Obama endorses congestion pricing

From Streetsblog: Obama Endorses Pricing as “Thoughtful and Innovative? after meeting with Mayor Bloomberg. (Obama/Bloomberg 08?)
With both major parties support, maybe pricing will become mainstream rather than fringe. (Still leaving private roads to the Libertarians).

Houston, The Next Great World City?

An interesting article from Joel Kotkin: Lone Star Rising —
The American, A Magazine of Ideas

about Houston, Texas, a city whose airport I have visited, but otherwise I only know what I read.

Heathrow Terminal 5

From the Guardian: Heathrow’s Terminal 5 launch not so good: T5 launch marred by delays and cancellations . Problems included a failed baggage handling system (a software problem), and flash mob protestors. The cost of the terminal was £4.3 billion ($8.6 b), which is pretty amazing, I mean, you could build 10 stadiums.
From the Times:
Cancelled flights and baggage chaos mar Terminal 5 opening
And from the Telegraph:
Heathrow Terminal 5 flights cancelled amid luggage chaos
From the Independent:
Disastrous opening day for Terminal 5
This has been controversial, and issues remain about runways, but clearly some of the terminals at Heathrow were obsolete; the question of “what is to be done” included encouraging traffic at other London airports, though Heathrow was the most convenient by far, with a stop on the Piccadilly Line.

Multi-university campuses

From the Minnesota Daily: Multiuniversity campus in Chaska recruits institutions
Is this the future of the university, divorcing the education from the shell? Perhaps a return to the day when each professor was paid directly by the students is in order, and students could walk from lecture to lecture, where a university is literally, not merely figuratively, a marketplace of ideas. I certainly wouldn’t need to charge 50% overhead.

Accessibility, Mobility and Density

Are accessibility and mobility complements or substitutes? I have a mental model a graph with a y-axis as density, and x-axis as mobility, where the Northeast corner would be high access: high density multiplied by high mobiilty.
This system behaves differently by modes. For transit, cities arrange themselves on a line from the southwest to the northeast (a positive feedback loop between supply and demand). For auto cities arrange on a line from the southeast to the northwest (a negative feedback loop between congestion and demand). Using data one could place specific cities on the graph. One expects places like New York and Hong Kong in the northeast corner, most US cities in the southeast corner, small developing-world cities without widespread adoption of modern automobile or transit technology in the southwest corner. Depending on where you draw the threshold, it is hard to see too many places in the upper northwest corner, as it would be difficult to grow to have high density without mobility. (Why would the city grow without the accessibility advantages?)
Density Mobility Tradeoff
Accessibility is a good, but it is not a good without costs, and there are limits to how much people are willing to pay for access. It may also suffer from diminishing returns, beyond a point each unit of accessibility is worth less and less. Places like Minneapolis have yet to reach that point, but surely there are places that have.