Urban Issues

Identifying Black Urbanists

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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 »

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Comparisons: Commuting in London and New York

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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 »

Havana, Cuba–Stagnation Doesn’t Preserve Cities, Nor Does Wealth Destroy Them

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Before taking my trip to Havana, one thing that I was curious about was how a half-century of Communism had affected the built fabric. While there are obvious disadvantages to economic stagnation, I figured that it would have at least created a charming-looking city. There are, after all, a handful of U.S. cities, and numerous European ones, that have resisted growth, modernization, and the automobile, only to remain quaint and historic.  read more »

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Havana, Cuba–The City Of Scarcity

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1. I’m now a week removed from my Cuba trip, where I spent 4 days in Havana biking through the city’s near-hourly mix of high heat and torrential rainfall, returning to my bed & breakfast each night covered in soot.  read more »

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Commuting in New York

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The New York commuter shed (combined statistical area) is the largest in the United States, with 23.6 million residents spread across 13,900 square miles in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It includes 35 counties, in eight metropolitan areas, including New York (NY-NJ-PA), Allentown-Bethlehem (PA-NJ), Bridgeport-Stamford (CT), East Stroudsburg (PA), Kingston (NY), New Haven (CT), Torrington (CT) and Trenton (NJ).  read more »