Planning

Transit: The 4 Percent Solution

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A new Brookings Institution report provides an unprecedented glimpse into the lack of potential for transit to make a more meaningful contribution to mobility in the nation's metropolitan areas. The report, entitled Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America, provides estimates of the percentage of jobs that can be accessed by transit in 45, 60 or 90 minutes, one-way, by residents of the 100 largest US metropolitan areas.  read more »

The Recipe for Unlivable Cities in New Zealand

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The Auckland Council’s great vision is to make Auckland one of the world’s most livable cities. Yet the outcome of its currently proposed plans will be a city which is second best for most Aucklanders.

Some 60% to 80% of residents of New World cities state a clear preference for a single family home with its own backyard. In Victoria state, where Melbourne is located, 70% of the population, for example, preferred a single family home according to one government study. There have been similar findings from US based groups like the National Association of Realtors.  read more »

Condo Culture: How Florida Became Floridastan

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Welcome to Griftopia. The Florida housing industry needs a karmic rebalancing. Our recent roar of building new structures is echoed today by the squeaks and pops of a different type of construction industry. Invasive testing – the architectural equivalent of a biopsy – seems to be on the rise. Saws, hammers, and cranes can be heard through the quiet suburban developments and subdivisions around Florida, as shingles and stucco are cut off in small patches to reveal serious problems within.  read more »

Where Do the Children Play?

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Are compact cities healthy cities? One argument for compact cities is that they are good for our health.  The New Zealand Public Health Advisory Committee in 2008, for example, cited four principles for healthy urban planning based on the density of development: urban regeneration, compact growth, focused decentralisation, and linear concentration.  The aim is less time in cars and more use of active transport.  read more »

The Dispersionist Manifesto

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We live in an era of the heady drumbeat of urban triumphalism. In a world that is now, by some measures, predominately urban, observers like historian Peter Hall envision a “coming golden age” of great cities. It is time to look at such claims more closely, replacing celebratory urban legends with careful analysis. Although the percentage of people living in cities is certain to grow, much of this growth will be in smaller cities, suburbs and towns.  read more »

How China’s Megacities Have Avoided Problems of Other Developing Cities

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Urbanist media can’t seem to get enough of the megacity these days. Much of the commentary surrounding this topic is disconcertingly celebratory about these leviathans despite such phenomena as overcrowding, high levels of congestion and sprawling slums.  read more »

Washington State's Evolving Demography

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Population change in the state of Washington has relevance to the nation and to other states because it tells us something about market preferences of households versus the orientation of planners (e.g., “smart growth”). It tells us much about gentrification and America’s changing racial and ethnic diversity.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Manila

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The Urban Area: The Manila urban area ranks as the world's fifth largest urban area (area of continuous urban development) with a population of approximately 21,000,000 (Note 1) covering a land area of 550 square miles (1,425 square kilometers). The urban population density sits at approximately 38,000 people per square mile (14,500 per square kilometer).  read more »

Pickles Plans a Pogrom

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Pogróm is a word with Yiddish origin, and is a Russian word meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently, to destroy, or to devastate a town."

Eric Pickles, British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is planning to demolish, destroy, and devastate half of Dale Farm, on Oak Lane, Crays Hill, near Billericay.  read more »

Downtown China

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In Downtown: It's Rise and Fall, 1880-1950, Robert M Fogelson says that downtowns are a uniquely American phenomenon. He refers to downtown as the commercial cores with high building densities that form "canyons" that, in some smaller urban areas, might be only a block long to a mile or more long.  Fogelson demonstrates that downtowns in the United States are largely a creation of rail transit (subways or metros, street cars and their predecessor horse cars).  read more »