Back to the City

Moreover, [author Alan Ehrenhalt] notes, “the [millennial] generation is simply so large—by one conventional measure, sixty to seventy million people—that even a respectable minority of this cohort seeking an urban life is bound to change American metropolitan areas dramatically.” In other words, the inversion, to the extent it is occurring, is the product of real preferences, not an urban-planning straitjacket imposed by those who disdain suburban sprawl.

As much as I link to articles about the upcoming generation preferring urban life, I understand that different people want to live in different environments and cities aren’t for everyone. The great point being made here is that even a moderate shift toward urban living is going to have a huge overall impact.

All the research says go live with your friends and fam­ily. Oth­er­wise, you have to look at why you’re not doing that. If you want to look at a city that’s best for your career, it’s New York, San Fran­cisco or Lon­don. If you’re not look­ing for your career, it doesn’t really mat­ter. There’s no dif­fer­ence. It’s split­ting hairs. The whole con­ver­sa­tion about where to live is bullshit.

Pene­lope Trunk

Americans Want More City Planning

A recent survey of 1,300 Americans—including people of all political persuasions living in cities, suburbs, and small towns—had some interesting results.

Respondents were also asked to rank the top five factors that make up an “ideal community.” The results:

  1. Locally owned businesses nearby
  2. Being able to stay in the same neighborhood while aging
  3. Availability of sidewalks
  4. Energy-efficient homes
  5. Availability of transit

More people are realizing that shopping at big box stores and having to drive everywhere is not what they want out of life.

Baby boomers had better embrace change

Yet a Pew Research Center survey published in November showed only 23 percent of baby boomers regard the country’s growing population of immigrants as a change for the better. Forty-three percent saw it as a change for the worse. Almost half of white boomers said the growing number of newcomers from other countries represented a threat to traditional U.S. customs and values.

Mapping political allegiance via wireless network names

Wireless network SSIDs in residential areas are typically left on default router names like “Belkin” or “LinkSys,” but some people use them as a subtle way to broadcast a message. Sometimes it’s simple like “DontStealMyInternet” or “Big Bob’s playhouse.” Others use their SSIDs to make a political statement. With that in mind, James Robinson, a developer for OpenSignalMaps, wondered if political allegiance could be inferred from assigning sentiment to SSIDs.

Steve Jobs on the file system

In 2005, two years before the iPhone:

You don’t keep your music in the file system, that would be crazy. You keep it in this app that knows about music and knows how to find things in lots of different ways. Same with photos: we’ve got an app that knows all about photos. And these apps manage their own file storage. […]

And eventually, the file system management is just gonna be an app for pros, and consumers aren’t gonna need to use it.

Critics of the iPhone complain that iOS doesn’t offer a way to directly access the file system, but Steve Jobs was right. Managing files and folders is something that only geeks care about. Part of the iPad’s popularity comes from the fact that non-technical users feel like they can’t “mess anything up.” There is no learning curve. Go to Photos to view your photos; go to Music to listen to music.

The interesting thing is that Jobs never said the file system would totally go away. I could imagine a future version of iOS introducing a Files app giving geeks this access. But most users would never use it — they’d use Photos, Music, Videos, and other apps exactly like they do now.

Virtually every person in charge of planning our transportation system and developing our land owns a car. They don’t live the reality of long tortuous 3 hour bus commutes, walking through broken glass on crumbling highway shoulders (there are no sidewalks) or getting bottles thrown out of car windows at them by angry motorists [while riding a bike].

Jason Segedy of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium