Urban Issues

Subsidies Haven't Increased Transit Ridership


In 2015, the American Public Transportation Association issued a press release whose headline claimed that transit ridership in 2014 achieved a new record. However, the story revealed that 2014 ridership was the highest since 1956. That’s no more a record than if it was the highest since 2013.  read more »

California Squashes Its Young


In this era of anti-Trump resistance, many progressives see California as a model of enlightenment. The Golden State’s post-2010 recovery has won plaudits in the progressive press from the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, among others. Yet if one looks at the effects of the state’s policies on key Democratic constituencies— millennials, minorities, and the poor—the picture is dismal. A recent United Way study found that close to one-third of state residents can barely pay their bills, largely due to housing costs. When adjusted for these costs, California leads all states—even historically poor Mississippi—in the percentage of its people living in poverty.  read more »

America the Cheap


America is a price dominant culture, and we need to take responsibility for that when we complain about bad customer service, poor infrastructure, etc. Certainly American business and political leadership could be better, but they aren’t the ones who decided to shop at Wal-Mart instead of the local store (favoring short term financial gain over long term community loss). Nor are they the ones who force us to vote for politicians promising something for nothing.  read more »

Driving Alone Hits High, Transit Hits Low in "Post-Car" City of Los Angeles


According to The New York Times, the car used to be “king” in the city (municipality) of Los Angeles. “'A Different Los Angeles', The City Moves to Alter its Sprawling Image,” was another story that seeks to portray the nation’s second largest municipality as having fundamentally changed.  read more »

Reason #1 to End Transit Subsidies: It’s the Most Costly Transportation We Have


Fifty-three years ago, the transit industry was mostly private and earned a net profit. Today, it’s almost entirely publicly owned, and subsidies have grown out of control. It’s time to take a stand and say all transportation subsidies are bad, but transit subsidies are the worst.  read more »

Leaving California? After slowing, the trend intensifies


Given its iconic hold on the American imagination, the idea that more Americans are leaving California than coming breaches our own sense of uniqueness and promise. Yet, even as the economy has recovered, notably in the Bay Area and in pockets along the coast, the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates show that domestic migrants continue to leave the state more rapidly than they enter it.  read more »

The 37 Megacities and Largest Cities: Demographia World Urban Areas: 2017


Many of the world’s biggest cities are getting bigger still. In 2017, the number of megacities --- urban areas with better than ten million people ---   increased to 37 in 2017, as the Chennai urban area entered their ranks. Chennai becomes India’s fourth megacity, along with Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkota. These are among the major findings in the just released 13th annual edition of Demographia World Urban Areas, which provides population, land area and population density estimates for the 1,040 identified built-up urban areas (cities) in the world.  read more »

Deindustrialisation in Sydney


According to property analysts CoreLogic, the Sydney median vacant land selling price has hit $450,000, a massive 20.5 per cent higher than the same time last year.  read more »

Should Transit Fares Cover Operating Costs?


Maryland has long had a state law requiring transit systems to collect enough fares to cover at least 35 percent of their operating costs. While it is admirable to set a target, this particular target is disheartening for two reasons.  read more »

Welcome to South Chicago


If you've been reading my stuff here long enough, you probably know that cringe when I hear people talk about Chicago's South Side as a monolith, as code for black and poor.  The truth is, there are many facets to the South Side.  It is largely black, but not exclusively so; it is less wealthy than other parts of the city and region, but with pockets of wealth also.  It has its very troubled spots, but it has places of promise.  read more »