CNU Salons

Cities Don't Always Have Higher Taxes Than Suburbs

The Brookings Institution just came out with a national map listing property taxes by county.

Nelson Mandela: a brief encounter

In the summer of 1993 Nelson Mandela visited NYC Mayor David Dinkins at Gracie Mansion. Several big city mayors were in town for a meeting including me as Mayor of Milwaukee.

Mandela was the most impressive public figure I've encountered. He had the clear eye of one who had been unjustly imprisoned for pursuing a just cause. He greeted the 20 mayors and 30 or so other dignitaries. He seemed unhurried and when he'd finished working the line he quietly slipped into the kitchen and greeted the food service staff.

Two Implausible Scenarios

The Rand Corporation recently issued a report sketching out two possible scenarios for America's transportation future.  In one scenario, entitled "No Free Lunch", energy prices keep rising, leading to less driving and more compact development.  Under this scenario, government regulates greenhouse gases heavily and taxes driving heavily to support transportation.  In the second scenario, entitled "Fueled and Freewheeling", energy prices are stable, and neither regulation nor taxes increase.

Chicago’s fast-growing bike network showcased at transportation summit

Chicago is quickly becoming one of the nation’s top bicycling cities. Bike commuting in the city has more than tripled since 2000, making it second only to New York in sheer numbers.

CITY SPOTLIGHT: Beyond Portland, U.S. Biking Infrastructure Needs to Aim Higher

This post is part of our CITY SPOTLIGHT blog series. City Spotlight shines a light on the latest news, developments and initiatives occurring in cities and towns where CNU members live and work.

Chanukah Songs for Urbanists

One wonderful thing about Chanukah is how easily its songs lend themselves to adaptation.  For example, last week I adapted the Chanukah song "Mi Y'Malel" (Who Can Retell) here.   Then I created a New York version here.   Create some lyrics for your own city! 

Building High to Qualify

Montgomery County, Maryland has a plan to encourage more walkable transit-oriented development. So the County Council is considering a new zoning code that encourages residential buildings in commercial corridors (i.e., strip malls). The idea is to build housing near transit and shopping and thus reduce car trips and help people live more efficiently, in accordance with the county’s goals.

Is Los Angeles Too Big?

That's the question Colin Marshall, host of the Notebook on Cities & Culture Podcast, lobbed my way in a live recording this weekend at the New Urbanism Film Festival. At the risk of getting too simplistic, I think the answer is yes.

Two types of architecture: good, and the other kind

THE ARCHITECTURE CRITIC for New York magazine recently wrote about the work of Robert A.M. Stern in an article entitled Unfashionably Fashionable. I commented:

"There are two kinds of music," Duke Ellington famously said. "Good music, and the other kind."