You don’t need to be an urbanist to know that Los Angeles’s infatuation with the car comes with significant cost. Spending a couple hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 will suffice. Due to demographic, cultural, and economic shifts in the city, there’s increasing support for an overhaul of its long-beleagured public transit system.
Groggy on the subway at 6:30 AM, badly needing coffee and headed across the river to Manhattan, I hear the conductor announce over the loud speaker that “The Broad St J station [the station closest to the stock exchange] is closed for ‘an investigation’.” (A friend later in the day tells me his conductor announced, without the Orwellian phrasing preferred by the MTA, that it was closed because of Occupy Wall Street protests).
Last year, on September 17, a group of about 1000 people gathered in Bowling Green to attempt to Occupy Wall Street, whatever that meant. For those of us who’d been participating in the planning assemblies all August, well, it went a little better than any of us imagined it would.
Based on the premise that everyone in the world deserves a quality education, a long-emerging movement called Open Educational Resources (OER) is being pushed further along recently by Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Foundation. As a step toward spreading the OER gospel, the trifecta launched a "Why Open Education Matters" video competition back in March.
An under-reported part of the 2008 financial crisis was the collapse of municipal bond insurers, like AMBAC and MBIA. These AAA rated companies were all downgraded or dissolved during the meltdown, after having collected billions of dollars from state and local governments. These insurance premia could have been spent on social services, but instead went to Wall Street.
Do you ride the bus or subway? You may have heard a bit of tech news recently that could strike close to your pocket: the next update of Apple’s Maps app for iPhones and iPads will no longer include Google’s integrated transit routing service. Instead, public transit directions will be provided by third-party apps.
In many places across America, families scaled back their 4th of July festivities this year on account of searing heat. The threat of wildfires from unusually dry weather meant that some towns throughout the West cut back on fireworks displays. This should prompt everyone—especially political and business leaders—to think more seriously about the threat of climate disruption. But it’s also an occasion to consider the ways in which the pursuit of happiness in years to come will depend on linking our desire for independence to our need for interdependence.
As demonstrated by the fierce competition in mapping and local listings, the future of the web is mobile and local. But much of this data is silo’d by for-profit companies that use it for competitive advantage, enriching these businesses but not the commons.