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McMansion #2

McMansion outside Chicago. Photo (cc) ChicagoGeek

The Atlantic Cities: Have Americans Given Up On McMansions?

After many years of dramatically increasing home size in America – from an average of 983 square feet in the 1950s up to 2300 square feet in the 2000s, despite declining household sizes – the trend appears finally to be going in the other direction. The real estate research firm Trulia found in 2010, for example, that the median “ideal home size” for Americans had declined to around 2100 square feet. More than one-third of survey respondents reported that their ideal preference was lower than 2000 square feet.


The Boston Phoenix: The Fight Against MBTA Service Cuts and Fare Hikes Gets Ugly

The latest theater in the war against MBTA fare hikes and service cuts opened Monday with a bang on every corner of the train map. Occupy Somerville forces rallied in Davis Square. Their Jamaica Plain and Dorchester counterparts gathered at Forest Hills and Fields Corner, respectively, to sound alarms about troubling proposals. Leading the pack, a group of loud and determined teens with the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition joined hundreds from the T Riders Union (TRU) and other activist outfits for a mass rally on Copley Square outside the Boston Public Library, where the MBTA planned a bombshell public meeting for 6pm on Monday night.


The New York Times: Denver Is Urged to Hit the Sidewalks

Quite a few of the frighteningly fit live around here. On a balmy Saturday, or for that matter a frigid winter weekday before dawn, an army of them emerges to run and bike. And in their intimidating long strides and whirring spokes, they underscore why Colorado is the least obese state in the nation.

But walking to get somewhere? Different story.

People like Gosia Kung and Dr. Andrew M. Freeman are trying to change that. In very different ways and for different reasons – she is an architect, he a cardiologist – they are trying to reincorporate physical activity into the sinews of a place that, despite its fantastic body mass index, lost touch like most American cities with the idea of walking as transportation.


Salon: The Tea Party’s war on mass transit

In the week since House Republicans introduced their proposed transportation bill, one thing has become clear: It has virtually nothing to do with fiscal responsibility.

“Federal transportation and infrastructure policy has traditionally been an area of strong bipartisan agreement,” says Aaron Naparstek, a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and founder of Streetsblog.org. “Now, it seems, Republicans want to turn cities into a part of the culture wars. Now it’s abortion, gay marriage and subways.”

House Republicans seek to eliminate the Mass Transit Account from the federal Highway Trust Fund. The Mass Transit Account is where public transportation programs get their steady source of funding. Without it, transit would be devastated, and urban life as we know it could become untenable.

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