Sign up | Login with →

Posts by Daniel Nairn Subscribe

Edward Murray Bassett and the Origins of Zoning

The following is a summary of and reflection on Zoning by Edward Murray Bassett, published by the National Municipal League in 1922. After writing the first comprehensive zoning ordinance for New York City six years earlier, Bassett had become the...

Posted May 24, 2012    

The Nature of Adaptable Housing

An older, urban townhouse in a healthy metro area: could be rented or owned.Every region needs a certain proportion of rented homes and owned homes, and this optimal balance is constantly shifting with fluctuations in housing market demand. Right...

Posted April 27, 2012    

Principle and Power in Federal Transportation

The Republican majority in the federal House of Representatives laid down the gauntlet last week in what is shaping up to be a dramatic fight over the future of transportation in the United States. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee...

Posted February 9, 2012    

In Search of the Megapolitan Scale

When Jean Gottmann popularized the term Megalopolis in the 1960's, he mostly had the Northeast Corridor in mind. By this time, so many interconnections had developed between the string of cities from Boston through Washington DC that it could be...

Posted November 29, 2011    

Visions for an Urban National Park

I'll admit that I had no idea a reasonably large national park existed within the boundaries of New York City. Even after a short-lived but legitimate childhood obsession with national park trivia, and after having worked in a national park in...

Posted October 18, 2011    

Which is Denser: New York or Los Angeles?

Your intuitions are correct. New Yorkers live in neighborhoods with much higher density than do Angelenos. But its not obvious how this conclusion is reached, and there's plenty of confusion going around about measuring density. Where you draw the...

Posted September 7, 2011    

Vid: Capturing London On A Double Decker Bus Tour

This is a wonderful video shot during a course of 30 hours riding a London bus. Every person the bus passes seems to have their own story, even if only captured in two-second film clips. I don't think I've seen a more humane portrait of a great city...

Posted September 2, 2011    

New study sheds light on roadway safety for all

Traffic safety has been one of those long-standing fault lines in the purported war between cars and pedestrians. In the one corner, we have traffic engineers who are given the task of designing roadways to maximize speed and capacity, while...

Posted April 16, 2011    

Where does a revolution happen?

In an historic sequence of events for the nation of Egypt, massive demonstrations were held at the Nile View mall in suburban Cairo. Protesters began gathering outside of J.C. Penney in late January. Within a week the parking lot was full, and...

Posted February 12, 2011    

Michael Sandel on public places

  I was pleased to see Michael Sandel’s name show up as a keynote speaker at this year’s American Planning Association conference. He’s a well-known Harvard political philosopher who has made a career out of pushing the boundaries of how...

Posted January 28, 2011    

Framing the Ethics of Metropolitan Growth

 I'll come right out and say that Ethics of Metropolitan Growth is a wonderful resource. Robert Kirkman is a philosopher employed in the realm of public policy by Georgia Tech, and he has obviously poured significant amounts of experience and...

Posted January 3, 2011    

New Census numbers confirm the resurgence of cities

With the release of the new American Community Survey data on Tuesday, we are now able to see how the fine-grained nature of metropolitan areas has changed over the last few years. This is the first release since the 2000 Census that really provides...

Posted December 15, 2010