Decades in the making, high-speed rail is finally coming to California. In 2008, the state passed a $10 billion bond initiative to build the first leg of its ambitious state-spanning high-speed rail network.
These nation-leading plans were rewarded in January with a $2.25 billion federal infusion, part of an $8 billion high-speed rail grant program made possible by the 2009 stimulus bill. When the California network is completed in 2025—with a projected overall tab of $45 billion—the state will have more than 700 miles (1,100 km) of track that will take passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours, with trains achieving top speeds of 220 miles per hour (354 kmph). What will it mean for land use?
With global trade down by over 20 percent in 2009—although there has been some rebound in 2010—containers stacked high at seaports are still a common sight. Correspondingly, the industrial sector of real estate is experiencing record vacancy. Even if economic recovery begins anew this year, most estimates show a full recovery in 2011 or later.
Amid the morass, business may not be brisk—but deals are still occurring. “Companies are focused on retooling or repositioning for the turnaround,” says Rich Thompson, executive vice president at the Chicago office of Jones Lang LaSalle’s port, airport, and global infrastructure group. Thompson terms it “network optimization,” in that companies are streamlining their operations. For example, perhaps they are consolidating from three smaller warehouses to one large distribution center, which could allow the new facility to take advantage of locations near multimodal transportation options such as any combination of truck, rail, sea, or air.
The director of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development and an adviser to the Obama administration’s White House Office of Urban Affairs discusses the implications of megaregions for future development and how best to develop to compete globally.
Five experts from the fields of real estate development, architecture, and urban planning discuss the role of cities in an urbanizing world and offer insights into how cities are—and should be—shaping future development as the recession ends.
The future of cities could be considered the centerpiece of the Urban Land Institute’s entire program of work. How and where we will live and work and how we will get from one place to another in the decades ahead are issues that will shape urban growth patterns and change our approach to planning, design, and development.
While the transportation component of Vancouver’s Winter Olympics is being watched closely by planners of the 2012 summer Olympics in London, Vancouverites saw the event also as an opportunity to reframe the city’s long-range transport picture, particularly in the context of a greener future.