Police ended another day of tense conflict with protesters in Ferguson, Mo. National political figures aren’t paying attention. There are at least three credible reports of incorrect protocol, abuse of power, and excessive force. The presence of military equipment along with police abuse does not bode well for this city—and it could happen anywhere.
As most of you should know, I only started blogging about city planning recently, and I knew I needed a primer to get me started in the right direction. Last week,* I finished Walkable City, an insightful book detailing the pitfalls associated with America’s urban design. The author, Jeff Speck, owns a city planning practice based … [Read more…]
The chief question of urban planning is, “How does our built environment affect our lives?” In some ways, however, the way we choose to structure our communities contributes to untimely death. Environmental Health Researcher Richard Joseph Jackson, MD, MPH famously presents his audiences this provocative question, “In what kind of community are you most likely to end up … [Read more…]
Two weeks ago, I laid out the economic argument for induced demand: the idea that building more roads does not reduce congestion. It is a simple model that uses concepts from Economics 101 to explain the relationship between road construction and driving behavior. Even so, this idea, like many associated with new urbanism, challenges the status quo. … [Read more…]
For decades, the message to Americans has been “Don’t drink and drive!” which translates to “don’t drink,” if you have to drive. Reducing drinking as a public policy goal hasn’t really ever been successful. While campaigns mounted against drunk driving have been somewhat successful, it’s hard to imagine coming close to ending drunk driving deaths when, in most communities … [Read more…]
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about induced demand, a widely established city planning model that attempts to explain why cities tend to maintain a steady state of congestion. I’ll go into some more detail on the theory of induced demand later, but I wanted to start with the economic model. Auto transportation market The … [Read more…]
It has long been established that urban areas heavily lean blue and the countryside bends to the right. Explanations for this phenomenon usually rely on demographics: cities tend to house more minorities, educated white-collar workers, and young people—all demographics that tend to be more liberal. Yet data from the Pew Research Center released last week showed a stark … [Read more…]
I started reading Jeff Speck’s new book Walkable City this week. I’m only a few dozen pages in, but one stat jumped out at me early on. Portland is, in many ways, the paragon of urban planning success. While other cities were focused on easing traffic by widening highways, Portland implemented a strict urban growth boundary, inside … [Read more…]