Talking Headways: A Streetsblog Podcast
Episode 27: Walt Disney, City Planner

While most people know Walt Disney as the creator of lovable characters like Mickey Mouse and movies like Snow White and Fantasia, Disney doesn't get as much credit for his design of Disneyland. Turns out Disney made himself an expert on the subject.    

 

This podcast isn't a typical Talking Headways conversation. It's a 45-minute episode, produced by Jeff for the Overhead Wire, on one topic: the history and ideas of Walt Disney the planner. Guests Sam Gennawey, an urban planner and author of three books on Walt Disney, and Tim Halburdirector of communications for the Congress for the New Urbanism, discuss in detail Walt’s focus on planning places for people in Disneyland, Disney World, and Celebration Florida. 

 

We hope you’ll take a listen and enjoy. We'll be back next week with your regular dose of news and banter from Talking Headways.

 

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Direct download: disney_session_Mixdown_final.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 5:08pm EST

Episode 26: Helmet Hair

Did you wear your helmet when you biked to work this morning? Whether you did or you didn't, it's up to you. So why are there so many people shrieking about it? On one side, the 85-percenters, overstating the protection helmets offer against head injuries. On the other side, the 3-footers, claiming that it's actually safer to go helmetless because drivers give you more space and a host of other reasons. Some recent hysteria around bike-share and head injuries fueled this fire. Jeff and Tanya may not have put that fire out with our discussion, but they at least tried to make some sense of it. 

Speaking of fiery discussions, did you see the back-and-forth between Colin Dabkowski, a Buffalo News journalist, and walkability guru Jeff Speck after the most recent Congress for the New Urbanism? Jeff and Tanya clear up once and for all some misconceptions about how New Urbanism's winners-and-losers strategy does and doesn't address social equity. 

And in between, they take a moment to celebrate a small victory in San Francisco, where a community pushed back against the fire department's push to widen streets

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Direct download: podcast_mixdown_061914_3641_final_2.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 3:15pm EST

Episode 25: Rondo Revisited

Finally, there is a light rail line connecting the Twin Cities. The Green Line, running 11 miles from Union Depot in downtown St. Paul to Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, cost $957 million and several decades to build. The process of choosing stations was contentious but eventually embraced the proposals of the low-income communities that wanted stations, and the line is already being looked at as a model. It's not the fastest way between the two downtowns, but it might be the best way. Jeff and Tanya discuss.

Then we sink our teeth into the Sightline Institute's proposal to change the property tax structure in order to incentivize better uses of downtown space. That might help some cities with their parking crater problem.

And finally, we rejoice at Calgary's decision to tear down a whole mess of parking outside one of its light rail stations, and we discuss the balancing act between preserving broad access to transit and creating walkable, compact communities where they belong: near transit. 

We can't wait to read your thoughts in the comments.

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Direct download: 061314_podcast_final_misdown_2822.mp3
Category:transportation -- posted at: 11:32pm EST

Episode 24: A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings In the Metro

The metro is coming to Loudon County. Eventually.

The Silver Line expansion that opens this summer will only go as far as Reston, but by 2018 it'll be in Loudon, one of the nation's fastest-growing -- and wealthiest -- counties.

As the county continues to add population density -- in large part by growing its communities of color -- will it hit 800 people per square mile, which is the threshold at which places magically turn from Republican to Democrat? And if it does, will it turn Virginia from purple to blue? And with such an important swing state shifting solidly to one camp, does that change the national political balance? And what is it with the number 800 anyway? 

We try to figure it all out on this week's Talking Headways. Plus, Stephen Miller, my colleague from Streetsblog New York, joins us to talk about what is -- and what isn't -- moving forward as part of the city's Vision Zero plan. 

And: Detroit is tearing down more than 20 percent of its housing stock to reduce blight and still splurges on roads. Is that the way to revitalize a city? The comments section awaits your comments.

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Direct download: podcast_060614_mixdown_final_3700.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 1:33pm EST

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