People know that air pollution is bad for their health, that auto exhaust emissions contribute to air pollution, and that certain cities suffer worse air pollution than others. Some people pay attention to smog reports and even avoid strenuous activities on smoggy days. What most people don’t know is that there is a certain type of auto emission pollutant that discriminates in a most predictable but unfair way. It’s also a pretty safe assumption that people aren’t fully aware of the severity of the health impacts from this pollutant. [Read more…] about Could this little-known pollutant finally change our transportation priorities?
They’re calling it the “Citizens’ Plan” initiative. Like all such initiatives, the name is misleading. Said citizens are an alliance of a billionaire and a few advocates for a limited selection of public interests. Not included are the citizens who are most impacted nor the economic interests of the City’s working populace. Citizen Kane Plan might be a more appropriate name for the way it attempts to manipulate public opinion into believing it is a grassroots plan. [Read more…] about A beach, burb, and billionaire “Citizens’ Plan” for San Diego’s urban neighborhoods
I read an op-ed in the San Diego Union Tribune that made me want to stand on top of a downtown high rise and scream . . . YES!!! The opinion piece was entitled “A higher and better use for downtown,” and was written by Wayne Raffesberger and co-authored by Rob Quigley, Jack Carpenter, Pete Garcia and David Malmuth – individuals who have exceptional knowledge of downtown San Diego’s East Village neighborhood and a promising vision for its future.* I was compelled to write a lengthy comment to the piece and perhaps I should have just stopped there (in any case, I have regurgitated some of it in writing this piece). But this topic has been an issue that has been sticking in my craw for several years. [Read more…] about San Diego’s East Village: substituting an academic and high-wage vision for an entertainment and tourism vision
On October 11, 2015, Governor Brown vetoed Senate Bill 539, which would have removed Confederate names from government buildings in California. On the same date, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 30 prohibiting the use of the name “Redskins” for school sports teams and mascots. In vetoing the ban of confederate names on public buildings and places, Governor Brown noted “a national movement to remove the confederate [sic] flag from State Capitols [sic] in the South – a long overdue action.” However, he went on to state: [Read more…] about California tributes to the Confederacy – why Gov. Brown is wrong
On June 2, 2015, San Diego’s independent TV station KUSI set aside a segment of their weather report to editorialize about climate change. The message: climate change is minimal and natural – not man made. The message was delivered by Mark Mathis, KUSI’s weather reporter who has an A.S. degree in meteorology. Mr. Mathis based his argument primarily on the two following assumptions: [Read more…] about How TV weather reporters are aiding and abetting climate change
Jane Jacobs wasn’t bullish on urban parks. She preferred active sidewalks. In her classic urban planning (sociology?) book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she noted that parks created “borders,” that often result in blighting or “slumming” along their edges. She attributed this circumstance to a lack of diversity of uses, a lack of density, and many other factors, and how they interrelated (her “organized complexity”). [Read more…] about Are cities building too many parks and plazas in their downtowns? The experts weigh in . . .
Thirty years into my passion for urbanism, I’m just finishing my first read, I’m embarrassed to admit, of Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The book has strongly resonated with me as it has done legions others. I’m amazed at how relevant a book written 55 years ago is about U.S. cities today. Perhaps my lateness in reading this milestone of understanding of how cities work was a missed opportunity or resulted in a knowledge deficit for me. [Read more…] about The unofficial glossary of Jacobs’ Death and Life of Great American Cities
The justifications for the use of native plants in landscapes usually center on environmental reasons. The reasons run the gamut from water conservation to supporting local fauna. Rarely are aesthetic reasons given. Perhaps that circumstance is the result of the subjective nature of aesthetics. However, there are aesthetic reasons for choosing native plant landscapes that are fairly objective. The following are a few: [Read more…] about Four aesthetic reasons to landscape with native plants