Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back from the Desert


















And riding PHX's new light rail into PHX from Tempe for the Dunk Contest and All-Star festivities. I didn't take this image, but found it appropriate since you can see ASU's Sun Devil Stadium, where we were most of the time...got into plenty of conversations about mass transit in general and was actually surprise at how little seating there is on the new trams (I say trams because the ride felt more like a tram than say DART's light rail trains with more seating, higher speed, etc. etc.).

















[I did take this pic however with my camera phone, literally across the street from the picture above of a parking garage with a rooftop solar array that rotates to point directly at the sun throughout the day -- If anybody finds info on how much power this generates, I would love to find out.]

I'm not surprised that much of the b!tching about the expense of the light rail has died down. It is tremendously convenient linking downtown Tempe and Arizona State to the airport (not a direct link but it gets there nonetheless) and eventually to downtown Phoenix, the baseball stadium, and the basketball arena. $2.50 for an all day pass which was nice as well.

On to the links for the day...
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Nothing outrageous here, but the Boston Herald asks Are McMansions McHistory?

A recent Better Homes and Gardens poll of 733 potential new-home buyers found that one in three wanted a house “somewhat smaller” or “much smaller” than their current places.

Builders are already responding to such a shift in demand.

You know what they also want? Complete communities.

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Kunstler's Monday Morning Quarterbacking:

Americans drew the false conclusion that Ronald Reagan was an economic genius (a similar thing happened in Great Britain with Margaret Thatcherism). The price of oil went down steeply while they were in office. Britain could kick back and enjoy it's last remaining industry, banking, on a majestic cushion of energy resources. The USA resumed its major post-war industry: suburban sprawl building. Reaganism got elevated to the status of a religion, though it was little more than a twisted version of Eisenhower-on-steroids. Under Reagan, WalMart embarked on its campaign to destroy every main street economy in the nation. The Baby Boomers came back from the land, clipped their pony tails, discovered venture capital, real estate investment trusts, securitization of "consumer" debt, and the Hamptons. Greed was good. (No, really....)

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Gotta put Richard Florida's Atlantic cover story on here:

How the Crash will Reshape America

Stratospheric real-estate prices have made New York less diverse over time, and arguably less stimulating. When I asked Jacobs some years ago about the effects of escalating real-estate prices on creativity, she told me, “When a place gets boring, even the rich people leave.” With the hegemony of the investment bankers over, New York now stands a better chance of avoiding that sterile fate...
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Economic crises tend to reinforce and accelerate the underlying, long-term trends within an economy. Our economy is in the midst of a fundamental long-term transformation—similar to that of the late 19th century, when people streamed off farms and into new and rising industrial cities. In this case, the economy is shifting away from manufacturing and toward idea-driven creative industries—and that, too, favors America’s talent-rich, fast-metabolizing places.