- Today's Moment of Idealistic Naivete: Wikileaks: http://wp.me/pCprU-mB 2 years ago
- Ending the War on Drugs: http://wp.me/pCprU-mw 2 years ago
- Twilight Of The Suburbs, Now Home To One-Third Of America's Poor http://huff.to/bGZP7F 2 years ago
- U.S. Subways Harness Kinetic Power To Recycle Train Energy http://huff.to/bVsXvR 2 years ago
- America's Walk Deficit http://yhoo.it/dijIvg 2 years ago
- Today’s Moment of Idealistic Naivete: Wikileaks
- Ending the War on Drugs
- The Most Walkable Cities in the World
- It’s Where We Live
- Can Cities Feed Themselves?
- French Street Artist Wins TED Humanitarian Prize
- Dimanche Sans Voiture
- Are Brussels and Los Angeles Sister Cities?
- Masdar begs the question: What exactly is meant by “a sustainable city?”
- Is Generation Y Passing on Cars?
- Can Cities Make Us Crazy?
- Stranger Studies 101: Cities as Interaction Machines
- Does New Orleans Have an Identity Crisis?
- Three Urban Interventions in Two Hours: NYC
- Cargo Bike Spotted…
Tag Archives: seattle
In 2008, according to the U.S. Census, 720,000 Americans commuted to work by bike–43 percent more than in 2000. It would be nice to say that the growth was driven by a concern for the climate, but the main reason is economics. “People bike because it’s fast, cheap, and easy to get around,” says Penalosa, “not because it’s good for the environment.” Christopher Leinberger, a land-use strategist at the Brookings Institution, notes that people who are auto-dependent spend 25 percent of their income on transportation, compared with 9 percent for those who walk, bike, or take public transit.
Portland, Oregon—the misty evergreen Shangri-La for the young, the creative, and the progressive—has an interesting problem. Its miles of bike lanes, its rock-bottom rents, its deep vats of craft brews are all far too good. Yes, Portland has actually made itself too attractive. According to one study that compared May of 2009 with May of 2008, Oregon’s unemployment has grown faster than any other state in the country, 3 percent. For large metropolitan areas in the country, Portland has one of the highest unemployment rates, which topped out at about 11.8 percent—even higher than Detroit. To blame, some economists believe, are the large numbers of designers and artists who have been moving there without jobs, dubbed the dubious “young creatives.”
Portland, like its famed streetcar, is an interesting case. It boasts many of the pieces found in successful cities and some that no other American cities can match. The streetcar. Light rail. Cycle tracks. Skateboard tracks. An aerial tram. Traffic calming. No major downtown arterials. Local music. Local art. Local beer. Great food. Environmental awareness. A history of proactive and progressive decision making. Historic urban fabric. Food trucks. Park blocks. It’s walkable. It’s bikable. There is much to like in Portland, and the hype is not all smoke and mirrors.
I grew up during the grunge era, with Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder for role models, and the notion that a city could simultaneously spawn and embrace musical icons of social and political dissidence and the bourgeois haughtiness of, say, Frasier Crane, always fascinated me. Seattle was the only major coastal city in the U.S. I hadn’t yet spent time in; I was ready to fall in love. Continue reading