Suburbs

A New Age of Progressive Suburbanism?

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We are living in a global suburban age… While statistics demonstrate that the amount of the world population in metropolitan areas is rapidly increasing, rarely is it understood that the bulk of this growth occurs in the suburbanized peripheries of cities. Domestically, over 69% of all U.S. residents live in suburban areas; internationally, many other developed countries are predominately suburban, while many developing countries are rapidly suburbanizing as well.”  read more »

The High Cost of a Home Is Turning American Millennials Into the New Serfs

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American greatness was long premised on the common assumption that each generation would do better than the previous one. That is being undermined for the emerging millennial generation.  read more »

Caterpillar’s HQ Move to Chicago Shows America’s Double Divide

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Earlier today Caterpillar announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters from Peoria to Chicago. The move affects about 300 top-level executives. The company will retain a large presence in Peoria.  read more »

Are America’s Cities Doomed to Go Bankrupt?

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I’m a fan of Strong Towns and share their thesis that the biggest sustainability problem with much of suburbia is its financial sustainability.

recent article there about Lafayette, Louisiana has been making the rounds. That city’s public works director made some estimates of infrastructure maintenance costs and which parts of the city turned a “profit” from taxes and which were losses. Here’s their profit and loss map.  read more »

Them that’s got shall have. Them that’s not shall lose.

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My family lived in this building when I was a kid in the 1970’s. This was the door to our old apartment. It’s in a nondescript part of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. There are a million places just like this all over the Southland. These beige stucco boxes are the workhorses of semi-affordable market rate housing in California. The place hasn’t changed in forty years other than the on-going deferred maintenance.  read more »

2010-2013 Small Area Data Shows Strong Suburban & Exurban Growth

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The latest small area estimates from the Census Bureau indicate that suburban and exurban areas continue to receive the overwhelming share of growth in metropolitan areas around the country, with a single exception, New York. The new American Community Survey (Note 1) 5 year file provides an update of data at the ZCTA (zip code tabulation area), which are described below, as analyzed by the City Sector Model. The data was collected from 2011 through 2015, and can therefore be considered generally reflective of the middle year of the period, 2013.  read more »

Suburban Nations: Canada, Australia and the United States

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Professors David L. A. Gordon of Queens University (Canada) and Paul Maginn and Sharon Biermann of the University of Western Australia have now shown Australia to be a largely suburban nation. This follows on Professor Gordon’s work with colleagues in 2013 that came to the same conclusion on Canada based upon 2006 census data.  read more »

Edward Hopper’s Rockford

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I had dinner in Rockford, Illinois recently with Jennifer and Michael Smith of the City Smiths. You will never find a more charming, kind, and industrious couple. Any town would be lucky to have such passionate and engaged citizens.  read more »

“There Can’t Be a Successful Indianapolis Without a Successful Indiana”

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Back in 2008 or 2009 I gave a Pecha Kucha presentation in Indianapolis in which I said:

"Cities can’t survive on gentrification alone. The broad community has to be a participant in its success. That’s why I’m somewhat down on the notion of the creative class. It’s good as far as it goes, but it’s a self-consciously elitist vision. Where’s the working class in that?  read more »

Sydney Lurches to Housing Affordability Disaster

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Now and again Australia erupts in controversy about housing affordability. Each time it follows the same course. Some new statistic or media story confirms that prices are out of control. A senior politician is prompted to call for deregulation and more supply, and is backed-up by the property industry. Then come progressive policy wonks saying no, the issue is high investor demand stimulated by tax concessions. Next emerge the welfare lobby, calling for tax reform as well as more social housing and “inclusionary zoning”.  read more »