Throughout the brutal recession, one metropolitan area floated serenely above the carnage: Washington, D.C. Buoyed by government spending, the local economy expanded 17% from 2007 to 2012. But for the first time in four years, the capital region has fallen out of the top 15 big cities in our annual survey of the best places for jobs, dropping to 16th place from fifth last year. read more »
The Recovery Blueprint is a multipart series of articles that offers suggestions on how to recover from the homebuilding recession.
Since the recession began, there haven't been any significant changes in how regulations could be improved to energize the housing market and foster innovation. Three areas where big regulation changes are needed? Environmental subsidies, density requirements, and zoning laws. read more »
The urban population of the United States is now 249 million, according to the 2010 Census, 81 percent of the total. This is impressive, and not all surprising for a large developed economy. Yet the urban population --- meaning cities, suburbs and exurbs --- is not everything. And in many ways for everything from food, resources and recreation, the urban areas still depend on the nearly sixty million who live in rural America read more »
The new 2011 Census Bureau county and metropolitan area population estimates indicate that Americans are staying put. Over the past year, 590,000 people moved between the nation's counties. This domestic migration (people moving within the nation) compares to an annual rate of 1,080,000 between the 2000 and 2009. Inter-county domestic migration peaked in 2006 at nearly 1,620,000 and has been falling since that time (Figure 1). read more »
This is Part Two of a two-part series.
Evidence that people just don’t like Smart Growth is revealed in findings from organizations set up to promote Smart Growth. In 2009, the Washington Post reported, “Scholars at the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education found that over a decade, smart growth has not made a dent in Maryland's war on sprawl.” read more »
Nothing more characterizes the current conventional wisdom than the demise of the single-family house. From pundits like Richard Florida to Wall Street investors, the thinking is that the future of America will be characterized increasingly by renters huddling together in small apartments, living the lifestyle of the hip and cool — just like they do in New York, San Francisco and other enlightened places. read more »
Since the early 20th century, the almost universal adoption of the automobile by US residents has had a profound impact on how we plan and design communities. The widespread use of the auto not only spurred development outside of traditional urban centers, it minimized the need to blend multiple land uses into compact areas. read more »
Most people are more interested in organized crime than in organized business. Chambers of commerce do not often attract headlines except for the occasional, inevitable dustup with a public authority. For that reason, this April’s 100 year anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may pass without much public attention. This would be a shame, as groups of companies have left their fingerprints all over the American civic landscape, and were busy even at the birth of Tom Donohue’s organization in 1912. read more »
The Florida real estate developer, unburdened of state regulatory agencies, may now focus his efforts on pleasing the investment community and the local market. I recently played the role of real estate developer interviewing two consultant teams vying to help me create a new fictional community. Fortified with readings in both the New Urbanist camp and the Dispersionist camp, each team of students pitched their method of community building to me. read more »
Bookstores and libraries have long played a central role in fostering a deeper appreciation of knowledge, and in lifelong learning. Increasingly, these places are also filling another critical need in our communities, by providing a haven for those seeking a communal connection in an ever-more isolated world.
Ray Oldenburg, author of The Great Good Place, coined the term “third place” to describe any environment outside of the home and the workplace (first and second places, respectively) where people gather for deeper interpersonal connection. Third places include, for example, places of worship, community centers, and even diners or pubs frequented by the “locals.” read more »