Forbes: The Economic Secret of Vacant City Spaces
Most of us feel attached to our neighborhoods, but can this emotional connection help fuel local economies? According to a multi-year study by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the answer is yes: Communities with high levels of attachment actually have higher local GDP growth.
Surprisingly, the top factors that encourage community attachment are aesthetics and having spaces for people to socialize, according to 43,000 survey participants who ranked these factors above safety, education, and municipal services. But with foreclosures and vacant buildings and the resulting loss of tax revenue, how do you create and pay for public spaces?
Bloomberg: U.S. Taxpayers Are Gouged on Mass Transit Costs
American taxpayers will shell out many times what their counterparts in developed cities in Europe and Asia would pay. In the case of the Second Avenue line and other new rail infrastructure in New York City, they may have to pay five times as much.
DC Streetsblog: Finally, the Presidential Race Turns to Transportation
The Obama campaign has fired the opening salvo in a new presidential campaign front: transportation.
The campaign released seven radio ads in key swing states, each playing to major concerns of voters in those states. The ad now on the airwaves in Virginia focuses on the differences between the two tickets on infrastructure spending. Here’s how Politico describes the ad:
Yahoo! News: The world’s longest bus seats 256 people
The city of Dresden, Germany will soon be getting a monstrous addition to its public transportation system that can only be described as a train on wheels. Designed by Fraunhofer IVI and the Technical University Dresden, the three-section Autotram Extra Grand bus is 98 feet long and can carry 256 passengers, but doesn’t require any special training for its driver.
Salon: Carmaggedon is coming!
Last month, the Carnegie Endowment published a report arguing that you can estimate the size of developing countries’ middle classes by counting their cars, that ultimate symbol of having “made it.” If the notion is to be believed, these places have a long way to go in terms of economic development: In Brazil, there are fewer than 200 passenger vehicles per 1,000 people. China has a mere 34. India has 12.
Compare that to the U.S., which has about 900 vehicles per 1,000 people. And then consider the fact that these countries are striving hard to match the American lifestyle. Once their middle classes really start to blossom, the developing world’s car-buying frenzy will be spectacular, and a true carmageddon for its cities, which seem thoroughly unprepared.