January 11 – 31, 2011

The American Dream Communicator
The most comprehensive digest of news & commentary about urban policy in America!

Top Reads
President Obama, China, High-Speed Rail and the Sputnik Moment – Sam Staley, Reason Foundation
Why Affordable Housing Matters – Joel Kotkin, Forbes
How to Create an Effective Transportation Program in an Age of Fiscal Austerity – Ron Utt, Heritage Foundation

** New Report: 2010 Annual Urban Mobility Report – Texas Transportation Institute **

Mobility & Transportation
Congestion Kicks Back into High Gear – Sam Staley, Reason Foundation
Cold Truths about Electric Cars – Washington Post
Washington drivers tie for worst traffic tie-ups – Washington Examiner
Boston ranked among worst in nation for hours stuck in rush-hour traffic – Boston Globe
New Jersey governor appealing $271M bill from U.S. government for ARC tunnel – NJ.com
Orange County’s planned mega transit center questioned – L.A. Times
Feds grant $25 million for downtown light rail – Detroit News
Portland Mayor’s bike plan rides through controversy – Oregon Live
Woman hit by Portland MAX train dies – KGW.com
San Francisco light-rail car hits woman – San Francisco Chronicle
Several hurt when light rail, truck collide – ABC-2, Baltimore
Once popular, car pools go the way of hitchhiking – Contra Costa Times
Public transport increases risk of infection – Healthcare Today
Catch a Bus, Catch a Cold – WebMD

** New Report: 7th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey – Demographia **

Housing & Land Use
Shrinking City, Flourishing Region: St. Louis Region – Wendell Cox, New Geography
Home prices fall in nearly all major cities, heightening fears of double dip – Washington Post
Foreclosure activity up across most US metro areas – Associated Press
Home sales hit 13-year low; slow recovery ahead
– Associated Press
If we build it, they will come – Edward Glaeser, Boston Globe
Size Matters – Pacific Northwest Inlander
Addressing the Issue of Home Affordability – New York Times
America’s Dying Cities – Newsweek
Smart growth inches forward – Boston Globe
‘Smart growth’ policy threatens affordability – Calgary Sun
Urban renewal revived as ‘intelligent cities’ – USA Today
Tale of three cities: Calgary, Toronto & Vancouver – Calgary Herald
Urban sprawl rules choking Toronto development: building industry – Globe & Mail
Montreal ‘severely unaffordable’ – Montreal Gazette
Redevelopment Agencies Lie in Cost-Cutters’ Sights – New York Times
Local builders upset over Gov. Brown’s budget plans – Whittier Daily News
Tax incentives’ hefty tally – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Could TIF deals be wasting tax dollars meant for job creation? – KMOV.com, St. Louis
Wrong from blight – New York Post

Freedom & Grassroot
Beware the drawbacks of ‘Smart Growth’ – Richard Williams, El Paso Times
Sustainability, Livability and Other Pipe Dreams
– Larry Huss, OregonCatalyst.com
Shrinking government can increase costs – Wendell Cox, Indianapolis Business Journal
Orange County better off with fragmented governments – Orange County Register, California
The Next Urban Challenge — And Opportunity – Joel Kotkin, New Geography

Not So Sustainable
Phoenix-area transportation projects may be in jeopardy – Arizona Republic
Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China – New York Times
Light rail expansion on the line – Houston Chronicle

High Speed Hype
Renewed Emphasis on Infrastructure and High-Speed Rail – New York Times
The President’s Unserious Proposal – Ken Orski, New Geography
High-Speed Rail, Budget Buster – Wendell Cox, National Review
Planner says Florida should take high-speed rail money – Tampa Tribune
Scott freezes 4 contracts for SunRail – Orlando Sentinel
For Eurostar HSR, business class proves a big winner – The Scotsman
Is China’s High-Speed Rail Pricing Out Passengers? – The Infrastructurist
Deadline pressure threatens high-speed rail – Fresno Bee
Britain’s 250-year-old pear tree faces the chop for a new rail line – Mail Online

Around the World
The Rise (and Demise) of Earth’s Eco-Cities – Forbes.com
The second last straw in affordable housing market rankings worldwide – Goondiwindi Argus, Australia
Time ripe to tackle housing problem – Bay of Plenty Times, New Zealand
Electric Vehicles Encounter Condo Conundrum – Truth About Cars
Commuters across Italy scramble to get to work during nationwide transportation strike – Canadian Press
UK housing market to get tougher for first-time buyers – Daily Telegraph, England

Around the Bend
A brave new world of fossil fuels on demand – Globe & Mail
Shale Gas Will Rock the World – Carpe Diem
‘Road train’ technology trials get rolling – BBC News
Ford’s Intelligent Cars use Wi-Fi to communicate – Mobile Magazine

Video – Diverging Diamond Interchanges

History’s First Smart Growther
Was Genghis Khan history’s greenest conqueror? – Mother Nature Network

Across the Tracks
A Sputnik Moment for Smart Growth – Huffington Post
Stefanos Polyzoides plans to make cities more livable – Los Angeles Times
Tysons highlighted as global example for smart growth – Greater Greater Washington
Big cities are not always biggest polluters – Yahoo News
Get Rich While Reducing Emissions: Smart Growth Keeps Looking Smarter – DC Streetsblog
Will ‘intelligent cities’ put an end to suburban sprawl? – USA Today
Density Limitations (II): Shunning Hyper-Dense Urbanism? – CEP Blog
Congestion report pushes sprawl through flawed analysis – Greater Greater Washington
Is 2011 the year of the Eco-Village? – Construction Digital
Pushing Sprawl Through Flawed Congestion Analysis – Matt Yglesias, Think Progress
Light rail system would prepare city for day oil runs out – Argus Leader, South Dakota
Rail report’s simple premise: Build where people are – LoHud.com, New York
Transit trains will save us from congested roads – TheRecord.com
Our constitutional right to cheap public transit – National Post

Understanding Planner-Speak – Planetizen

Vibrant Urbanism
America’s rudest cities – MSNBC.com
Caught On Tape: Rat Gets in NYC Subway Rider’s Face
– CBS News
Teens rob man at gunpoint at light rail station – WBTV.com, Charlotte, North Carolina
Metro ignored cry for help after man exposed himself
– KHOU.com, Houston
San Jose police cracking down on light rail drug dealers – ABC-7, California
Can a City This Self-Serious Take a Joke?
– New York Times

Notable Quotables

“It is more difficult to install chargers and 200-volt power sources in buildings with multiple households than at a single-family home because fees must be collected from individual users and security measures must be in place to prevent unauthorized use. Nikkei Weekly, on the practical problems facing dense cities in Japan from installing electrical vehicle charge stations in anticipation of a ‘greener’ future.

“When it makes fun of the aggressive bicyclists and things like that, well, that’s stuff I complain about, too. But then I’m part of what it’s making fun of as well. There’s a kernel of truth in it, and it’s O.K. to roll with it.” Amber Rowland, on the new show Portlandia that makes fun of the city’s ‘deliberate differentness.’

“Growth management and smart growth and planning in general are always a livelier issue in times of high growth.  One worry that I have is that cities … are in terrible fiscal condition right now, and a lot of intelligent city stuff costs money. Armando Carbonell, of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy on the barrier preventing more cities from adopting Smart Growth.

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