Suburbs

The Shape of Things to Come

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After several years of traveling around the country in the presence of city planners, economic development officials, elected representatives, engineers, production home builders, professional consultants, and groups of concerned citizens I’ve come to my own personal unified theory of America’s land use future. The short version is that we’ve got the built environment that we have and the overwhelming majority of it isn’t ever going to change much. If you want to know what things will look like in thirty or forty years… look around. That’s pretty much it.  read more »

A Victory for Localism in Australia: Court Blocks Forced Amalgamation

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In a rare victory for grassroots activists, The New South Wales Supreme Court has blocked the forced local government amalgamation of northern suburban councils Ku-ring-gai and the Shire of Hornsby in Greater Sydney.  read more »

Flight from Urban Cores Accelerates: 2016 Census Metropolitan Area Estimates

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The flight from the nation’s major metropolitan area core counties increased 60 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to just-released estimates from the US Census Bureau (Note). A total of 321,000 more residents left the core counties than moved in, up from 199,000 in 2015. This is ten times the decade’s smallest domestic migration loss of 32,000 for the same counties which occurred in 2012.  read more »

Suburban and Urban Housing Cost Relationships

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Perhaps this is old hat to you, but this came across as a bit of an epiphany to me earlier today.  read more »

Big Box Jesus

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One of my cousins recently attended an event at a suburban church and I tagged along. I’m amoral and omnivorous. I’ll go to any house of worship on the odd chance I might actually learn something useful – and I often do. And I meet a lot of really nice people along the way. But mostly I like to explore the landscapes other people inhabit. Church provides an intimate glimpse into what people are thinking and feeling in a particular location.  read more »

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 »