With all of the static energy burning away in today's world, it's no wonder a growing number of communities want to stay in the dark. A handful of communities are working with educational organizations and lighting manufacturers to dim the lights in an effort to limit nighttime lighting pollution.
Whoever said that art imitates life has not visited one of Southern California's neighborhood cybercafes, where, according to some planners and police, the reverse is true. It is in these mainly blue collar, immigrant enclaves where video games and youth culture have combined into a lively and sometimes violent activity, thereby creating the state's latest LULU (locally undesirable land use).
In predictable fashion, cities are responding with ordinances, and businesses are fighting back through the court
After two years of life under the Bush Administration, what we might call the "General Plan" for American is in the midst of a serious update. And it's not surprising that "smart growth" doesn't appear to be on the list.
The time has come to call rail transit a planner's pipe dream. Californians have poured tax money into rail for more than a decade, apparently on a well-intentioned aspiration that if we build tracks, we will ride the train. But according to a U.S. Census report on trip-to-work travel, Californians have not found the train station.
Urban transportation panacea or mobility-oriented snake oil? The Segway Human Transporter is either, depending upon whom you ask. The device either will change the way we get around in cities, or it will be the pedestrian-version of the Edsel. No matter, we should gird ourselves for statewide debates during coming months regarding regulation of the Segway HT (or simply "the Segway").
Among the articles of faith that urban planners hold as self-evident is this: Land use planning is a local endeavor. Many planners even espouse that a town's general plan can influence the "quality of life" through land use regulation. This theory has been at the crux of New Urbanist arguments for revamping development codes.
Though scarcely acknowledged, urban planning is in the midst of a fundamental shift in professional focus. The public is demanding the change. It's a simple idea, as well as an old one: Planners need to understand design. This is because urban planning in America has followed the larger culture into an era where style is substance.
Remember the "see-through" office building phenomenon that hit Houston during the mid 1980s and then Los Angeles in the early 1990s? Well, it's back. This time, it is the Bay Area that is afflicted with empty office buildings.
Desal in SoCal? It may not be as far-fetched as you think. No single resource has had more of an influence on California's development patterns than water. The essential liquid has been pivotal to a range of historical and political conflicts, from the pillaging of the Owens Valley by Los Angeles to the damming of the Hetch Hetchy Valley by San Francisco.