Archive for December, 2007

Greenhouse Emissions

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Shipping Container Building

Happy Holidays from JMU & UVA

Happy Holidays! Check out this e-greeting card from JMU.

Check out this Holiday message from UVA.

Who Has the Oil?

Hmmm…not the United States…

Here are my picks for the 2007-08 College Football Bowl season. The teams that I pick to win are in bold.

POINSETTIA BOWL Utah (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4)
NEW ORLEANS BOWL Florida Atlantic (7-5) vs. Memphis (7-5)
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Southern Miss (7-5)
NEW MEXICO BOWL New Mexico (8-4) vs. Nevada (6-6)
LAS VEGAS BOWL BYU (10-2) vs. UCLA (6-6)
HAWAII BOWL East Carolina (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2)
MOTOR CITY Central Michigan (8-5) vs. Purdue (7-5)
HOLIDAY BOWL Arizona State (10-2) vs. Texas (9-3)
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL Boston College (10-3) vs. Michigan State (7-5)
TEXAS BOWL TCU (7-5) vs. Houston (8-4)
EMERALD BOWL Maryland (6-6) vs. Oregon State (8-4)
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL UConn (9-3) vs. Wake Forest (8-4)
LIBERTY BOWL Mississippi State (7-5) vs. UCF (10-3)
ALAMO BOWL Penn State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
INDEPENDENCE BOWL Colorado (6-6) vs. Alabama (6-6)
ARMED FORCES BOWL Cal (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3)
SUN BOWL USF (9-3) vs. Oregon (8-4)
HUMANITARIAN BOWL Fresno State (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)
MUSIC CITY BOWL Florida State (7-5) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
INSIGHT BOWL Indiana (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL Clemson (9-3) vs. Auburn (8-4)
OUTBACK BOWL Wisconsin (9-3) vs. Tennessee (9-4)
COTTON BOWL Missouri (11-2) vs. Arkansas (8-4)
GATOR BOWL Virginia (9-3) vs. Texas Tech (8-4)
CAPITAL ONE Michigan (8-4) vs. Florida (9-3)
ROSE BOWL USC (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3)
SUGAR Hawaii (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2)
FIESTA BOWL West Virginia (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (11-2)
ORANGE BOWL Kansas (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)
INTERNATIONAL BOWL Rutgers (7-5) vs. Ball State (7-5)
GMAC BOWL Tulsa (9-4) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)
BCS TITLE GAME Ohio State (11-1) vs. LSU (11-2)

The following was taken from a report from the U.S. News:

Executive Summary: Should a new stadium be built downtown? How can a county reduce sprawl while providing appealing, affordable housing? What should the city demand of a developer who’s pushing a new project? To address questions like these, planners gorge themselves on data, conduct studies, and hold public hearings. Before making a recommendation, they’ll end up wearing many hats: civil engineer, architect, economist, budget analyst, sociologist, and politician. A diplomat’s touch is necessary if you expect your plan to survive all the stakeholders with competing interests.

In larger communities, you might be able to specialize in redeveloping blighted areas; choosing proper land use for a particular parcel; or managing transportation, housing, environmental protection, or historic preservation. In smaller communities, you’ll probably handle it all.

Median Pay National: $68,800

Training: Most entry-level jobs require a master’s degree in planning. You’ll be more marketable if you take courses in structural or civil engineering, economics, architecture, finance, or geographic information systems.

A Day in the Life: You’re a planner for a midsize city, and, rather than filling the distant suburbs with minimansions, you’re eager to redevelop faded urban areas. That approach will require fewer new roads and make better use of existing resources. So you’ve solicited proposals from developers and selected one. Now the real work begins. Today, you’re reviewing geographic information system maps and other computer-based data to predict how many city services will be needed, from lampposts to libraries to fire hydrants. What mix of parking garages, additional bus service, and other transportation should be required? What about plug-in shared electric cars? You work with the mayor’s office to figure out how to extract as many freebies from the developer as possible, things like subsidized low-income-housing units, wireless Internet for the community, and money for the local schools. You call the developer to float the proposal. He’s furious and quickly turns the conversation to demanding variances in the building codes and zoning regulations. You knew that was coming.

You get off the phone and weigh the impact of the various proposals on all the people affected. You need to get out of the office, so you visit one of the proposed building sites to mull over the options firsthand. Finally, it’s back to your office for a phone call with an economist, who can provide some figures to plug into the first-draft budget you’ll start on tomorrow. The official workday ends at 5 p.m., but tonight, you need to attend a public hearing on the project. Everybody has a complaint. Environmentalists warn that wetlands will be destroyed. Preservationists worry that historic buildings might get torn down. Supporters insist that the community desperately needs redevelopment. Your job is simply to present the data. It’s up to the politicians to decide whether to build or not.

Smart Specialty: Private-sector Planner — Consulting firms hire planners to do things like develop a corporate security plan that’s subtle and that blends in with the laid-back feel of a building park or corporate campus. Private-sector planners enjoy more freedom than do those in government.

Best Careers 2008

Time for Change

Historically, the United States has struggled with the fair distribution of societal costs and private benefits. According to Adam Rome (2001), societal costs and private benefits are unfairly distributed among members of society because of the nature of capitalism. In a free market economy with little regulation, individuals have no incentive or responsibility to accrue the societal costs of their actions. Thus, they cut their individual costs as much as possible and shift the unpaid costs of production to the community as a whole.

After World War II, politicians, businesses, and citizen groups took advantage of the country’s capitalist system and used political relationships, government policies, and human agency to reconfigure urban geography and maximize private benefits (Sugrue 1996). These entities built sprawling developments on large tracts of land outside of urban areas, exploited environmental and social resources, and implemented various policies that only benefited specific segments of the population (Gillham 2002). As a result, homeowners, property holders, and private developers profited because they were not held accountable for the social, economic, and environmental costs of their actions – these costs were reallocated to city-dwellers, minorities, lower class citizens, and society as a whole (Rome 2001).

Consequently, contemporary metropolitan form is characterized by concentrated poverty, racial segregation, environmental degradation, economic inequality, social isolation, and expansive development. Furthermore, this pattern of development is unsustainable because it consumes large quantities of open space, money, fuel, and natural resources (Cieslewicz 2002; Helling 2002; Jargowsky 2002; Powell 2002). Nonetheless, suburban sprawl still exists today because it has provided individual wealth and freedom to a large number of Americans. The real estate, construction, automotive, and oil industries and individual property owners have deep investments in suburbanization, and they are hesitant to disrupt current development patterns because they have consistently proven to be profitable (Gillham 2002).

Americans are growing unhappy with contemporary metropolitan form, and they are searching for viable alternatives to suburbanization. Accordingly, the smart growth, new urbanism, and new regionalism movements have emerged to confront the social, economic, and environmental impacts of urban sprawl. However, Americans have been slow to adopt these policies because of their long-established traditions of self-determination, individual rights, and private-property ownership and the lack of evidence showing that these movements promote more sustainable and more profitable forms of development (Gillham 2002). Although these movements have not been widely implemented, they are a step in the right direction because they seek change.

In order to restructure contemporary metropolitan form, the United States needs to implement social, economic, environmental and political reforms that make individuals accountable for the costs of their actions and make unsustainable development less profitable. Planning professionals can assist in this process because they serve as intermediaries between the public and private sectors. Planners can help reshape metropolitan regions by building inclusive regimes, educating the public, mediating conflicts, and implementing coherent policies (Orfield 2002; Boarnet 2005). Planners can accomplish these goals by acting as social scientists, social workers, and surgeons (Baum 1997). A multi-faceted approach involving empirical analysis, public education, and policy is needed because suburbanization is a convoluted problem that involves many different stakeholders.

Works Cited

Baum, Howell. 1997. “Social Science, Social Work, and Surgery: Teaching What Students Need to Practice Planning” Journal of the American Planning Association 63:179-188.

Boarnet, Marlon et al. 2005. “Emerging Planning Challenges in Retail: The Case of WalMart” Journal of the American Planning Association 71:4 (433-449).

Cieslewicz, David J. 2002. “The Environmental Impacts of Sprawl.” pp. 23 – 38 in Gregory Squires (ed) Urban Sprawl: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses. Washington D.C. The Urban Institute Press.

Gillham, Oliver. 2002. The Limitless City: A Primer on the Urban Sprawl Debate. Washington, D.C. Island Press.

Helling, Amy. 2002. “Transportation, Land Use, and the Impacts of Sprawl on Poor Children and Families.” pp. 119- 139 in Gregory Squires (ed) Urban Sprawl: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses. Washington D.C. The Urban Institute Press.

Jargowsky, Paul A. 2002. “Sprawl, Concentration of Poverty, and Urban Inequality.” pp. 39-71 in Gregory Squires (ed) Urban Sprawl: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses. Washington D.C. The Urban Institute Press.

Orfield, Myron. 2002. American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality. Pp.1-4; 173-187.Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

Powell, John. 2002. “Sprawl, Fragmentation, and the Persistence of Racial Inequality: Limiting Civil Rights by Fragmenting Space.” pp. 72- 118 in Gregory Squires (ed) Urban Sprawl: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Responses. Washington D.C. The Urban Institute Press.

Rome, Adam. 2001. The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sugrue, Thomas. 1996. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in PostWar Detroit. Pp. 3-14. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

The Hook reports that Starr Hill Brewery, a Crozet-based brewery, has reached a distribution deal with Anheuser-Busch. The agreement states that Starr Hill’s brews will be distributed throughout the Mid-Atlantic region starting in 2011, and in 2013 Starr Hill’s brews will be distributed nationally.

Yum Yum Yum. I can’t wait.

Metropolitan form is shaped by decisions made and not made by institutions, groups, and individuals. It is important to understand the evolution of cities because the metropolitan environment influences how people interact, generate wealth, and maintain quality of life. Since World War II urban researchers have theorized how political, economic, and social forces have shaped American cities.

The political economy is the link between social organization and economic activity. In the political economy, economic considerations dominate the political state, and cities are shaped by social actions and the capitalist search for profits (Thomas 1997; Halebsky 2004). Regimes operate within the political economy, and a regime is a stable, long-lasting partnership between public officials and private actors. Regimes have agendas focused on governance and economic gain in a particular geographic area, and they utilize economic, political, and cultural resources to sustain influence and make land use decisions (Bauroth 1998). These partnerships affect metropolitan form because they decide what is built, demolished, and preserved.

New Orleans has never had a stable, long-lasting partnership among resource providers, and the absence of a regime has affected how the city has responded to Hurricane Katrina. (Burns and Thomas 2006). The lack of coordination among federal, state, and local entities has hindered resource allocation and prevented public and private actors from developing an overall vision for the city (Burns and Thomas 2006). New Orleans residents cannot decide what to build, demolish, or preserve. Consequently, the city’s infrastructure is incomplete, many of the dilapidated neighborhoods are still uninhabitable, and thousands of residents are displaced. Churches, nonprofit organizations, and other community-based coalitions have attempted to lead rebuilding efforts, but these groups have been unable to make a large scale impact (Burns and Thomas 2006).

Racial biases have permeated institutional structures and human agencies in many postwar American cities. Regimes have utilized physical and socioeconomic barriers and reinforced urban patterns of inequality to protect themselves from the financial risk associated with racial integration. Postwar Detroit is a prime example of a city shaped by race relations. After World War II, urban politicians, bankers, private developers, and citizen groups exploited local and federal policies to reconfigure urban geography by class and race (Sugrue 1996). Government policies concerning urban renewal and public housing were used to destroy housing and concentrate minorities and low income citizens in isolated enclaves. Individual preferences for racial segregation impeded neighborhood upgrading, restricted housing and job markets, and limited individual choice (Thomas 1997). Today, Detroit is characterized by concentrated poverty, racial segregation, physical decay, abandonment, unemployment, and population loss (Sugrue 1996).

Planners possess many valuable skills that can improve the economic, political, social, and physical deficiencies of many postwar metropolitan areas (Thomas 1997). However, cities in despair like New Orleans and Detroit cannot be rectified by planners alone. Cities need inclusive regimes that have transparent agendas, a plethora of resources, and goals focused on social justice. Planners can help shape metropolitan regions by building inclusive regimes. More specifically, planners can incorporate stakeholders, mediate conflicts, and implement policies (Orfield 2002; Boarnet 2005).

References

Bauroth, Nicholas. 1998. “Regime Approaches to Obscenity Policy: 1960s-1980s” Journal of Urban Affairs 20:395-417.

Boarnet, Marlon et al. 2005. “Emerging Planning Challenges in Retail: The Case of WalMart” Journal of the American Planning Association 71:4 (433-449).

Burns, Peter and Matthew Thomas. 2006. “The Failure of the Nonregime: How Katrina Exposed New Orleans as a Regimeless City” Urban Affairs Review 41 (March):517-527.

Halebsky, Stephen. 2004. “Superstores and the Politics of Retail Development” City and Community 3 (June):115-134.

Mayer, Heike and Paul Knox. 2006. “Slow Cities: sustainable places in a fast world” Journal of Urban Affairs 28:4 (321-334).

Orfield, Myron. 2002. American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality. Pp.1-4; 173-187.Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

Sugrue, Thomas. 1996. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in PostWar Detroit. Pp. 3-14. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Thomas, June Manning. 1997. Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press). Introduction and Chapter 8.