The Streets Are Alive with the Sound of Surveillance

Chattanooga, TN is currently debating whether to continue the use of a particular advanced line of streetlights that offer the potential for implementing several exciting and useful features. The LED streetlights are more energy efficient and save the city money, and they can also be wirelessly controlled to dim, become brighter, or even flash depending on the needs of the city and the police. In addition, the streetlights may soon have the ability to do something much more controversial: detect meth lab emissions…

…Yet, under the guise of “cracking down on crime,” are we not creating a precedent for increasing the widespread invasion of public privacy? Couldn’t this lead to police gaining the ability to question hundreds of people or search entire blocks of houses if a streetlight detects meth?

One Church Too Many

Mosques are all the rage right now down in Newton County, Georgia. In order to prevent the county from being overrun by mosques the Newton County Board of Commissioners placed a moratorium on the construction of all new places of worship. They had no choice; without a moratorium the county faced the risk of being consumed by mosques. Not really, though. What’s actually happening is that one organization purchased a piece of land in Newton County with the intention of building a mosque and, in response, the county issued a temporary moratorium on the construction of all new places of worship.

Japanese Zoning: The Solution to NIMBYism?

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.

Georgia’s Universities Are Reporting Fewer Crimes, but More Incidents of Rape

It’s clear that many incidents of rape aren’t reported to the police. We know that. UGA’s 2014 policy attempted to correct this by reporting on information provided by agencies that help victims. Since many victims are less inclined to report sexual assaults to the police, but more inclined to report those assaults to agencies and organizations that provide aid, it seemed like a good policy. Unfortunately, if everyone else doesn’t also adopt this policy, it makes UGA look pretty bad comparatively. The school’s experiment in trying to report more accurate numbers revealed a truth it doesn’t want to publicly acknowledge when other schools don’t also have to publicly acknowledge that same truth.

Rezoning Sex in the City

Dictating what people can and can’t do with their property is perhaps one of the most controversial forms of regulation, particularly at the local level. Most generally agree that factories should not be located next to schools, but once we go beyond the more obvious incompatible uses the topic can become quite heated. Throw in the touchy subject of adult entertainment and the debate escalates to new levels.

Tybee Island Provides Useful Examples of Good Urban Design

Aside from being a geographically small city, Tybee creates walkability through a grid network of narrow, shared streets. Additionally, most streets on Tybee eschew the implementation of sidewalks. The narrow streets encourage slow driving and the lack of sidewalks requires pedestrians to be in the street. The shared street concept requires drivers to be more cautious, which produces a more relaxed street atmosphere that increases accessibility for walkers and cyclists.

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?

Transit-Oriented Development Can Put A Stop to Metro Atlanta’s Growing Pains

Density doesn’t have to be a bad word. Allowing more people to live in strategic and desirable areas in closer proximity to one another doesn’t necessarily mean turning all parts of the region into Manhattan. While we aren’t talking about San Francisco or New York levels of density, we are talking about raising the density levels in certain parts of the region to something a little less Mayberry and a little more DC or Seattle.

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.

Ten Ways to Look at Metro Atlanta’s Population Growth

Overall, 23% of metro Atlanta area residents live in one of the major metro Atlanta cities. Excluding the major cities from all the counties results in Gwinnett County, without Peachtree Corners, having the largest share of the area’s population at 19%. It also makes Atlanta the fourth largest jurisdiction in the area and vaults Cobb to the number two position.