Sprawl

Cities

This abandoned Walmart has been reclaimed as a public library

The McAllen Public Library is the size of 2.5 football fields -- the largest single-story library in the United States.

Cities

Visualize a shorter commute — or a better job

Seeing how our cities facilitate the commute to work reveals a lot about the benefit of investing in infrastructure.

Cities

These elderly fatality statistics may spoil your affection for big-box stores

Obviously, everyone loves a nice strip mall. The parking lot, the low-slung, cheap-looking buildings, the pedestrian walkways that no drivers pay attention to. And big-box stores! The lots! The long walks down busy parking lanes! The Brutalism-meets-Brady-Bunch aesthetic! What’s not to like? So it pains me, truly,  to be the bearer of this bad news. There’s a slight (actually, not-so-slight) correlation between strip malls and big-box stores and increased deaths among the elderly. A recently released report [PDF] from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M is the bearer of this bad news. Anticipating that some 10 percent of the population …

Sprawl

Read a prophetic Ray Bradbury story about car culture

Indelibly important science fiction author and giant of my childhood Ray Bradbury, who died last night, would probably never have described himself as writing about environmentalism — “A lot of lousy novels come from people who want to do good,” he said in an interview. But he did write about the relationship between humans and the worlds (Earth and otherwise) that sustain them, a relationship he often seemed to view as “tiny, stupid, heedless little insects scrabbling across the surface of something incomprehensibly old.” He had some unconventional ideas about fixing the future, too. Go read “The Toynbee Convector.” I …

Election 2012

Romney, once an anti-sprawl crusader, created model for Obama ‘smart growth’ program

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney fought sprawl and promoted density -- another set of issues on which he looks to be seriously out of sync with the Tea Party and the GOP base.

Cities

Politically conservative cities suck for pedestrians

Walkin’ in politically conservative cities, walkin’ in politically conservative cities, nobody walks in politically conservative citiiiiies. Okay this is not very catchy, but Will Oremus at Slate has noticed that it’s true. The most walkable cities are reliably politically liberal — the 19 most walkable are all in states that voted for Obama in 2008, and even the largest conservative cities didn’t crack the top 20.

Business & Technology

Walmart is bigger than Manhattan and richer than Norway

Mother Jones sized up the retail giant. Here's what they found.

Millennials love cities because they provide the one thing their boomer parents couldn’t give them

Why is Gen Y migrating to the cities? Because millennials are craving the things they didn’t get in their suburban upbringings, like connectedness and adventure.

Sprawl

Car-centric neighborhoods linked to childhood obesity, finger-wagging

It should come as no surprise that children who live in neighborhoods that aren't walkable, lack playgrounds, and are full of fast food joints are twice as likely to be obese as kids in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with access to healthy foods.

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