Dead Mall = New Workplace

An article form the New York Times a month ago about how Rackspace moved into an abandoned mall on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas. The change has created a whole new economy for the area, improving not just the abandoned mall, but the community around it. A big win for what otherwise would have been a dead zone.



Public Spaces and Diversity

A recent article in the NY Times highlights the 30th anniversary of Denver’s Downtown pedestrian mall. Two years ago I was at a conference in Denver and enjoyed the variety of people on the mall, even in the evenings when it was a bit sketchy. the article highlights the diversity of the folks using the pedestrian mall with a negative slant.

Most cities have a diverse population. Denver is lucky to have the pedestrian mall where these diverse groups gather. Articles such as this one which highlight the negative aspects of public spaces make more people leery of creating such places in their own cities.

Cities and Carnivores

An article on Slog led me to the LA Times article about the growth in coyote, mountain lion, and black bear sightings in Southern California cities. It’s not just SoCal that has this problem. Chicago has about 2,000 coyotes living in the city, with a pack living near O’Hare airport.

All over North America, sprawl has taken away the habitat of carnivores forcing them to coexist with humans in suburbs and cities. It’s not surprising the carnivores thrive in the urban settings as all of their needs are met.

What needs to happen is a serious discussion between land-users and animal health experts on how the carnivores can coexist as peacefully as possible in their new urban settings. One of the first talking points should be about letting pets outside unsupervised. Having grown up in SoCal, we didn’t leave our pets outside, and we took in all food sources at night. We still had plenty of opossums  skunks, and raccoons in the yard.

Cars, Cars, Cars

Three articles about cars in the urban environment.

First, from Streets Blog, the addition of a drugstore in a “pedestrian-friendly zoned” neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina. The drugstore would add a surface parking lot and driveways, both of which are decidedly not pedestrian-friendly.

Second, red light cameras make the road safer. Really! A study conducted in Virginia Beach concluded that red light cameras do far more to reduce accidents than “random chance” of an officer being present. from the Atlantic, via Planetizen

Finally, the lack of studies about the psychology of cyclists and pedestrians is the focus of an interview of Ian Walker. There are plenty of studies on the psychology of car drivers, but only a handful (some links are provided in the interview) about non-auto street users. via Farnham Street