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February 9th, 2014
thesmithian
I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and old men and women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.
January 4th, 2014
thesmithian

Four decades before Obama’s ACA, Hawaii enacted its own health-care mandate…the state has poured billions…into rebuilding highways and infrastructure, bringing the unemployment rate down to an enviable 4.4 percent. Gay marriage is legal, immigrants are welcomed, labor unions are strong and—if the governor gets his way this year—universal pre-kindergarten will be the law of the land…there are no tea party stars to bicker with and no Congress to stand in the way. There’s hardly a viable GOP…The Aloha State, with its liberal governor and overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, has succeeded in achieving much of the vision Obama has yet to accomplish on the mainland.

more.

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art: watercolor map by Irina March

October 28th, 2013
thesmithian

…evidence of Sandy still litters the landscape. There are miles of shuttered coastline, building lots specked with rubble, entire neighborhoods without habitable homes and blue tarps flapping like flags of surrender. All is not well underground, either. In the city’s dense subterranean layer, damage to the electrical grid and the subway system still keeps workers busy and city officials worried about infrastructure older than the average technician’s grandparents.

more.

September 22nd, 2013
thesmithian

Urban exploration, urbex or UE—recreational trespass in the built environment. Among the requirements for participation are claustrophilia, lack of vertigo, a taste for decay, a fascination with infrastructure, a readiness to jump fences and lift manhole covers, and a familiarity with the laws of access in whatever jurisdiction you’re undertaking your explorations.

more.

August 2nd, 2013
thesmithian

Last week, the President…talked about the need to repair the country’s infrastructure. Where better to start than in Detroit? By the standards of the banking and auto bailouts, the sums involved are small: the banks received seven hundred billion dollars; the auto companies eighty billion. Already, there are hopeful signs. The auto industry has turned a profit and repaid much of the federal monies. And hipsters and artisans aren’t the only ones moving in: firms such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Quicken Loans, an online-mortgage lender; GalaxE.Solutions, a tech firm; and the insurance company Title Source have also recently arrived. Americans of all ages are increasingly eager to live in urban environments: a smaller, rebuilt Detroit could eventually thrive. “I speak of new cities and new people,” Obama said last week, quoting Carl Sandburg. Here’s an opportunity to turn words into deeds.

more.
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art: mural panel, ‘Detroit Industry-4’ by Diego Rivera. 1933

Last week, the President…talked about the need to repair the country’s infrastructure. Where better to start than in Detroit? By the standards of the banking and auto bailouts, the sums involved are small: the banks received seven hundred billion dollars; the auto companies eighty billion. Already, there are hopeful signs. The auto industry has turned a profit and repaid much of the federal monies. And hipsters and artisans aren’t the only ones moving in: firms such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Quicken Loans, an online-mortgage lender; GalaxE.Solutions, a tech firm; and the insurance company Title Source have also recently arrived. Americans of all ages are increasingly eager to live in urban environments: a smaller, rebuilt Detroit could eventually thrive. “I speak of new cities and new people,” Obama said last week, quoting Carl Sandburg. Here’s an opportunity to turn words into deeds.

more.

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art: mural panel, ‘Detroit Industry-4’ by Diego Rivera. 1933

July 24th, 2013
thesmithian

'…In anticipation of President Obama's economic address this afternoon, congressional Republicans made an announcement of their own overnight: they intend to fight tooth and nail to slash public investments, regardless of the economic effects…

…on everything from infrastructure to environmental protections, health care to energy efficiency, law enforcement to transportation. Looking at the GOP plan, one starts to get the impression that Republicans hold some kind of personal grudge against struggling American families…

more.

June 20th, 2013
thesmithian

There are many causes for the protests. The most evident is the rise of bus fares in São Paulo. This…fare hike followed one in Porto Alegre in early April…to everyone’s surprise, the protests in Porto Alegre led to the lowering of…fares back to their original cost. When São Paulo raised transportaton fares in early June, the first posters of “let’s repeat Porto Alegre” appeared in the streets…The demonstrations also call attention to the flawed decision-making process and high costs of building infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. The negotiations surrounding building contracts for these events are rooted in Brazil’s tradition of benefiting businessmen, corporations, and corrupt politicians…Then there is the broad public discomfort with media outlets. There is a reason why protesters in Porto Alegre targeted the headquarters of Zero Hora. Since April, the most important media networks have portrayed protesters as vandals… Demonstrators have not forgotten that Brazil’s media was built up in the 60s and has deep roots and alliances with the oligarchies and politicians connected to the military coup…In some ways, the protests are forcing media outlets to reshape themselves…to choose their allies more carefully. Their own journalists are suffering from police violence…a journalist was arrested and detained for more than two hours for carrying a bottle of vinegar. It is no accident that we have come up with the term “Vinegar Revolt”—the widespread use of tear gas has made this common kitchen product the most reliable shield protesters can carry…

more.

June 18th, 2013
thesmithian

'…the mayors of Washington, D.C., Denver, Nashville, and 42 other U.S. cities signed a “Resilient Communities for America” agreement, pledging “to prepare and protect their communities from the increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by climate change.”'

…Although…the scale of work to be done to strengthen urban infrastructure requires all the federal dollars they can get… in green circles, a focus on adaptation was once frowned upon, out of concern that it would distract from efforts to address the source of the problem…That concern still exists, but as a climate-changed world becomes reality much faster than a global climate solution, government officials figure they’d better prepare for the worst.

more.

June 6th, 2013
thesmithian

gov:

In her superb opening talk, Catherine Bracy highlighted a recent project to map the routes of private buses in San Francisco.

To many, these private bus networks represent the deep divides that Silicon Valley wealth and culture has created.

More at: http://stamen.com/zero1/ (via @tkb)

[look of the hour]

Reblogged from
April 22nd, 2013
thesmithian

…the governor’s decision to shut down an entire city will undeniably influence how the next mayor or governor will respond to a major threat. To lock down or not to lock down is now the yardstick against which the public will measure their leaders in a crisis.

more.

April 2nd, 2013
thesmithian

'…who does [Speaker John] Boehner think is going to pay the greatly increased bills when bridges start collapsing, taking lives with them?'

…what does he think is going to happen to an economy where goods can’t easily be transported from one city or state to another because the nation’s rail and roads and bridges aren’t up to the task? There’s a reason the Chamber of Commerce and unions agree on the importance of infrastructure investment: It’s incredibly important not just for job creation but for private profits…Republicans used to support far, far more extensive infrastructure spending. But now? They’re more interested in hurting Obama than helping the nation.

more.

March 24th, 2013
thesmithian

'With his signature this week, President Obama will lock into place deep spending cuts that threaten to undermine his second-term economic vision just four months after he won reelection. Obama has repeatedly championed a set of government investments that he argues would expand the economy and strengthen the middle class, including bolstering early-childhood education, spending more on research and development, and upgrading the nation’s roads and railways. He has said his comfortable reelection victory in November shows the country is with him.'

But none of those policies have come close to being enacted. Instead…Obama is set to sign a government funding measure that leaves in place the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration—a policy that undermines many of the goals he laid out during the 2012 campaign. Obama thinks the cuts are, in his words, “dumb”…Yet Obama now finds himself enacting a broad domestic policy that…he believes will harm the country.

more.

March 6th, 2013
thesmithian

…the mayor mentioned his personal desire to see bridges as something other than “heavy pieces of metal that we look at every single day.” With this new cloak of light, the Bay Bridge will no longer just be a conduit for some 250,000 cars per day. It will be a “worldwide piece of art,” he said. “It’s truly a beacon and we’re very blessed.”

a must-see.

March 4th, 2013
thesmithian
It’s the fear of white people and black people…What are you going to do? It’s human nature.

Terry Parker

a store owner from Roswell, Georgia who acknowledged that race shapes his views in the transit debate.

as it seems

A proposal to change the power structure of metro Atlanta’s mass transit system raises the complicated politics of race in Georgia. The tension is evident when comparing the demographics of mass transit riders against those seeking change. Roughly three-quarters of transit riders are black, according to government surveys. The lawmakers seeking a larger political role in transit decisions for northern Atlanta and its predominantly white suburbs are white.

more.

March 1st, 2013
thesmithian

Perhaps sparked by highway congestion or the hassle of air travel, Amtrak’s passenger rail service has been the nation’s fastest growing mode of transportation, according to a new report that urges Congress to push forward with coordinated national rail plan. The government-subsidized railway carried a record 31.2 million people last year, a 55 percent increase since 1997…

love it.

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