WEEKEND READING: April 7-13, 2007

I read a lot of stuff, okay? And until I started Where, I never understood why so many of the blogs that I read every day put up those weekly link pages. I always thought it was lazy. Now I know better.

There is just too much going on in the wide world of placemaking, so I'm going to start putting up links to what I don't get around to discussing during the week. Hopefully you'll find these lists, which will appear on Friday or Saturday, useful for those lazy weekend afternoons when you have nothing to do but sit around and read articles on the internet. You know those afternoons. Sure you do.

Springwise, Trendwatching.com's blog, had an article on a new service in San Francisco that's easily adaptable for any city--a green version of those coupon books every city's tourism department puts out. This fantastic resource for San Franciscans (The Green Zebra Guide) has the dual purpose of making life easier (and a little cheaper) for people who've already made the decision to "go green," as well as encouraging the decision in other people by making the transition less daunting. Check out the guide at www.thegreenzebra.org.

Much noise has been made about the Creative Class since Richard Florida hit the scene a few years ago with his theories about the modern boho crowd. Now, while he draws up pretty (and mildly offensive, in a weird way) charts that show how gay people affect real estate values, some people are actually trying to figure out how to use the internet to turn creativity into a real asset instead of a tool for gentrification. CEOs for Cities announced a new study with Charles Leadbeater on Tuesday, which you can read about here.

Speaking of creativity, the New York Post brings us a story about some art students who turned an MTA train car into a cozy living room, complete with welcome mats. As is often true about places, it's most interesting to read peoples' reactions, which include this comment "This is criminal...It may be beautiful, but that's not the issue. They are obstructing the subway." Iiiiinteresting...

BLDGBLOG brings us this blurb about plant life on other planets. It's nothing I'll ramble about...it's just really freakin cool.

As you may remember, I'm not such an optimist about congestion pricing. The other four transit concepts presented in this article on decongestion over at Good Magazine are pretty interesting, though. I love seeing Curitiba continue to gain more attention for it's brilliant and innovative BRT system (which I think would work particularly well in American cities, which have ample road infrastructure.) The Naked Streets concept is new to me...it seems pretty innovative, too. (The image above came from this article, for the record.)

To bring this list full-circle, "going green" seems to have really, truly gone mainstream in the States. Over the past few weeks I must have read that slogan a hundred times, in publications as diverse as an independent Atlanta weekly (can't recall the name) and Vanity Fair. Interchange has a post about smart growth and urban placemaking very quietly hitting the mainstream as well. It's short and sweet, and while I think that there's still a ways to go in getting the average American to give up their sacred fear of urbanity, it does seem like we're hitting a sort of critical mass.

There are also a few new links up on the Otros Blogos side bar, including Pruned, Inhabitat, and things magazine (all of which I discovered while reading Geoff Manaugh's profile at BLDGBLOG for the first time.) I'm eventually going to get around to creating a list of websites as well, so if there are any kickass suggestions drop me an email or comment on this post.

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