My recent post at Granola Shotgun described how a town in Georgia spent an enormous amount of public money on a new civic center and road expansions, but somehow managed to devalue nearby private property in the process. Here’s an example of a neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee that took a different approach that cost a lot less and achieved a radically better set of outcomes. read more »
Working families and the middle class are becoming an increasingly endangered species in many parts of United States. Median household income remains below its 1999 peak (inflation adjusted). But the problem is not just stagnant incomes. Expenses are also rising, especially the costs of housing in some cities. As a result, it is becoming more and more difficult to make ends meet. read more »
This piece by Zelda Bronstein (original to 48hills.org) goes behind the story of the Peninsula planning commissioner who made national news by saying she had to leave town to buy a house for her family.
On August 10, Kate Vershov Downing, a 31-year-old intellectual-property lawyer, set the media aflutter when she posted on Medium a letter to the Palo Alto City Council stating that she was resigning from the city’s Planning Commission because she was moving to Santa Cruz. The reason for her move: She and her 33-year-old husband Steven, a software engineer, couldn’t find a house they could afford to buy in Palo Alto. Downing said that they currently rented a place with another couple for $6,200 a month, and that if they “wanted to buy the same house and share it with children and not roommates, it would cost $2M.” read more »
New research supports the conclusion that anti-sprawl policy (urban containment policy) is incompatible with housing affordability. Build-zoom.com economist Issi Romem finds that: “Cities that have curbed their expansion have – with limited exception – failed to compensate with densification. read more »
Recently I published a piece on my Forbes site that discusses the disparate impact that demographic and social shifts had on larger, older U.S. cities over the second half of the 20th century. Basically, the smaller American household size, generated by later marriages, rising divorce rates, lower fertility rates and rising life expectancy, among other things, has meant that unless cities were adding housing, they simply weren't growing. read more »
An examination of American Community Survey (ACS) data in the major metropolitan areas of the United States shows that suburbs and exurbs have the shortest one-way work trip travel times for the largest number of people. The analysis covers metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population in 2012, from the 2010-2014 ACS (2012 average data) using the City Sector Model.
The City Sector Model read more »
In Milton Keynes, perhaps the most radical of Britain’s post-Second World War “New Towns,” the battle over Brexit and the culture war that it represents is raging hard. There, the consequences of EU immigration policy, of planning instituted by national authority, and of the grassroots yearning to preserve local character have clashed together to shape a platform that may set a precedent for whether central planners or local residents will determine the urban future. read more »
Orlando is now a place where suffering may finally catalyze a response to social violence. The spontaneous outpouring of grief and reconciliation by its people shows that public space lives, and has a useful function in our digital age. In multiple places around the city remembrances of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, and of musician and Voice contestant Christina Grimmie who was shot the previous day, are poignant, tangible evidence of the human spirit that one cannot ignore. read more »
What distinguishes a ‘smart city’ from one that merely possesses smart technology? At the basic level, ‘smart’ implies a threshold level of technology uptake. Cities with fast internet, straddling buses, and driverless police cars could be considered smart. However, if technology is the only prerequisite, smart is neither revolutionary nor interesting. It is time to move towards a more enlightened understanding of what makes a city smart. read more »