Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Cities

Comments

Will an Atlanta parks and redevelopment project benefit low-income residents?

Atlanta, Ga.: the famous "Hot-lanta" of Southern heat and hospitality, home of "down-home" fried chicken and a growing black middle class, cradle of the largest historically black college community in the world, hotbed of the civil-rights movement, and ... the sprawl capital of the South. As Atlanta gets greener, who will benefit? Photo: iStockphoto. As a resident of Atlanta for the past 15 years, I have witnessed one bad urban-planning decision after another. I have watched the fare for public transportation go up to pay for its expansion into the suburbs, while services in the inner city got cut -- …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

So 2003

Luxury SUVs are losing their cool The jerk-offs who drive enormous, fuel-hogging luxury SUVs between their gated McMansions, plastic surgeons, and corporate-whore jobs -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- are slowly but surely realizing that they are, in fact, jerk-offs. Sales of all SUVs have dropped, but luxe behemoths like the Hummer H2 are taking a particularly big hit; more than half the folks who bought them and their like are opting for something a little less jerk-offy when they return to the dealer lot. Don't blame high gas prices -- if you can afford a $60,000 …

Read more: Cities

Comments

The Road to Hell Is Paved With ‘Hood Intentions

Census estimates show U.S. population shifting to exurbs As the U.S. population rises, more and more people are moving into compact, smartly planned, energy-efficient cities. Ha! Ha! Sigh. Actually, the fastest-growing areas of the country are fringes: suburbs and semi-rural areas on the edges of expanding metropolitan regions. "It's not just the decade of the exurbs but the decade of the exurbs of the exurbs. People are leaving expensive cores and going as far out as they can to get a big house and a big yard," says demographer William Frey, compactly summarizing everything wrong with this crazy country. Americans …

Read more: Cities

Comments

A plan to spruce up D.C.’s Anacostia River has some residents anxious

In the southeast corner of Washington, D.C., the capital of the most powerful nation in history, lies a polluted, neglected neighborhood known as Anacostia. Slated for a grand renewal project centered on the local river that gives it its name, the area stands at the juncture of poverty and opportunity. If plans move forward, it will one day be a showcase of urban design, with revitalized neighborhoods, verdant parks, rolling pedestrian and bicycle paths, and an occasional eagle soaring overhead -- in other words, a paradise. Today, Anacostia is more of a nightmare. Capital improvements are coming to D.C.'s other …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

City Bickers

Housing developers compete with manufacturers for urban land You know the story: developers target a tract of land for condos and are met with outraged protests from ... manufacturers? Progressive urban planners envision dense cities where housing and clean industry (think solar-panel manufacturing, not smokestacks) co-exist peacefully, with the latter providing jobs for those who live in the former. But such plans face two obstacles: First, much of the actually existing industry in cities like Oakland, Calif., dates back to the early 20th century, and won't be making any eyes glisten with visions of a green future. But the jobs …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Is convenience the drug that salves commuting guilt?

I sometimes catch the bus at the busy Fremont intersection of 34th and Fremont here in Seattle. I'd estimate that at least 90 percent of the vehicles heading west over the Fremont Bridge have one occupant. This, of course, frustrates me to no end. Here are all these people heading in the same general direction, at the same time. I've often wanted to stand on the side of the road with a sign that reads, "Your car seats four, why are you driving alone?" So, why are they driving alone? Richard Seven attempts to answer this question in the most …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Lease and Desist

House reps blow taxpayer dough on pricey gas-guzzlers It's almost April; do you know where your taxes are? Last year, at least $1.05 million in public money went to leasing SUVs, luxury cars, and other vehicles for members of Congress -- just as the Founding Fathers intended. Members of the House are legally allowed to lease cars out of their office budgets to travel in their own districts, a perk that about one-third of reps took advantage of in 2005. Leasing fuel-efficient, inexpensive vehicles could cost taxpayers less than reimbursing representatives for driving their own cars, yet dozens of the …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

Umbra on alternatives to flying

Dear Umbra, I just read about Brits swearing off flying and feel such a sense of elation that I'm not the only one! Difference is, I'm in the U.S. I can't take the train to Thailand. Any ideas on transoceanic travel? What will it take to get from Boston to Europe by boat? Anna Churchill Watertown, Mass. Dearest Anna, Not much -- just planning ahead, a hardy stomach or a good supply of Dramamine, and a few weeks of adventure on the high seas. My choice for you today is freighter travel, also an interesting option for those of you …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Personal Rapid Transit

I've oftened wished the bus would "appear" when I arrive at the bus stop. Such daydreaming often led to ideas about somehow combining personal vehicles and public transit. As usual, mine is not an original idea, as Jeremy Faludi over at WC points out: Wouldn't it be nice to have a bus waiting for you every time you walked up to a stop? And wouldn't it be nice if the bus just went to your destination, without stopping anywhere else in between? The main reason people drive is for convenience like this. But if public transportation were as cheap as …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Benzene There, Might Do That

New EPA regs would slash benzene emissions from cars by 2030 The Bush administration delighted enviros yesterday (yes, we just wrote that) by unveiling long-awaited proposals to cut toxic tailpipe emissions. Of course, it took a lawsuit to get the plan released, but why look a gift regulation in the mouth? According to the U.S. EPA, the proposed rules would cut benzene emissions from passenger cars almost in half by 2030, as well as reduce tailpipe emissions of formaldehyde. A national trading system would be established to let refiners making gasoline with higher benzene levels buy pollution credits from cleaner …

Read more: Cities