Urban Issues

Gates and Borders, Malls and Moats: A Photo Essay of Manila

manila1.jpg

Home-made housing (left): Refugee families from Mindanao set up shop-houses in the grounds of the mosque in Quiapo. Quiapo contains a number of significant sacred sites for Catholic pilgrimages and festivals. Islamic refugees are making a living in the markets, even as some have sought refuge inside their own sacred site.  read more »

Subjects:

Countering Progressives' Assault on Suburbia

bigstock-Suburbs--2977023.jpg

The next culture war will not be about issues like gay marriage or abortion, but about something more fundamental: how Americans choose to live. In the crosshairs now will not be just recalcitrant Christians or crazed billionaire racists, but the vast majority of Americans who either live in suburban-style housing or aspire to do so in the future. Roughly four in five home buyers prefer a single-family home, but much of the political class increasingly wants them to live differently.  read more »

How To Justify Spending $8M On Something Nobody Wants

met_transit_dumb_pedestrian_bridge.png

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Council is gambling $8.7 million on a project to alleviate pedestrian congestion that might exist in 5 to 10 years if we’re somehow able to build two additional light rail lines and they are operating at full capacity for 10 days a year.

That’s like buying flood insurance on the house you have yet to buy.  read more »

Identifying Black Urbanists

bronzeville.jpg

There are black urbanists.  There are African-Americans who have invested their life's work toward the betterment of cities.  They haven't always gotten the exposure and acknowledgement that others have received, but they have nonetheless contributed to an improved understanding of how cities work, especially in an African-American context.   read more »

Subjects:

Comparisons: Commuting in London and New York

cox-nyc-london.jpg

The world's two leading Global Cities, London and New York are, according to most indicators, remarkably similar in their patterns of regional commuting. This is the conclusion from our recent review of commuting in London and commuting in New York.  read more »

Some Kindly Advice From an Old White Guy

johnny-oldguy.jpg

Last month I bought an old fixer-upper for $15,000 in Cincinnati. It was originally offered at $17,000, but I got the sellers down a bit. The place is a complete disaster. All the copper pipes and wires have been stripped out of the building. It hasn’t seen paint for decades. Every window and door needs to be replaced. The roof is shot. There’s no insulation of any kind. The yard is a mess. And there are plenty of similar houses in the neighborhood. So why exactly did I buy it? I’ll get to that in a minute.  read more »

Where Do We Still Make Stuff in America?

morrill-manu-lead.png

The deindustrialization of the United States has been widely considered to be a major force in shaping the economy. It’s one thing to measure where decline has been greatest but where has manufacturing survived or even grown? I use Bureau of Labor Statistics data on manufacturing jobs by county for 1967 and 2014. The results were so surprising that I at first could not believe it.  read more »

Commuting in London

london-bus.jpg

According to the 2011 census, the London commuter shed --- defined here as the of London (the Greater London Authority, or GLA) and the East and Southeast regions of England --- had a 2013 population of 23.2 million, spread over an area of 15,400 square miles (39,800 square kilometers).  read more »

Australia’s Recipe for Urban Decay

bigstock_Sydney_suburb_6654222.jpg

Across federal, state, and local levels, Australian urban planning authorities have emphasized the need for policies that seek to limit urban fringe development and create densely-populated urban centers. This process is called ‘urban consolidation’ and has been a goal of Australian authorities for more than three decades. More specifically, urban consolidation is defined by efforts to concentrate housing, jobs, and amenities around “activity centers” such as a traditional downtown, satellite urban centers, and elongated strategic corridors.  read more »

Hooray For the High Bridge

renn-highbridge.jpg

My latest article is online in City Journal and is a look at the restoration and reopening of the High Bridge in New York City. Part of the original Croton Aqueduct system that first brought plentiful clean water to New York, portions of the High Bridge are the oldest standing bridge in the city. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »