Year in Review

Today brings a close to another successful year in the blogosphere. I published over 240 posts here at Extraordinary Observations, and started doing some writing over at Greater Greater Washington and WaPo's All Opinions are Local.

(from Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton on Flickr)

Without a doubt, my most memorable piece from this year was the degree density analysis that I wrote about in the spring. When I published it, I thought it was an interesting topic, but had no idea that it would go viral. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have caught the attention of a number of respectable bloggers, even if my findings were misinterpreted and incorrectly reported by other news outlets.

In any case, if you happened to miss them, here's a roundup of some of my favorite posts from 2010.

Everyday Observations
  • Contrarianism - going against the grain isn't' always such a bad thing, but the power of culture often makes it difficult to do so.
  • The Extra Bedroom Problem - empty bedrooms are a form of residential vacancy, but that's not now most people think about it; and it impacts how and where they choose to live.
  • The Cupcake Economy - people are willing to pay seemingly insane amounts of money for gourmet cupcakes. Is it the result of supply and demand? or is something else going on?
  • Why Did Geauga Lake Fail? - when a historic amusement park closed its doors, a lot of speculative theories began floating around. I believe the park's downfall was the result of failed real-estate speculation.
  • Climate Change Rhetoric - using the term 'global warming' instead of 'climate change' is really doing a disservice to those who want to do something about it.
  • 20-Somethings - the Millennial generation behaves the way it does for a variety of reasons, many of which are external and outside of their control.
Urban Thinking
  • Urbanism is not Environmentalism - urbanism has many environmentaly-friendly elements, but it's primary goal is livable communities, not environmental protection.
  • What Seinfeld Teaches Us About Parking - Seinfeld, a show about nothing, actually teaches a lot of useful things about parking.
  • The Psychology of Unlimited Transit Passes - unlimited ride passes offer urban dwellers a sense of freedom that they don't get if they have to pay every time they make a trip.
  • Transforming a Car-Dependent City - living in Dallas, Texas gave me a new appreciation for urbanism; but now that a new section of DART's Green Line is open, Dallas might become more livable.
  • Not My Lifestyle Kind of Center - when I struggled to ride my bike to a local 'lifestyle center,' I realized what makes these places so egregious.
  • Why People Dislike Buses - in theory, buses are inexpensive alternatives to rail travel; in reality, there are many reasons that people don't like riding buses.
  • Nobody Walks There - my former neighborhood near Cleveland suffered from difficult-to-use sidewalks in the winter, but the bigger issue is that the area simply isn't designed to be walkable.
  • Re-Thinking the Role of Public Transit - when public transportation goes from being a public service to a welfare service, everyone suffers.
  • The Tale of Two Suburbs - suburbs aren't all created equally, poor design makes some much less livable than others.
  • BRT: Lessons from Cleveland - cities that want to implement BRT should learn from what Cleveland has done, not blindly copy the flaws from its system.
Coffee Culture
  • Visiting Laptopistan - before I moved to Washington, much of what appeared on this blog was written at my favorite coffee shop. There's something wonderful but hard to explain about working from a cafe.
  • French Press On-Tap - any coffee shop that uses the word 'gourmet' to describe what it serves ought to offer a French press coffee option.
  • Iced Coffee Snobbery - brewing a cup of coffee and sticking in the fridge really shouldn't be considered iced-coffee. The cold-brew method is definitely the way to go.
  • Coffee Roasting Snobbery - roasting coffee at home is inexpensive and produces some of the freshest coffee you'll ever taste. It's also not as hard as you'd think.
  • Coffee Cup Branding - why more local and independent coffee shops don't serve their to-go drinks in a branded cup is something that baffles me.
Travel Reports