Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Slow to post here ...

... but you will find other features at my companion blog, Curb Cuts to Nowhere, as well as my blog on cemeteries and land use, Whistling Past the Graveyard.
I also will be studying Discrete Math this fall for my GIS studies, and will be posting commentary about math, my studies and math in culture in general, at 1-1 does not equal 0.
See you back here soon.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Curb Cut to Nowhere

Discovered in Washington Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Did journalism create sprawl?

Is that a provocative enough title? I hope so. That's the issue I want to explore.
When I went to college in the 1970s, learning how to cover meetings was among the first things we did as budding journalists. When we got out of college, we cut our teeth on zoning board and planning board meetings, while the seasoned reporters often got the glamorous jobs of covering politics, the county board and other high-profile beats.
So, sprawl was left to the rookies and others still pretty unseasoned. While we did a good job of covering the meetings and reporting on what happened -- the board OK'd a developement, the master plan was amended -- I'm not so sure we really did the best we could do, or perhaps we wouldn't be in this sprawled mess today. We were enamored with the big blueprints (this was before PowerPoint, after all), and overwhelmed with just the idea of getting the details right, that I don't think many of us really understood the impact of what was happening. This was before such terms as "loss of habitat," or mixed use, or even "sprawl" became commonplace.
Oftentimes, this occurred with only a few hardy souls even in the room, besides the board members and developers.
And this was still when we as a society thought that all of this growth and development was a good idea. When the new bunch of homes or the new, big retail center meant money for the town coffers.
So, did journalism create sprawl? Or, perhaps more correctly, did our ignoranance of the issues help foster a climate in which sprawl went unchecked?
That's the discussion I want to start. I'm interested in hearing from journalists who worked at the height of development -- when covering a town meant going to every meeting on the docket. I'd also like to hear from government officials who served on those boards, and developers, as well as those voices crying in the wilderness, who have every right to tell us, "We told you so."
Besides our greater awareness, there are some good things happening. As I revive this blog, I'll share them with you. One I've already come across is a valuable resource for journalists who cover development and issues involving sprawl. The Association for Electronic Journalists has published a free, downloadable report on covering sprawl, which should be required reading for every college journalism student.
And it wouldn't hurt for those of us still in the profession -- no matter what shape or form it may take -- to read it as well.
So, please, join this important discussion.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Map shows where the delinquencies are

The Federal Reserve of New York has released a map showing the delinquencies for both bank-card holders and mortgage holders.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Hoover's other legacy's Rick Cole writes in his latest column that, as Commerce Secretary, Herbert Hoover championed the zoning laws we have today. Cole goes on to note that today's real estate collapse gives America the change to rewrite the zoning codes to solve today's sprawl-centered challenges.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crime "wave"?

My new favorite site, Directions Magazine, has a great piece about how the media are employing GIS and maps to detail crime figures. This offers many great examples, and reinforces the type of reporting that can be accomplished using GIS.

COGO urges centralized GIS at fed level

The Coalition of Geospatial Oversight, a subgroup of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Associaton, reports that some 30 congressional committees and 40 federal agencies have some sort of oversight roles in geospatial matters at the federal level, and suggests that the new Congress establish oversight in a single location in each the House and Senate.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mitch Albom stands up for Detroit

Some folks think the famed Detroit columnist can get a little schmaltzy, but this piece in the latest Sports Illustrated makes you want to cheer for the Motor City.