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Portland Aerial Tram car

Portland Aerial Tram in station. Photo (cc) kevincrumbs.

News & Notes Looking to the skies for answers: a second look at gondola transit [The Toronto Star]

[Toronto] Mayor Rob Ford seems to favour tunneling transit underground in Toronto. But a growing number of international cities, including some in Canada, are casting their eyes to the sky at an unconventional mode that’s cheaper, cleaner and quicker to build than subways and light rail.


In fringe suburbs, has economics trumped the appeal of new? [Greater Greater Washington]

The recession and the burst of the housing bubble have stopped development in many fringe suburbs. With many urban neighborhoods on the rise, some suggest that fringe suburbs are on the decline. Has simple economics surpassed the appeal of “new” in the hinterlands?


The lost opportunity of auto orientation [Strong Towns]

On Monday we gave a vivid example of how the auto oriented development pattern yields less in tax base than a traditional neighborhood development. In looking at two, half-block areas both fronting a state highway, the one that held to the traditional development pattern was worth 41% more than the one that had completely redeveloped into an auto-oriented establishment.

This observation runs counter to conventional wisdom, particularly in the city planning and economic development arenas. Most cities today see new growth — especially along the highway with a design catering to automobiles — as having the greatest set of advantages. Besides increased tax base, the second myth is that is most frequently put forward is that of job creation.

Think about North Main Street as you read this.


Shovel it: How two ideas plan to impact sidewalk snow removal this winter [Grid Chicago]

[Chicago] Mayor Emanuel announced on Tuesday, in a press release, a new website and effort to address snow shoveling and removal problems. The complete effort is packaged nicely on ChicagoShovels.org. It has many features, and I’ll focus on three (only one of which is available right now):

  • Plow Tracker – When there’s a snow storm, the position of every snow plow will be tracked and published on a map.
  • Adopt-A-Sidewalk – Claim a portion of the sidewalk that you’ll shovel, and share your equipment with neighbors (coming soon).
  • Snow Corps – Become a volunteer to shovel the sidewalk and door path to seniors and people who are disabled who call 311 to request a volunteer.

See also: City of Big Shovels


The Awkward Art of Neighborhood Naming [The Atlantic Cities]

Why does it matter so much that residents feel a sense of neighborhood identity? A growing body of research that’s been gaining momentum over the last decade suggests that strong feelings of connectedness to place on a smaller scale has a strong relationship to how secure individuals feel about their place in the world.

And it’s not just where a neighborhood’s located on a map. In cities near and far from Indianapolis, debate about the names of places has taken on a life of its own.

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