Urban Issues

Where Do You Live?

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I recently moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where I live in the town of West Warwick. I’ve been learning the place more and soaking in New England culture (and seafood). This area has a Rust Belt type profile: declining population, post-industrial economic landscape, high unemployment, etc. So I’ve been trying to get a handle on conditions and think a bit about what the opportunities are.  read more »

Cooling Off: Why Creative California Could Look to Western New York

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Sometimes the stakes are bogus, sometimes the fast lane hits a fork.
Sometimes southern California wants to be western New York
–Lyrics from Dar Williams’ song “Sometimes California Wants to Be Western New York”.

For long, making cultures and making people have been deemed outmoded. It is largely a knowledge economy. And since knowledge has been diverging into “spiky locales” known to be hotbeds of innovation, consider it a double whammy, as most of the relevant geographies are on the coast. The middle of the country is thus irrelevant if you care to survive. It is a man with a pitchfork in a sea of MacBook’s and iLife’s.  read more »

Flocking Elsewhere: The Downtown Growth Story

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The United States Census Bureau has released a report (Patterns of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Population Change: 2000 to 2010.) on metropolitan area growth between 2000 and 2010. The Census Bureau's the news release highlighted population growth in downtown areas, which it defines as within two miles of the city hall of the largest municipality in each metropolitan area.  read more »

The Hollow Boom Of Brooklyn: Behind Veneer Of Gentrification, Life Gets Worse For Many

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After a decade of increasingly celebrated gentrification, many believe Brooklyn — the native borough of both my parents — finally has risen from the shadows that were cast when it became part of New York City over a century ago.  Brooklyn has gotten “its groove back” as a “post-industrial hotspot,” the well-informed conservative writer Kay Hymowitz writes, a perception that is echoed regularly by elements of a Manhattan media that for decades would not have sullied their fingers wr  read more »

A Look at Commuting Using the Latest Census Data

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Continuing my exploration of the 2011 data from the American Community Survey, I want to look now at some aspects of commuting.

Public Transit

Public transit commuting remains overwhelmingly dominated by New York City, with a metro commute mode share for transit of 31.1%. There are an estimated 2,686,406 transit commuters in New York City. All other large metro areas (1M+ population) put together add up to 3,530,932 transit commuters. New York City metro accounts for 39% of all transit commuters in the United States.  read more »

The Road Less Understood

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The Economist confuses ends (objectives) and means in its current number examining the peaking of per capita automobile use in the West in two articles ("The http://www.economist.com/node/21563327" and "Seeing the Back of the Car").  read more »

America’s Last Politically Contested Territory: The Suburbs

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Within the handful of swing states, the presidential election will come down to a handful of swing counties: namely the suburban voters who reside in about the last contested places in American politics.

Even in solid-red states, big cities tilt overwhelmingly toward President Obama and the Democrats, and even in solid-blue ones, the countryside tends to be solidly Republican.  read more »

Rethinking Brand Chicago

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So many Midwest places flail around looking for a brand image or identity. Not Chicago. In fact, the identity and stories of Chicago overflow the page. They are too numerous to be written in a mere blog posting.

Yet Chicago has in effect decided to jettison that powerful, historic brand identity in favor of a type of global city genericism. This, I believe, is a mistake.

One trend you can’t help but notice if you travel is the increasing homogenization of the urban culture and standard of urban development. Global markets demand standardized commodities that can be graded and traded. This includes cities. This forces cities increasingly into a standard model of what one expects.  read more »

2011 Census Sub-County Allocations Masquerade as Population Estimates

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This is by far the most difficult article I have ever had to write. I have been a fan of the US Bureau of the Census since I began following its numbers in the second grade. Much of my career has been spent analyzing these numbers and those of similar national statistical bureaus around the world. Yet, the 2011 sub-county estimates produced by the Census Bureau should never have been released, because they were not estimates, but they were rather "fair share" allocations of county population growth (or loss).  read more »

Subjects:

The Rise of Telework and What it Means

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Teleworking (also known as telecommuting) has taken flight as a global trend. During July of 2002, European Union collectively decided on a shared framework agreement on telework, which regulates issues such as employment and working conditions, health and safety, training, and the collective rights of teleworkers. Following suit, the American the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 served as a rallying call for federal agencies to encourage “work-at-home” employees.  read more »