Planning

Retrofitting the Dream: Housing in the 21st Century, A New Report

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This is the introduction to "Retrofitting the Dream: Housing in the 21st Century," a new report by Joel Kotkin. To read the entire report, download the .pdf attachment below.

In recent years a powerful current of academic, business, and political opinion has suggested the demise of the classic American dream of home ownership. The basis for this conclusion rests upon a series of demographic, economic and environmental assumptions that, it is widely suggested, make the single-family house and homeownership increasingly irrelevant for most Americans.  read more »

Driving Trends in Context

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There are grains of reality, misreporting and exaggeration in the press treatment of a report on driving trends by USPIRG. The report generated the usual press reports suggesting that the millennial generation (ages 16 to 35) is driving less, moving to urban cores, and that with a decline in driving per capita, people are switching to transit.  read more »

Why Gentrification?

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The mostly commonly chosen means, or at least attempted means, of revitalizing central cities that have fallen on hard times is gentrification.  Gentrification is the process of replacing the poor population of a neighborhood with the affluent and reorienting the district along upscale lines.  This has seen enormous success in large swaths of New York and Chicago, but even traditionally struggling cities like Cleveland have seen pockets of this type of development downtown.

What makes gentrification so attractive as a redevelopment strategy? There are many reasons.  read more »

The Triumph of Suburbia

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The “silver lining” in our five-years-and-running Great Recession, we’re told, is that Americans have finally taken heed of their betters and are finally rejecting the empty allure of suburban space and returning to the urban core.  read more »

Job Dispersion in Major US Metropolitan Areas: 1960-2010

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The continuing dispersion of employment in the nation's major metropolitan areas has received attention in two recent reports. The Brookings Institution has published research showing that employment dispersion continued between 2000 and 2010, finding job growth was greater outside a three mile radius from central business districts between 2000 and 2010 in 100 metropolitan areas Note 1).  read more »

US Suburbs Approaching Jobs-Housing Balance

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Suburban areas in the US metropolitan areas with more than 1 million total regional population, once largely seen as bedroom communities, are nearing parity between jobs and resident employees. The jobs housing balance, which measures the number of jobs per resident employee in a geographical area has reached 0.89 (jobs per resident workers) in these 51 major metropolitan areas, according to data in the 2011 one-year American Community Survey.  read more »

Density Boondoggles

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Is it density or migration? Venture capitalist Brad Feld weighs in:

The cities that have the most movement in and out of them are the most vibrant.

The densest city in the world won't be as vibrant as the city with the most talent churn. Yet planners and urbanists tout the former over the latter.  read more »

Green Office Towers Cast Shadow Over Sydney

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Known for her spiky hair, studded-collar and heels, Sydney’s Lord Mayor is the epitome of progressive chic. For a green activist, though, Clover Moore attracts some surprising company. Landlords owning 58 per cent of the CBD’s office space have rushed to join her Better Buildings Partnership, an alliance “to improve the sustainability performance of existing commercial and public sector buildings”.  read more »

Does the Post Office Deliver in Today's Urban Culture?

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The postal service has been ravaged by enormous deficits and massive layoffs. It will inevitably see the closing of thousands of buildings. Planners have taken notice. Countless journalists have lamented the loss of post-office buildings, praised their often remarkable architecture and called for pressure to save them. These buildings are catalysts of “community”, the authors have suggested, citing the chance encounters of townspeople. Something is profoundly wrong, we are told, when community incubators are eradicated.  read more »

Subjects:

What Killed Downtown?

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What Killed Downtown?: Norristown, Pennsylvania, from Main Street to the Malls
by Michael E. Tolle

For those of us who have grown dyspeptic on the over-indulged topic of the collapse of the American city center, Michael Tolle’s What Killed Downtown? Norristown, Pennsylvania, from Main Street to the Malls earns much of its anodyne appeal by straying from a commonly accepted convention in urban studies—that an analysis of the socioeconomic decline of a community should draw heavily upon socioeconomic variables. Isn’t there another way to get the point across? And more importantly, aren’t there other contributing factors?  read more »