Author Archive

September 09 2011

How Cities are Getting “Smart”

September 9th, 2011Posted by 

“Smart” is a Cyber Buzz Word Hawking & Einstein would have trouble keeping up with this term’s branding umbrella. “Smart” is a swirling universe of interlocking cyberstrings: system, network, knowledge, power, self-regulation, transparency, efficiency, sustainability, individuality, comprehensiveness, inclusivity. Smart cities draw on all of these. “Smart” is Open The cat is out of the bag […]

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August 12 2011

Expanding California’s State Water Project to the Nation: Avoiding Water Shortages Nationwide

August 12th, 2011Posted by 

Sidewalks exploding, train tracks buckling, foundations cracking – Is it the End? No, just a really bad drought in Texas. Drought: Standard for North America In Texas, we’ve been recording weather since 1895. If you’re looking at that history, you only have the Dust Bowl of the 30s, the decade-long dry spell of the 40s-50s, […]

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July 29 2011

Cheap Gas, Sprawl, and No Streetcars in the United States: Do These Dots Connect?

July 29th, 2011Posted by 

In Europe, cities are dense and compact, public transportation is plentiful and convenient, and gasoline prices are high. In the United States, cities sprawl, public transit is, on average, difficult to come by, and gas is cheap. Digression: Whoa! Since when is $4 per gallon cheap, you say? Sure, it’s the price of gold compared […]

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July 05 2011

Cities Around the World Find Energy at Home: From Sun to Sewage

July 5th, 2011Posted by 

Ever stood in the middle of a big city and thought What a lot of energy! You’re right. Any thriving metropolis is teeming with energy – sun beating down; feet and cars bearing down; offal and detritus decomposing; and often, sea tides pulling and pushing. At the turn of the 21st century, an untenable rise […]

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June 21 2011

Designing for Disaster: Building for Global Warming

June 21st, 2011Posted by 

Tornados, Hurricanes, Floods – Oh My! Global weather patterns are changing – no matter what the cause. Record freezes and heat waves, more intense tornados and hurricanes, more severe floods and tsunamis. A complex combination of worst practices on our part, mixed with a surprising degree of volatility in earth’s geographic and atmospheric systems, is […]

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June 07 2011

Living in a Food Desert: How Planning, Policy, and Market Drivers Failed

June 7th, 2011Posted by 

What is a Food Desert? A place with only sand to eat? Almost. Try: A place where only high-fat, high-sugar, low-nutrition food is attractive and affordable? No single definition for food desert exists, but general consensus suggests: Large and isolated geographic area; Usually low-income; Urban or rural; in fact many Indian Reservations are sparsely populated, […]

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May 24 2011

Wal-Mart’s Home Delivery: What Does it Mean for Urban Planning?

May 24th, 2011Posted by 

Big-box retail outlets are not a staple of the urban design. Land is simply too expensive to devote to a single story of wide aisles and extensive parking. Wal-Mart and other global retailers are exploring ways to infiltrate the high-density, potential customer base of city centers. Internet marketing is common today, and home delivery goes […]

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