Planning October 2015


Neighborhood noise — mapped

How loud is your neighborhood? The noise level of every address in your city may soon be mapped with HowLoud — a model that takes a sound profile of a site (e.g., vehicle flow, flight patterns, and nearby attractions) and uses physics to calculate noise intensity. To see how it works, go to and enter a Los Angeles or Orange County address. Don't live there? HowLoud is currently raising funds to map all of the U.S. and Canada.


Transportation innovation

What drives transportation innovation? Is there a clear formula? A report from the TransitCenter sheds light on the topic. It studies six major metropolitan areas experiencing revitalization in urban transportation — Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, New York City, Pittsburgh, and Portland — and identifies three elements that lead to ground-breaking transportation policy. Spoiler alert: Local advocacy and civic engagement are key. View the full report, "A People's History of Recent Urban Transportation Innovation," at


Riparian conservation networks

Connecting conservation areas is crucial to accommodate migrating species and combat habitat loss. But designating land corridors is often difficult. Researchers argue for developing a network of protected river corridors. "Our spatial analysis suggests that they could connect protected areas and have a higher rate of conservation management than terrestrial lands," they write, noting that the geographic "backbone" of a riparian connectivity network is already in place and that many existing laws and policies favor protecting river environments. Their paper appears in the November issue of Biological Conservation (

— Ilima Loomis

Loomis is a freelance writer in Maui, Hawaii.


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