On December 21, the Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, deployed a suite of communications satellites, and, in impressive fashion, came back down to Earth. Using its engines to dull the force of gravity, it survived re-entry and hit its football-field sized landing pad like a Tesla backing into a garage. >>read more
Like so many a rider at the back of the peleton, California cities have long lagged behind their European counterparts in their embrace of bicycling. But they are now clipping in and gearing with the dramatic arrival of bike sharing. With zero major bike-sharing systems currently in the state, no fewer than five California cities will be adopting pilot projects by mid-2013.
A proposal to use eminent domain to ward off foreclosures in two cities in San Bernardino County has been slammed almost unanimously by both Wall Street and federal regulators. The most powerful dissenter was Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, who said on August 7 that he would resist any effort by local governments to "take" homes owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two agencies under his supervision; those agencies buy the majority of US home loans and repackage them as mortgage-backed securities.
Update: Yesterday the leadership of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association decided to oppose the current draft of Assembly Bill 904, which seeks to lower parking minimums in transit-oriented areas. Here is the APA's letter (.doc) to bill sponsor Nancy Skinner.
When Axl Rose first stepped off the bus from Indiana, took the stage at the Whisky, and screeched out the opening lines of "Welcome to the Jungle," he probably wasn't thinking about parking. But he might as well have been.
The City of Riverside's plan for spending $6 million in federal aid for foreclosures promises participation in nearly every category of rescue listed by the the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including rehabilitation, readying properties for sale to homeowners, and even demolishing properties that are too far gone and selling the land to Habitat for Humanity, the volunteer home building group.
When an untimely freeze destroyed the Tulare County citrus crop two years ago, costing many people their farm labor jobs, the City of Lindsay responded with a program modeled on the Works Project Administration. The city built a number of projects, the most novel of which was the conversion of an empty fruit-packing plant into a 172,000-square-foot sports and fitness complex.
Just as a well-aimed bowling ball can be expected to knock down all ten pins and boost a bowler to a top score, many planners believe that a well-written zoning ordinance can steer the housing market toward socially beneficial ends. There is a difference between a bowling lane, however, and a downtown area.
Parking is the demon of urban design. Like a gargoyle on a tower thumbing its nose at passers-by below, California's inflexible parking requirements seem to mock developers, housing advocates and city officials alike. >>read more