Urban Issues

America the Mostly Beautiful

dogging-steinbeck.jpg

In the fall of 2010, as part of a book project, ex-newspaperman Bill Steigerwald retraced the route John Steinbeck took in 1960 and turned into his classic “Travels With Charley.” Steigerwald drove 11,276 miles in 43 days from Long Island to the top of Maine to Seattle to San Francisco to New Orleans before heading back to his home in Pittsburgh.  In “Dogging Steinbeck,” his new e-book about how he discovered “Charley” was not nonfiction but a highly fictionalized and dishonest account of Steinbeck’s real trip, Steigerwald describes the America he saw.

"Big."

"Empty."

"Rich."

"No change since 1960."  read more »

America’s Baby Boom And Baby Bust Cities

bigstock-mother-taking-the-children-acr-20377145.jpg

At this most familial time of the year, as recent events make us hold our children even closer, we might want to consider what kinds of environments are most conducive to having offspring. Alarm bells are beginning to ring in policy circles over the decline of the U.S. birth rate to a record low. If unaddressed, this could pose a vital threat the nation’s economic and demographic vitality over the next few decades.  read more »

A Volunteer Army's Attempt to Fill the New York Hurricane Response Gap

bigstock-ROCKAWAY-PARK-NY-NOVEMBER---39166960.jpg

On November 6, eight days after Hurricane Sandy’s surge waters flooded the streets, I started volunteering in the Rockaways, where I stayed for much of the next three weeks.

On that first day, I joined an ad hoc group of volunteers and took a school bus full of supplies donated by my Brooklyn neighbors out to a church on Beach 67th Street.  read more »

Alleviating World Poverty: A Progress Report

cox-wb-poverty.jpg

There has been a substantial reduction in both the extreme poverty rate and the number of people living in extreme poverty since the early 1980s, according to information from the World Bank poverty database. The World Bank maintains data on developing world nations, which include both low income and middle income nations. The analysis below summarizes developing world (low and middle income nations) poverty trends from 1981 to the latest available year, 2008 (Table and Figure 1).  read more »

Aging America: The Cities That Are Graying The Fastest

Seniors2.jpg

Notwithstanding plastic surgery, health improvements and other modern biological enhancements, we are all getting older, and the country is too. Today roughly 18.5% of the U.S. population is over 60, compared to 16.3% a decade ago; by 2020 that percentage is expected to rise to 22.2%, and by 2050 to a full 25%.

Yet the graying of America is not uniform across the country — some places are considerably older than others. The oldest metropolitan areas, according to an analysis of the 2010 census by demographer Wendell Cox, have twice as high a concentration of residents over the age of 60 as the youngest. In these areas, it’s already 2020, and some may get to 2050 aging levels decades early.  read more »

Hong Kong’s Decentralizing Commuting Patterns

hk-commute.jpg

Hong Kong is a city of superlatives. Hong Kong has at least twice the population density of any other urban area in the more developed world, at 67,000 per square mile or 25,900 per square kilometer. The Hong Kong skyline is rated the world's best by both emporis.com (a building database) and diserio.com, which use substantially different criteria.  read more »

Born Into Ruin: How the Young are Changing Cleveland

picpiiparinen.jpg

It’s true. I am not happy all the time living in Cleveland. But I don’t want to be happy all the time. That’s unnatural. Said Nietzsche:

“Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.”

 read more »

What Is a Global City?

bigstock-Chicago-Skyline-At-Sunset-1550667.jpg

We hear a lot of talk these days about so-called “global cities.” But what is a global city?

Saskia Sassen literally wrote the book on global cities back in 2001 (though her global cities work dates back well over a decade prior to that book). She gave a definition that has long struck with me.  read more »

Separation of Church and Urban Planning

sather-tower.jpg

Recently, the Journal of the American Planning Association (JAPA) published research that directly challenged prevailing views in urban planning. In an article entitled Growing Cities Sustainably, Marcial H. Echenique, and Anthony J.  read more »

The Blue-State Suicide Pact

bigstock-Income-Taxes-28331450.jpg

With their enthusiastic backing of President Obama and the Democratic Party on Election Day, the bluest parts of America may have embraced a program utterly at odds with their economic self-interest. The almost uniform support of blue states’ congressional representatives for the administration’s campaign for tax “fairness” represents a kind of  bizarre economic suicide pact.  read more »