City Cultural

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    • Micro-Units: What’s a Proper Living Space

      Micro-units were all the rage in DC this year. About a dozen projects are in the works. There is nothing too new about this marketing label for what are essentially studios or efficiencies, but I was surprised at the unit floor configurations proposed.  The typical

    • We Need a Second Transbay Tube

      In the past year a renewed push to build a second Transbay Tube across the San Francisco Bay floor has heated up.   BART has been plagued with it’s own maintenance problems and to some reports, is steadily worsening with a half-funded backlog through the

    • Will the U.S. Adopt Scooters

      While Americans are still entrenched in this idea of make the car great again with autonomous systems, there’s another urban transport mode people have overlooked, the scooter.   The scooter or motor bike is ubiquitous in Asia because of historically narrow and uneven roads.  Match that with

    • On Ride-Sharing Becoming Permanent Transportation

      It’s clear that ride-sharing’s reputation has been rather tarnished by public policy backlashes this year, but this hasn’t diminished its popularity. In my view, I see Uber and Lyft as technology companies in the same vein as freeways, railroads, steamships, and jumbo jets that heralded

    • Reflections of the Mission District in the Mid-2010s

      In honor of Jane Jacob’s 100th birthday, I thought I’d share what I learned from San Francisco’s neighborhoods and what made them great places to be. Lost in the tech gentrification controversy is the fact that the City is indeed an extremely desirable place to

    • Trading Four Wheels For Two, A Follow-Up

      In 2008, Minnesota Public Radio interviewed me about bicycling when the idea of being a full-time bicyclist was just starting to gain traction. At the time, bike lanes were only in the planning stage, and bicyclists comprised a hardcore group of locals who lurked in

    • Transit Tech Startups Part 1: Intercity Travel

      Shaun Abrahamson of Urban.us detailed a list of “Pop-up Mass Transit” startups operating now.  From a VC perspective, he’s concerned about how game theory will make or break their mobility promises.  Can shuttle startup A beat out carshare startup B on price and retain users when the true

    • Geography of Nowhere Remains Relevant for the New Urban Age

      James Howard Kunstler’s Geography of Nowhere was published in 1993 but it’s view of our current urban landscape remains just as relevant today.  Kunstler is a journalist turned urbanist critic, much like Jane Jacob’s, and along with his damning treatise on our car addiction regards him as

    • Stop Making Developers Build Parking

      As I think of New Year’s Eve complaints about Uber surge pricing I am reminded again of another supply and demand quandary, parking.  Just as Uber attempts to encourage more drivers with exorbitant surge fares, so should we be thinking about how parking is not priced to

    • How About Free Sunday Transit

      “Why is public parking free on Sundays but public transit is not?” said @ptraughber on Twitter the other day. I couldn’t help but fume about this very question as it seems a strange injustice to give away (subsidize) public space to vehicles. There are many societal implications here, such as

    • Soft Planning or Lipstick on a Pig

      I often think of city planning as composed of “hard” and “soft” approaches which shape and define land use and design.  Hard planning consists of real shit like height limits, density, setbacks, and parking.  These physical, sharp, and poignant zoning rules shape the final form of