Planning

Closing the Gap

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China is building a magnetically levitated (maglev) train that will “fill the gap between high-speed rail and air transportation,” says CNN. This new train may have a top speed of 370 miles per hour, which “could narrow the gap between high-speed rail and air travel,” says Republic World.  read more »

How Vital Is Transit to Your Region?

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Transit ridership is plummeting almost everywhere, yet officials in many cities are still devising hugely expensive plans for transit projects. One such city is Austin, whose leaders are talking about spending between $6 billion and $10.5 billion on new transit lines (and the final cost always ends up being more than the projections).  read more »

Bremerton, Washington: Challenges of an Industrial Town

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Recent statistics from Indeed.com show that Washington, DC, the winner of the HQ2 contest, ranks second only to San Jose in the percentage of high-tech job listings. This tells us that most of the 238 cities that submitted bids --- despite assurance from Amazon --- were never seriously in the running. If mid-sized places like Indianapolis did not really stand a chance, however, what does that tell us about the economic prospects for smaller, more industrial places that have virtually no software companies?  read more »

Milwaukee Puts Ribbons Over Brooms

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Due to circumstances entirely within the city of Milwaukee’s control, it can’t afford to fix potholes in city streets and it certainly won’t pay to repair the damage to at least 45 cars caused by those potholes so far this year.  read more »

Densification Efforts Like SB50 Are The Wrong Fix To California’s Housing Problem

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For decades California’s regulatory and tax policies have undermined our middle class, driving millions out of this most favored state. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in a drive that seeks to destroy the single-family neighborhoods preferred by the state’s middle-income households.  read more »

The Once-Lucky Country

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Few places on earth are better suited for middle-class prosperity than Australia. From early in its history, when it was a refuge for British convicts, the vast, resource-rich country has provided an ideal environment for upward mobility, from the pioneering ranches of the nineteenth century to the middle-class suburbs of the late twentieth. Journalist Donald Horne described Australia in 1964 as “a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.”  read more »

Denver’s Subsidized Housing Scheme Gets It Wrong On Affordability

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Thanks to an urban-growth boundary, Denver has a housing affordability problem. Apartment rents have increased by 65 percent in the last decade, while the nationwide cost of living in that time rose by just 18 percent and rents nationwide increased by an average of 28 percent.  read more »

A What If - The Chicago White Sox and Armour Field

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(In the mid-1980's the Chicago White Sox were struggling on many levels -- to win on the field, to excite a fan base, and to upgrade their old home ballpark. That spurred them to push for a stadium deal either in the Chicago area or elsewhere. The Sox nearly moved to suburban Addison until the promise of a new stadium was narrowly defeated in a referendum, and nearly moved to Tampa Bay until the Illinois State Assembly intervened. That deal brought us the Guaranteed Rate Field the Sox have today, which opened in 1991.  read more »

Why Are Some People in the Rust Belt So Resistant to Change?

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Aaron Renn wrote a great piece over at his Urbanophile blog entitled The Challenge of Change. In it, he discusses some of the negative reaction that he got to his recent post on Kokomo, Indiana and its Mayor Greg Goodnight’s efforts to reinvent the city using what Renn describes as “the model of the working-class/creative-class, blue-collar/white-collar synthesis that many believe we need today.”  read more »

Killing the California Dream

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Californians need to give up on their dream of a “ranch-house lifestyle” and an “ample backyard” and the state should become “more like New York City,” writes LA Times columnist George Skelton (reprinted in the Mercury-News and East Bay Times in case you run into the LA Times paywall). After reading his article, the Antiplanner has just one question: Why?  read more »