Urban Issues

High-density Housing Reflects Dense Government Thinking

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Citizens in Australia’s major cities are becoming increasingly unhappy about what they perceive as the escalating deterioration in their quality of life - traffic congestion, overloaded public transport, unaffordable housing for young people, increases in the costs of basic services and overcrowding. There is little doubt that recent election results and unfavourable opinion polls are partly an expression of this dissatisfaction.  read more »

How to Save Chicago

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The title raises the obvious question: Does Chicago need saving?

I guess the answer is clear. Aaron Renn published a reviewofthe 2010 census, and for Chicago it was not pretty. Since 2000 the city lost over 200,000 people: nearly 7.5% of its Black residents, and almost 6% on non-Hispanic Whites. Only the Hispanic population grew, but at an anemic 3.4%. Even the metro area writ large isn’t doing all that well, growing by only 3.9% (against the nation’s 10%).  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Beijing

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China's capital, Beijing, has long been one of the world's largest urban areas. Some reports placed its population at over 1 million in 1800, which would have made Beijing the largest urban area  in the world at that time. Later in the nineteenth century, Beijing dropped below 1 million population, as London, Paris and later New York rose to prominence. As late as 1953, Beijing had a population of fewer than 3 million. Since then the city’s population has  increased more than six times (Figure 1).  read more »

Austin’s Not That Weird

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Don’t let the cupcake stands fool you. For years, locals pressed the need to Keep Austin Weird. Besides spawning lazy clichés (Keep Austin Wired, Keep Austin Moving, Keep Austin on Every List of Best Places to Live), the Keep Austin Weird movement overlooks the obvious: the city’s not that weird.

Weird for Texas? Sure. Austin is like a rebellious preacher’s kid. It’s cool, popular, breaks all the rules, and doesn’t go to church very much. Family members from elsewhere visit from time to time, but everyone wonders if they’re all part of the same family.  read more »

Suburbanized Core Cities

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The suburbs of major metropolitan areas captured the overwhelming majority of population growth between 2000 and 2010, actually increasing their share of growth, as has been previously reported. However, it is often not understood that much of the recent central city (Note 1) growth has actually been suburban in nature, rather than core densification. In fact, historical core cities (Note 2) vary substantially.  read more »

Inside The Sinosphere

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Avis Tang, a cool, well-dressed software company executive, lives on the glossy frontier of China’s global expansion. From his perch amid tower blocks of Tianfu Software Park on the outskirts of the Sichuan capital of Chengdu, the 48-year-old graduate of Taiwan’s National Institute of the Arts directs a team of Chinese software engineers who are developing computer games  for his Beijing company, Perfect World Network Technology, for  the  Asian and world market.  read more »

Megabus – King of the Road

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In recent years there’s been a resurgence in intercity bus travel, driven by the rise of low cost, non-stop service linking tier one cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC with other regional hubs in their surrounding areas. This is a lively and diverse market, particularly on the east coast, with providers like Megabus, Bolt Bus, Greyhound, and a host of so-called “Chinatown” buses.  read more »

Dulles Metrorail Silver Line Vs Bus Rapid Transit

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Long overdue rapid transit service from Washington DC to Dulles airport is now under construction. The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, known as the Silver Line, may seem like it was an obvious choice as a way to improve the region's public transportation. Construction began in March 2009, and service is expected to begin by 2013. As those who have used bus service from the DC area to the airport can attest, the current system — a regular city bus equipped with luggage racks — is inadequate. The buses are low capacity, and are not designed for highway driving.  read more »

Urban Violence Abroad: An Arab Spring and a British Autumn?

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Treating urbanisation as some sort of homogeneous movement, a driver of an increasingly interdependent world of shared values, behaviour, and prosperity is to oversimplify.  There may be some common drivers, but urbanisation in the 21st century is likely to be quite different from urbanisation in the 20th century.  Suggesting a universal approaches to governing, managing and planning cities is providing answers without knowing the questions.   read more »

The U.K. Riots And The Coming Global Class War

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The riots that hit London and other English cities last week have the potential to spread beyond the British Isles. Class rage isn’t unique to England; in fact, it represents part of a growing global class chasm that threatens to undermine capitalism itself.  read more »