Linklist: January 18, 2012

Robin Hanson @ Overcoming Bias: Why Hate Firms, Love Cities?:

“First, firms and cities are similar in many ways. They both vary greatly in size, and can be costly for long-time associates to leave. Both tend to be “selfish” in avoiding and excluding those who do not benefit other associates, and thus tend to favor rich folks. People can relate to both kinds of units as investors, suppliers, leaders, and customers.
Second, people tend to like cities more than firms. For example, many movies are love songs to particular cities, yet few movies have cities as villains. Many movies have firms as villains, but few have firms as heroes. Sporting teams tied to cities play in huge stadiums, while teams tied to firms play in local parks.”

Tim Stonor (H/T UrbanDemographics): IBM Smart Cities, Helsinki | The power of the network: “However useful they are, digital technologies can not replace the powerful and beneficial effects of the highly connected street grid – the “essential structure” of urban living.”

MinnPost: Metro Transit ridership topped 81 million in 2011:

“Ridership increased in all three types of Metro Transit bus service:

  • Urban local routes — the heart of Metro Transit’s all-day service — increased 3.9 percent, or 2.2 million rides to 58.6 million.
  • Ridership on freeway-oriented express bus routes was up 5.3 percent, or 479,000 rides, to 9.5 million.
  • Rides on suburban crosstown routes grew 7.2 percent, or 114,000 rides, to 1.7 million.

“Ongoing fleet improvements and new technologies like the Go-To card and real-time bus departure information make riding the bus more predictable and pleasant than ever,” said Lamb.
Ridership was down slightly on Metro Transit’s two rail lines. The Hiawatha light-rail transit (LRT) line carried 10.4 million passengers, a decline of 55,000 from 2010. And the Northstar commuter rail line carried 703,000 passengers, down 7,000 from a year ago.”

David Brin @ Contrary Brin: Is Libertarianism Fundamentally about Competition? Or about Property?:

“Let’s be plain here. The founder of both liberalism and libertarianism – Adam Smith – weighed in about both of these reasons for fairness, To him, they were equally important. All right, liberals and libertarians each emphasize different ones. Liberals talk about the moral reasons for fairness and libertarians the practical, competition-nurturing ones. They tend to forget that – as followers of Smith – they actually want the same end result!
What they share is something deeper that both movements ought to recognize. They want every child to hit age 21 ready and eager to join the rivalry of work, skill and ideas.”