Category: Beyond the Southeast

Savannah Offers Yet Another Example of Why Good Urban Design is Important

Savannah Postcard

An abundance of asphalt and concrete increases air temperatures locally, which can exacerbate the effects of heat waves and generally cause unpleasant conditions. This is known as the urban heat island effect and it can be true for both sprawled suburbs and dense cities. Savannah’s beautiful green spaces offer a prime example of how the benefits of dense development can be achieved while mitigating or eliminating the urban heat island effect.

Weekly Links: The EPA Loves the NHL, Snow Leads to Better Urban Design, and Atlanta’s World-Class Traffic

Snow in Vine City

A weekly roundup of interesting stories from around the country. The National Hockey League is not just one of the biggest buyers of green energy among sports leagues, but among all US companies. Philadelphia created better designed streets simply by looking at where cars drive in the snow. And a stress-relieving simulation of traffic moving through various types of intersections.

Critical Fair Housing Data Could be the Next Victim of Congress

Congress looks to overturn an Obama-era rule designed to track racial discrepancies in access to affordable housing by gutting federal funding for critical GIS data. The American Association of Geographers has taken a strong stance saying these actions “…could have far-reaching consequences on federally-sponsored research on racial discrimination, including on federal human health programs; census issues; education programs, including services for children; Department of Justice programs; and other critical programs.”

Japanese Zoning: The Solution to NIMBYism?

Japan

Removing zoning to a larger regional authority would undoubtedly be met with fierce political opposition, though it’s likely just what the doctor ordered for many metro areas to grow in more organized and reasonable manners. Making counties and cities compete among each other when we all freely travel between jurisdictions on a daily basis makes little sense. The bureaucratic inconsistencies and infrastructural headaches that ensue degrade our comprehensive regional planning efforts while cultivating a fractured political atmosphere and an overall distrust of one another.

Will Uber and Lyft Make Mass Transit Obsolete?

Ridesharing also fills a significant void in late-night transportation options. In most major cities, transit is either non-existent or very limited between 10pm and 4am. Research done by the American Public Transportation Association shows that ridesourcing now accounts for a signficant share of late night/early morning alternative transportation. So perhaps ridesharing alleviates the burden on local governments of needing to provide more late-night transit options. But is that a good thing?

Live Free or Park in Reverse

To start off, we should address one of the claims by Eugene: that the state of New Hampshire should not be in the business of telling people what to do because its motto is “Live free or die.” Although clearly intended to be humorous, Eugene’s interpretation of the motto is philosophically lacking. Freedom is not always encouraged by doing whatever you want whenever you want.

Major US Cities Threaten to Erase Their Population Deficits of the 1950's-1980's

Look no further than almost any film produced or set during that time period. While Taxi Driver and Blade Runner are less subtle in their portrayal of the city as a place of terror, even films such as Ghostbusters, Back to the Future II, and Woody Allen’s cache during that era can’t help but show the city in poor form. Certainly cities back then had many charms, but there really is no avoiding the fact that they were largely in a free fall, a decline that society assumed to be perpetual.

Well a lot has changed over the past 20 years.