Urban Issues

Saying Goodbye. Again.

johnny-goodbye.jpg

December was a record month. I’ve said goodbye to five different households of friends and neighbors. Two more are on the fence – and the fence is leaning precariously. I’m pretty aggressive when it comes to reaching out and making new friends. I practically drag people off the street and force them to eat dinner in my kitchen. But even I can’t make friends fast enough to keep up with the attrition. San Francisco is a tough town these days, even for the comfortably prosperous.  read more »

America's Senior Moment: The Most Rapidly Aging Cities

Seniors2.jpg

In the coming decades, the United States is going to look a lot greyer. By 2050, the number of Americans over 65 will almost double to 81.7 million, with their share of the overall population rising to 21 percent from roughly 15 percent now, according to Census projections. More than 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day.

Virtually every part of America will become more senior-dominated, but some more than others.  read more »

Black Homes Matter: The Fate of Affordable Housing in Pittsburgh

eastsideIII.jpg

“I live here.  I’m from here.  My whole family is here.   We try to stay close together.  This is America.  I’m a Marine, I went to war three times.  I served my country.  It feels crazy not to be able to live in my own area where I grew up,” writes an East Liberty resident in Black Homes Matter, a booklet describing alternative approaches to neighborhood revitalization in the city of Pittsburgh.  read more »

Just How Much has Los Angeles Transit Ridership Fallen?

cox-latransit.JPG

Los Angeles transit ridership has fallen even more than a recent Los Angeles Times front page story indicated, according to Thomas A.  read more »

Best Baseball Towns

800px-MillerParkStadium.jpg

Indulge me please as I tried to write my first sports column. No, I have no intention of applying for the job of newgeography.com’s sports editor and others have been far more prolific on this issue. I have been falling out of love with sports for decades now.    read more »

Subjects:

This Is Why You Can’t Afford a House

house-long-island.jpg

The rising cost of housing is one of the greatest burdens on the American middle class. So why hasn’t it become a key issue in the presidential primaries?

There’s little argument that inequality, and the depressed prospects for the middle class, will be a dominant issue this year’s election. Yet the most powerful force shaping this reality—the rising cost of housing—has barely emerged as political issue.  read more »

Subjects:

Chicago Is Winning the Battle for the Executive Headquarters

bigstock-Chicago-Skyline.jpg

The corporate headquarters used to be the primary measure of a city’s economic clout. Saskia Sassen, while not ignoring headquarters, documented how in the age of globalization, the resurgence of the global city was driven by demand for financial and producer services, not more and bigger HQs.  read more »

Live from Honolulu: HART Rail, a Megaproject Failure in the Making

Honolulu-Murals.jpg

Typically very few people pay attention to the goings on in the small state of Hawaii. How bad can possibly things get there? Well, a lot of people recall Boston’s Big Dig, the nation’s largest infrastructure fiasco with a final price tag of about $15 billion. What if I tell you that tiny Honolulu is building a rail system that’s expected to cost at least one-half the cost of the Big Dig? On a per-capita basis it would be the nation’s largest infrastructure fiasco by far.  read more »

Cleveland Renaissance Fair

richey-city-beautiful.jpg

So much talk of the Cleveland comeback with our downtown building boom and Republican National Convention-fueled makeover makes it difficult not to think about our mid-1990s civic renaissance. In 1995, The New York Times headline proclaimed " 'Mistake by the Lake' Wakes Up, Roaring" as downtown's stadiums and lakefront development created a "new face and new style of a city that for a long time had little panache."

But it wasn't just the media who became enchanted with our freshly minted charms — even the scholars were feeling it. The academics, however, had a Lake Erie-sized caveat. There was a divide in the region's comeback, noted the authors of the 1997 study "The Rise and Fall and Rise of Cleveland," with areas separated by characteristics of "capital investment and disinvestment, industrialization and deindustrialization, suburbanization and ghettoization, white flight and a black underclass, the growth of services, and a [high-skill and low-skill] dual economy."  read more »

Best and Worst: 2015 International Housing Affordability

stl-house-sign.jpg

Housing affordability and its impact on   middle income households around the world is emerging as a major concern throughout the developed world. The largest element in household budgets is housing, and house prices have skyrocketed relative to incomes in many metropolitan areas, especially those that have adopted strict land use regulation (particularly urban containment, as described below).  read more »