Regional & International Development

Introduction

Elizabeth Deakin

Transportation planners and engineers often focus on specific areas of expertise, such as particular modes of transport, or air quality effects of transportation. Increasingly, however, Californians are reminded that such focused specializations, while valuable, are insufficient by themselves. Current efforts to meet stringent greenhouse gas reduction targets while accommodating growth and counteracting economic downturn show just how complex and interconnected urban development issues are. The emerging paradigm is one that integrates transportation planning into a broader metropolitan development strategy.

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Integrating Infrastructure Planning: The Role Of Schools

Deborah L. McKoy, Jeffrey M. Vincent, and Carrie Makarewicz

California sits at an historic moment. The state’s policymakers and voters have aggressively ramped up their investment in public school buildings, providing more than $35 billion in state funds in the form of general obligation bonds to modernize existing schools and build new ones since 1998. Additionally, the California Strategic Growth Plan won voter approval and in 2006 state leaders began the first phase of a comprehensive twenty-year plan to upgrade critical infrastructure. The plan calls for spending $211 billion through 2016—with $42 billion in bonds already approved—on transportation, water systems, public safety, housing, the judiciary, and education facilities. By including public schools as one of six key pieces of critical infrastructure, state officials and voters recognized the importance of school facilities in shaping California’s growth and prosperity. Ongoing school construction investment, coupled with the new, broader infrastructure investment, creates a strategic opportunity for California to improve the way it plans, funds, constructs, modernizes, and operates its schools, and to make school planning an integral part of community and regional development, rather than an isolated endeavor.

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Transportation Infrastructure And Sustainable Development: New Planning Approaches For Urban Growth

Marlon G. Boarnet

As California's population expands to fifty million people over the next two decades, urban infrastructure will be under immense pressure. Partly in anticipation of growth, and partly to catch up after years of neglected investment, in 2006 California voters approved bond measures for transportation, affordable housing, education, disaster preparedness, flood prevention, and water projects. Most experts expect that even more funding will be needed to meet future needs. How can these funds best be spent to accommodate growth and avoid stressing California’s environmental, fiscal, and social resources? In particular, how can we use the next round of transportation investment to help us plan for a more sustainable future?

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California’s Growth: An Uncertain Future

Michael B. Teitz

Few things are sadder than the sight of a friend in the grip of undernourishment, addiction, and delusion. That beloved friend is California— undernourished in what is necessary for its collective health, addicted to the consumption of public services, delusional about the necessity to pay for them. The word “crisis” is used far too frequently in public discourse, but it is hard to avoid the conclusion that California is now facing a serious crisis. The dimensions of that crisis go far beyond the range of the papers in this—and the next—issue of ACCESS: inadequate health care and insurance, a failing K-12 public school system, an under-funded and over-stressed higher education system, a public fiscal system that seems to be in permanent structural deficit with a form of governance full of incentives to keep it that way, and the likelihood of a recession. To all these, we may add the prospect of millions more added to the population, housing prices that are still far above the US median even with the current real estate collapse, insufficient and undermaintained infrastructure, water shortages exacerbated by climate change, and urban development that is inefficient and unhealthy.

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Dispatch from Sydney: Transport in the Land of Oz

John Landis

Australia—or Oz as it is colloquially known—is instantly recognizable to visiting Americans, even those like myself who had never been there before. As in the US, most of Australia’s population lives in metropolitan areas within twenty miles of the coast. A majority of Australians live in suburban communities, and single-family homes are the dominant housing form. Australia’s home ownership rate stands at seventy percent, slightly above the US rate.

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Flexible Transit, the American City, and Mel Webber

Robert Cervero

Melvin Webber was one of the original “bus guys” in the transportation planning field. He was one of the few to show respect for that Rodney Dangerfield of public transportation, the one that gets very little respect: the rubber-tire bus. But Mel’s vision of public transit was not stodgy old buses lumbering along city streets. He had in mind a more nimble, versatile form of transit—one that could compete with, and sometimes even mimic, the private car.

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Melvin Webber and the “Nonplace Urban Realm”

Michael B. Teitz

The question of what constitutes “urbanism” has vexed thinkers for as long as cities have been written about, but few have contributed more profound insights than Mel Webber. Over his fifty-year career, he distinguished himself as a teacher, researcher, builder of institutions, editor, and professional planner, but it is as a theorist and analyst of deep urban social changes that he may have made his greatest contribution. His theoretical insights have shaped the development of many ideas in planning, transportation, and spatial analysis, but none has had more influence than his idea of the “nonplace urban realm.”

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Dispatch from London

John Landis

Upon arriving in London (or any other major English city), the first thing an American notices is how few SUVs, pickup trucks, and full-sized minivans are on the roads. This is partly because of gasoline’s high price, currently about $5.80 per US gallon, and partly because English roads and parking spaces are so narrow. However, things do seem to be changing. Sales of SUVs are rising, particularly among suburbanites with children, as are sales of seven-passenger multi-purpose vehicles, which are slightly smaller versions of American minivans.

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How Privatization Became a Train Wreck

Eric A. Morris

September 15, 1830 saw the grand opening of the world's first steam intercity passenger railway. It also saw the first railway death, when William Huskisson, prominent Tory MP and railway supporter, misjudged the speed of an approaching locomotive and was run over. He was not to be the last British politician to wish he’d never had anything to do with the railways. From 1994 to 1997, John Major’s government conducted an audacious privatization of British Rail. The system was broken up into almost a hundred pieces and sold. Ten years later, disgust with the privatization and its aftermath cuts across British society. There are few stakeholders, from riders to drivers to railway executives to shareholders to regulators to politicians, who do not consider the experiment a dismal failure.

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Progressive Transport And The Poor: Bogotá’s Bold Steps Forward

Robert Cervero

Bogotá, the Andean capital of Colombia and home to some seven million inhabitants, is widely recognized for having mounted one of the most sustainable urban transport programs anywhere. In 2000, the city began operating a high-speed, high-capacity bus system, called TransMilenio, building upon the experience of Curitiba, Brazil’s much-celebrated success with dedicated busways. Bogotá’s leaders went one step further, giving investment priority to pedestrians, followed by bicycle facilities, then public transit, and lastly cars (i.e., inversely to travel speeds).

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