Joe Menard's blog

John Norquist's Letter to Editor (Chicago Tribune) on Highway Maintenance

In "Bad transportation policy, at a price," Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman appropriately bemoans the federal funding of highway expansion over maintenance.

Federal funding favors spectacular expansion projects with attendant ribbon cuttings over routine inspection and maintenance that can help avoid tragedies like the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

Pittsburgh Planning Two Prominent Green Developments

In the same vein as Portland and Denver, Pittsburgh is on its way to becoming an energy efficient city centered around green urbanism. This

Two Years Later: Displaced Gulf Coast Residents 'Stuck and Suicidal'

The controversial aftermath of hurricane Katrina has been widely documented - a delayed response from FEMA and charges of racism against the government from affected locals. Two years later many displaced citizens are forced to live in FEMA trailers that offer little comfort or sense of community.

Interview with Ellen Dunham-Jones

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution just ran an interview with CNU Board Member and Georgia Tech Architecture Program Director Ellen Dunham-Jones.

New Urbanism Growing in St. Louis Region

Though it took some time to get going, New Urbanist projects in the sprawling metropolitan St. Louis are slowly densifying the area and lessening automobile-dependence. A St.

Anthony Flint on Massachusetts' "Fix-It-First" Infrastructure Policy

Anthony Flint, of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, has an interesting < a href="http://anthonyflint.net/blog/">blog worth checking out. He is a former writer for the Boston Globe and author of the book "This Land: The Battle Over Sprawl and the Future of America." In light of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, he discusses Massachusetts' philosophy on urban infrastructure projects.

Southern California Missing the Point on Global Warming

Rick Cole, 2007 Charter Award juror and city manager of Ventura, CA, writes a poigniant criticism in the Los Angeles Times of Southern California's planning techniques and environmental strategies. The state remains overwelmingly suburban and auto-centric, and while some developers try to densify L.A., transportation funds continue to be allocated towards freeways and not mass transit. Cole makes a strong point about how fashionable environmentalism, prevalent among L.A.'s celebrity residents, will not reduce air pollution - but sustainable transit planning will.

Greyfields Provide Challenging Development Opportunites

Amy Saunder's article entitled "Retail ghosts"in the Columbus Dispatch discusses the increasing failure of conventional malls and the subsequent upward spike in the development of outdoor shopping and "lifestyle" centers.

Norquist Discusses Urban Renewal in Upstate New York

CNU President John Norquist was a featured speaker at an urban policy seminar entitled "Can Upstate Cities Save Themsleves," held in Albany in early June.

Upstate cities, such as Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo continue to age drastically, while losing jobs and population. As violent crime continues to pose a threat to citizens, many residents have moved to the suburbs. Suburban flight has perpetuated the process of underfunding (for redevelopment) and resulted in further decay.

Conventional Beautification in Unconventional Locale

The problems associated with deindustrialization - crime, gangs, unemployment -have occured not just in central cities but also inner-ring suburbs where the post-war boom first expanded to in Southern California. Paramount, California, a stigmatized inner-ring suburb southeast of Los Angeles, is currently overcoming economic plight by transforming itself through simple, yet conventional design elements.