Planet earth vs. roads: The epic conflict that will define the future of the world – Salon.com

L.A. Road Network

The great age of road-building is only beginning. By 2050, we will have added 15 million miles of new road to the planet — a 60 percent increase in four decades over our current total, amassed over the past 5,000 years. Nine-tenths of that network will be built in the developing world – in the basins of the Amazon and Congo Rivers, and the jungles of South Asia and Oceania.

via Planet earth vs. roads: The epic conflict that will define the future of the world – Salon.com.

Phonehenge West creator jailed: When folk art and building codes collide – CSMonitor.com

The builder of a fantastical fortress in the Mojave Desert has been sentenced to jail for failing to pay for the demolition of his lifes work. Why art isnt sacred in the eyes of code enforcers.

via Phonehenge West creator jailed: When folk art and building codes collide – CSMonitor.com.

BIG BROTHER’S LISTENING – The Daily

The era of private conversations on city buses — and even on San Francisco’s iconic streetcars — may be coming to an end.  Government officials are quietly installing sophisticated audio surveillance systems on public buses across the country to eavesdrop on passengers, according to documents obtained by The Daily. Plans to implement the technology are under way in cities from San Francisco to Hartford, Conn., and Eugene, Ore., to Columbus, Ohio.Linked to video cameras already in wide use, the microphones will offer a formidable new tool for security and law enforcement. With the new systems, experts say, transit officials can effectively send an invisible police officer to transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus.

 

via BIG BROTHER’S LISTENING – The Daily.

New Urbanism: Same Old Social Engineering : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education

New Urbanism’s tenets are simple: Suburban life undermines a sense of community. People spend too much time in their own private space and in their automobiles. Communities should be built at much higher densities. People should be able to walk from their homes to stores.They should be able to hop on a bus or a rail line rather than take their car. Every town should have a vibrant and hip central area, and there should be open space between towns. Cities should grow mostly within existing urban boundaries. Each urban area would have a core, with growth occurring in an orderly diameter around it. Neighborhoods should be diverse, ethnically and economically.

via New Urbanism: Same Old Social Engineering : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education.

New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com

The phrase “Jersey Shore” is taking on a new meaning, emblematic of disaster recovery.

…environmentalists and shoreline planners urged the state to think about how – and if – to redevelop the shoreline as it faces an even greater threat of extreme weather.

“The next 50 to 100 years are going to be very different than what we’ve seen in the past 50 years,” said S. Jeffress Williams, a scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Woods Hole Science Center in Massachusetts.

The sea level is rising fast, and destructive storms are occurring more frequently, said Williams, who expects things to get even worse.

He and other shoreline advocates say the state should consider how to protect coastal areas from furious storms when they rebuild it, such as relocating homes and businesses farther from the shore, building more seawalls and keeping sand dunes high.

How to rebuild after the disaster is becoming an issue even as New Jersey assesses its damage.

via New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com.

Commuters Snatch Up Bicycles in Storm’s Wake – US Business News – CNBC

In New York’s transportation woes, there is finally a silver lining. New Yorkers are biking and carpooling in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on all modes of motorized transportation.

In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.

“Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, speaking to a surge in bike-related sales just one day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. “Our first customer walked in and said: ‘The subways are down so I have to buy a bike’. That was standard all morning.”

via Commuters Snatch Up Bicycles in Storm's Wake – US Business News – CNBC.

Gasoline Runs Short, Adding Woes to Storm Recovery – NYTimes.com

Gasoline shortages point to another good reason to develop towns where employment centers, park and recreation facilities, grocery stores and housing are within walking distance. Community gardens are also important in this regard, although the flooding would have destroyed these. In any event, communities need to meet their needs without requiring an automobile trip to do so. Bicycle lanes and bicycle ownership by every family member are another good idea.

Four days after Hurricane Sandy, the effort to secure enough gas for the region moved to the forefront of recovery work. The problems affected even New York City, where the Taxi Commission warned that the suddenly indispensable fleet of yellow cabs would thin significantly Friday because of the fuel shortage.</p>

via Gasoline Runs Short, Adding Woes to Storm Recovery – NYTimes.com.

Sandy: Coastal City Disasters Increasingly Costly

We need a paradigm shift away from city building within shouting distance of the ocean as well as interconnected power grids, especially in the case of a megalopolis like New York and even large cities like New Orleans. Can you think of other ones that are at risk?

So what will this storm ultimately cost the U.S. economy?  Well, Fox News is reporting that the total cost could reach 45 billion dollars.  Others estimate that the economic toll may be even higher than that.

via 18 Startling Quotes About The Incredible Destruction Caused By Hurricane Sandy.

Everything Will Be Too Big to Fail – By John Seo | Foreign Policy

How smart is Smart Growth?

Too Big to Fail?

But density has consequences. Cramming more than half the world’s population and production onto a relatively small area of mostly coastal land means that the cost of natural catastrophes of all kinds will rise dramatically. This year’s earthquake in Japan, which caused more than $300 billion in economic damage, was just a preview; a decade and a half from now, a single hurricane or earthquake will come with a potential price tag of $1 trillion or more. Imagine a world in which economic damage equivalent to that caused by a major war or the detonation of a midsized nuclear weapon in a major city could materialize with a warning of only a few days (in the case of a hurricane) or just one second (an earthquake).

via Everything Will Be Too Big to Fail – By John Seo | Foreign Policy.