Detroit

Can Ford's Urban Gambit Survive Pandemic?

ford-plaza-rendering.jpg

Ford Motor Co. unveiled grand plans this week to enhance its investment in the Corktown precinct of Detroit, envisioning creation of a 30-acre “mobility innovation district” around the iconic but crumbling Michigan Central train station that the automaker is restoring to make a hip urban locale for 2,500 engineers and tech people.  read more »

The Heartland's Revival

Palmer_Across_the_Continent-e1597185754222.jpg

For roughly the past half century, the middle swath of America has been widely written off as reactionary, backward, and des­tined for unceasing decline.  read more »

Technology's Mixed Record in Responding to a Pandemic

technology-vs-humanity_gerd-leonhard.jpg

While it's helped a lot of Americans who are displaced from their offices get their work done, it's fallen short in areas like education and disease tracking and has once again highlighted the digital divide.

With smart cities and the need for digital transformation of government already top of mind for state and local leaders, the coronavirus pandemic's disruptions have provided a sort of field test of how technology is really able to respond to key civic and societal challenges. So far, at least, it's a mixed picture.  read more »

Subjects:

The Twilight of Great American Cities is Here. Can We Stop It?

southern-manhattan-sunset_ed-yourdon.jpg

The dreadful death of George Floyd lit a fire that threatens to burn down America’s cities. Already losing population before the pandemic, our major urban centers have provided ideal kindling for conflagration with massive unemployment, closed businesses and already rising crime rates.  read more »

The Vital Midwest

john-austin-midwest-map.jpg

John Austin at the Michigan Economic Center is a long time commentator on Midwest economic issues, going back to at least his 2006 Brookings Institute report “The Vital Center.”  read more »

Detroit: Rebranding, Resilience, and Redemption

Detroit_Skyline_michael-tighe.jpg

Detroit may have found something that could figure prominently in the city's long-term rebound.

Earlier this week I found this video, featuring the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences Choir and produced/sponsored by the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, and I was blown away by the quality and the message. In the week since its release the video has garnered nearly one million views. It's absolutely worth your five minutes to check it out:  read more »

Revealed Preferences: The 30-Minute Commute

aDSC05530.JPG

The principal reason that large cities have developed is that they provide large labor (and housing) markets. A labor market is also a housing market, since virtually all who work in the metropolitan area also live there. The metropolitan area is the one location where there is one-to-one balance between jobs and resident workers (see: Alain Bertaud, Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities).  read more »

The Progressive Era Reform That Doomed Detroit

spirit-of-detroit.jpg

About a month ago, I came across a paper via Twitter in which the authors, Michael Hankinson of the City University of New York and Asya Magazinnik of MIT, studied the impact of at-large and district representation in local government on the "trade-off between the efficient production of collective goods and the equitable distribution of costs."  read more »

Of Niche Markets and Broad Markets: Commuting in the US

Interstate-5.jpg

The six transit legacy cities - mostly urban cores that grew largely before the advent of the automobile - increased their concentration of transit work trips to 57.9% of the national transit commuting, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. At the same time, working at home strengthened its position as the nation’s third leading mode of work access, with transit falling to fourth. The transit commuting market share dropped from 5.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018.  read more »

A Personal Segregation Story

13179023_10102400395440419_1094918074428924780_n.jpg

I've written quite a bit about segregation and its impact on cities lately, and more specifically on its impact on people of color. I won't link to everything I've done recently but encourage you to scroll through articles here, and on my Forbes site. You'll find a reasonable flavor of the things I've written about segregation's legacy in cities.

But today I wanted to use my own family history to show how it's had a personal and generational impact.  read more »