Aerostates, Geopolitics and the interpretation of regulations

Last Sunday’s Washington Post featured an article covering the ongoing saga between the Big Three US-based network airlines (American, Delta, and United) and the Middle East Three (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar) airlines over the rules for air travel and the role for government in regulating it, as well as funding it. The intersection of air

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WMATA, the NTSB, and the FRA: or, what do you mean the Metro doesn’t count as a railroad?

FRA Type II Safety Glass in a WMATA rail car. Photo from nevermindtheend.

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board issued an urgent recommendation to the US Department of Transportation and the US Congress to re-classify WMATA to be regulated under the authority of the Federal Railroad Administration. The NTSB usually waits until their

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Flipping Houses, Zoning Codes, and Building Codes

DC row houses – the first CC image hit for “dc house flips” on Flickr. Photo from Elvert Barnes.

Earlier in May, local public radio station WAMU aired a lengthy three-part report on the collateral damage involved in house flipping in DC. Martin Austermuhle’s series offers a window into the nightmare for buyers of

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Governing transit: the regulated public utility

Public utilities, from Chris Potter. CC BY 2.0

The MBTA is struggling, but they’re not the only transit authority facing both near and long-term challenges. The MTA in New York is trying to find the funds for its capital plan; WMATA is facing systemic budget deficits while trying to restore rider confidence in the

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Real estate as investment vs. real estate as city-building

CC image from John M.

Fundrise is one of the most hyped developments in real estate in recent years. Is it a major shift in real estate investment? Maybe, maybe not. If nothing else, Fundrise and the surrounding hype/criticism exposes the dual nature of real estate as both an investment and the critical element

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Housing demand and the regulatory path of least resistance: Seattle and microapartments

Seattle Space Needle. Photo by author.

The feature piece in The Stranger last month delved deeply into Seattle’s trend of micro-apartments. Dominic Holden offers an in-depth look at not just the development trends, but the politics of the policy and planning conversation around development in an expanding city.

A few things popped out:

Room

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Capacity on the Northeast Corridor

Tucked into the testimony of Amtrak President Joesph Boardman at last week’s Senate hearing on the future of the Northeast Corridor is this graphic demonstrating the number of daily train movements by operator at different locations along the spine of the Northeast Corridor:

One interesting thing to note is the difference in

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‘Snow’ links: finding the right level of regulation

Mush on my windowsill.

I’m sitting in DC, looking out a window at a mushy, mostly liquid ‘snow’ storm named after an obscure federal budgetary procedure. There’s a joke in there somewhere about failing to meet the hype. But instead, I’ll offer some links to articles of interest over the past few weeks.

Regulatory

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Middle class in Manhattan?

Manhattan. CC image from sakeeb.

Breaking news! Last week, the New York Times reported that it is expensive to live in Manhattan. The Times frames the question through the lens of the middle class, asking what the definition means in the context of they city’s densest borough.

In a city like New York, where

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Choice architecture and behavior change

CC image from sparktography.

In the DC urbanist blogosphere (or, David Alpert across multiple platforms), ‘choice’ is all the rage these days. GGW writes about DC Planning Director Harriet Tregoning being “pro-choice” on transportation; Alpert in the Post writing about housing choices and transportation options; and Alpert again talking about zoning and parking requirements

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