Talking Headways: A Streetsblog Podcast (urban )
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.

 

As always, you can subscribe to the Talking Headways Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher or by signing up for our RSS feed, and we always love hearing from you in the comments. 

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

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.

Don't miss a minute: Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or by signing up for our RSS feed

And thanks to all who donated during our pledge drive! Your support keeps us going, in more ways than one. 

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

Episode 18: Let Them Drive Cars

Quick quiz: What city is the world leader in highway teardowns? San Francisco? Portland? Madrid?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's Seoul, South Korea, which has removed 15 urban highways -- and is about to remove another. In this week's Talking Headways episode, Jeff and I talk about what can take the place of a freeway in a city and why it's worth it.

We also debunk the argument, made in Atlantic Cities and the Washington Post last week, that promoting car access will benefit people with low incomes. The whole concept is based on a study that basically said that in the 90s you needed a car to get around the suburbs. Not exactly a persuasive justification for automobile subsidies in today's cities.

We wander down Saffron Avenue and Nutmeg Lane to investigate whether it's true that cities are losing their smell -- and whether that's really such a bad thing. Then we accidentally trip into a conversation about pheromones and good-smelling men.

What's your favorite smell in your city? Let us know in the comments.

We're working on getting the podcast available on Stitcher, which apparently is a thing that exists, but for now you can subscribe on iTunes or follow the RSS feed.

Direct download: podcat_mixdown_finalx3_3346_040714.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

Episode 17: Play the Gray Away

Jeff and Tanya had a great time this week, getting all outraged at the short-sighted move by the Tennessee Senate to ban dedicated lanes for transit and high and mighty about cities that devote too much space to surface parking, at the expense of just about everything else. And then we treat ourselves to a fun conversation about the origin of the American playground -- and whether the entire city should be the playground.

We think you'll enjoy this one.

Meanwhile, have you subscribed to the Talking Headways podcast on iTunes yet? Well, why the hell not? And while you're at it, you know we'd love a little bit of listener feedback. Oh, you can also follow the RSS feed. And we love your comments, below.

Direct download: Mixdown_033114_final_3445.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 3:39pm EDT

It was a dark and stormy day in San Francisco and Jeff Wood stayed dry in Woonerf studios, recording the Talking Headways podcast with co-host Tanya Snyder, who was bitter that days after the spring equinox, Washington, DC, was getting hit with another snowstorm.

But more importantly -- will New York's gangbusters Citi Bike system wobble due to management issues and financial problems? What can Chicago (and, oh, every other American city) do to create more affordable housing in the neighborhoods everyone wants to live in? And is the self-driving car seriously going to become a reality by the end of this decade? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Jeff and Tanya take on all that and more. Or really, pretty much just that.

Enjoy our sweet 16th episode of the Talking Headways podcast, subscribe on iTunes, follow the RSS feed, and talk at us in the comments.

Direct download: Mixdown_final_podcast_032514_3459.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

Episode 10: How Does This Podcast Make You Feel?

This week, Jeff Wood and I get morose and indignant, in turns, about Miami-Dade County's misuse of transit funds for roads and the depressing trend of pedestrian malls going belly-up. And then we peek behind the curtain at an exciting new frontier for urban planning: connecting urban form with the feelings they inspire. And then, just for you: a bonus Valentine's Day outtake at the end. How could you not listen to the whole thing?

You can subscribe to this podcast’s RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes — and please give us a listener review while you’re at it.

Direct download: Mixdown_podcast_021014_3453.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 3:35pm EDT

Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, who led the turn away from modernism and toward livable cities dominated by public space for people and not cars, is on a U.S. tour. Tanya got to sit down with him in Washington.

In this episode of Talking Headways, you can hear Gehl in his own words about everything from his assertion that "the tower is the lazy architect's answer to density" to the Moscow mayor's hyper-efficient way of getting people to stop parking on Main Street.

You can subscribe to this podcast's RSS feed or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes — and please give us a listener review while you’re at it.

Direct download: Mixdown_final2_020514_podcast_jan_gehl_3837_w_pull_quote.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

Jeff Wood and Tanya Snyder talk about the news of the week that most tickled us or burned us -- the BBC's exposé of anti-social design features that not-so-subtly tell us to stay away, San Francisco's brewing class war over the Google bus, and a bad decision by Cincinnati's new mayor and city council to "pause" construction of the streetcar. (Note: Watch for breaking news on that last item.)

Meanwhile, I wax nostalgic for public space in Havana and Jeff laments slow progress on the Geary Boulevard BRT.

Direct download: podcast_121013_mixdown_3325.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 11:26am EDT

Episode 3: Visit Your Grandma
This week, Jeff and Tanya take on the Atlanta Braves' terrible, no-good, very bad decision to move their stadium to Cobb County, Georgia. We discuss cities that are (and are not) shaped like wedding cakes, and whether that means you need to smoosh your spouse's face in it. Tanya makes a pedestrian-rights argument against high-heeled shoes (and Jeff abstains from taking sides). We parse the differences between "shared streets" -- without marked-out space for cars, bikes, and people on foot -- and vehicular cycling. And we speculate on what DC would look like without height limits, make fun of neighborhood parking bullies, pity the mega-commuters, and most importantly, shame the transit riders who fail to cede their seats to those who need them because they have their heads stuck in Angry Birds.
Direct download: podcast_20131122_Mixdown_3412.mp3
Category:urban -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT