As housing prices and rents soar out of control in tightly regulated cities like San Francisco and New York, many people have called for a significant loosening of zoning rules to permit greater densification. Many policies contribute to unaffordable housing, including rent control, historic districts, eminent domain abuse, and building codes, but zoning puts an absolute cap on dwelling units per acre thus is generally part of any solution to the supply problem. read more »
The American Community Survey has released domestic migration data that was collected over a five year period (2007 to 2011). There is newer domestic migration data available, such as is annually provided by the Census Bureau's population estimates program, but not in the detail that the latest data provides. read more »
Last week’s conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on 20 charges of bribery and fraud marks the end of a tumultuous era in the city’s history, and perhaps also the beginning of a new era in American urban politics. Perhaps most remarkable was the almost total lack of protest in New Orleans over the downfall of Nagin, who had relied heavily on polarizing racial politics in his last five years in office. read more »
This is the executive summary from a new report Sustaining Prosperity: A Long Term Vision for the New Orleans Region, authored by Joel Kotkin for Greater New Orleans, Inc. Download the full report from GNO, Inc. here: gnoinc.org/sustainingprosperity
The recovery of greater New Orleans represents one of the great urban achievements of our era. After decades of slow economic, political and social decline, hurricane Katrina seemed a kind of coup de grâce, smothering the last embers of the region’s vitality. read more »
There is an increasing recognition – at least outside the academy, planning organization and urban core developer groups – that the spatial expansion of cities or suburbanization represents the evolving urban form of not only the United States and virtually all of the high income world but also across the developing world, whether middle income or third world. read more »
Imagine someone writes a newspaper story about you and prints the picture of your older, well-known sibling next to the column. It is clear to you why this was done: your sibling is more famous and recognizable. But how does that make you feel?
Following the January 28th State of the Union address, PBS interviewed a number of civic leaders. One of those interviewed was the mayor of Tacoma, a city with many of the challenges and attributes of a second child. read more »
A quarter century ago, the Los Angeles-Orange County area seemed on the verge of joining the first tier of global cities. As late as 2009, the veteran journalist James Flanigan could pen a quasiserious book, “Smile Southern California: You're the Center of the Universe,” which maintained that L.A.'s port, diversity and creativity made it the natural center of the 21st century. read more »
This is my old apartment in SF’s Mission District from way back when Mrs. UpintheValley and I were just dating. My waystation before cohabitation and matrimony. I notice the curtains haven’t changed. Flea market bedspreads and pillowcases were the order of the day then, and apparently still are. Which means P. has kept the lease on the place and presumably lived in uninterrupted squalor with a revolving cast of characters from Roommate Finders all these years. At the prices we were paying then, why would you ever leave? read more »
To identify economic hot spots in the making, we often look for where immigrants, young people or entrepreneurs are clustering. But perhaps nothing is a better indicator than those who truly make up generation next — America’s children. read more »
This is the second of a two-part series discussing Charles Mongomery's Happy City. Read part one here.
‘The system that built sprawl’
Montgomery faces the hurdle of explaining why, if low-density suburbs cause unhappiness, so many millions of people, over so many decades, across several countries, flocked to that way of life. As he writes, ‘since 1940, almost all urban growth has actually been suburban.’ He must account for this fact, even though it means little to him personally. For the green-tinged intelligentsia, working and middle-class people are pawns who rarely think for themselves. read more »