Geography

The Evolving Urban Form: Paris

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Probably no city inspires the romance of Paris, which has been a principal object of writers for centuries. The Paris they have written about is limited almost exclusively to the small geography of the ville de Paris, which has expanded from 1.7 square miles (4.3 square kilometers) in the 14th century to 40.5 square miles (105.0 square kilometers) in 1860, its latest annexation (Note). The ville de Paris is however, by no means all of Paris, representing less than four percent of the land in the built-up urban area, and little more than 0.5 percent of the metropolitan area.  read more »

California's Dense Suburbs and Urbanization

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Many observers think California urban areas are more geographically expansive ("lower density" or to use the pejorative term, more "sprawling") then those elsewhere in the nation, especially the Northeast Corridor, which runs from the Washington DC metropolitan area through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Hartford, Providence to Boston. This obsolete view is a leftover from the pre-automobile city of more than a century ago, when the largest American cities (metropolitan areas) had far higher urban densities, smaller suburban expenses, and no cars.  read more »

Where Small Town America Is Thriving

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Big city America has long demonstrated a distaste for its smaller cousins. This sentiment has, if anything, intensified with the election of President Donald Trump, whose improbable victory was made possible by strong support in small cities and towns across the country.  read more »

US Senior Population Trends by Size of Market

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Around the world, including the United States, senior populations are rising much faster than those of other ages, as fertility rates have plummeted. Since the 2010 Census, the share of US population 65 years of age and older has risen 3.3 percent annually, more than four times the overall average of 0.7 percent and more than ten times the 0.3 percent average growth rate for people under 65 years of age (Figure 1).  read more »

My Reno Epiphany

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I was last in Reno, Nevada twenty years ago and I can’t say I had a strong opinion of the place. It was just another forgettable generic one night stop over on a long drive to somewhere else. But I found myself back there twice in the past month. First, a young friend was leaving California for his home town in Connecticut and he wanted one last western nature adventure. Then a newly retired couple from the Los Angeles area wanted to kick the tires to see if Reno might be a good relocation spot. I enjoyed exploring Reno through these very different eyes.  read more »

Revisiting the "Big Theory" on American Urban Development

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I like to think I've come a long way since the start of this blog nearly six years ago. There are some early things I've written that have become the focal point of my work today, things I tried to tackle but were better left alone, and things I initiated and warrant a deeper look. This post certainly fits in that third category.  read more »

Handicapping Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters

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Amazon is choosing a city for their second headquarters. The retail behemoth released its “short list” of the 20 cities on January 18.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, well-known tweeter Iowahawk (@iowahawkblog aka Austin’s David Burge) has enumerated the pros and cons of each location. He swagged the odds for each city.  read more »

The Screwed Millennial Generation Gets Smart

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It’s been seven years since I wrote about “the screwed generation.” The story told has since become familiar: Millennials, then largely in their twenties, faced a future of limited economic opportunity, lower incomes, and too few permanent, high-paying jobs; of soaring college debt and structural insecurity (PDF).  read more »

Where the World’s Tallest Buildings are Concentrated

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Over the past two decades, an unprecedented number of tall buildings have been constructed around the world. The world of skyscrapers began to change rapidly in 1998, with the completion of the Petronas Towers, twin towers in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). These 482 meter (1,483 foot) structures ended the quarter century reign of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower---442 meters, 1,451 feet) in Chicago.  read more »

Hamtramck: Scale and Institutional Frameworks

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I recently published an article that explored some of the ways regulations make it difficult for small businesses to get off the ground and function. Among the examples I used from around the country was Bank Suey in Hamtramck, Michigan. My story was subsequently reposted on various other sites which the owner, Alissa Shelton, read and objected to. She felt I hadn’t accurately described her experience as a business owner and that I didn’t present her town in the right light.  read more »