Urban boosters are rightly proud of the progress American cities have made since their nadir in the 1970s; Harvard economist Ed Glaeser has gone so far as to proclaim “the triumph of the city.” Yet recent events — notably Detroit’s bankruptcy and the victory of left-wing populist Bill de Blasio in the Democratic primary of the New York mayoral election — suggest that the urban future may prove far more problematic than commonly acknowledged. read more »
The world’s biggest and most dynamic economy derives its strength and resilience from its geographic diversity. Economically, at least, America is not a single country. It is a collection of seven nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems. These nations compete with one another – the Great Lakes loses factories to the Southeast, and talent flees the brutal winters and high taxes of the city-state New York for gentler climes – but, more important, they develop synergies, albeit unintentionally. read more »
Skyscrapers have always intrigued me. Perhaps it began with selling almanacs to subscribers on my Oregon Journalpaper route in Corvallis. I have continued to purchase almanacs each year and until recently, the first thing I would do is look in the index for "Buildings, tall” in the old Pulitzer The World Almanac, the best source until the Internet.
My 1940 edition is the first in which “Buildings, tall” appears. The world of skyscrapers has changed radically through the years. read more »
Nothing. Seriously. Not a damn thing.
Oh, the occasion is being used to opine on our state of affairs, but nothing is structurally taking shape in America to prevent the next Detroit from occurring. In fact, Detroit is occurring every day inside most of us. We are all getting bankrupt in so many little ways. read more »
After being elected New York City’s mayor in 2002, Michael Bloomberg quickly expanded on the city’s progress during the 1990s. He combined predecessor Rudolph Giuliani’s reforms in welfare and policing with his own. He rezoned land for needed housing, reduced public school inefficiencies, and advanced major transportation projects like the 7-train extension and rapid buses. Along with these, he pioneered changes in the urban fabric—from the High Line Park to an automobile-free Times Square—that may have seemed insubstantial to outsiders, but were appreciated by New Yorkers. read more »
Ninety years have made a world of difference in the United States. Between 1920 and 2010, the nation's population nearly tripled. But that was not the most important development. Two other trends played a huge role in shaping the United States we know today. The first trend was increasing urbanization, a virtually universal trend, but one which occurred earlier in the high income countries, while the other was a rapidly falling average household size.
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In a heart-breaking scene in the 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman, a young mother is crying in her Harlem apartment, which overlooks her daughter’s school. Bianca, her daughter, has been barred from attending graduation. The villain isn’t a union boss or a bureaucrat in Albany – instead, it's the Archdiocese of New York and its affable leader, Cardinal Dolan. Bianca hadn't misbehaved or been excessively tardy. read more »
Although its manufacturing jobs are gone forever, New York continues to ride the crests of its paper-profits prosperity. Housing in once-notorious slums now costs more than $1.5 million. The waterfront is getting a green-space makeover. The city’s future depends on Wall Street’s ability to attract capital, be it from clients or bailouts. And the jury is still out how the rise and rise of New York reflects on the legacies of former mayors Rudy Giuliani, Ed Koch, and (soon to be former) Michael Bloomberg. read more »
Transit's greatest potential to attract drivers from cars is the work trip. But an analysis of US transit work trip destinations indicates that this applies in large part to just a few destinations around the nation. This is much more obvious in looking at destinations than the more typical method of analysis, which looks at the residential locations of commuters. read more »
Technology is reshaping our economic geography, but there’s disagreement as to how. Much of the media and pundits like Richard Florida assert that the tech revolution is bound to be centralized in the dense, often “hip” places where “smart” people cluster. read more »