Planning is essentially the process of analyzing people and places, and nothing informs that process more than the decennial Census. This past summer, California's newspapers were filled with the first important round of Census 2000 data – detailed information about population and housing counts, age and race profiles, and household size. This is called the "SF1" data – the Summary File 1 data, derived from the "short form" filled out by Americans in April 2000.
There are probably no two words that can get a planning commission or community more worked up than these: big box. Any self-respecting planner would agree that the Wal-Marts and the Home Depots of the world present a challenge to good suburban design, but one still has to wonder why so many collective hands are wringing.
An environmental impact report for a proposed Oakland International Airport expansion has been found flawed on numerous grounds by the First District Court of Appeal. The court held that the Port of Oakland, which operates the airport, relied on outdated air pollution information, did not support its decision not to study health risks related to that air pollution, and failed to analyze adequately nighttime noise impacts.
The fight over Klamath River water is not solely about the conflicting needs of farmers and fish, as protesters and newspaper headlines suggest. Nor is it about local control versus Washington bureaucrats. The simplistic slogans of the sagebrush rebels are inaccurate. Instead, it is about the false assumptions of the past finally colliding with the realities of the present, about faith in the land's boundless bounty finally running up against the truth of limits.
Everybody who watches old movies knows this story line: A girl from a rich family falls in love with a boy from the poor side of town. It goes without saying that the parents of the rich girl are snobs, and they offer the boy a thick wad of cash to go away. But his heart is pure, and he spurns the dough. Boy and girl subsequently elope amid the sound of swelling music.