Urban Issues

The Cities Where A Paycheck Stretches The Furthest


When we think of places with high salaries, big metro areas like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco are usually the first to spring to mind. Or cities with the biggest concentrations of educated workers, such as Boston.  read more »

Modern Families: Fact from Fiction


I sometimes struggle with our willingness to look straight through evidence to see only what we want to see, or what we believe we should be seeing. Some recent interpretations of the Australian census and conclusions about housing form and consumer choice regrettably fall into this category.

Early results from the Australian census may have disappointed some boosters who have actively promoted the view that the typical family household is a thing of the past. The argument has had many forms but usually includes one or more of the following:  read more »

Coney Island's Invisible Towers


When crowds thronged Coney Island for the annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest on July 4th, they found a boardwalk amusement strip that was, for the umpteenth year in a row, undergoing a summer of change and transition.  read more »

Pakistan: Where the Population Bomb is Exploding


In much the developed, as well as developing world, population growth is slowing. Not so in Pakistan according to reported preliminary results of the 2011 Pakistan census. Here population is growing much faster than had been projected. Pakistan's population stood at 197.4 million in 2011, an increase of 62.7 million from the last census in 1998 (Note 1). The new population is 20 million more than had been forecast in United Nations documents.  read more »

Religion and the City


Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare. – Jeremiah 29:7

Religion is another one of those topics seldom discussed in urbanist circles. Though Christianity was originally an urban religion, modern Christianity has always had a bit of a problem with cities, with their licentious ways, anonymity, and the little bit of Babylon and Sodom they all contain.  read more »


Questioning the Messianic Conception of Smart Growth


A new analysis from the United Kingdom concludes that smart growth (compact city) policies are not inherently preferable to other urban land use policy regimes, despite the claims of proponents."The current planning policy strategies for land use and transport have virtually no impact on the major long-term increases in resource and energy consumption.  read more »

Despite Obama’s Policies, The Rust Belt’s Revival Could Save His Campaign


Barack Obama’s political base always has been more “creative class” than working class—and his policies have favored that base, seeming to cater to energized issue and identity constituencies including African-Americans, Hispanics, gays, and greens, often at the expense of blue-collar workers.  read more »

The Collapse of Chicago Media


When the satirical humor weekly The Onion announced it was moving its editorial staff from New York to Chicago it was considered quite a coup by boosters of the Windy City. Yet the hoopla surrounding revealed more about Chicago’s decline as a media center than any significant uptick. This includes news of a staff rebellion at the Onion in which writers attempted to scotch the move, with some ultimately deciding not to come. The strong celebration of a relatively small relocation in the grand scheme of things also shows a city looking hard for good media news where there has been so much bad recently.  read more »

Will Servants' Quarters Come Back, Too?

Neo-Traditional Homes; Urbana, Maryland.jpg

As the Great Recession enters its fourth summer, America continues to separate into the multiple economic strands that characterized an earlier day. Our cities, built mostly since the 1930s, poorly accommodate this lack of unity, and will require radical revision if our class divisions continue to deepen.

Back in the era of the streetcar suburbs, at the turn of the 20th century, we also experienced a tiered, multiple economy. The post-Victorian prosperous middle class had carved itself new residential beltways around inner core cities – the so-called “suburbs”. The look  read more »

Thunder On The Great Plains: A Written-Off Region Enjoys Revival


They may not win their first championship against Miami’s evil empire, but the Oklahoma City Thunder have helped to put a spotlight on what may well be the most surprising success story of 21st century America: the revival of the Great Plains. Once widely dismissed as the ultimate in flyover country, the Plains states have outperformed the national average for the past decade by virtually every key measure of vitality — from population, income and GDP growth to unemployment — and show no sign of slowing down.  read more »