The Joys of Urban Tech

By Richard Florida
Published: August 31, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

For as long as many of us can remember, high-tech industries have flourished in the suburban office parks that are so ubiquitous in Silicon Valley, North Carolina’s Research Triangle and other “nerdistans.” But in recent years, high-tech has been taking a decidedly urban turn.

Silicon Valley remains the world’s pre-eminent center of high-tech industry, of course. But even in the Valley, denser, more mixed-use and walkable places, like downtown Palo Alto, are becoming the preferred locations for start-ups and smaller firms. And many other start-ups—Pinterest, Zynga, Yelp, Square and, to name just a notable few—are taking up residence in downtown San Francisco.

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The Surprising Bliss of Tour Guiding in Your Own City

By Micheline Maynard
Published: August 31, 2012

Anyone who’s lived in a famous city gets used to a byproduct: visitors.

“We’d love it if you’d show us around,” they say, as soon as they drop their backpacks and rolling bags and check their email. Polite people smile and say, “of course.” Less tolerant people tell them they’re on their own. One person I know kept a supply of Washington, D.C., trolley tour passes and simply doled them out, unable to stand yet another visit to the Mall.

But if we take the time to go along, and keep our eyes open instead of rolling them, it’s virtually guaranteed we will see new things in our cities. The things we consider to be the highlights might not impress visitors at all – and the things our friends and relatives find memorable might enlighten us and unexpectedly move us as well.

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Plan Cincinnati aims to guide city back towards its urban roots

By Randy A. Simes
Published: August 30, 2012

After a three-year planning process, Cincinnati’s first comprehensive plan in 32 years will be shared with the city’s Planning Commission. The hearing marks a ceremonious occasion for city employees that have worked tirelessly on the plan since Mayor Mark Mallory (D) tasked them to work with the community on putting together an updated plan for the Queen City.

The City of Cincinnati Planning Department will share the 228-page document with the Planning Commission at 6pm today at City Hall (map). From there the document will move on to City Council’s Livable Communities Committee, and then the full City Council for approval where officials do not expect much, if any, pushback from the nine-member elected body. After formal approval from City Council, the document will become Cincinnati’s policy guide for everything from financial to environmental decisions, and beyond.

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The five Cs of neighborhood planning

By Howard Blackson
Published: August 30, 2012
Better! Cities & Towns

I live in a city that is currently updating its Community Plans. This is an historically difficult planning job because Community Plans transcends both broad policy statements (such as the amorphous “New development should be in harmony with surrounding development…”) and specific development regulations (“Front yard setbacks shall be 25 feet deep from property line…”). An issue with updating Community-scaled plans is the personal sentiment people feel for their homes and the difficulty we have in expressing such emotion within conventional 2D planning documents. The source of most conflicts and confusion I see occurring during these updates is due to the confusion over the scale and size difference of a ‘community’ versus a ‘neighborhood’ unit.

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What’re the worlds most walkable cities?

By Alan Davies
Published: August 26, 2012
Crikey: The Urbanist

Frommer’s published a top-ten list of The world’s most walkable cities for tourists a couple of days ago. Few will be surprised Florence and Paris top the list but there might be some raised eyebrows that Venice isn’t there. And Melbourne and Sydney among the ten most walkable cities in the entire universe?

The full top-ten in order is Florence, Paris, Dubrovnik, New York, Vancouver, Munich, Edinburgh, Boston, Melbourne and Sydney.

A few months ago Tyler Cowen nominated London, Paris and Buenos Aries as his three best cities for walking (he excluded New York from consideration on the basis he’s too familiar with it to judge it objectively). Like Frommer’s, he also addressed the question from a tourist’s point of view.

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Barangaroo Rising

By Lew Sichelman
Published: August 23, 2012
Urban Land

From behind the construction barricades as well as from the 21st floor of a nearby office tower, it looks at first as if men in funny hats are playing on the rocks at the entrance to Sydney’s acclaimed Darling Harbour. But upon closer inspection, the headgear can be made out as hard hats, and the rocks are actually giants slabs of sandstone.

But they are playing, toying with the reclaimed rock, trying to figure out how best to duplicate the entryway to Sydney’s Darling Harbour that was here centuries ago, before European colonization of what is now Australia’s largest city. No unnatural seawalls will be built—just gently cascading rows of rock on the northern and upper slopes, and steeper sandstone steps on the western and southern sides of the point.

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No Room For Parking At Many New Apartment Complexes

By Rob Manning
Published: August 15, 2012
Oregon Public Broadcasting

Apartment buildings are going up all over Portland, this summer. The construction is a positive trend in the sluggish economy. But nearly two-thirds of the recent projects are going up without any parking places.

This isn’t a reflection of a big change in policy – it reflects a change in demand.

Patricia Cates lives in downtown Portland. She’s single, and works for a local non-profit. Evan Burton is married and lives on Portland’s east side. He teaches college classes and works weatherizing homes.

They live in apartments, and neither of them owns a car.

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