Urban Issues

Failing Economies Shorten Lives

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A recent study has come up with some shocking news: life expectancy of the least educated white Americans, both men and women, is going down. White women without a high school diploma now live five years less on the average than they did 20 years ago: for white male dropouts, the decline is three years.

This is a calamity matched only by the six-year decline in longevity among Russian men in the waning years of Communism there. But that decline, blamed on rampant alcoholism, has been mostly reversed.  read more »

Transit Legacy Cities

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Transit's greatest potential to attract drivers from cars is the work trip. But an analysis of US transit work trip destinations indicates that this applies in large part to   just a few destinations around the nation. This is much more obvious in looking at destinations than the more typical method of analysis, which looks at the residential locations of commuters.  read more »

That Sucking Sound You Hear…Solutions to America’s Housing Crisis Are Needed

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There is a crisis in America that’s not being attended to. It is the housing crisis, and its tentacles reach deep into the decline of the American middle class. Particularly, the interlocking dynamics of foreclosure, abandonment, and blight are draining the net worth of millions of Americans. The solutions to date have been piecemeal and ineffective.  read more »

America's Oldest Cities

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One of the most important turning points in the social history of the United States occurred at the beginning of the 1940s. This is not about Pearl Harbor or the Second World War, but  rather about the economic, housing and transportation advances that have produced more affluence for more people than ever before in the world.  read more »

California Becoming Less Family-Friendly

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For all of human history, family has underpinned the rise, and decline, of nations. This may also prove true for the United States, as demographics, economics and policies divide the nation into what may be seen as child-friendly and increasingly child-free zones.

Where California falls in this division also may tell us much about our state's future. Indeed, in his semi-triumphalist budget statement, our 74-year-old governor acknowledged California's rapid aging as one of the more looming threats for our still fiscally challenged state.  read more »

Time to Acknowledge Falling Private Car Use

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The prospect of falling car use now needs to be firmly factored into planning for western cities. 

That may come as a bit of a surprise in light of the preoccupation with city plans that aim to get people out of their cars, but it is already happening.  And it is highly likely to continue regardless of whether or not we promote urban consolidation and expensive transit systems.   read more »

The Cities Winning The Battle For The Fastest Growing High-Wage Sector In The U.S.

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In an era in which many businesses that pay high wages have been shedding jobs, the wide-ranging employment category of professional, scientific and technical services has been a relatively stellar performer, expanding some 15% since 2001. In contrast, employment dropped over 20% in such lucrative fields as manufacturing and information-related businesses (media, telecom providers, software publishing) over the same period, and finance and wholesale trade experienced small declines.  read more »

Is Urbanism the New Trickle-Down Economics?

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The pejoratively named “trickle-down economics” was the idea that by giving tax breaks to the wealthy and big business, this would spur economic growth that would benefit those further down the ladder. I guess we all know how that worked out.  read more »

Dispersion in the World's Largest Urban Areas

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No decade in history has experienced such an increase in urban population as the last. From Tokyo-Yokohama, the world's largest urban area (population: 37 million) to Godegård, Sweden, which may be the smallest (population: 200), urban areas added 700 million people between 2000 and 2010.  read more »

Why Are There So Many Murders in Chicago?

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After over 500 murders in Chicago in 2012, the Windy City’s violence epidemic continues – 2013 saw the deadliest January in over a decade – and continues to make national news.  The New York Times, for example, ran a recent piece noting how Chicago’s strict gun laws can’t stem the tide of violence.  read more »