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How Trying Too Hard Messes Up Main Street
Why do Main St. redevelopments get it wrong so much of the time? Scott Doyon of Placemakers says there is a ton of environmental behavior research that is going unheeded, and developers need to stop trying so hard and let individual expression flourish.

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Recent Interchange Posts

Recent columns and commentaries from Interchange, Planetizen's blog written by experts in the field.

Michael Lewyn
Sprawl In Canada and the U.S.: A Comparison
Mar 8, 2010

News Headlines

The 20 most popular headlines from the last three days.

Can Urban Design Alleviate the Need for Cops?
Mar 8, 2010 -- Examiner
A look at public space as a "community living room" and the role of police within the context of Los Angeles.

Urbanites Make the Case for Goats as Pets
Mar 9, 2010 -- USA Today
The don't bite. They don't need much space. They follow kids around like a dog. We're talking about miniature goats. Planning commissions across the country are being asked to moved the hooved animals into the "pet" category. 

Town Futures in Photoshop
Mar 8, 2010 --
A picture's worth a thousand plans - at least when it's a "photo-realistic visualization." Designer Steve Price's detailed 3D flash animations show towns what empty streetscapes and drab buildings could look like with a little bit of planning.

Notable Architecture to Watch in 2010
Mar 9, 2010 -- Business Week
This piece from Business Week lists the most anticipated architecture projects to watch in 2010.

Infrastructure Spending, Policy Benefit Suburbs and Not Cities
Mar 9, 2010 -- The Boston Globe
Harvard economics professor Edward L. Glaeser argues that the United States has a long, pervasive pattern of anti-urban behavior that needs to change. 

Harvard Report: Gas Taxes Not Vehicle Credits Necessary To Reduce Emissions
Mar 8, 2010 -- The New York Times - Science
$7 gas is necessary according to a new report if transportation emissions are to be reduced to EPA targets by 2020. What's more, providing tax credits for electric and hybrid vehicles would backfire. The report recommends steep gas tax increases.

A Bust to Follow China's Building Boom?
Mar 9, 2010 -- Business Week
The economic stimulus of China has focused billions of dollars on building skyscrapers. Some wonder whether a building bust may soon follow.

The Art of Wayfinding
Mar 8, 2010 --
Slate looks at the history and importance of signage and wayfinding design. 

Learning From Philadelphia's Transit System Improvements
Mar 8, 2010 -- The Toronto Star
The city of Toronto's public transit system has been plagued by dysfunctional service and rider complaints. Officials are looking to Philadelphia for lessons on improving their troubled system.

OP-ED: Make "High-Speed" Rail Speedier
Mar 9, 2010 -- The New York Times - Opinion
Train writer Christian Wolmar argues that the best application for high speed rail funds would be to upgrade the Washington D.C. to Boston, 150 mph Acela line to true, high speed rail status and used as a showcase for American rail technology.

Las Vegas Land Worth 75% Less Than 2007 Peak
Mar 9, 2010 -- Las Vegas Review-Journal
About half of commercial mortgage defaults in Las Vegas last year were for vacant land. With loans impossible to get and construction at a halt, vacant land is a hard sell. 

Plan to Daylight Creek in Downtown Berkeley Hits Roadblock
Mar 9, 2010 -- East Bay Express
Berkeley's popular plan to turn a section of Center Street into a pedestrian walkway with a stream and wetlands has been slowed by the fight over downtown development.

Turning Cities into Innovation Centers
Mar 8, 2010 -- Business Week
Saul Kaplan says cities should be transformed into innovation centers to stay competitive and become the venue of a "new economic conversation".

Container Housing Approved to Aid Haitians
Mar 8, 2010 -- Inhabitat
Officials in the Dominican Republic have approved the creation of cities made of home built out of shipping containers -- part of efforts to aid earthquake-rattled Haiti.

Boston Neighborhood Transforms Church into Housing
Mar 9, 2010 -- WBUR - Boston public radio
How grassroots organizers beat out commercial bidders, and overcame zoning hurdles to redevelop Catholic church into affordable housing.

When's the Next Subway? Look Up. 
Mar 8, 2010 -- The New York Times
Electronic next train signage has come to the New York Subway. Three experimental systems are currently being tested throughout the system, but locals say the kinks are still clearly being worked out. 

How New York City Crafted its 34th Street Busway
Mar 8, 2010 -- the transport politic
The Transport Politic details the City of New York's plans for a citywide busway on 34th Street.

Billboards: Blight, or Right?
Mar 9, 2010 -- Arkinet
Are billboards visual pollution, or valuable information source? Sao Paolo, Brazil banned billboards in the city in 2007 and is an interesting case study. 

The Inside Story of Sign Design
Mar 10, 2010 -- Slate
Slate continues its series on wayfinding with the little-known story of the symbolic conflicts among the U.S., the former Soviet Union and Japan over how to direct people in a time of crisis. 

Inchvesting in Detroit
Mar 10, 2010 -- NPR
$1 will buy you one square inch of a vacant lot in Detroit, and membership in Jerry Paffendorf's club of "inchvestors." It may sound like a scheme, but Paffendorf calls it a way to network, invest in Detroit, and attract entrepreneurs.

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