Geography

Beijing and Shanghai Limit Population Growth

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Public policies to cap population in China’s two largest municipalities are yielding results. The latest annual statistical communiqués indicate that Shanghai and Beijing are now at population levels below the all-time peaks reached earlier in this decade, as population growth is being steered to peripheral areas in exurban and rural areas. This article describes population trends through the end of 2018.  read more »

Transit’s Declining Importance

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The steady decline in transit ridership, combined with the growth of driving, is revealed in passenger-mile data published by the Department of Transportation. The table below shows changes in transit’s share of motorized travel for the nation’s 25 largest urban areas. Outside of these areas, transit’s share declined by more than 10 percent in Sacramento, San Jose, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, among many others.  read more »

Escaping the Strait Jacket of "Place"

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We like to think of "place" as something positive, something that sets our patterns of living in a good way, but sometimes those patterns and forms become a strait jacket that keep our communities from evolving and growing. Sometimes you have to throw off that strait jacket, and Seattle, where 150,000 people have moved in the last 20 years, seems to be doing just that.  read more »

Economics Needed for People-Based Urban Planning: Alain Bertaud Book Review

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Alain Bertaud’s new book, Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities (MIT Press), is particularly timely, because of the rising concern about the challenges facing middle-income households. The broad based affluence that followed World War II brought unprecedented affluence to many millions of people, principally in the high income nations. This also raised the standard of living for people living in or near poverty.  read more »

A Sprinkle of Stores – Wrestling With Jacobs’s Uncertainty

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In her 1961 book, Jacobs made daring observations about how the “good city” works. A good number of passages in the book dealt with safety, such as the following:

“The basic requisite for such surveillance [of the street] is a substantial quantity of stores and other public places sprinkled along the sidewalks of a district; enterprises and public places that are used by evening and night must be among them especially. Stores, bars and restaurants, as the chief examples, work in several different and complex ways to abet sidewalk safety.”  read more »

The City Of Dallas Needs A Homebuilding Boom To Ensure Economic Success

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While the North Texas economy is booming, the core city of Dallas faces challenges bedeviling other cities: a dwindling middle class, bifurcation into neighborhoods of haves and have-nots, and an emerging home affordability problem.  read more »

The State of Jefferson

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Last year a neighbor began flying a State of Jefferson flag on the side of his house that faces mine. I had no idea what it represented, so I looked it up. Short version: the 23 rural northern counties of California want to break away from the rest of the state so they can do their own thing.  read more »

Where Millennials Really Go for Jobs

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When Amazon decided to locate its second headquarters in New York, it cited the supposed advantages of the city’s talent base. Now that progressive politicians have chased Amazon out of town, the tech booster chorus has been working overtime to prove that Gotham, and other big, dense, expensive cities, are destined to become “tech towns” anyway, because of their young, motivated labor pools.  read more »

Anti-“Sprawl” Bay Area Leads Expanding Metropolitan Regions

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The continuing expansion of metropolitan regions is indicated by the latest geographical delineations from the Office of Management and Budget (September 2018). This article examines metropolitan regions based on these boundaries, providing population figures, as well as highlighting significant changes and updates the analysis provided in 2015.  read more »

Why Suburbs Need To Be The Next Frontier For Cities Policy

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“Around the world, the vast majority of people are moving to cities not to inhabit their centres but to suburbanise their peripheries. Thus when the United Nations projects the number of future ‘urban’ residents… these figures largely reflect the unprecedented suburban expansion of global cities.”  read more »