cities

Zhengzhou Ghost City Alive!

Zhengzhou, Henan, China (March 28, 2011): In December, London’s Daily Mail reported that the Zhengzhou New Area was China’s largest “Ghost City.” A visit to the Zhengzhou New Area indicates exactly the opposite. Chinese “Ghost Cities” are large areas of new development that are virtually unoccupied. The most famous example is Ordos, a new and reportedly empty city, built to replace an older city in Inner Mongolia.  read more »

Major Metropolitan Areas: Summary of the First 20

Data is now available for 20 of the nation’s 52 metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population. The early results indicate a pattern of accelerating dispersion of the population to the suburbs as is indicated in the table below. Thus far, historic core municipality growth has been approximately one-half the 1990s rate. During the 2000s, the historic cores have accounted for 8.8 percent of metropolitan growth, down nearly one-half from the 1990s rate.  read more »

New Metro GDP Data Released

The Bureau of Economic Analysis yesterday released the 2009 data for metropolitan area GDP. Their headline, “Economic Decline Widespread in 2009,” should come as a surprise to no one.  read more »

Segregation and Quality of Life

CensusScope’s dissimilarity index measures the distributions of blacks and whites across a city to quantify the level of integration and segregation. The site discerned three major Midwestern cities in the top ten: Detroit, MI in second; Milwaukee, WI in third; and Chicago, IL in fifth. These cities are major hubs for their region, both socially and economically. But does segregation affect quality of life? And does it help or hinder job growth?  read more »

Vancouver: Moving to the Suburbs

A few weeks ago, The New York Times touted purported savings that a household would save by living in the core city of New York (in Brooklyn) instead of the suburbs (South Orange, New Jersey). The article downplayed the 1,000 fewer square feet the money bought in Brooklyn and did not consider the 40% higher cost of living.  read more »

Surprise, Frisco and Beaumont Among Fastest Growing

The Bureau of the Census has updated its city (municipality or local government area) population estimates for 2009. Predictably, anti-suburban interests saw more indication of the elusive (read non-existent) exodus from the suburbs to the central cities. One analyst even suggested that a "high quality" of life in one central city (Washington, DC) might have kept people from moving to the suburbs.  read more »

Let's Not Fool Ourselves on Urban Growth

There has been a lot written lately about the return to the city. I’ve noted myself how places like central Indianapolis have reversed decades of population declines. That’s exciting. And the New York Times, for example, just trumpeted how “smart growth is taking hold” in America.  read more »

Municipal Budget Mess

A recent report from the National League of Cities projects a grim financial situation for many municipal governments during the next three years. According to the report the municipal sector "likely faces a combined, estimated shortfall of anywhere from $56 billion to $83 billion from 2010-2012." Such shortfalls will be "driven by declining tax revenues, ongoing service demands and cuts in state revenues".  read more »

NGVideo: East St. Louis (Part III)

Part III in the video series on East St. Louis explores ideas put forward for (re)development of the city, including cultural tourism based on the city's African American heritage and use of vacant land for farming to create a local food source for the St. Louis metropolitan area.  read more »

A Threat To Home Owners Associations

In the 1990s, just about the only site amenity that most suburban developments offered was a fancy entrance monument. Usually, there were no other additions beyond ordinance minimums and even those weren’t generally elaborate. Some of these monuments did cost millions, but once past the gilded gates, the seduction ended, and residents were greeted by familiar monotonous cookie cutter subdivisions.  read more »