Urban Issues

Black Exodus: African-American Children to the Suburbs


One of the most significant results of the 2010 census was the continuing shift of the African-American population from the core cities to the suburbs of major metropolitan areas (Note). In 2010, 55 percent of the African-American population was in the suburbs, up from 48 percent in 2000 (Figure 1). In 2000, 26 percent of African-Americans aged five to 14 lived in the core cities of the major metropolitan areas. By 2010, only 21 percent lived in the core cities (Figure 2).  read more »

Behind the Facade in St. Petersburg


St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s new European style capital for imperial Russia, is the most visited city for tourists in Russia. It has a ton of great buildings, energetic street life in its smallish central core, and world-renowned cultural institutions like the Hermitage Museum and the Mariinsky Theater.  read more »


Peak People in Japan


Japan reached "peak people" in 2011, when its population reached 127.4 million residents. From that point, all trends point to significant population losses. But, there is by no means unanimity on the extent of those population losses. Population projection is anything but an exact science, and Japan provides perhaps the ultimate example.

Dueling National Population Projections  read more »

Neither Olympics Nor NFL Will Rescue Los Angeles


We all tend to have fond memories of our greatest moments, and for Los Angeles, the 1984 Olympics has served as a high point in the city’s ascendency. The fact that those Summer Games were brilliantly run, required relatively little city expenditure and turned a profit confirmed all those things we Angelenos loved about our city – its flexibility and pragmatism and the power of its civic culture.  read more »

Family Friendly Cities


One of the common criticisms leveled at people who promote urban living goes something like this. “Cities are great for college kids, people starting off in their careers, bohemians, and maybe some older empty nesters with money who have a taste for theater and art. But most people have families and tight budgets. Suburbia is the only place that provides a high quality, safe, affordable life for regular folks with children.”  read more »

The Comeback Of The Great Lakes States


For generations the broad swath of America along the Great Lakes has been regarded as something of a backwater. Educated workers and sophisticated industries have tended to gather in the Northeast and on the West Coast, bringing with them strong economic growth.  read more »

Traffic Congestion: The Latest Urban Mobility Report Ratings


In recent years there has been a proliferation of traffic congestion rating reports. Tom Tom and Inrix are now making it possible to compare traffic congestion in Louisville or even Lexington to Moscow or Paris. The Castrol Magnatic Start-Stop Index adds places like Jakarta and Bangkok.  read more »

America’s Shrinking Cities Are Gaining Brains


If there’s one thing that’s a nearly universal anxiety among cities, it’s brain drain, or the loss of educated residents to other places. I’ve written about this many times over the years, critiquing the way it is normally conceived.

Since brain drain seems to be a major concern in shrinking cities, I decided to take a look at the facts around brains in those places. Looking at the 28 metro areas among the 100 largest that had objective measures of shrinkage – in population and/or jobs – between 2000 and 2013, I looked what what happened to their educational attainment levels.  read more »

An Improbable And Fragile Comeback: New Orleans 10 Years After Katrina


In the fall of 2005, many saw in postdiluvial New Orleans another example of failed urbanization, a formerly great city that was broken beyond repair.Yet 10 years after a catastrophe that drove hundreds of thousands of its citizens away, the metro area has made an impressive comeback.  read more »

The Challenge of the Digital City


The people we associate with don't necessarily live right next to us. This is more common than ever before, as social media and other communication technologies allow us to stay connected with people across the globe. But as our urban social networks – the ones that define our lives in cities – continue to transcend traditional geographic boundaries, we must strike a balance along this line.  read more »