Urban Issues

The Great Train Robbery: Urban Transportation in the 21st Century

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Below is an excerpt from a new report published by the Chapman University Center for Demographics and Policy titled, “The Great Train Robbery: Urban Transportation in the 21st Century." Read the full report (pdf) here.

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Postcards From the Zombie Apocalypse

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I’m regularly accused of being a doomer whenever I point out the obvious – that many aspects of how we’ve organized our affairs over the last several decades aren’t meant to last. So they won’t. The end of Jiffy Lube and Lean Cuisine isn’t The End. Civilization will carry on without them, I assure you. But when it’s suggested that our current set of arrangements won’t last forever people immediately imagine Mad Max, as if no other alternative exists. Things are going to change. They always have and they always will.  read more »

On the Outside, Looking In

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The urban political base that was the foundation of African-American politics since the Civil Rights Movement is slowly eroding. Because of large-scale demographic trends at work in our metro areas, black political influence is in decline. Unless blacks become more inclusive (or intersectional) in our political approach, or better at building coalitions, we risk having our political concerns relegated to the margins, by virtue of where we live.  read more »

Transit’s Precipitous Decline

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Transit ridership in the first quarter of 2017 was 3.1 percent less than the same quarter in 2016, according the American Public Transportation Association’s latest ridership report. The association released the report without a press release, instead issuing a release complaining about the House Appropriations bill reducing funding for transit.  read more »

Deep Ellum

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I recently wrote about the need to embrace reality when it comes to land use regulation, culture, politics, and economics. My interpretation can seem a bit… dark. It’s not my intention to discourage people looking to make a positive difference in their communities. I’ve just seen how things tend to play out and the process doesn’t exactly favor mom and pop operations that are juggling day jobs, raising kids, and working on limited budgets.  read more »

Should Transit Fares Cover Operating Costs?

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Maryland has long had a state law requiring transit systems to collect enough fares to cover at least 35 percent of their operating costs. While it is admirable to set a target, this particular target is disheartening for two reasons.  read more »

Can the Chicago White Sox Help Turn Around the South Side?

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As a displaced Detroit Tigers fan who adopted the Chicago White Sox as my team, I often wonder how our city's other team, the Cubs, became an integral institution in the remaking of our city, while the White Sox have not. I published a piece at my Forbes site some time ago that detailed my thoughts on how the Cubs facilitated that transition.  read more »

Moving Away from Toronto and Montréal

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The latest Statistics Canada data indicates that people are leaving Toronto and Montréal in large numbers since the 2011 census. Even so, both metropolitan areas continued to grow through the 2016 census as a result of net international migration and the natural increase of births over deaths (Figure 1). It turns out that Canada’s urban pattern is much more like that of the US, as well as other high-income countries, than many may suppose.  read more »

Meet Marble

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I’ve lived in this neighborhood for so long that I’ve grown used to tech start ups beta testing their schemes on my doorstep. I remember the first time I saw a car drive by with a huge furry pink mustache strapped to the front grill between the headlights. That was the start of Lyft. I have a clear memory from 2008 when a friend rented her apartment out on a new internet platform. That was Airbnb. Back in the late 1990s during the dot com bubble there was a start up that would deliver everything from milk to condoms via bicycle courier.  read more »

Want to be Green? Forget Mass Transit. Work at Home.

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Expanding mass-transit systems is a pillar of green and “new urbanist” thinking, but with few exceptions, the idea of ever-larger numbers of people commuting into an urban core ignores a major shift in the labor economy: More people are working from home.  read more »