Our Exurban Future and the Ecological Footprint


‘How shall we live?’ is a question that naturally concerns architects, planners, community representatives and all of us. It is a question that turns on the density of human settlements, the use of resources and the growing division of labour.  read more »

The Fed: Reappoint Captain Smith?


The debate surrounding the re-appointment of Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (the Fed) is not without historical parallel.

Just recall the RMS Titanic: It was April 14, 1912, when White Star’s “unsinkable” RMS Titanic, the largest and newest passenger liner in the world, was steaming from Southampton and Ireland to New York. The ship was traveling through a part of the North Atlantic where icebergs had been reported.  read more »

Housing Unaffordability as Public Policy: The New Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey


The just released 6th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey shows some improvement in housing affordability, especially in the United States and Ireland but a continuing loss of housing affordability, especially in Australia.  read more »

Suburbs & Cul-de-Sacs: Is The Romance Over?


The Virginia Department of Transportation does not like cul-de-sacs. You know, those little circles that suburban home dwellers worship so much and pay a premium to be located on? Under its regulations, all new subdivisions must have only through streets. Essentially, no more cul-de-sacs. Getting rid of these desirable dead-ends, according to the DOT, will improve safety and accessibility for emergency vehicles.  read more »

The War Against Suburbia


A year into the Obama administration, America’s dominant geography, suburbia, is now in open revolt against an urban-centric regime that many perceive threatens their way of life, values, and economic future. Scott Brown’s huge upset victory by 5 percent in Massachusetts, which supported Obama by 26 percentage points in 2008, largely was propelled by a wave of support from middle-income suburbs all around Boston. The contrast with 2008 could not be plainer.  read more »

High-Speed Rail: Toward Least Worst Projections


It comes as welcome news that the United States Department of Transportation Inspector General is concerned about the integrity of high-speed rail projections, “including ridership, costs, revenues and associated public benefits.” The issue has become ripe as a result of the $8 billion for high speed rail that the Obama Administration slipped into the economic stimulus bill early in 2009.  read more »

Las Vegas: The Boom - Bust Bender

City Center Vegas Aria copy.jpg

It's delightfully easy to blast Las Vegas… or simply to make fun of it. It is the world capital of shamelessness, so it is more or less beside the point to criticize. Yet with the debut of the colossal $8.5 billion CityCenter, Vegas makes pretension to "sustainable urbanism." Even by Vegas standards of hype, this is mendacity at a colossal scale.  read more »

Beyond Neo-Victorianism: A Call for Design Diversity


By Richard Reep

Investment in commercial development may be in long hibernation, but eventually the pause will create a pent-up demand. When investment returns, intelligent growth must be informed by practical, organic, time-tested models that work. Here’s one candidate for examination proposed as an alternative to the current model being toyed with by planners and developers nationwide.  read more »

China’s Heartland Capital: Chengdu, Sichuan


On May 12, 2008, Chinese architect Stepp Lin was focusing intensely on his professional licensing exam in a testing center in central Chengdu when suddenly he felt someone bumping his desk. By the time he looked up to see what it was, most of the other exam takers were frantically fleeing for the exit. It turns out that what he was feeling were the tremors of what was to be the most devastating earthquake to hit China in recent memory.  read more »

How California Went From Top of the Class to the Bottom


California was once the world’s leading economy. People came here even during the depression and in the recession after World War II. In bad times, California’s economy provided a safe haven, hope, more opportunity than anywhere else. In good times, California was spectacular. Its economy was vibrant and growing. Opportunity was abundant. Housing was affordable. The state’s schools, K through Ph.D., were the envy of the world. A family could thrive for generations.  read more »