suburbs

Zoning and Sprawl

Matt Yglesias has been making the case recently that zoning and land use laws encourage suburban sprawl, and if we did away with them we'd have a greater number of dense, walkable neighborhoods. Cato's Randall O'Toole took exception, so Matt condensed his argument into PowerPoint form:  read more »

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The Downtown Seattle Jobs Rush to the Suburbs

There are few downtown areas in the nation that are more attractive than Seattle. Downtown Seattle is a dream of spontaneous order and a fascinating place well worth exploring. It is one of the nation's great walkable downtown areas, with a mixture of older and newer buildings, hills, Ivars Acres of Clams and the Chief Seattle fire boat on Elliot Bay, Pioneer Square, the Pike Place Market (itself the home of the first Starbuck's coffee) and a hyper-dense 100,000 jobs per square mile.  read more »

How the new Apple iPad (and other mobile tech) changes the commuting equation

Apple's much anticipated iPad tablet computer was announced today, albeit to some mixed reviews. While the iPad itself may or may not succeed, the overall technology trend line is clear: increasingly rich mobile access to the Internet and email.  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 »

Driving for Popsicles: Kidnapping Hysteria in America

Not long ago, I saw an urban planner speak about the “Popsicle test” as a barometer for healthy urban design: in an ideal community, a child is able to safely walk a short distance from their home to buy a Popsicle. In such a community, kids have the freedom and independence to enjoy a carefree childhood walk without having to worry about traffic or neighborhood bullies.  read more »

Redesigning Suburbia

Dwell Magazine and inhabitat.com have combined forces to sponsor the first ever “Reburbia Design Competition,” a design competition dedicated to re-envisioning the suburbs.

Citing the current housing crisis, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and rising energy cost, as well as limited natural resources available to increased exurban growth, the two companies have called upon “future-forward architects” and “renegade planners” to reinvent the suburbs.  read more »

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Elected Official Domestic Migration from San Francisco?

San Francisco, like every other core county in a metropolitan area of more than 1,000,000 (with the exception of New Orleans) continues to lose domestic migrants. Between 2000 and 2008, US Bureau of the Census data indicates that more than 10 percent of San Franciscans have left for other counties. But if one is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (board of county commissioners), it may be convenient for only part of the family to join the exodus.  read more »

Mobility on the Decline

Faced with an economic downturn and a bursting real estate bubble, Americans look to be staying put in greater numbers. According to Ball State demographer Michael Hicks, interviewed in an article examining the trend in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Property values have dropped so much, people can't pick up and move the way they used to."  read more »

City & Suburban Trends: Sometimes it Helps to Look at the Data

Jonathan Weber writes that "Most demographic and market indicators suggest that growth and development across the country are moving away from the suburban and exurban fringe and toward center-cities and close-in suburbs," in an article for MSNBC entitled Demographic trends now favor downtown: Growth across the country moves away from suburban and exurban fringe.  read more »

Moving Away from the City: The Reality Missed by the Fairfax County Survey

Political “spin” descended to a new low today with the publication of survey results purporting to suggest that suburban residents and workers are pining for city life. The Washington Business Journal dutifully reported that Today’s suburban workers and residents miss the amenities of cities.  read more »