Introduction to Urban Planning: Books, Pamphlets, and Tweets

On Aug 4, 2010, at 4:20 PM, Professor Johanna W. Looye posted this message to the Planet (academic urban planning) listserv (which for some good reason you must be a member of to reach the archives): I hope this is a good summertime discussion question….  I had an inquiry from an incoming student on what […]

Posted Aug 5th | 2 comments | Topics:

Cars, Parking and Planetizen: A Mess of Externalities

Planetizen has two early July 2010 essays and two comments on road and parking externalities and subsidies that are as good examples as any of (a) how fundamental the concepts of externality and subsidies are to evaluating public policy and (b) how hard they are to explain, or even understand. Planetizen blogger and Law Professor […]

Posted Aug 5th | Comments Off | Topics:

Smart Growth and One of Its Mad Men

USC’s (and before that, during her formative years, UCLA’s) Lisa Schweitzer has a concise, incisive take on smart growth evangelist Jeff Speck’s commentary on academic Robert Bruegmann’s review of his new book, The Smart Growth Handbook (with Andres Duany and Mike Lydon), in Architect Magazine. Each of these — the Bruegmann review, the Speck response, and […]

Posted Aug 5th | 1 comment | Topics:

Dowell Myers on Proposition 13, Demographics and Housing: The New Reality After the Crash

Proposition 13 is the infamous tax limitation initiative passed in California in 1978. It launched a nationwide tax revolt and also laid the structural basis for Californian’s continuing budget problems. What has not been appreciated until a new study being released this week is just how much Proposition 13 depends on rising house prices, both for its successful fiscal functioning and also for its voter support.

Posted Sep 9th | 5 comments | Topics:

Urban Design After Oil

On the 50th anniversary of the historic and influential Rockefeller funded conference on urban design criticism at the University of Pennsylvania, attending by such current and future urban stars as Ian McHarg,  Lewis Mumford, William L.C. Wheaton, Catherine Bauer Wurster, Jane Jacobs, IM Pei, and Kevin Lynch, the university and foundation paired up again to present this […]

Posted Nov 9th | 6 comments | Topics:

Ferguson on Quantitative Research Methods in Planning: A Comparative Assessment of ‘Teaching’ versus ‘Practice’

Quantitative research methods (QRM) arguably are important in planning, but perhaps not strictly speaking necessary….

Posted Sep 8th | Comments Off | Topics:

Blog Memoir: My Youth as an Urban Economist

I am an urban planner; an urban planner am I. Two graduate degrees. Even did a bit of planning here and there, in addition to merely teaching or thinking about it. Married to a planner. (That’s us above, back when, young and in love with the city.) We have Planning magazines piled up around the […]

Xavier de Souza Briggs on Failed Urban Policy and Proposals to ‘Tear Down HUD’

This post is about federal housing policy and its reform, and features comments by Professor Briggs (and further commentary by Peter Dreier and Dowell Myers below), but first a bit about its genesis. Some years ago, Univ. Buffalo’s Bill Page took the bold initiative to create a listserv for urban planning academics called PLANET. Most […]

Posted Jul 26th | 3 comments | Topics: , , , ,

People or Place: Revisiting the Who versus the Where of Urban Development*

One of the longest standing debates in community economic development is the face-off between “place-based” and “people-based” approaches to combating poverty, housing affordability, chronic unemployment, and community decline. Should help go to distressed places or distressed people?

The question is not an easy one to answer. […]

Cities: The Missing Presidential Campaign Issue*

I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Cities. That’s what I’ll tell the presidential candidates when they call for career advice, any day now I expect. Cities.

Because the downtowns and suburbs of cities, where the supermajority of Americans toil, relax, and puzzle out their lives — our downtowns, suburbs and urban spaces between — are invisible in the 2008 campaign.

Posted Jun 23rd | 3 comments | Topics:

Migrating to El Norte

When things go bad, many Americans commonly blame someone else for their problems. Historically, immigrants have been convenient scapegoats: They not only “take away” jobs from “hard-working” American citizens and deplete the country’s resources, the argument goes, they are criminals who have entered this country illegally and must be punished with jail or deportation. […]

Posted Jun 22nd | Comments Off | Topics: , ,

NPR Report on Environmental Action in Old Cairo by UCLA’s Culhane

The version of this story I like best is that a National Public Radio producer saw my blog posts (Egypt’s Zabaleen & Competing Visions of Privatization, Cairo Itinerary, & Medieval Inner-City Redevelopment) describing our class trip to “old Cairo” in 2006, where we were hosted by UCLA PhD student TH Culhane (center in photo above, […]

Posted May 11th | 2 comments | Topics: ,

On Bruegmann on Sprawl, Smart Growth & Accessibility

There is little doubt that Robert Bruegmann’s Sprawl: A Compact History (2005), did transportation and urban development researchers a great service. He situated contemporary discussions of “sprawl,” its problems and many policy responses in well-researched historical context – and he analyzed those responses and that context in substantive, purposeful detail. That he managed to carry this off in a bold, engaging and successfully marketed manner only leaves one all the more envious of the overall package.

A real consequence is that it is now more difficult to argue that sprawl is new, peculiarly American, or universally bad, however one might measure sprawl, new, American, or bad. […]

Posted May 1st | 1 comment | Topics: , , ,

Environmental Justice in Transportation: Profile of Lisa Schweitzer

Plenty of UCLA planning related profiles lately, gathered here for the faithful. Today’s is UCLA PhD Lisa Schweitzer, who now teaches and does whatnot at USC somewhere across town. This is reproduced, with permission, from the November 2007 Metrans Transportation Center Newsletter. Lisa was the 2003 University of California Transportation Student of the Year. And […]

Posted Jan 11th | Comments Off | Topics: , ,

Parking as a Verb: Donald Shoup on Video

My colleague* with the most celebrity cachet these days is, by far, Donald Shoup, profiled here in Planning magazine. His 2005 The high cost of free parking is APA‘s best selling book ever, I believe. He has managed to appeal to the right, by promoting pricing as a preferred rationing/funding device for curb space, as […]

Posted Dec 29th | Comments Off | Topics: , ,

Work as a Verb: UCLA’s Alvaro Huerta and the Invisible Economy

2006 UCLA Urban Planning MA graduate Alvaro Huerta is now a PhD student at UC Berkeley, our sister campus somewhere to the north where, in short order, he has been up to some good, winning a high profile award for activist scholarship and recently featured in a campus news profile, to appear in Cal’s The […]

Posted Dec 14th | Comments Off | Topics: , ,

Work in Progress: Human Impacts of Global Climate Change

Until very recently, most climate change studies in the public eye have emphasized the technical causes and weather/geoscience implications of increased greenhouse gas production. Increasingly, however, scientists and policy makers also focus on human consequences – both how public policies can mitigate these effects and increasingly on how people might best adapt to changes that cannot be avoided. […]

Posted Dec 9th | 1 comment | Topics: , , , ,

Ranking Urban Planning Programs

For the sake of argument, let’s set aside the issue of how to evaluate PhD programs and faculty quality as such, to focus on the issue of ranking for the purposes of recruiting professional planning students. (An earlier post on ranking cities and whatnot is here.) My first point is that applicants rank programs when […]

Posted Dec 8th | Comments Off | Topics: ,

Top 5 Challenges to Integrating Land Use and Transportation — in China or Wherever

Much like the weather, everyone talks about integrating land use and transportation planning but who actually does anything about it? The PRC, for one. They are building cities like gangbusters and the prospect of better using land use as part of a comprehensive transportation strategy is no cute, random cocktail party note on a napkin. […]

Posted Dec 1st | 2 comments | Topics: ,

Designing a Design School

Every so often — more frequently lately — I am forced to reflect on how cloistered a life I lead, at least compared, say, to Richard Florida and other people who keep up with things useful. So he likely knew that Stanford has a newish Institute of Design, which they call a design school, or […]

Posted Nov 18th | 1 comment | Topics: ,