I also like reading other people's lists of things. There were a few interesting lists in the news this week.
For example, Travel and Leisure Magazine has a list of "green American landmarks." It includes a parking lot in Santa Monica, California. Now, I'm sure that it is the most eco-friendly parking garage in the U.S., but driving is inherently not environmentally friendly.
Then there is The American Planning Association's list of great places. I'm not familiar enough with a lot of the places to comment on them, but I know a few fairly well. And they provide a good example of what is wrong with a lot of urban planning in the country. I will pick on Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards in Arlington, Virginia since they are close to where I live. (And I used to work right on Wilson Blvd.) The area is, indeed, successful - but it is successful less because of the streets themselves than because of their metro accessibility. And the site says nothing about public transit. There is also a significant flip side to their success. Clarendon used to have a lot of interesting ethnic restaurants, mostly running to the sort of Vietnamese places that have lighting that makes everyone look jaundiced but serve food otherwise obtainable only in Hue. Then the area got gentrified and rents went up. And now you get to eat at the likes of Cheesecake Factory. Too many successful urban renewal projects end up as the same collection of upscale chain shops. Can't we have low crime rates without high blandness?
Finally, there have been a couple of lists of most expensive colleges. The lists differ, depending on whether they deal only with tuition or include typical room and board costs. What is, however, interesting is that MIT is not in the top 20 on any of the lists I've seen.