-- The Urbanophile wonders why cities that make extravagant claims about wanting to attract talent so seldom try to recruit it.
-- This list of the 19 most dangerous and complex highways in the world is pretty cool, but color me unpersuaded that a Los Angeles interchange deserved inclusion. Incidentally, the book The Routes of Man by Ted Conover is a great read if you're interested in roads.
-- Lester Brown:
The world's cities are facing unprecedented challenges. In Mexico City, Tehran, Kolkata, Bangkok, Beijing, and hundreds of other cities, the air is no longer safe to breathe. In some cities the air is so polluted that breathing is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Respiratory illnesses are rampant. In many places, the number of hours commuters spend sitting in traffic-congested streets and highways climbs higher each year, raising frustration levels.
In response to these conditions, we are seeing the emergence of a new urbanism, a planning philosophy that environmentalist Francesca Lyman says "seeks to revive the traditional city planning of an era when cities were designed around human beings instead of automobiles."
-- Jamie Gross:
THERE'S a new party in Salt Lake City. Utah liquor laws were normalized last year for the first time since 1935, allowing patrons simply to walk into a bar and order a drink, as if they were in any other city. Add to that a budding film scene (a spillover effect from the nearby Sundance Film Festival), a fresh crop of indie galleries and boutiques, and an open-door stance toward refugees and immigrants, which has made the city more cosmopolitan. The city even passed an anti-discrimination law last year that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents -- and with backing from the Mormon Church.
-- In Philadelphia a loophole allowed public employees to get pensions bigger than the average American's annual income after brief employment.