Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Merry Christmas Miscellany

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. I’m heading off for a holiday break and will return in 2012. I plan to enjoy the time with family and friends and hope you do to. To give you at least a little something to last you, here are a few things you might want to check out.

Columbus Benchmarking

I’ve noted before that I really like the work that Community Research Partners does with their Benchmarking Central Ohio study. This one has a great many metrics, which makes it mostly useful as an analytical tool for other researchers than as a direct management tool for civic leaders, but given what they set out to accomplish it’s great. They compare Columbus to 15 or so regional/traditional and aspirational peers. So if you are one of those peer cities, this is also a benchmark study for you that someone took the liberty of creating gratis.

What’s more, all of the metrics that they use are available in a spreadsheet for the top 100 metros, so a ton of work in creating a benchmarking study is already there for anyone who wants to use it. I definitely recommend checking this one out.

Ed Glaeser on Why Cities Matter

Harvard economist Ed Glaeser was one of the featured speakers at the CEOs for Cities annual meeting. Here’s a brief video clip they shot with him there explaining why cities matter. (If the video doesn’t display, click here).

There are all sorts of other brief but interesting videos over on the CEOs for Cities Vimeo channel.

More Photos of New London Bus

Dezeen has a series of stunning photos of a new design for the classic London double-decker bus. I’m amazed at how many agencies (i.e., nearly all of them) can’t even produce a decent livery. This goes to show that you can actually do something amazing with a bus. There’s a lot of criticism of this design in some circles, but I’ve yet to see anyone make a serious case that this is not up to par versus any real bus operating out there. But you can make your own decision. I for one like it a heckuva lot better than what we get here in the States. (See my post on “Raising the Bar on Design” for transit and how London understands that “The Mark of a Great City is How It Treats Its Ordinary Spaces, Not Its Special Ones.” for more on this topic).

Photo via Heatherwick Studios

There are many more photos at Dezeen, including some interior ones, so be sure to click through.

See you all in 2012.


8 Responses to “Merry Christmas Miscellany”

  1. the urban politician says:

    I guess the grass is always greener on the other lawn.

    In that link to the photos of the London bus, a lot of the responses (from locals, it seems) have been very critical.

  2. John Morris says:

    The bus is a horror. I’ve been afraid to see more shots of it.

  3. John Morris says:

    OK, after looking further, I give it a modest thumbs up. You showed the back of the bus. The total does still keep the more classic feel.

  4. Pete from Baltimore says:

    A Merry Christmas to you MR Renn
    Im curious about the bus.Once upon a time, British buses had a back door .And this meant the driver just drove, and a bus conductor sold tickets.Then they got rid of the back door and the bus conductors, and the driver sold tickets.

    This bus obviously has a back door.Does this mean they are going to return to the old method of having bus conductors?

  5. bea says:

    Happy New Year.
    i am so interested in this bus. i’d like to know some more information.

  6. Travis says:

    Glaeser’s book, “Triumph of the City” is a good read to spend a Christmas gift card on.

  7. TUP, I saw that. I’m always in favor of people engaging to try to find better ways of doing things. But in this case one thing I notice however is that their complaints seem to be mostly against hypothetical competitive proposals that were never turned into an actual bus. I didn’t see people saying that the London bus is so much worse than XYZ bus that is actually running somewhere out there in the world.

  8. DBR96A says:


The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

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