Urban Issues

For High-Speed Rail It Looks Like the End of the Line

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With its vote on September 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee ended the rail boosters’ hopes of getting a meaningful appropriation for high-speed rail in the new (FY 2012) fiscal year. It probably also dealt a decisive death blow to President Obama’s loopy goal of "giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail."  read more »

Los Angeles Downtown Stadium Cloaked in 'Green' Snake Oil

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AEG's downtown stadium in Los Angeles isn't just a playground for really big guys or just another site for really rich guys to consume conspicuously in luxury boxes. If you believe the chorus of hype, Farmers Field also grows good jobs, solves the city's debt crisis, transforms downtown Los Angeles into a nicer version of Manhattan, and builds strong bodies eight ways. It may even cure cancer.

But the downtown stadium - if it's built - isn't going to be particularly "green" in ways that matter.  read more »

A Decade in College Degree Attainment

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This week the Census Bureau released its 2010 data from the American Community Survey. The ACS is what contains many of the core demographic characteristics that are frequently opined upon, such as college degree attainment, commute times, etc.  read more »

Smart Growth (Livability), Air Pollution and Public Health

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In response to the outcry by job creators about proposed new Nitrogen Oxides emission regulations, the Obama Administration has suspended a planned expansion of these rules.

The Public Health Risks of Densification  read more »

Comparing Perry’s Texas to Romney’s Massachusetts

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Republican primary front-runners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are each basing a large part of their campaigns on their economic track records. So who is better when it comes to jobs and the economy — Romney or Perry?

Let’s put each of their states under the microscope to see what the data says. In this exercise we will use Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market analysis tool, to help us see the ins and outs of the Massachusetts and Texas economies.  read more »

UK Moves to Reform Planning Disaster

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This piece originally appeared at Macrobusiness.

The United Kingdom (UK) housing system is arguably the worst in the world because of a myriad of policies that work to severely restrict supply, pump demand, and make renting a highly undesirable substitute for home ownership. These policies have led to the UK housing market experiencing:  read more »

Are 20th Century Models Relevant to 21st Century Urbanization?

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Analysis of the state of the world’s cities 2010/2011 by UN-Habitat focused on the narrowing urban divide, with 227 million people moving out of slum conditions over the preceding decade.  While acknowledging uncertainty over cause and effect, the report notes that:  read more »

Private Investors Shun Brazil High Speed Rail Bid

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In April of 2011 the California High Speed Rail Authority held a meeting of potential investors and vendors interested in participating in the proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail project. Project sponsors have insisted they could gain substantial private investment for the project. The Authority indicated that the meeting drew 2000 attendees at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which supporters indicated was proof of the interest of private investors in the project.  read more »

The Demise Of The Luxury City

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The Republican victory in New York City’s ninth congressional district Sept. 13 — in a special election to replace disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner — shocked the nation.  But more important, it also could have signaled the end of the idea, propagated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, of New York’s future as a “luxury product.”  read more »

What Boomers Are Choosing

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In 1989, a man came to my office and introduced himself as the vice president of development for the Del Webb Corporation.  He retained my firm to prepare a master plan for their first active-adult community outside of their typical desert southwest market. 

This led me to an exploration of what made a successful active adult community.  I learned they required unique and distinct considerations quite different from those used in more conventional master planned communities.  During the information gathering process, I toured each of the Sun City projects, interviewing staff and visiting residents to understand the qualities and features which attracted buyers and provided the lifestyle sought by retirees.   read more »