Urban Issues

To Reunite America, Liberate Cities to Govern Themselves

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Time magazine’s 2016 Person of the Year was elected president, as the magazine’s headline writer waggishly put it, of the “divided states of America.”  read more »

Transit Ridership Down 2.3% in 2016

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With little fanfare, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released its fourth quarter 2016 ridership report last week. When ridership goes up, the lobby group usually issues a big press release ballyhooing the importance of transit (and transit subsidies). But 2016 ridership fell, so there was no press release.  read more »

The Ghost of Mamie Eisenhower

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There’s a certain amount of nostalgia these days for 1950’s suburbs when men were men and ladies mopped linoleum floors in white pumps and pearls. I’m not entirely sure that world ever really existed precisely the way it was portrayed on black and white television, but we seem to want it to be true.  read more »

What Do We Do With Shrinking Cities?

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Shrinking Cities: Understanding Urban Decline in the United States
By Russell Weaver, Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen, Jason Knight, and Amy E. Frazier
Routledge (2017)

Cities like Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland have lost stunning percentages of their peak population since 1950. Yet these are all in metro areas whose regional populations are much higher than in 1950, even if not at their all time peak high in all of them.  read more »

California: The Republic of Climate

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To some progressives, California’s huge endorsement for the losing side for president reflects our state’s moral superiority. Some even embrace the notion that California should secede so that we don’t have to associate with the “deplorables” who tilted less enlightened places to President-elect Donald Trump. One can imagine our political leaders even inviting President Barack Obama, who reportedly now plans to move to our state, to serve as the California Republic’s first chief executive.  read more »

The Shape of Things to Come

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After several years of traveling around the country in the presence of city planners, economic development officials, elected representatives, engineers, production home builders, professional consultants, and groups of concerned citizens I’ve come to my own personal unified theory of America’s land use future. The short version is that we’ve got the built environment that we have and the overwhelming majority of it isn’t ever going to change much. If you want to know what things will look like in thirty or forty years… look around. That’s pretty much it.  read more »

A Victory for Localism in Australia: Court Blocks Forced Amalgamation

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In a rare victory for grassroots activists, The New South Wales Supreme Court has blocked the forced local government amalgamation of northern suburban councils Ku-ring-gai and the Shire of Hornsby in Greater Sydney.  read more »

Outsmarting Crime Together: CityCop CEO Nadim Curi

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In a new podcast, Sami J. Karam speaks to Nadim Curi, CEO of the anti-crime app CityCop.

Powered by its successful rollout in Latin America started in 2014 and further boosted by funding from startup accelerator techstars, CityCop has staked a claim to turn its “social platform for community watch” into the global leader in crime reporting and public safety.

Curi explains:  read more »

Subjects:

Portland Housing Stupidity Grows

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Here’s an incredibly stupid idea to deal with Portland’s housing affordability problems: Multnomah County proposes to build tiny houses in people’s backyard. The people will get to keep the houses on the condition that they allow homeless people to live in them for five years.  read more »

The Quest for Food Freedom

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Mariza Ruelas currently faces up to two years in jail in California for the crime of selling ceviche through a Facebook food group. Welcome to the mad world of American food regulation. In Biting the Hands That Feed Us, Baylen Linnekin looks closely at a system that can take pride in a historically safe food supply but that also imposes too many rules that defy common sense.  read more »