Urban Issues

Dispersion in US Metros Increases Even Before COVID-19: New Census Estimates

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The latest US Census Bureau metropolitan area population estimates (for 2019) were largely lost in the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.  read more »

The Pandemic Road to Serfdom

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Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, America, like most higher-income countries, was already heading toward a neo-feudal future: massive inequality, ever-greater concentrations of power, and increasingly widespread embrace of a uniform (albeit secular) religion. The pandemic, all too reminiscent of the great plagues of the Middle Ages, seems destined to accelerate this process.  read more »

Letter from Los Angeles: The Death of Small Business is a Tragedy for Jewish Community and Democracy

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“Small-scale commercial production is, every moment of every day, giving birth spontaneously to capitalism and the bourgeoisie…wherever there is small business and freedom of trade, capitalism appears.”— V.I. Lenin  read more »

Subways Seeded the NYC Epidemic: MIT Economist

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Like so many of us, Bret Stephens, an opinion columnist for The New York Times is stunned at the concentration of COVID-19 virus deaths in New York City, as well as the rest of the metropolitan area. In an April 25, 2019 article entitled “America Should Not Have to Play by New York Rules,” Stephens points out that the “number of Covid deaths per 100,000 residents in New York City (132) is more than 16 times what is in America’s next largest city, Los Angeles (8).”  read more »

The Coronavirus Means You May Have Seen Your Last Skyscraper, New York

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While Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned that “we are your future,” since “what happens to New York is going to wind up happening to California and Washington state and Illinois” and the New York Times has blared that "This Is Going to Kill Small-Town America," the COVID-19 death rate in the United States appears to be more than twice as high in large urban counties as in high-density suburbs, and nearly twice as high in high-density suburbs than in lower-density ones.  read more »

Angelenos Love Suburban Sprawl: Coronavirus Proves Them Right

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For nearly a century, Los Angeles’ urban form has infuriated urbanists who prefer a more concentrated model built around a single central core.

Yet, in the COVID-19 pandemic, our much-maligned dispersed urban pattern has proven a major asset. Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs have had a considerable number of cases, but overall this highly diverse, globally engaged region has managed to keep rates of infection well below that of dense, transit-dependent New York City.  read more »

California's Post-Corona Challenges

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California has, at least to date, escaped the worst effects of Covid-19.  read more »

A Look at Demographia's Latest Housing Affordability Survey

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*In this interview, Wendell Cox talks about Demographia’s latest housing affordability . Wendell Cox is an American urban policy analyst and academic. He is the principal of Demographia (Wendell Cox Consultancy). The survey is co-authored with Hugh Pavletich of Performance Urban Planning.

 

Hites Ahir: You recently released the 16th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2020. Tell us about the housing affordability measure used in the survey.  read more »

Coronavirus and the Future of Work

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The long-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak on our society and business landscape are yet to be determined. But one thing we know is that a big swath of American businesses is conducting a large-scale experiment with remote work (aka work from home). Many of them have also made large investments in infrastructure to support it; one company bought 20,000 laptops for their employees, for example. The coronavirus shutdown will create new capabilities for remote work within firms large and small, and produce a treasure trove of findings about what works well and what doesn’t.  read more »

Varieties of Exposure Density: A California Perspective

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A reader forwarded me an analysis of COVID-19 cases analyzed by the population density of California’s counties. The analysis had the concept right — if an infection is spread person to person, as in the case of COVID-19, then population density is likely to be an important “seeding” factor. That is there is virtually universal agreement that we need to practice social distancing of 6 feet or two meters to minimize the spread.  read more »