I thought I should note here two blog posts I recently published elsewhere. I discussed some of the challenges involved in making “big data” accessible to low income communities in a post on Planetizen: “The Democratization of Big Data“. I posted a guest post on PlaceMatter‘s blog about an innovative planning process for transit-oriented development […]
Should The T Keep a Commuter Subsidy?
In order to close next year’s budget gap, Boston’s MBTA transit system is planning to raise fares and cut service. This will be the first time since 2007 fares have been changed. A detailed analysis released by the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) last week considered two scenarios with sharp increases. (The report, along with […]
Ten Books of 2010-2011
A few years back, I was asked to name the books that had made the biggest impact on me. Three came immediately to mind: Jane Jacobâ€™s Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tom Sugrueâ€™s Origins of the Urban Crisis, and Thomas Kuhnâ€™s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Beyond those, I struggled to think of more […]
Raising Fares on Boston’s Subway for Safety and Reliability
Boston’s subway plays a critical role for the city. Despite a fare increase in 2007 and receiving a dedicated portion of the state’s sales tax, in recent years the agency’s tight budget (driven partly by labor, health care, and energy costs) has prevented needed maintenance and upgrades. With many of the system’s cars nearing the […]
How Open are Massachusetts Municipal Data?
My first peer-reviewed journal article was published this month by the Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), an open access journal published by a leading geographic information systems (GIS) professional organization. Titled “From Public Records to Open Government: Access to Massachusetts Municipal Geographic Data,” it reports the result of a public […]
The Art (and Science?) of Designing Urban Planning Processes
In June I published an op-ed in the Detroit News describing my research on urban renewal in Detroit in the 1940s. I concluded with the observation: The voices of citizens affected by renewal must be heard. Dramatic, large-scale projects can have harmful and unexpected consequences. The history of urban planning has shown success occurs through […]
‘Cybernetics in City Hall’ and the Challenge of Real-Time Urban Management
Periodically I come across an old article that seems very relevant to the present, such as the article about public sector innovation I posted in January. The ongoing expanded use — and declining cost — of sensors and computing technologies has sparked a renewed interest in using them to solve persistent urban problems. A similar […]