Sunday Train: Four Rules for Transit-Oriented Development from Five leaders

This week's Sunday Train features a piece from John Karras', How Your City Can Succeed In Transit Oriented Development. John looks at DC, Portland, Denver, Salt Lake City and Cleveland to argue that your city can also succeed in pursuing Transit Oriented Development:

Here are the 4 key ingredients needed to create successful transit oriented development:
  • TOD Ingredient #1: Connect dense employment centers
  • TOD Ingredient #2: Regional collaboration
  • TOD Ingredient #3: Proactive planning and public policies to encourage TOD
  • TOD Ingredient #4: Public-private partnerships for joint development

This is an important argument, and ties in with many themes address in previous Sunday Trains, including Sustainable Real Estate Development is Good for the Economy and Other Growing Things (30 June 2013), Trains & Buses Should Be Friends (24 Nov 2013) and 'the successful communities are going to be the ones who get rail.' (1 Dec 2013), so join me below the fold for the most recent consideration of these issues and Transit-Oriented Development, commonly abbreviated as "TOD".




Transgender artists at the Whitney

 photo drucker_03biennial08_800_zps4493c8c6.jpgRhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker are doing their part to bring the transgender influence to pop culture.

Rhys and Zackary met at a bar in the East Village in 2005. They were both aspiring to be artists…or rather, they were artists who were aspiring to be better known. Rhys was a graduate of Hampshire College and was working for MTV. Zackary was a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and was appearing on a reality show called Artstar, created by Jeffrey Deitch which was available on Dish TV's Gallery HD.

Their self-identifications at the time were an impediment to any instant romance. Rhys had never dated a man. Zackary had never dated a woman.

I remember thinking, "if I ever dated a boy, that’s the type of boy I’d date."


But over the last five years they have both transitioned…Zackary from male to female and Rhys from female to male.

They have a photo exhibition, Relationship, at the Whitney Biennial in New York. The exhibit consists of 46 chromogenic prints.



Trio of transwomen selected as Women of the Year by California legislators

Each year the California state legislature honors one woman from each legislator's district in a list of Women of the Year during Women's History Month. This year three transgender women were so honored.


 photo desiree-jade-sol-dayna-sinopoli-cecilia-chung_zps2c690f3b.jpg

On Monday Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) named Cecilia Chung of San Francisco to be honored. Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D- Santa Monica) selected Desiree Jade Sol of West Hollywood. Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-MontereyBay) chose Dayna Sinopoli of Aptos.

 photo chung1-300x199_zps848b6d28.jpgChung is a senior advisor for the Transgender Law Center, a health commissioner at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Cecelia Chung was recently one of two transwomen, along with Janet Mock, who appeared in the Google Doodle video honoring International women's Day.






Photographer Alvaro Laiz documents transgender existence in little-known cultures

 photo Laiz_zps133eadde.jpgAlvaro Laiz is a photographer. In 2011 Laiz traveled to Mongolia to document the reality of that culture's transgender people.

Transmongolian has become the first step of a long term project about transgender people in nomadic societies all over the world. I would definitely love to come back and document again how life is treating them. We are in touch through social networks and we write each other periodically. As for what to do next, I am now focused in expanding this project to other countries and communities. But keep it a secret.


Transmongolian: the secret history of the Mongols:




 photo TRANSMONGOLIAN_A3010LVAROLAIZ-08jpgCROPoriginal-original_zps5273878b.jpg



I wanted to show how they are, but also how they see themselves. Identity isn’t a one-way concept but a fluent mixture of influences, both internal and external, which forms the way we face the world.





Beautiful Music for Ugly Children: a young adult novel

 photo BMUC_zps3b745aca.jpgKirstin Cronn-Mills recently won an American Library Association Stonewall Award "for a work of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience" for her young adult novel Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.

Published in October of 2012 the book was also a Top Ten pick for the 2013 Rainbow List, the Young Adult Library Services Association's 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, the silver medal winner in Foreword Review's Book of the Year Awards for Young Adult Fiction and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in the Children's/Young Adult category.

The book is for Grades 8 and up.

Gabe Williams is a guy with big summer plans. He’s got a job as a radio DJ, following in the footsteps of his mentor, and he wants to move far away after graduation. He’s also hoping his best friend Paige will fall in love with him—she’s smart, she’s hot, and she tolerates his music habit. He couldn’t ask for more. His only problem? The rest of the world has known him as Elizabeth for the last eighteen years.

--Kristin Cronn-Mills









Sunday Train: Cap&Trade Funds should help finance the California HSR

An encore of a Sunday Train from 22 April, 2012, on a topic that has come back in the news

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

One element of the recent California HSR "revised" draft 2012 Business Plan (which we shall call the Other, Other Plan) involves looking to one particular means of finance in addition to general fund bond finance and Federal transport grant funding:

Cap-and-Trade Program Funds
Assembly Bill 32 (Statutes, 2006, Chapter 488) mandates a reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In accordance with that law, California will implement a market-based cap-and-trade program. Funds from the program can be used to further the purposes of AB 32, including for development and construction of the high-speed rail system.

This has led to the current controversy in which the California Legislative Analysts Office, the LAO, has argued that the Cap and Trade funds might not be usable for HSR (pdf: p. 8).

One of their points, "Other GHG Reduction Strategies Likely to Be More Cost Effective," involves a serious and common misframing of the question of the use of funds dedicated to reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: when reducing GHG emissions in a project that serves multiple purposes, the cost effectiveness of the GHG emissions spending depends on what share of the project funding is represented by that GHG emissions spending.

So more on transport, Green House Gas emissions, and the peculiar analytical weaknesses that crop up whenever the California LAO turns its attention to HSR, over the fold.




A problematic gay rights victory in Lebanon

On the one hand, the fact that a judge in Lebanon ruled in January that criminalization of gay sex in that country must cease is a very good thing.

On the other hand, the case way that happened…the case that won that ruling…and the aftermath are off-putting.

Although the case was decided at the end of January the result was not made public until it was released in the arabic legal magazine Legal Agenda last week.

Judge Naji El Dahdah of Jdeide Court in Beirut dismissed a case on January 28 in which the country of Lebanon accused a self-described transgender woman of having a same-sex relationship with a man. From a transgender perspective, these two individuals were having a heterosexual relationship.

The defendant, whom the report does not name, was born with deformed or incomplete genitalia, but was described as male on her personal status registry. However, she said she always felt she was a woman, and underwent surgery in the 1990s to remove her male genitals and create a vagina.

--Venetia Rainey, The Daily Star

So here we discover that the transgender woman was, in fact, intersex.

And the gay news media was all about the legalization of gay sex…even though the ruling was about penis/vagina sex.

Can you say erasure.



What About When Both Sides Suck? Ukraine Edition

Burning the Midnight Oil for the Arc of the Sun

This is not an effort to engage in an in-depth analysis of the Ukraine Crisis, but is rather a reflection on a challenge the seems to face online discussions about crises such as these.

Much of the analysis of the crisis goes along lines similar to the following:

  • The current government of the Ukraine sucks for [reason], therefore the opposition is great
  • The current opposition of the Ukraine sucks for [reason], therefore the government is great
  • United States foreign policy sucks for [reason], therefore Russia is great
  • Russian foreign policy sucks for [reason], therefore the United States is great

I am sure that anyone who has followed the online discussion of this crisis or, indeed, any of the previous international crises of the past five years will be familiar with arguments along these lines. After all, people who engage in this type of reasoning can come to conclusions about complex crises much quick than other people ...

... who are grounded in the reality that sometimes both sides suck.




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