch serves corporate interests. More seriousness about citizen involvement in planning would be the best response. Thoughtful article in The Atlantic Cities.
6 March 2012
If Manila can develop a green plan, why can't Winnipeg? We're not only failing to plan for environmental improvement, we can't even bestir ourselves to do something about sprawl.
5 March 2012
My friend and former student, Stuart Croall, writes about leukemia and politics in a blog that offers a compelling mix of the personal and the political.
29 February 2012
Urbanists think a lot about city form and design, as well as social issues. They should, but they should also think more about what cities produce. In a world of global trade flows, our well-being depends on it. http://bit.ly/ydKlLD
28 February 2012
Building the city around public transportation, instead of letting developers decide where a city grows and leaving transit to figure out how to provide service. Europe, and now China, have the right idea.
24 February 2012
Transit-oriented urban development planned to link Beijing to the port city of Tianjin.
Let's hope the reality approximates the picture. http://bit.ly/zfklIm
23 February 2012
Americans are almost twice as likely to call themselves conservative as liberal.
This is associated with poverty and low education
21 February 2012
Less single-family homes, more apartments, and a "downtown core" in the suburbs: Surrey is becoming the British Columbia lower mainland's "second downtown". http://bit.ly/xHqjqb
20 February 2012
Intelligent transport: Building your transportation system around walking, cycling and public transportation,
instead of cars.
16 February 2012
A city life, but a rural "lifestyle". It's what many want, but can they afford it, or will they be able to make society and the environment foot the bill? http://bit.ly/xc3lhG
13 February 2012
Metropolitan Portland makes water quality and wildlife habitat protection a local responsibility. Why are most local and regional governments leaving these important obligations to senior governments?
9 February 2012
There was a time when Wall Street supported the American economy, instead of luxuriating in the distress of cities with economic problems. http://bit.ly/yA0cs6
8 February 2012
The plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art before...
...and after (we hope!).
New York Times
7 February 2012
Can fog harvesting save drought-stricken communities? Interesting independent journalism project is underway. http://bit.ly/wsI94M
5 February 2012
In the City of Vancouver, a planning system that produces an eminently liveable environment has driven house prices to stratospheric heights. One of life's ironies: Do one thing right, and something else goes wrong.
2 February 2012
South Africa: A wealthy country with one of the most appalling and persistent gaps between rich and poor. http://bit.ly/yts1fv
Cape Town shanties
31 January 2012
As energy prices rise, a city's economic viability will increasingly be tied to its energy consumption. http://bit.ly/zMA1iQ
Industrial symbiosis: Figuring out how one industry's waste can be reprocessed for use by another industry. http://1.usa.gov/Atii2F
Kansas City struggles with decay of the downtown core, but apparently the only funded plan involves bulldozing houses to build a super-block. http://bit.ly/yARZiZ
24 January 2012
A "self-improvement" take on the end of the industrial age. It's part of the fallout from the post-fordist economy. Check out Community Democracy in a Global Age, to be offered in future.
23 January 2012
Is Newt Gingerich's campaign for the Republican nomination all about race? Forthright analysis by an SFU history professor. http://bit.ly/xzsqEK
22 January 2012
Flexibly priced parking to reduce traffic, air pollution and frustration. An idea whose time has come? They're trying it in Los Angeles. http://bit.ly/w0O67j
20 January 2012
One of "history's most important population shifts": China's urban explosion - 690 million and counting -- fast. http://bit.ly/wQNKGt
19 January 2012
Interactive map of metropolitan economies world-wide shows how the balance of power has shifted to Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Russia & Eastern Europe, since 1993. http://bit.ly/zKo3Cg
17 January 2012
The Central Park district of Winnipeg, still considered dodgy by some, has turned into a lively, interesting immigrant neighbourhood. Click on the picture for a better view.
Cities work, not by government dictat, but because they serve spontaneously as centres of human interaction. Cairo is a case in point. http://bit.ly/wO4lr1
15 January 2012
Politicians in metropolitan Montreal debate how to control sprawl and preserve open space. http://bit.ly/wwvzRP
12 January 2012
Are cities replacing nations as the drivers of economic growth? Ignore the jingoistic title. The author is making an interesting point. http://on.ft.com/yjmBJj
11 January 2012
Captured: The Ruins of Detroit. Photo essay on what happens when governments shirk their duty to manage urban growth. http://bit.ly/A6zpwf
9 January 2012
At last, some of Robert Moses's monstrosities are coming down. Across the United States, urban expressways are being dismantled. http://bit.ly/wSL7pk
8 January 2012
Some people want to blame government for the 2008 economic meltdown. Here's a discussion of the issue. http://wapo.st/wCi2GI
5 January 2012
Can we engineer our way out of global warming? A business-friendly source looks at coming innovations. http://bit.ly/xII9Hp
Can Canada maintain its standard of living in the face of global competition? Head-to-head NDP-Conservative battle. http://bit.ly/zcPLpQ
4 January 2012
"Natural cities on an urban planet": As the world becomes predominantly urban, what becomes of the natural environment? http://bit.ly/y0obPY
3 January 2012
In the US, the people who need rapid transit most get the least of it, study says. That will apply to Winnipeg as well - if our one rapid transit line is ever completed. http://bit.ly/wmTOXf
2 January 2012
Can community parks make neighbourhoods healthier and safer? Maybe. http://linkd.in/vOf292
29 December 2011
Re A two-tier university system, focussing, respectively, on teaching and research (See December 19th below.), should produce more research and heavier teaching loads, but I doubt that it will be better research or better teaching.
Houston promotes transit-oriented development with a bundle of measures, including the encouragement of small-scale developments. http://bit.ly/u2Qhxw
28 December 2011
Omaha area, about the same population as the Winnipeg metropolitan area, is thinking about better development options. Winnipeg should too. http://bit.ly/tmgzXi
27 December 2011
21st Century migrations routinely span the globe. The story of one family's journey from Gambia via Germany to prosperity in Sydney, Australia. http://bit.ly/sLDKGa
20 December 2011
Is the popularity of large-lot suburban homes declining? New, careful study of Sacramento suggests that's what's happening in California. Can North America be far behind? http://bit.ly/vT5VLN
19 December 2011
The New York City venture of Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology exemplifies two interesting trends: The growing dominance of global cities and the entrenchment of a two-tier university system, with teaching universities in the subordinate position.
18 December 2011
Short piece in the Atlantic shows that cities are spending a lot on crime cameras without knowing whether the money is well spent. http://bit.ly/v3afyd
16 December 2011
It's not even clear what "liveable cities" are (see 12 December below), but "economic security" is something that can be defined. http://bit.ly/ulIQ8k
15 December 2011
Sam Katz says you can't tell people where to live. Have you heard of zoning? It tells you where to live, work, shop, and Katz is in charge of it. http://twitter.com/passingscene
13 December 2011
Do you want low-income earners in Winnipeg to help pay for university students' transit? If not, oppose the transit fare increase. http://chn.ge/tGTTzS
29 November 2011
City planning comes to Kampala, the Ugandan capital. Looks like it'll be Euclidean. http://bit.ly/vyHfQl
28 November 2011
While developing world cities swell, US cities struggle with shrinking populations. http://on.ft.com/ul8njR
27 November 2011
Brian Mayes wins Council seat. http://bit.ly/smgmTq That makes seven left/leftish councillors, take or leave. Looks like tougher times for the right.
24 November 2011
Green infrastructure saves the environment, makes grey cities green and can save money. http://bit.ly/uI6Iyl
23 November 2011
Every once in awhile, you get a glimpse of cultural differences that aren't always so obvious. In the U.S. you have to argue with people who believe zoning is an infringement on their inalienable rights. http://linkd.in/s8tUms
22 November 2011
Wal-Mart feeds off sprawl and gives it an extra push. http://bit.ly/t5dwds
21 November 2011
Jane Jacobs inspires generation after generation. http://bit.ly/smOARr
We were the envy of the world, but now Canada is the only G8 country without a national housing strategy. http://bit.ly/tD5RDr
20 November 2011
Hamburg is trying to become a green city. http://nyti.ms/tJYRgc
Sage advice on how to make public participation work better. http://www.linkedin.com/news? http://linkd.in/vlPyjB
Rules of on-street parking in Toronto: An amusing look at local culture in downtown neighbourhoods. http://bit.ly/uz3jXt
17 November 2011
Councillor Orlikow explains why he's voting against Winnipeg's Transportation Master Plan. http://www.orlikow.ca/news/view/?nid=162
Open-source, interactive documentary about high rise towers around the world. http://interactive.nfb.ca/#/outmywindow
15 November 2011
The deplorable condition of Winnipeg streets & an interactive map pinpointing the worst ones. http://bit.ly/uwaSg8
Pointed comments on Winnipeg's failure to implement a strategic anti-crime program. http://bit.ly/svIcym
13 November 2011
Interesting resource on opposition to land use proposals in the US. http://saintindex.info/
Think privatization makes services more effective and efficient? Maybe, maybe not, as Lima, Peru, learned. http://bit.ly/rBWLCX
11 November 2011
Urbanized (2011): Interesting, idea-packed film on intelligent and unintelligent urban design. http://nyti.ms/vNCU7f
10 November 2011
District of Columbia is a better place for African Americans to do business, says the Urban League. http://wapo.st/skm08l
Beekeeping is big in New York City. http://bit.ly/uC4EiI City farming thrives. Search Twitter, "urban agriculture", and see for yourself.
7 November 2011
After decades of densification, the Vancouver region is still, on a world scale, Sprawl City. http://bit.ly/vzSNWs
6 November 2011
Why city design is important, both socially and to the economy, as well as to the environment & health. http://bit.ly/sFkQQM
2 November 2011
Minneapolis area eyes bus rapid transit for better transit service & compact neighbourhoods. http://bit.ly/v6R0Wn
1 November 2011
Transforming urban eyesores into assets for the environment: Solar panels over parking lots. http://bit.ly/sL7gCW
30 October 2011
Urban agriculture and aquaculture plan to grow and sell all the food of a supermarket in one place. http://bit.ly/sRWqQo
28 October 2011
Have we passed "peak car"? Gradual reduction in miles driven, throughout the developed world. http://bit.ly/umW5Me
20 October 2011
Economic constraint and vile weather stimulate creativity. http://bit.ly/p8HggC Maybe that's Winnipeg's secret.
18 October 2011
Edmonton: Impending shortage of space for expansion triggers talk of regional governance. http://bit.ly/nLtwLW
Gwangju conference recognizes the role of cities in addressing environmental problems. http://bit.ly/qDdhNE
16 October 2011
As cities grow, the population disperses. Overall density declines. Discussion, with lots of examples, at http://bit.ly/pQpVmM
12 October 2011
Toronto neglects the public realm, and we all pay the price. Provocative article, interesting discussion. http://bit.ly/mUzuHT
6 October 2011
Digitization is creating a second economy that's revolutionizing the way we work and vacuuming up jobs. http://bit.ly/n9CUwA
8 August 2011
What's wrong with municipal political parties? Actually, they're a good thing. Check out the two entries to your left or click on http://t.co/ZViXiBF
14 July 2011
The fastest-growing cities in the United States are southern ones. Top 30 list: http://www.livescience.com/15021-list-fastest-growing-cities.html
12 July 2011
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee City Status competition: On its face, an idiosyncratic British tradition, but in reality an exercise in community-building and a test of leadership. http://bit.ly/p61FWc
11 July 2011
Agenda-setting cities? Interesting comparison of 19th Century Chicago with 21st Century Portland. http://bit.ly/q4nhBa
10 July 2011
New Orleans is a much smaller city after Katrina, and that has big political implications, embodying both opportunities and problems. http://nyti.ms/mT9lD4
7 July 2011
Constant innovation: the key to city success - but what about low-income housing? Illuminating international comparison. More tomorrow. http://t.co/eFrRT0S
6 July 2011
Will social housing be the next neoliberal target? Is there an agenda to let operating agreements expire and let the housing decay? http://bit.ly/qMfKYx
5 July 2011
A community development corporation spearheads an urban farming project, to make fresh food available in Cleveland's "food deserts". http://bit.ly/ntUAIr
4 July 2011
Canadian city builders could learn from the ancients who built the city of Ephesus. http://bit.ly/kVSac1
3 July 2011
Are lower crime rates in American cities associated with greater ethnic and life-style diversity? http://bit.ly/mBHHA3
30 June 2011
Great interactive map lets you see how the ethnicity of neighbourhoods in major American cities changed between 2000 and 2010. Lots of Whites and some Hispanics moving into formerly Black neighbourhoods.
29 June 2011
Counter-intuitive but true: A law forcing bookstores to charge prices set by publishers increases competition & saves consumers money. http://bit.ly/l0b7Kr
28 June 2011
North American cities accommodate cars, European cities stifle them - and apparently suffer no economic harm. http://nyti.ms/kbFLBt
24 June 2011
Washington, DC: In expanding rapid transit, don't accommodate sprawl, take advantage of density. http://bit.ly/jAOipi
23 June 2011
Tokyo, the megacity that works. Interesting article. http://bit.ly/md8tnQ
21 June 2011
Poverty is rising in big Canadian cities, declining in mid-sized ones - partly because of economic and social conditions in the big cities, partly because low-income people migrate. http://t.co/Nc5e6Oi
20 June 2011
Overcoming automobile dominance in cities: Blueprints for the future. http://bit.ly/ilG6Bv
16 June 2011
Stranded: Few American seniors will have access to public transportation when they can no longer drive. http://bit.ly/lkytRI
15 June 2011
Detroit businessman and former city planner figures out how to turn locally-grown food into a winning business. http://bit.ly/lmtogL
14 June 2011
Detroit isn't actually shrinking. The metropolitan area is growing -- perversely. http://t.co/6ciGFdp
13 June 2011
US suburban growth continues to outstrip core city growth, even as suburbs become "more urban". http://t.co/YhXodSF
Retrofitting Suburbia: A profusely-illustrated guide to the creation of more urban environments in suburbs: http://t.co/72fR1sC
9 June 2011
World city rankings: Biggest, most liveable, oldest, etc. http://bit.ly/lSLyoT
13 April 2011
Innovation and new industries tend to cluster, mature industry tends to diffuse. The implication is that, in the US, the high-tech era is an era of city-building.
3 April 2011
Is United States suburban growth coming to an end? http://bit.ly/dMoa2y
29 March 2011
Fascinating interactive world map focusses on the centrality of cities to our economic and political future.
27 March 2011
The right to annex adjacent areas has supported city prosperity in North Carolina. Will that right be abolished?
Shrinking cities signal trouble ahead, for both the cities and their metropolitan areas, says the Detroit Free Press.
25 March 2011
What to do about shrinking cities: Let them shrink, says Witold Rybczynski in The Atlantic.
23 March 2011
Detroit is the poster child for urban decay driven by residential and industrial flight. Its decline continues, despite repeated rescue efforts.
22 March 2011
Good urban design makes cities walkable, and saves gas. America's most walkable cities.
15 March 2011
Could the Tea Party become opponents of urban sprawl? The author of Triumph of the city seems to think so. http://nyti.ms/hmzXRy
14 March 2011
Is Winnipeg's new stadium the product of a bait-and-switch operation? Check out the posting for March 10th, 2011, in the column to your left.
4 March 2011
cyclingmobility, a new journal for planners and other officials dealing with issues of cycling and mobility.
27 February 2011
Why do newspaper columnists get paid for making arguments that ignore obvious objections? See next three entries.
Obvious objection to unregulated blooding: What uses will police make of large DNA data banks? Are we supposed to trust all of them always to do the right thing?
Obvious objections to letting Manitoba Hydro rates rise to market value: If we do that, will we lose more jobs because of higher electricity rates or gain more because we collect more Hydro revenues? What happens to all the extra revenue?
The only way we'll figure out who's right will be by examining both sides of the argument.
Does British Columbia's carbon tax penalize the poor and reward polluters? A recent publication argues that carbon tax revenues go into tax cuts, instead of green projects.
13 February 2011
Harvard economics prof says cities make us not only smarter, healthier and richer, but also greener. Triumph of the city
10 February 2011
The Free Press thought it was a feel-good story, but I see a slippery slope. (See posting for 11 February 2011 in left-hand column.) Check out an account and pictures of what happened in Detroit.
4 February 2011
Local knowledge should be a routine component of science and politics. See the film that shows how Inuit people are teaching scientists about climate change.
30 January 2011
Why hiring 58 new Winnipeg police officers won't reduce overtime. http://t.co/Tcm6SbA
29 January 2011
Panel discussion at the Mondragon. Subjects: transportation, infrastructure, debt, poverty, housing, urban development and sprawl in Winnipeg - or at least as much of that as we can cover!
25 January 2011
Web site looks critically at public investments in arenas and stadiums, including Quebec, Minnesota, Oakland, Los Angeles, and more. http://bit.ly/hBALdO
19 January 2011
Are cities the key to a sustainable future? They could be.
18 January 2011
Can urban agriculture make cities more sustainable? Columbia University professor and president of the Vertical Farm Project thinks it's possible.
12 January 2011
Hunger, food riots and refugees? Gwynne Dyer has a dramatically different view of the future than Stewart Brand (see below). Global warming, Dyer fears, will bring about food shortages and food prices Brand's squatters won't be able to pay. http://bit.ly/ggkzqy
11 January 2011
Urban squatters save the world? Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog, argues that the 70 million people who are pouring into shantytowns annually will help raise the poor out of poverty, restore rain forests, and reverse population growth. That would be nice.
10 January 2011
China's cities in the sky. Post-modern dream cities or modernist nightmares? http://bit.ly/f5Esvb
6 January 2011
The cold war origins of suburban development. Most people have no idea how heavily American city planning was influenced by the fear of nuclear attack.
4 January 2011
Bigger cities, more of them, in the future? If so, the implications for our climate are immense, and we can choose. Will fossil fuels get locked into urban design?
3 January 2011
Suburban population growth could threaten light rail in Houston. A familiar scenario: Sprawl produces suburban majorities and undermines the services needed to support a healthy downtown.
2 January 2011
Walmart moms challenge our political imagination, north as well as south of the 49th parallel, because they represent the growing numbers of people whose concerns aren't addressed by their so-called political representatives. http://bit.ly/dLKE3t
30 December 2010
Beautiful night photo of Beijing and Tianjin from space. The street patterns are clearly visible. http://bit.ly/hPwksG Click on "back to gallery" for more NASA photos.
29 December 2010
Green Cities Programme: OECD launches an initiative to evaluate green growth policies and determine best practices.
28 December 2010
Redfields to greenfields: Looking for opportunities to redevelop the large number of failed commercial sites in cities so that they become part of a metropolitan green-space strategy.
20 December 2010
How cities can be part of the climate change solution: OECD report offers a detailed look at the important role cities can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
19 December 2010
A physicist formulates laws of urban growth. His conclusions support Jane Jacobs, and argue that cities are inherently more sustainable than alternatives. This produces an interesting debate.
17 December 2010
Locally-based businesses in the U.S. are growing again, and they pay better, but chains are still growing faster. Click here for more on independent retail stores.
16 December 2010
Can we learn lessons from Detroit as it struggles to recover? http://bit.ly/gx5ib8 It looks as if the paucity of national chains could yield opportunities for local business.
15 December 2010
The Clean Clothes Campaign has been working tirelessly for years to improve working conditions in the global garment industry.
14 December 2010
Utrecht joins the growing list of European cities with very ambitious environmental plans. http://bit.ly/fYfZ1N
For a focussed critique of Winnipeg's stadium deal, check out Brian Kelcey's blog. He puts his finger on problems with the financing.
13 December 2010
Are North American suburbs harder hit by the recession than downtowns? http://on.wsj.com/hIbgGz
12 December 2010
Web site quantifies walkability of neighbourhoods and cities. http://bit.ly/feibzM
Lists of most walkable cities in the US. http://bit.ly/f1RvCP
Pictures from the world's most walkable cities. http://bit.ly/f5GMWI
10 December 2010
Interesting, optimistic speculation on the ultimate impact of Wikileaks. Will we become a more open society, or just have more government secrecy and an internet free-for-all in place of good journalism? http://bit.ly/dWS6RB
8 December 2010
The Winnipeg Free Press continues its well-researched series on city-killing surface parking. http://bit.ly/f9Jdrw
Cool interactive map of surface parking in downtown Winnipeg. http://bit.ly/dWDNKU (Scroll to bottom of page.)
7 December 2010
Is Winnipeg really going to tear down part of its warehouse district without a full assessment of alternatives? It's not just a matter of heritage. Our old buildings are an important economic asset that can never be replaced. http://bit.ly/gdsuTM
An assessment of Winnipeg's helicopter purchase that the city doesn't want you to see.http://bit.ly/gkENbt
New York City has less serious crime than its metropolitan area. In St. Louis it's the opposite. On of a number of interesting observations at http://on.wsj.com/ePwodz
5 December 2010
Don't miss Mary Agnes Welsh's well-researched piece on city-killing parking lots in downtown Winnipeg. http://bit.ly/g1bRFe
Winnipeg as a semi-rural environment that will become a city, whether we like it or not. Thoughtful piece by Bart Kives. http://bit.ly/iiVL3H
3 December 2010
Not long ago we were being told that cities would disperse because, thanks to electronic communications, we can live and work everywhere. It hasn't happened. Want to know why? Click here.
2 December 2010
Surprising list of cities that have recovered best from the financial crisis throws up interesting lessons. http://bit.ly/fhp9x9 For the original report, click here: GlobalMetroMonitor
1 December 2010
Cities should play a more prominent role in defining the response to climate change. Meaty OECD report. CitiesClimateChng
30 November 2010
Rapid transit will boost the economy, business leaders say. http://bit.ly/i9gSI3
28 November 2010
We've gone through a historic redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. Here's who pays the price. http://bit.ly/gcvEcA
25 November 2010
Right-wingers like to think of themselves as truth-tellers. Left-wingers consider themselves compassionate. I'd prefer to be both.
Interesting thesis on factors influencing automobile dependence in Canada's seven largest metropolitan areas. Car_in_Canada
23 November 2010
Photo essays about social life in cities. http://socialshutter.blogspot.com/
19 November 2010
Building freeways in cities to deal with congestion is like loosening your belt to fight obesity. http://bit.ly/aRmvbA
16 November 2010
Is Melbourne becoming an eco-city? MelbourneEcoCity
15 November 2010
Saginaw and Flint, Michigan: More failed cities seek refuge in community gardening. http://www.mlui.org/farms/fullarticle.asp?fileid=17453
14 November 2010
Is the red state-blue state divide in American politics actually an urban-rural cleavage? http://bbc.in/dw8fsX
12 November 2010
Interesting collection of videos on urban policy. http://bit.ly/dAwZZY
Sprawl contributes to extreme heat events, a study finds. http://bit.ly/bSNbsa
11 November 2010
Can a revitalized Detroit attract talented young people to Michigan? http://bit.ly/9kOKZD
10 November 2010
Attacking the menace of overbuilt roads. http://www.pps.org/info/newsletter/april_first_2010/dangerous_roads_recalled
8 November 2010
Is the "shrinking cities" flavour of the month just another phase in the decline of some of America's great cities? ShrinkCitiesGratz
7 November 2010
Comparative per capita greenhouse gas emissions for European, Asian, North and South American cities and countries: UN data. Representative GHG Baselines for Cities - Mar_18 (1)
6 November 2010
Madrid: protest against urban sprawl. http://fxn.ws/aWqITw
5 November 2010
Bee-keeping: a new turn in urban agriculture: http://magblog.audubon.org/print/833
4 November 2010
An urban or suburban future? It depends on how we plan. http://huff.to/aZUgBS
2 November 2010
Urban growth in India: A time bomb. http://bit.ly/bvieHG
1 November 2010
New York says good-bye to blank walls. http://bit.ly/bWUSk4
31 October 2010
Making a city safe for bicycles. How they do it in Copenhagen. http://bit.ly/doSBMa
20 August 2010
There's a fine line between social enterprise and the "ethical business" whitewash. http://bbc.in/aTZkOR
20 August 2010
Kitu Kidogo - Swahili for "small thing", which refers to bribery. Really good radio play from Uganda about corruption.http://bbc.in/cCqYEe
19 August 2010
Thanks to rural monoculture, urban agriculture flourishes: Bee-keeping is big in Paris, BBC says. http://bbc.in/aiu6ij
18 August 2010
An interesting perspective on freeways and sustainable cities. http://bit.ly/98k15g
17 August 2010
Green roofs: Encourage local agriculture and make better use of urban space. http://bit.ly/dadOyg
15 August 2010
For some very interesting information about the health effects of malathion, click here.
15 August 2010
Guerilla "urban repair squads" make city streets more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. http://bit.ly/a5kROm
Even heat waves hit low-income people the hardest. http://bit.ly/8Xgak8
Gwynne Dyer doesn't just warn of global warming, he looks at political implications.
Encouragingly constructive tone at the Council for the Federation, but too bad about the long form census.
Are factory farms destroying the nutrition in our foods?
Interesting anonymous article about the social roots of France's rural revival.
Good articles about green infrastructure and urban administration in The Planning Commissioners' Journal.