I have found a new web site. Planetizen.com. My grades have suffered because of this because I CANNOT STOP READING IT.
Essentially it is an urban design website that links to articles about the plight or success of cities and what is being done about them. Every article I've read contains gems of knowledge. Like these...
"What Makes The Perfect City?":
"It's not difficult to pick out the features of a city in trouble. Multiple deprivation for its poor, high rates of infant mortality, rampant knife crime, multinational companies shedding jobs as they head for the exit, broken-down public transport.
Defining strategies that failing cities can adopt is harder. Not least because most of us have a stubborn preference for messy vitality over organised uniformity. Tokyo is huge, overcrowded and overwhelmingly ugly. But it is also exhilaratingly full of life. Brasilia is safer, healthier and less run-down than Rio. But, given the choice between them, nobody would seriously opt for Brasilia. The perfect city simply doesn't exist: it would have an underground railway as organised as Tokyo's, with a bus service as inspiring as the vaporetti of Venice. It would have a setting as beautiful as Stockholm's. It would have New York's museums and its 24-hour culture, with Berlin's cheap, high-ceilinged apartments, and Hong Kong's energy. It would have London's tolerance of utterly different ways of life, coexisting side by side. It would have the street life of Naples, and the street cleaning of Zurich.
Yet the search for a local-government version of Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People has defined urban politics for the past two decades."
Or this one, "Crisis Won't Bring About Urban Renaissance":
"Yet in one of those ironies that markets play on hypesters, the mortgage crisis is now puncturing the urbanists' bubble...In reality, what we have is a market that is stuck in almost all geographies. Rather than shift people into the urban cores, or vice-versa, the mortgage crisis is simply stopping everyone in their tracks. Even if people wanted to move into the core cities, they could not sell their suburban houses to make the down payments.
For a decade or more, city leaders have kept thinking that something from outside – demographic changes, high fuel prices or changing consumer tastes – would create a revival for them. This allowed them to avoid doing hard, nasty things like cutting often-outrageous public employee pensions, streamlining regulations, cutting taxes levied on businesses or improving often-dismal schools and basic infrastructure.
Cities should start realizing that their biggest problem is not a shortage of cultural venues and performance artists but a chronic lack of decent, middle class jobs."
Like I said, I CANNOT STOP READING IT. Oh man, I have so many other things I need to read, oh man, oh, just one more article, just one more, just one more...