electricland: (books too many)
Walking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City BuilderWalking Home: The Life and Lessons of a City Builder by Ken Greenberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like Jane Jacobs you'll probably like Ken Greenberg, the implementation to Jacobs' theory. While this book is particularly resonant if you live in Toronto, where Greenberg has lived and worked for decades, it's full of fascinating anecdotes of city building (failed and successful) all over the world. Very inspiring to those of us who love cities and want them to keep working.


Via Spacing: http://spacingtoronto.ca/2011/05/24/ken-...


View all my reviews
electricland: (This Is Wonderland)
Spacing has a post on the Ampelmann!

He is quite adorable.
electricland: (Default)
I have a long list of things to do, most of which I don't feel like doing. But one of them is "Update LJ" (no, really). So here I am.

Via [livejournal.com profile] spacing, interesting article on the future of suburbs.
In the first half of last year, residential burglaries rose by 35 percent and robberies by 58 percent in suburban Lee County, Florida, where one in four houses stands empty. Charlotte’s crime rates have stayed flat overall in recent years—but from 2003 to 2006, in the 10 suburbs of the city that have experienced the highest foreclosure rates, crime rose 33 percent. Civic organizations in some suburbs have begun to mow the lawns around empty houses to keep up the appearance of stability. Police departments are mapping foreclosures in an effort to identify emerging criminal hot spots.

The decline of places like Windy Ridge and Franklin Reserve is usually attributed to the subprime-mortgage crisis, with its wave of foreclosures. And the crisis has indeed catalyzed or intensified social problems in many communities. But the story of vacant suburban homes and declining suburban neighborhoods did not begin with the crisis, and will not end with it. A structural change is under way in the housing market—a major shift in the way many Americans want to live and work. It has shaped the current downturn, steering some of the worst problems away from the cities and toward the suburban fringes. And its effects will be felt more strongly, and more broadly, as the years pass. Its ultimate impact on the suburbs, and the cities, will be profound.
I'm in a bit of a slump at the moment myself, although not of epic proportions. I spent Tuesday home sick and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and Februaryish and lacking motivation. Also, time has been behaving really weirdly; I keep being surprised by how much or how little time has passed since event X. But I'm chipping away at work, I bought lipstick and got a Clinique bonus (hey, whatever works), today is sunny and gorgeous, my dog seems to feel all is right with his world now that Jen and Tilde are home, and the family birthday is tonight. So life could be much worse.

It's been ages since I did a book update, so here's one, although it may be missing some items.

Cut to spare those who really don't care what I've been reading since the start of January )

Sheesh. I should be an Amazon affiliate.

Incidentally, the library's new hold/account interface is up and running. I have to say I hope they continue tinkering with it because, while the options to change the pickup location and put items on hold for a specific length of time are cool, it's missing some functionality that I really appreciated in the old version, specifically:
- items ready to pick up showed in a different section of the Holds page
- holds could be sorted by title or expiry date
- renewals showed up instantly (in the new version you have to log out and log in again, although it's possible this was due to startup bugginess)

It would also be good if its privacy certificate checked out properly. Just sayin', TPL.

What was interesting while they were switching over and the hold system was down was how empty the hold shelves in the branches got after just a couple of days. Really an impressive reminder of how many books cycle through there!

More lists of media consumed, just for completeness )
electricland: (This Is Wonderland)
Via [livejournal.com profile] spacing, an interesting article on Toronto's street food -- why it's basically limited to hot dogs, and how that might change.

Oh, damn.

Apr. 25th, 2006 02:29 pm
electricland: (This Is Wonderland)
Jane Jacobs is dead at 89.

She was a remarkable woman of ideas. Toronto, and the world, have lost a treasure.

(Via [livejournal.com profile] crankygrrl.)
electricland: (mine seagulls talisker)
I thought this post by Mark Schmitt (via [livejournal.com profile] poorman_rss) was interesting: Pump and Dump Politics.

He's talking about Bill Frist's insider trading, and the culture that it seems to exemplify:

Investors as well as executives don't look at a company as something to build for the long term; they need to beat their numbers in the current quarter. And for the most part they assume that by the time things get tough, they'll be out. The insiders will bail out before the suckers; the CEO will move on to some other company. Or, if worst comes to worst, he'll retire with a nice package guaranteeing health care, use of the company plane for life, and a nice package of stock to sell when someone else turns the company around.

...

And what is our political culture except another version of pump and dump? Everything from war to tax policy to energy policy to the Medicare bill is a short-term effort to boost the president's political stock, with the long-term costs left to some bigger sucker.
I have nothing really to add to this, but it did spark some mildly connected thoughts: 1. Everyone should read or watch The Corporation. 2. It's an interesting corporate-governance issue. Recently in Canada, institutional investors like the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (which with $88 billion in assets is a force to be reckoned with) have been flexing their muscles and demanding better governance, better accountability, better citizenship etc. Is this going on in the States at all? 3. It occurs to me that this could be taken as yet another government-should-get-out-of-the-market notion, which it isn't at all. I'm always thrilled when institutional investors play the heavy, but that's just a nice complement to regulation and enforcement, not really a substitute for them.

Via [livejournal.com profile] gristmill_rss, linking for convenience because I haven't really had time to read it yet: Save energy, build more efficient cities.
electricland: (Default)
After I finish the Sudoku in the morning, I occasionally read the newspaper that comes with it.

I am liking our new Governor-General. (And how awesome is it that her 6-year-old daughter demanded a new dog before she'd agree to up stakes and move to Ottawa? I wonder what kind they'll get?) I hope she does well.

I'm meh on the Senate appointments. (BTW, if Larry Campbell quit as mayor of Vancouver, what makes him think the Senate is going to be any better?) Really, who cares? A few of them do something useful, and some good things have come out of Senate commissions, but I am thinking more and more strongly that it's time we got rid of the appointed Senate, constitutional nightmare or not. It's a crazy anachronism.

Shut up, Stephen. Actually, I'd be very happy if some government made transit passes tax-deductible -- the PQ was all set to do that before the last Quebec election, then the Liberals canned the program, which I thought was dumb. But the TTC needs a hell of a lot more -- like, oh, financial support from Ontario, Ottawa, or both.

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