Urban Issues

The Changing Urban Patterns in College Degreed Younger Adults

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While doing some research for a forthcoming presentation, I was looking at some data about younger people with college degrees and put together some maps I’ll share with you today.

The Census Bureau tracks educational attainment by age cohort. I decided to look at 25-34 year olds with a bachelors degree or higher. This is roughly today’s “young, educated Millennial” segment. Here is a chart showing the change in the share of 25-34yos with degrees between 2000 and 2016:  read more »

Chicago's Story Of Population Loss Is Becoming An Exclusive About Black Population Loss

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Population estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau show that Chicago’s population has declined for the third year in row.

According to the latest estimates, Chicago’s population fell by about 350 in 2014, by just under 5,000 in 2015 and by more than 8,600 in 2016. Among the nation’s 50 largest cities, Chicago is the only city to lose population each year since 2013 and for those population losses to worsen each time.  read more »

Bringing Soviet Planning to New York City

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to bring the same policies that worked so well in the Soviet Union, and more recently in Venezuela, to New York City. “If I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed,” he says. “And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents.”  read more »

Garden Grove: The Other Kind of Incremental Urbanism

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This is the historic Main Street in Garden Grove, California. Back in 1874 land was platted in small twenty five foot wide lots and sold off with minimal infrastructure. Individuals built modest pragmatic structures with funds pulled largely from the household budget, extended family, and short term debt. This was long before the thirty year mortgage, government loan guaranties, mortgage interest tax deductions, zoning regulations, subsidies, economic development grants, or the codes we have today.  read more »

Back Office Decentralization

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In my “superstar effect” series I’ve been presenting examples of where superstars (whether individuals or cities) are generating a disproportionate share of the rewards these days.

I mentioned that I had some counter-examples and wanted to share one today. Namely that backoffice decentralization, or the move of less-than-superstar functions out of superstar cities, has benefitted a certain class of places like Denver and Salt Lake City.  read more »

Neighborfest: Building a Stronger, More Connected World from the Block Up

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As we write this piece, the whole world is watching in disbelief as rain and flooding wreak devastation again along the Gulf Coast and Florida. Upwards of 50 inches of rain fell in parts of Southern Texas, thousands have been displaced from their homes in Miami and Houston, and some residents may never fully recover their livelihoods and homes. The Mayor of Houston called upon neighbors to help each other while first responders did their best to respond to the thousands of calls for help.  read more »

Toward a Science of Cities: "The Atlas of Urban Expansion"

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New York University Professor Shlomo Angel and his colleagues (Alejandro M. Blei, Jason Parent, Patrick Lamson-Hall, and Nicolás Galarza Sánchez, with Daniel L. Civco, Rachel Qian Lei, and Kevin Thom) have produced the Atlas of Urban Expansion: 2016 edition, which represents the most detailed available spatial analysis of world urbanization, relying on a sample of 200 urban areas. It was published jointly United Nations Habitat, New York University, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and released in conjunction with the Habitat III conference in Quito. The Atlas follows the publication of Angel's Planet of Cities, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy which was reviewed in New Geography in A Planet of People: Angel's Planet of Cities.  read more »

U.S. Cities Have A Glut Of High-Rises And Still Lack Affordable Housing

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Perhaps nothing thrills mayors and urban boosters like the notion of endless towers rising above their city centers. And to be sure, new high-rise residential construction has been among the hottest areas for real estate investors, particularly those from abroad, with high-end products accounting for 8o% of all new construction.

Yet this is not an entirely high-end country, and these products, particularly the luxury high-rises in cities, largely depend on a small segment of the population that can afford such digs.  read more »

Elusive Population Growth in the City of Los Angeles

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How many times can a city reach 4 million population for the first time? I submit that Los Angeles (my birthplace), now near its fourth such celebration, is the undisputed champion, with each of the first three having not actually been reached.  read more »

The Great Transit Rip-Off

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Over the past decade, there has been a growing fixation among planners and developers alike for a return to the last century’s monocentric cities served by large-scale train systems. And, to be sure, in a handful of older urban regions, mass transit continues to play an important — and even vital — role in getting commuters to downtown jobs. Overall, a remarkable 40 percent of all transit commuting in the United States takes place in the New York metropolitan area — and just six municipalities make up 55 percent of all transit commuting destinations.  read more »