CNU Salons

Two Cheers For Negative Thinking

I recently read an article suggesting that Cleveland's problems were in part due to "negative thinking"- some fuzzy "vibe of negativity" that discourages people from moving to Cleveland.  I am skeptical of this claim for two reasons.

Salon Interviews CNU Board Member John Massengale

Salon praises Massengale and Victor Dover's  “Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns.” The link is  http://www.salon.com/2014/04/13/how_cars_conquered_the_american_city_and_how_we_can_win_it_back/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

 

Freeway Down! Seoul Removing 16th Freeway

Seoul, South Korea is leading the charge in urban freeway removal, having torn out 15 freeways in the past 12 years. This year, the city will add a sixteenth by removing the Ahyeon Overpass, a 1 km (.6 mile) long roadway constructed in 1968 - the city's first. Today, the overpass is old and ugly, eating up about $25 million annually in maintenance alone.

Suburbia Not Always Cheaper

A story from a coworker of mine: Mr. X (the coworker) and his family move from Queens to Long Island to take advantage of the allegedly better public schools.  As a  result, they are able to save money by pulling their children out of Catholic school.  Were they better off?  Apparently not.  Mr. X explains that what they saved in tuition was more than balanced over time by the cost of having to have a car for every adult, and later for every teenager.

Auto-Oriented Transit in Israel

Tonight I saw lawyer Kevin Dwarka speak on smart growth in Israel, focusing on the weaknesses of Israel's railway system.  Although Israel's major cities have rail service, that nation's major rail stations are a classic example of auto-oriented transit: stations surrounded by huge parkiing lots instead of housing and shopping.  

The Irrefutability of Harriet Tregoning

Last month, Washington, DC Planning Director Harriet Tregoning announced that she'd be leaving her position after 6 years to become the director of HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, the position vacated by Shelley Poticha last year. This is great news for those of us engaged in reforming HUD policies, like outdated limits on retail/office in mixed-use developments.

The "Cheap Cars" Myth

One sprawl lobby argument I have occasionally is heard: "So what if people have to drive to reach jobs in sprawling areas? Used cars are so cheap that even poor people can afford them!"

Chicago’s Bus Makeover

Author Chiara Montecchi is a Master’s student in the School of Public Service at DePaul University, in Chicago, Illinois. She is currently employed as a Fundraiser in DePaul’s Office of Advancement.

Always Room For More

One common argument against infill: "but there isn't room for any more people!"  (or, alternatively, "we can't have more people without turning into a skyscraper monoculture!"

Manhattan is far from a skyscraper monoculture- even in midtown there are lots of 2-6 story buildings of all types.  And yet our housing density is 70,000 people per square mile- more than four times that of San Francisco, more than seven times that of Washington.

In other words, at Manhattan densities San Francisco could accommodate more than 3 million people. 

Religion and urbanism

(Cross-posted, with some additions, from my personal blog).