* You are viewing Posts Tagged ‘economics’

Balanced Transportation Analyzer (via Wired)

Today’s post presents a story about transportation modelling and the real costs of driving, originally covered in this month’s Wired magazine. Congestion pricing isn’t exactly a popular idea in North America, so it’s great to see the science behind it taken seriously in non-planning media.

Thanks to Bernard Garon on Flickr for this great Creative Commons photo of New York Traffic.

The goal of traffic engineering is to maintain the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. It is typically measured in terms of vehicular volume, traffic flow, and incident rates. However, traffic and transit are complicated issues with significant economic, environmental, and social and ramifications. Charles Komanoff, an energy-policy analyst, transport economist and environmental activist, has devoted years to measuring and analyzing New York’s … Continue Reading

Weekly NewsPool: Local energy, the London Underground, and the end of Heritage Week!

In planning news and in the blogosphere, this week brought two great stories from Boston, including a glimpse at the future of open transit data. Other stories address the challenging imperative of energy security, and mark without mourning the end of the public-private partnership that, until recently, operated London’s Underground.

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Next week is Heritage Week!

Thanks to Steve Cadman on Flickr for this Creative Commons photo of the Lower Eastside Tenement Museum in New York.

During the coming week, we here at PlanningPool are looking forward to sharing a series of posts about victories and challenges in urban heritage planning around the world. Join us next week for Heritage Week, from May 10 – 14!

To start thinking about the dynamics of change and preservation in cities, we recommend an article by urban economics guru Edward Glaeser that appeared in the New York Times earlier this week. Responding to Jane Jacobs’ well-loved and oft-quoted principles of successful urban environment, Glaeser suggests that this approach placed too high a value on retaining older buildings and maintaining moderate densities. Is there any … Continue Reading

Weekly Video

Gazing toward the future, and hopefully beyond these dismal economic times, what will cities look like? Though it’s easy to get excited about the technologies that might shape the built realities of civilization, any sociologist will tell you that cities are at least equally defined by their inhabitants…

Why finding the right price for parking could change the world, Part 2

Getting the price of parking right can be more important than you think, and in Part 2 of this two-part series, we see how San Francisco has been trying to perfect their parking price, and how it can make the city more liveable.

Why finding the right price for parking could change the world, Part 1

Most people see a low price as an opportunity. But economists see prices as a way of relaying important information about the product. Find out why we may be sending the wrong information with parking rates, and why getting it right could change everything.

Musings from Sustainability Visionary Paul Hawken – Resilient Cities Conference

Paul Hawken is a visionary environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author of well known books such as Blessed Unrest, and co-author of Natural Capitalism. (His opening remarks for the Gaining Ground Resilient Cities Conference were blogged on Planning Pool earlier today.) He is also a twin, as we learned during the session.

The author with Paul Hawken!

The author with Paul Hawken!

In a salon session with conference participants, Hawken mused on topics suggested by attendees. Here is a sampling of the wisdom and thoughts he shared:


  • As individuals, it’s okay to make make mistakes. Nature makes lots of small mistakes, but no big ones.
  • Everyday I have the same problem you have, I ask myself: am I making a difference? I just need to have faith that if I continue to … Continue Reading

Wolfram Alpha: Number crunching for people who love cities

Wolfram AlphaIt’s likely that you’ve already heard about Wolfram Alpha, a “computational knowledge engine” that computes answers rather than searching for them, like Google or Yahoo. Invented by a physicist and arguably most useful for calculating science or math questions, Wolfram Alpha also works with demographic and geographical statistics, making it really fun to play with!

So you can get an idea of how useful Wolfram Alpha can be, here are some searches I did:

Nevertheless, Wolfram Alpha cannot compute some data at the subnational … Continue Reading

Blogging “The Public Square as an Economic Space” Event

Tonight, in a packed community hall with eager community members perched on gym mats and kindergarten-sized chairs*, city councilor Andrea Reimer, economic development planner John Tylee and UBC geography professor Trevor Barnes offered very different perspectives about the economic value and potential of public squares.

The event at the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, was organized by the Vancouver Public Space Network, whose upcoming events can be seen here. Not having a chance to film the speakers, I decided to try sitting in the back and typing madly. The flavour of each presentation is briefly presented below.

*Sincere thanks to the guy who let me take the last grown-up chair!


Trevor Barnes: Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia 

Trevor Barnes began by evoking his childhood in the English town of St. Austell.  Its Aylmer Square was “geometrically a square, but … Continue Reading