Greater Greater Washington

Weekend links: Not again


Photo by FrodoBabbs on Flickr.
Metro brake breaks again: Another brake part fell from a Metro train Friday, leading the agency to inspect 464 railcars' brakes. The failed brake was of a different design than the one that failed two weeks ago. (Examiner)

WMATA board all shook up: Gov. McDonnell's appointee to the NVTC will take his place at the WMATA board next week. Arlington's representative will be demoted to non-voting status in order to make room. (Post)

HPRB almost an empty board: Two of Mayor Gray's 4 nominees to the Historic Preservation Review Board declined to serve. Almost the entire board has had their terms expired and are just continuing on until there are more nominees. (City Paper)

Steal early, steal often: Harry Thomas, Jr., began stealing public money within four months of taking office, using the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation as a pass-through organization. Prosecutors say the nature of the crimes means this drama is far from over. (Loose Lips)

Battle for succession: Now that Harry Thomas, Jr., is out of office, it's time to prepare for the special election to succeed him, and it's bringing out all the Ward 5 leaders. That election will likely be in early May. (Post)

Some gin with your zoning: A gin and whiskey distillery is coming to DC. The distillery takes advantage of the Ivy City industrial zone, but such zones are becoming increasingly rare as DC continues to grow. (Housing Complex)

Hawaii train on track: With its highways jammed with traffic, the island of Oahu will begin building a 20-mile elevated rail line in March, which they hope will encourage development. (NYT, Matthias)

Development is harder than it looks: Answering the challenge of economic development on an urban scale has often meant following the fad of the moment. Perhaps DC should heed the lessons of the past. (City Journal)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast living in Mount Vernon Square. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin

Comments

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Good news on the distillery. Hopefully their products are good and don't just rely on the novelty of being in DC. I hope they end up getting a good tasting setup as well as food like they have at DC Brau on Saturdays.

by Nicoli on Jan 7, 2012 12:58 pm • linkreport

Re: Urban Development Myths

Excellent article that debunks all the latest (and oldest) urban development fads. Readers of this blog will likely find most interesting his attempt at debunking Richard Florida's "creative class" theory.

That said, I disagree with one myth he tried to debunk -- that quality local education doesn't necessarily lead to urban development because the people you educate might move away. First off, quality educational systems are mostly meant to attract the PARENTS of those you educate, who are usually very educated themselves. Even if their kids move away, the parents will still be there.

Second, sure some kids will move away if there are no opportunities but a captive audience of well educated people will attract companies and create opportunities. There's also inertia working in the city's favor, because easier not to move, so if you create an acceptable level of opportunity, many people will stay rather leave for the very best opportunities.

by Falls Church on Jan 7, 2012 4:20 pm • linkreport

I don't know that the article really debunks anything, it merely points out that any solution purported to be a silver bullet is going to be wrong.

The more interesting conclusion isn't about the economic development strategies, or the ideas they're based on, but on the problems of governance and institutional levels of control.

by Alex B. on Jan 7, 2012 5:46 pm • linkreport

Honolulu HRT will completely shape & transform how the city grows, wish I could jump forward 25 years to see the results!

by nely on Jan 7, 2012 9:21 pm • linkreport

@Alex B: City Journal is a right wing publication put out by the Mnahattan Institute (a conservative position paper mill). The article is a bit softer in tone than the usual right wing tract, but centralization, unionization, etc. are clearly the "villians" here. they fail to pint out the urban planning disasters that have come, e.g., from public-private partnerships and other bromides that they support. One need only look at downtown Atlanta to see what kind of horrible faddish planning comes from public-private partnerships and which rediscovery of the city since the Olympics has only partially begun to remedy. They also seem to support a Fed report that stupidly lumps Gary, Indiana (a place of incredible disinvestment and literal emptiness) with Akron, Ohio which is in much better shape and which has been able to put a significant dent in reshaping its economic base.

Interestingly, GGW doesn't seem to link to leftish publications that have periodically addressed economic redevelopment like American Prospect, where they at least pursue some novel ideas once in awhile. The effort to engage libertarians in urbanism is doomed to failure, they never stick their necks out for anything other than tax breaks that benefit the extant wealthy. I've seen a variety of topical blogs, more or less "progressive" in outlook try to do this, some of them fairly orthodox in the liberalism like Daily Kos. At some point, they quietly face reality and give up on this.

by Rich on Jan 8, 2012 8:38 am • linkreport

The article is a bit softer in tone than the usual right wing tract, but centralization, unionization, etc. are clearly the "villians" here. they fail to pint out the urban planning disasters that have come, e.g., from public-private partnerships and other bromides that they support.

The whole point of the article is that a reliance on fads and silver bullets is wrong-headed. Instead of attacking the source of the paper, try debating the merit of its points. You might be surprised to learn that there are in fact rational, well-meaning people on every side of ideological divides.

The effort to engage libertarians in urbanism is doomed to failure, they never stick their necks out for anything other than tax breaks that benefit the extant wealthy.

Actually, the article specifically opposes the fad for giving tax breaks to strategic industries. Once again, it's important to listen with an open mind rather than just jump to conclusions on the basis of who is talking.

The effort to engage libertarians in urbanism is doomed to failure

The idea that urbanists can go it alone, dooms the movement to remain a niche of the hipster yuppy elite. If you want urbanism to be successful on a wide scale, you'll have to engage people who aren't part of the urbanist echo chamber.

by Falls Church on Jan 8, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

@Rich

Submit a tip next time you see something! I love to see what people are talking about when it comes to cities. You can submit a tip either at the link above, on Twitter at @GGWashTips, or use the bookmarklet found here. Make it novel and interesting and we might just use it in a links roundup.

by David Edmondson on Jan 8, 2012 1:33 pm • linkreport

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