Between catching up from my absence last week, family visiting from out of town, interviewing a dozen prospective teachers as part of my volunteer position on a local school board, taking in another Twins loss to the Yankees, coordinating improvements to my house as we prepare to put it on the market and spending half a day recovering from Fizzl'd Fruit Skittles (seriously - do not mix with Mountain Dew), I have read very little news this week. If we did not have CNBC running full time at the office, I would literally have no idea what is going on in the world. I have a nice four-day weekend to get my bearings again and get back to you with some new content next week. Lot's planned, just need time to write.
So have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. If you have a veteran in your family or circle of friends, please let them know how thankful we all are. And enjoy the week's news:
- Some Strong Town content featured out there and so we have some thank you's going out. First, to Friend of the STB Kaid Benfield who featured some of the content from my presentation at NextGen in a conversation on density. Read the articles he links to there - it is his work and is worth the time. Minnesota Public Radio used our post on the costs of an autocentric development pattern as the conversation starter for a blog post. Zoning Czarina Tracy Davis featured that same post on her blog. And I thought it was cool that frequent-STB-commenter Ross Williams gave our work a reference on a community discussion forum. Thank you everyone for spreading the Strong Towns message.
- For those of you that still believe we will return to the habits of 1995-2005 when we just get past the current financial downturn, get people consuming again, get people working again, stabilize housing prices, shore up banks, reduce the deficit, control entitlements and now stabilize the Euro (each of which is a monumental feat by itself), add state pension obligations to the list. One of the stories of my presentation at CNU and our Vulnerable Cities report is that cities can't count on bailouts from the state and federal governments. We need to build strong, resilient towns.
- And if you agree that a change is needed, understand the the level of delusion out there is astounding. We have lots of work to do.
- In Pennsylvania the infrastructure just received an abysmal grade from the "rainmakers" at the American Society of Civil Engineers. Of course, funding is the problem, not the fact that our systems have grown beyond our ability to maintain and, in the process, has provided financial returns that are pitiful in comparison.
"Not only have many areas of our state's infrastructure been critically underfunded for decades, threatening our economy and quality of life, but we are currently facing a major crisis in funding roads, transit and other parts of our transportation system," said Greg Scott, ASCE Region 2 governor.
- The highest and best use someday for all of our remote, school-i-tentaries - especially after our finances force us to develop more efficiently - may actually be a strip club. Imagine that irony.
- James Kunstler had his own insights on CNU that are well worth reading.
- Finally, here is a little video of Duany discussing the theme we raised here Wednesday: resilience in the face of uncertainty.