Postcard of the Day, Part 1

Today, October 29, 2012, is the official publication date of Picturing Illinois: Twentieth-Century Postcard Art from Chicago to Cairo, by John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle. Providing rich historical and geographical context, Picturing Illinois illustrates the postcard’s significance in American popular culture and the unique ways in which Illinoisans pictured their world.
Over the next two weeks we will feature one postcard per day from the book. The above image is State Street subway ca. 1945.




Cost of Air Travel by Airport

The cost of Airline Travel from your local airport is an important function of economic development. Lower air fares is good for attracting and keeping business. The article below explains the large variance in costs.

A community is wise to try to attract low cost airlines to their region. I live in two small markets - Peoria, Illinois and Sarasota, Illinois. In both communities you can travel to larger airports for lower air fares - to Chicago or Tampa.  It would be better for the economies of both communities if they could attract a low cost carrier or even start a new one.

"Why is my airport so expensive?" I hear this question all the time, and here's the answer. The airfare you purchase to fly from your airport is expensive because the facility is A) Small and a fairly long drive to the nearest larger airport, or B) There's little or no competition, especially low-cost airline competition, or C) both.

Let's take a look at the latest list of "most expensive" airports in the U.S., as defined by the government's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS); the numbers crunchers there base this list on a 10 percent sample ofairline tickets sold during July, August and September of 2009.


ULI Open Space Awards Video

Nice Video on the five winners 
for Open Space Improvement. 

Fewer Government Workers

How do governments cut their payrolls?

THIS week’s print edition of the Economist features an article on how fiscal austerity has been leading to declining government employment throughout the rich world. In most countries, this is not because the state is firing its workers, but because it is failing to hire replacements for those who leave.


Implementing Comprehensive Plans

Ten reasons why Comprehensive Plans are not implemented. Interesting article by two of my favorite authors.

Published in Planning and Zoning News


Win One for the Squirrels

Lab has baby squirrel pinned down...
And Mother sees it (from above)!

Mom takes action!!

Dog gets it from Mom and baby gets away!

Mother consoles baby and...
Look at the dog's face is priceless... This has to be what he is thinking..."What the hell happened?
id I just get my a__ kicked by a squirrel?


The Most Beautiful McDonald’s In America

The Most Beautiful McDonald’s In America

"one of those hellish, strip mall-lined highways with traffic lights that are perfectly synchronized to make your travel time as long as possible."
MC (01)
" a McDonalds sign up ahead. Nothing too special about that, except where the McDonalds should have been, there seemed to be a big white mansion. Maybe it was around back or something?"
MC (03)
"And then realized…"
MC (04)
The mansion was the McDonalds.
MC (05)

Very nice. Click to see more photos and the entire story.

Sunsets in Sarasota, Florida


Mute Button - Technology

Although the "mute button" caught my eye, I realized that when I was talking about grammar & usage check software (a long time ago) that flagged run-on sentences, my listeners thought I needed it on my audio speech -- one that would yell "babble alert! babble alert! at me - I probably should shorten my messages, eventually, or perhaps not.


Tech Dinosaurs: Tape Recorders and Fax Machines Top the List

By Nicole Williams
LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network with more than 175 million members worldwide, has just released some fun statistics about office tools and trends that are on the brink of becoming extinct.

As part of its "Office Endangered Species" study, LinkedIn surveyed more than 7,000 professionals across the globe and asked which tools and trends will most likely not be seen around offices by the year 2017. Thousands of professionals agreed they could easily picture office stalwarts like tape recorders, fax machines, and Rolodexes nestled in museum exhibits next to fossils and Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons.

According to professionals, the top ten items and office trends that are becoming rare and could even disappear in the next five years are:
1.        Tape recorders (79 percent)
2.        Fax machines (71 percent)
3.        Rolodexes (58 percent)
4.        Standard working hours (57 percent)
5.        Desk phones (35 percent)
6.        Desktop computers (34 percent)
7.        Formal business attire - suits, ties, pantyhose, etc. (27 percent)
8.        Corner offices for managers/executives (21 percent)
9.        Cubicles (19 percent)
10.     USB thumb drives (17 percent)

Globally, professionals selected tablets (55 percent), Cloud storage (54 percent), flexible working hours, and smart phones (which tied at 52 percent) as office tools that are becoming more ubiquitous. 

It's no surprise to see the Rolodex gathering dust as the pace of technological innovation rapidly makes many workplace practices and tools redundant. The beauty of modern devices and platforms, such as LinkedIn, is that they constantly evolve to meet professionals' needs, allowing them to connect more quickly and easily than ever before.

Professionals from around the world also hinted at several key dream tools they'd like to see in the future. These include having a clone or assistant to help them (25 percent), a place in the office that provides natural sunlight (25 percent), and a quiet place in their office where they're allowed to take a nap (22 percent). In a funny twist, 19 percent of respondents said they wish they had a mute button for their coworkers so they don't have to hear them talk.

Learn more about LinkedIn's office endangered species study and download the Cubicle Dinosaurs Infographic on LinkedIn's Blog.

Thanks to my sister Anne Hullinger for contributing the above.


New Urban Development Video

Interesting video on planning neo traditional development.  A bit dated.

I like new urban and transit oriented development, but it remains a small percentage of our new development.

My Blogs


Do Cities Make you Crazy?

"In the latest issue of the journal Nature, science writer Alison Abbott surveys recent research that tests the link between urban stress and psychosis. The association makes sense — cities are stressful places, and stress plays a known role in mental health problems — but remains hard to isolate for obvious reasons. "It is difficult to study whether something as complex as a 'city environment' has an impact on the brain," writes Abbott."

Click to Read More


President and Vice President - One and Done

One and Done

The election will soon be over.  Can't be too soon. We are tired of all the negativity. We spend a great deal of time and effort in demeaning the current President and Vice President in hopes of damaging them enough so the other guy can get elected.

This is damaging to our country. We should correct the problem.

My solution?  Pass legislation so that the President and Vice President can only be elected to either office only once. The President and Vice President can never run for either office again.

This would stop some of the negativity. Since the President can now run for a second time, and the Vice President can run again, the opposition continuously denigrates them.  This has to be counterproductive for the individuals and the nation.

The Presidency and Vice Presidency are tough and difficult jobs.  Four years is more then adequate.  If the current President and Vice President cannot run again they will concentrate on their duties in the job instead of getting reelected.

There are a number of tough issues that are unpopular - fixing Medicare, Social Security, taxes.  An incumbent who hopes to get reelected will kick the issue down the road, often exacerbating the problem.

I contend that the second term is often not productive. Most of what the new President accomplishes is accomplished in his first term. The second term is often coasting on the accomplishments of the first term.  And eight years gives more time for problems. Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, Nixon, Clinton, and Bush all had second terms - and I think both their reputation and the country were worse for the second term.

In practical terms any legislation should be done so that it does not effect the incumbent.  Change the rules going forward so that it does not effect the sitting incumbent.

One and Done.

Caterpillar Visitor Center


Take a look at the real-time development and construction of the new Caterpillar Visitors Center and Peoria Riverfront Museum in downtown Peoria, Illinois. When completed in October 2012, the 50,000 square foot, LEED certified Visitors Center facility will give customers, employees, dealers, suppliers, students, and all our Caterpillar enthusiasts a chance to experience Caterpillar like never before.




Code For America

Code for America is an interesting volunteer group bringing technology to cities.


I liked this Dilbert cartoon. I try to never let facts interfere with my opinions.  I am much like most of our political leaders in this regard.

Won't you be glad when the national election is over?  Strange way to run a country, with a political campaign where you spend vast sums of money running down the other guy and party.  If you tried to market a product like this no one would buy it, or they would dislike it after they purchased the item.

"No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

11 November 1947, Winston Churchill

More Dilbert cartoons at:


Uneven Economic Growth

Interesting article and map in the Atlantic Cities.

"The map above charts the economic growth of metros over the past decade (2001 to 2010). For the U.S. as a whole, GDP grew at an average annual rate of 1.46 percent this period, with the average rate for all metros being slightly better, 1.63 percent. More than half (53 percent) of metros (194 of 366) were above the national average. Most metros posted positive GDP growth (there are far more green dots than red), but the red dots are concentrated in and around the Midwest."