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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday Links sprawls out

+I really want to avoid this sort of grave dancing, but anytime someone tells you that normal suburban crud building is profitable, just point to an article like this: Another suburban Atlanta mall is battling debt problems.

+A new report notes that over the past few years the majority of new development in the Atlanta metro area has been of denser, pedestrian-centric type neighborhoods that are more common in Northeast cities, suggesting that the suburban-type development has started to wane even in the most auto-centric places, reports The Wall Street Journal.

+If you're interested, the Atlanta Business Chronicle is hosting their annual Business Growth Summit on Oct. 24. It's just $59 to register. More info here.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Links keeps it simple

+"What if some of the more generous central medians throughout New York’s street system were turned into green infrastructure: parklets that have been keenly designed to absorb and funnel storm water; generate solar electricity; and recycle food waste, which is another matter that Mayor Bloomberg is championing these days in the spirit of saving roughly $100 million a year by diverting organic residential waste from landfills." Mayor Bloomberg eyes a plan for using all the unused space in NYC. Finding creative ways to use dead space in our cities is the future.

+Other American cities have peered over the precipice and tumbled. Detroit is bankrupt, its downtown a hollow core left by the implosion of a great metropolis. That must not happen here. The Chicago Tribune looks for leadership in developing the next Plan of Chicago.

+The United Nations has advice for city planners around the world: Move people closer together. The UN keeps it simple with their recommendation for urban planning.

+Random Link: If you happen to be in PA anywhere near Dickinson College, they are hosting an awesome free seminar about ancient city planning. Details here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ecological Economics Part I: A Brief History

Americans have known implicitly that something is very wrong with the global economy for nearly 50 years, when the first stirrings of discontent started to shiver at the base of the economic pyramid. The 60's saw a large-scale protest movement that focused on the Vietnam War but also criticized the commercialization of American life in all its insidious forms. Though, hippies tend to be identified with the anti-war movement, tuning and dropping out was much less a critique of American foreign policy than a critique of the American way of life. The war merely gave a focal point to a wide range of special interests that would have otherwise had a hard time articulating just what they were frustrated with. That many of them were horrified by the deeper, long-term implications of the pro-growth, militaristic, corporatism, which emerged in the wake of WWII as the dominant expression of American exceptionalism didn't seem to occur to many of them. One has to wonder, if it had, would that have made a much better rallying cry than protesting the Vietnam war, considering nearly all critiques fell under the umbrella of anti-capitalism protest (feminist, environmentalist, ecological, anti-war).

At any rate, hitching their protest movement to the horses of war  had the ironic result of giving the protesters very little to be officially upset about when the war ended. Thus economic criticism fizzled in the 1970s and was nearly completely squashed in the 1980s as Reagan, riding a cresting wave of cheap fossil fuels and capitalistic enthusiasm, seemed to prove that perpetual economic growth was possible, and that America would remain at the top forever.