Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Liz Castro: Corollary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Here's a great post from Liz Castro's blog "Pigs Gourds and Wikis": Corollary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle:

Yesterday in the metro on the way to pick up the kids from school, it occurred to me that there should be a corollary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. My extremely basic memory from seventh grade of that principle is that you can't observe a particle with absolute accuracy because the very act of observing it affects the particle and makes it do things it wouldn't have otherwise.

But what I'm realizing is that observing not only affects the particle in question, but these days as I drown in tweets, it affects the observer (me). I need to keep track of what's going on, but if I keep completely up-to-date, I don't have any time to create. If I only create, I don't have any time to keep up to date on what's going on outside my office.

Thus, the Corollary: I can neither keep completely up-to-date, nor only create. The trick, as ever, is to find the balance.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Waterfront Planning in Buffalo NY

Here's a fine article "Our Waterfront, Ourselves" by Bruce Fisher about what to do when a large big box retailer pulls out of a waterfront development project. This has been a shock to Buffalo's planning and development community - providing for lots of discussion and questions (be sure to read the comments).

An excellent feature is that Fisher starts from the - should be obvious - point that the Buffalo area is shrinking and therefore whatever is done needs to be quite different from what's done in growing regions. Hmmm... why don't we ever think this way in planning school?

Too many cities chase the chimeras de jour - festival marketplaces, downtown ball parks, convention centers, casinos, ... all big plans that capture the imagination but fail to spur city economies.

In this context Fisher's suggestion that funds be spent to clean up the water, increase public access and encourage local initiatives rather than subsidizing big box retail and parking make lots of sense.

Fisher's article is refreshing as both planning theory and in Buffalo's public debate over this important issue.