Urban Issues

The Republican Party's Fatal Attraction To Rural America


Rick Santorum’s big wins in Alabama and Mississippi place the Republican Party in ever greater danger of becoming hostage to what has become its predominate geographic base: rural and small town America. This base, not so much conservatives per se, has kept Santorum’s unlikely campaign alive, from his early win in Iowa to triumphs in predominately rural and small-town dominated Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota and Oklahoma.  read more »

Honolulu’s Money Train


Honolulu is set to construct an ambitious urban rail project. It’s a $5.125 billion behemoth that this metropolitan area with less than a million residents may not be able to afford.

Honolulu's Beleaguered Residents

Critically, there is plenty of competition for the scarce dollars that Honolulu residents have to spare. The city’s basic infrastructure is in bad shape.  read more »

The Ultimate Houston Strategy


Last week was the 7th anniversary of my blog, Houston Strategies. After 947 posts (cream of the crop here), almost half a million visitors, and thousands of comments in an epic dialogue about Houston, I thought this would be a good time stand back, look at the big picture, and ask "What should be next for Houston?" while linking back to some of the gems from that archive.  read more »

Time for Real Solutions to Vancouver's Housing Affordability Crisis


Vancouver is in desperate need of new solutions to ease its worsening housing affordability crisis. The 8th annual Demographia housing affordability survey released by the Frontier Centre found that Vancouver has the second least affordable housing market next to Hong Kong. On average, and assuming zero interest, a house in Vancouver would cost the median family more than ten years income.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Hong Kong


Hong Kong has experienced its slowest decadal growth in at least 70 years, according to the results of the recently released 2011 census. Between 2001 and 2011, Hong Kong added only 5.4 percent to its population, a decline of more than two-thirds from its 1991-2001 rate. Hong Kong's slowest growth rate since 1921-1931 was between 1981 and 1991, when 13.8 percent was added to its population. In previous decades growth had been much greater (Figure 1).  read more »

Don’t Bet Against The (Single-Family) House


Nothing more characterizes the current conventional wisdom than the demise of the single-family house. From pundits like Richard Florida to Wall Street investors, the thinking is that the future of America will be characterized increasingly by renters huddling together in small apartments, living the lifestyle of the hip and cool — just like they do in New York, San Francisco and other enlightened places.  read more »

Housing Affordability: St. Louis’ Competitive Advantage


Things are looking better in St. Louis. For decades, St. Louis has been one of the slowest-growing metropolitan areas of the United States. Its historical core city has lost more than 60 percent of its population since 1950, a greater loss than any other major core municipality in the modern era.  Nonetheless, the metropolitan area, including the city, added nearly 50 percent to its population from 1950. The fate of St. Louis has been similar to that of Rust Belt metropolitan areas in the Midwest and East, as the nation has moved steadily West and South since World War II (Note).  read more »

Commuting in New York City, 2000-2010


New York City is infamous for congestion and long commutes. At 34.6 minutes, it has the longest average commute time in the United State. The region is also America's top user of public transportation, with 30.7% of all metro area commutes made by transit. Nearly 40% of all transit commuters in the United States are in the metro New York. As transit commutes generally take longer than driving, one might be tempted to link these facts. But commute times also seem to correlate with city size, and bedevil big cities with limited public transit too.  read more »

Clues from the Past: The Midwest as an Aspirational Region


This piece is an except from a new report on the Great Lakes Region for the Sagamore Institue. Download the pdf version for the full report including charts and maps on the region.

The American Great Lakes region has long been a region defined by the forces of production, both agricultural and industrial. From the 1840s on, the region forged a legacy of productive power, easily surpassing the old northeast as the primary center of American industrial and agricultural might.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Moscow's Auto-Oriented Expansion


Moscow is bursting at the seams. The core city covers more than 420 square miles (1,090 kilometers), and has a population of approximately 11.5 million people. With 27,300 residents per square mile (10,500 per square kilometer), Moscow is one percent more dense than the city of New York, though Moscow covers 30 percent more land. The 23 ward area of Tokyo (see Note) is at least a third more dense, though Moscow's land area is at least half again as large as Tokyo.  read more »