myurbandream: (sanzo's happiness)
Thinking about the housing industry in the US and how Section 8 has a bad rap, how we handle low-income housing and etc, it often makes me very upset...

...but at least we're not constructing substandard buildings that collapse a decade later and kill a bunch of people, like what happens in India: http://enr.construction.com/yb/enr/article.aspx?story_id=189372884

That's just depressing.
myurbandream: (sanzo's happiness)
Raise your hand if you've ever played a game (computer game, board game, RPG, whatever) where you get to set the qualities of your character/tool/system on a sliding scale. zB: I think it's the Sims game where, at start-up, you get to pick the look of your character and then you get to pick their personality, by starting with a set number of points and assigning those points to different categories (smart, funny, athletic, etc) until all your points are gone. You only get so many points, so you have to pick how to distribute them and hope that the result works out in game-play the way you want it to.

Wouldn't it be awesome if the national budget worked the same way?

That's kinda how my budget works. )
myurbandream: (sanzo's happiness)
as a citizen-urbanist and professional land planner, this made me want to break something the first time i read it.

seriously. i wanted to punch these assholes in the face. )

~

after reading this, i couldn't decide what an appropriate course of action would be: a) cry, b) break something, or c) hate the world forever. i opted for d) post a rant online.

to put this in my perspective, i am extremely biased against cars. extremely. )

what this article indicates to me is that, yes, in fact, privatized mass transit did at one point work - and work well - for the major cities of the united states. unfortunately we have had half a century to entrench the idea of the automobile into the collective mind of... well, everyone.

it's not just traffic engineers and conventional city planning and oil/gas subsidies and the American ideal of private suburban life that make owning a car something everyone wants to do. because owning a car isn't something every wants (or can afford) to do. the problem is that you have to do it anyway.

nowadays, most people don't have the option of multi-modal transit (aka different ways of getting around). think of where you live now. think of how many places there are within walking distance (about 1/4-mile, or about 4 city blocks) that you can buy lunch, or mail a package, or put your kid in day care, or buy cat food, or get a book to read. how many places are within biking distance (anywhere 1/2-mile to a mile, about 15 city blocks, or the typical length from one highway intersection to the next)? where is the nearest public transit stop, and does it go in the direction you travel on a daily basis? how far is your commute to school/work, and is that distance practical to travel in any way but by private vehicle? is there anywhere within walking distance that you can sit down in the shade to eat a meal or read a book or people-watch without feeling either unwelcome or unsafe?

and to think that we had those things, and some asshole executives took away our options in order to make themselves more money.... i seriously want to break something.
myurbandream: (Default)
check this out:

http://www.walkscore.com/TX/Houston
myurbandream: (sanzo's happiness)
Vatti sent me this email. )

~

Despite the horrendous political overtones and bias in there, I actually do think there are several salient points in it.

I think that food stamps should not be used for luxury food (brings to mind the news story about the guy arrested for using food stamps to buy steak and lobster, and then reselling them at a profit). I'm a bit biased about medical care - I don't think anyone's life should be casually ignored when the means to save them is available, regardless of cost. Housing is a HUGE pet peeve for me, though - if you're living on a government check in housing paid for by the government, you should not be living in a high-quality apartment - 'barracks' is right. I also don't think welfare checks should be able to buy new cars or flat screen TVs or new laptops.

The not-voting and the government-work things are questionable - that sounds to me very much like a communistic regime, in which citizens are told what job they will work and given no say in the matter and no way to change the entity that enforces the rules. However, if the welfare laborers (sounds like a euphemism for 'slave', doesn't it?) are able to get themselves a paying job to get out of the situation, then they aren't technically trapped as government slaves. On the other hand, it took me three months to find a job in my profession, so in a practical sense it would be very difficult to get out of government servitude in that way. But on the other other hand - it would be completely voluntary, right? If you don't want to do the government job anymore, then you just tell the government not to send you a check anymore, right? And if it's voluntary to begin with, then no-one can say they're being forced, so long as the government isn't the only employer out there.

Which, on a tangent, is a distinct and scary possibility - we officially have more people than either food or jobs, and we're artificially sustaining ourselves, imho. Something's gotta give.
myurbandream: (the geek shall inherit the earth)
"For every doctor working at [the medical center] there are three people making less than $50,000 a year who come from 140 countries and speak 100 languages. Where are they going to live? How are they going to get to work?"
-Rollin Stanley, AICP, in the article "The Upsizing of White Flint" by Andrew Ratner in this month's Planning magazine.

Discuss.

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