This week I spent a lot of time on the road, some in pretty treacherous weather really late at night (you know there is trouble when you see multiple tractor-trailers flipped over, because those guys drive for a living). Get to the end of a week like this and one can be pretty shot, but not tonight. I was in Pequot Lakes this evening and had one of the most thought-provoking and stimulating meetings I have been to in a long time. It is stuff like this that makes the grinding schedule worthwhile. Cheers to the good citizen-planners of Pequot Lakes and their hard work building a Strong Town.

Enjoy this week's news:

  •  I was forwarded this article by a friend. If you are interested in why alternative energy sources are not catching on as fast as they seemingly should, this will give you part of the answer.
  • Let the clawing and gnashing of teeth begin, I guess. I have to imagine that this line of thought is happening in small town after small town across the country.
  • I've been interviewed by Bob Shaw of the Pioneer Press before and found him to be a fair guy. He recently wrote this article on how "small is the new big" when it comes to housing sizes.
  • In Australia they have come up with an idea that seems rather (stereotypically) non-Australian. Paying for your sewage by the flush probably makes more sense, however, than how they have been doing it.

The scheme would replace the current system, which sees sewage charges based on a home's value - not its waste water output. 

  • One of the incredible things about living in the year 2009 is the ease that we communicate directly with each other. After posting a second entry on the book The Big Sort, I was fortunate to email with the author, Bill Bishop. He thanked me for the post (graciously) and turned me on to his current venture, the publication The Daily Yonder. Check it out - those who like this blog will find some common and interesting themes there. I put a link here so you can go there daily (after checking out, of course). Nice to chat with you, Bill. 
  • In a completely opposite vein, I'm mildly amused, Tom, that you are an avid reader of this blog. Good for you - can't hurt.
  • My name is Chuck. (Hi Chuck). I am from Brainerd, Minnesota, and that's okay.

  • Every now and then it would be nice to have a meeting that goes like this one.
  • Broadband to rural areas has been a near obsession for some. This interesting analysis raises some good questions. For a preview of the future debate we will certainly have in a debt-heavy country that has developed in the pattern we have, consider this quote from a former FCC economist:

"The notion that we should be helping people who live in rural areas avoid the costs that they impose on society … is misguided," Katz went on, "from an efficiency point of view and an equity one."

  • And now, five in a series of nine in Andres Duany's lecture to the good planners of San Antonio. This time he continues the conversation on mixed-use development, beginning with the "granny flat".  Enjoy.