Urban Issues

Detroit: A Century On The Smart-Growth Grid

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The following excerpts are from a report that was intended to solve many of the planning issues facing one of America's largest cities: Detroit. Its conclusions are in many ways counter to the ‘Smart Growth’ principles being promoted by influential decision makers. It was compiled by the city's highest level planners and engineers:  read more »

Hey, Dad: Family Still Matters!

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America is getting older. Those over the age of 65, which currently account for 12% of the population, are expected to make up 20% of the population by 2030. People are marrying later, and a growing group, though still a distinct minority, is choosing not to have children.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Shanghai

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According to the results of the 2010 census, Shanghai's population was nearly 1,000,000 people more than had been projected by local authorities. The provincial level of jurisdiction grew from a population of 16.4 million in 2000 to 23.0 million in 2010. Shanghai is one of the world's fastest growing megacities (urban regions of more than 10 million population).  read more »

Will the Last Family Leaving Seattle Please Turn out the Lights?

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New Census data for the Seattle area's population changes, 2000-2010, permit a preliminary look at age and at types of households in the region. Let's look at patterns of geographic variation in selected age groups and household types for places in greater Seattle. It provides more evidence for how rapidly Seattle in particular is changing in fundamental ways.  read more »

Why Compact Cities Aren't so Smart

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I was interested to read the views of Rick Boven of the New Zealand Institute about central and local government needing to resolve their differences about the future of Auckland.  Well, they have worked on that since the establishment of GUEDO in 2005 (now the Auckland Policy Office).   read more »

The Other China: Life on the Streets, A Photo Essay

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We all know or have heard about the overwhelming development going on in China. Journalists enthuse and analysts throw magnificent statistics of what seems to be a miracle. Yet there is little discussion of the daily life of the common people, and their struggle. There are miracles aplenty in China, but the astounding figures only partially reflect the reality.  read more »

California’s Green Jihad

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Ideas matter, particularly when colored by religious fanaticism, wreaking havoc even in the most favored of places. Take, for instance, Iran, a country blessed with a rich heritage and enormous physical and human resources, but which, thanks to its theocratic regime, is largely an economic basket case and rogue state.  read more »

Orlando’s Sunrail: Blank Checks Induced by Washington

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We are supposedly living in an age of austerity, but many federal programs are leading many states into overspending and potential fiscal insolvency.  Transit spending is a case in point, as is indicated by the proposed Orlando Sunrail commuter rail project.  read more »

UN Celebrates Seven Billion People a Year Too Early

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The UN has decided to announce that on October 31, 2011 the Earth’s human population will pass the seven billion mark, up from the six billion that was designated on December 5, 1998. The United Nations Population Division Agency is the main organization that estimates global population. Every two years, their report attempts to piece together surprisingly fragmentary national census data and demographic surveys to arrive at a global estimate. As a geographer, I have long been interested in these reports, and in all aspects of population change and distribution on the earth.  read more »

Inside Sydney's Central Business District: the Retail Core

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World famous for its beautiful harbour setting, Sydney’s Central Business District is undergoing a resurgence. As the hub of Australia’s finance sector, it stumbled during the global crisis. Office vacancies jumped from 5.7 per cent in early 2008 to 8.8 per cent in mid 2009, despite stable supply. Ultimately, though, Sydney was spared the worst, owing to its rise as a staging post for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, which averted the havoc of Europe and North America. Recovery is now underway, if slowly.  read more »