New York

The Coronavirus Means You May Have Seen Your Last Skyscraper, New York

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While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned that “we are your future,” since “what happens to New York is going to wind up happening to California and Washington state and Illinois” and the New York Times has blared that "This Is Going to Kill Small-Town America," the COVID-19 death rate in the United States appears to be more than twice as high in large urban counties as in high-density suburbs, and nearly twice as high in high-density suburbs than in lower-density ones.  read more »

Varieties of Exposure Density: A California Perspective

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A reader forwarded me an analysis of COVID-19 cases analyzed by the population density of California’s counties. The analysis had the concept right — if an infection is spread person to person, as in the case of COVID-19, then population density is likely to be an important “seeding” factor. That is there is virtually universal agreement that we need to practice social distancing of 6 feet or two meters to minimize the spread.  read more »

The Coronavirus is Changing the Future of Home, Work, and Life

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The COVID-19 pandemic will be shaping how we live, work and learn about the world long after the last lockdown ends and toilet paper hoarding is done, accelerating shifts that were already underway including the dispersion of population out of the nation’s densest urban areas and the long-standing trend away from mass transit and office concentration towards flatter and often home-based employment.   read more »

“Exposure Density” and the Pandemic

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A week ago, I posted Early Observations on the Pandemic and Population Density, which suggested that the more worrying experience with the COVID-19 virus in the New York City metropolitan area could result from more intense person-to-person contacts:  read more »

Coronavirus and the Cities

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As you can imagine, we are now ensconced in our homes in New York City. We are fine, even though the numbers surrounding us are alarming. The street bare empty and quiet. The food stores are full. We go out every day for a walk, sometimes to the Hudson, sometimes to the East River, with masks and gloves, keeping safe distance from the occasional other. Whole Foods now opens for a special hour from 7:00am to 8:00 for seniors and once a week we go there at 7:00am. We do a lot of cooking, sometimes elevating dinners to gourmet level. We Zoom a lot with friends and family and colleagues.  read more »

Early Observations on the Pandemic and Population Density

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It is still too early to draw precise conclusions on the extent to which the spread of the COVID-19 is related to urban population density. But there are important recurring themes. The following observations are made with the caveats that we are largely dealing with data inconsistent across geographies in terms of reporting and testing and preliminary. Rigorous research will have to await final data, which could be months in the future.

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The End of New York

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For over two centuries, New York has been the predominant urban center in North America. It remains the primary locale for the arts, culture, finance, and media, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. It has also served as the incubator of the many Americas—including Jewish, Italian, African American, Irish, and, increasingly, Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian cultures—and nurtured their contributions to the arts, business, and intellectual life.  read more »

Studying the Wrong Cities Will Lead to Repeating Their Mistakes

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The junket factor must be the only logical criteria by which various industry “study tours” overseas are planned. How else to explain how entirely inappropriate the choices are? The list of cities identified for “study” by Australian development and planning industry bodies reads like the pages of a glossy weekend travel magazine: we’ve seen study tours to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, London, Vancouver and (of course) Portland. The purpose? One recent blurb promises it is “to expand our horizons and bring new ideas back to Aussie shores.”  read more »

The Luxury City is Going Bust

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In a year when two boosters of the “luxury city,” Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, are vying to run the whole country, the very model that created their “success” is slowly unraveling. After roughly 20 years of big-city progress, measured by economic growth and demographic progress, the dense urban centers, including New York, are again teetering on the brink of decline.  read more »

Houston Is Now Less Affordable Than New York City?!

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"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." -Mark Twain  read more »