Urban Issues

The Protean Future Of American Cities


The ongoing Census reveals the continuing evolution of America’s cities from small urban cores to dispersed, multi-polar regions that includes the city’s surrounding areas and suburbs. This is not exactly what most urban pundits, and journalists covering cities, would like to see, but the reality is there for anyone who reads the numbers.  read more »

High Speed Rail: The Dream Scheme Scenario

Train Tracks, Havenwoods State Forest.jpg

Ever since Jay Gould, Leland Stanford, and Cornelius Vanderbilt acquired their first legislatures, railroads have been best understood as political networks, rather than as transportation lines. The Obama administration is hyping high-speed rail (HSR) with a $53 billion proposal not because the president is a trainspotter or because he collects back copies of the Official Guide of the Railways (like I do).  read more »

Is Nashville the Next Boomtown of the New South?


I traveled to Nashville for the first time in 2007, spending most of my time in the downtown area. I posted my impressions here, noting the high growth and high ambition level as well as the fantastic freeways, but also the generally unimpressive development and built environment.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: The Valley of Mexico


The last 60 years of urban growth in the Mexico City area should dispel any belief that suburban dispersion is principally an American phenomenon or even limited to the high income world. Over the last 60 years, all of the population growth in what is now called the Valley of Mexico metropolitan area and urban area has occurred outside the urban core (See Map).  read more »

Can Common Sense, and maybe Mickey, Save Orlando’s Transit Mess?


The week’s debate about high-speed rail has once again polarized our populace, inflamed irrationality, and sent everyone back to their familiar corners.  Little constructive debate is possible when major newspapers are flailing the governor for rejecting money and the seemingly global revolutionary fervor is gripping local citizens who rallied in protest Wednesday night around downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola.  None of this will do any good for the service workers trying to get to their jobs in the theme parks or for downtown cube dwellers streaming to scattered office parks.  read more »

The State of Silicon Valley


Every year, the top officials, policy wonks, and business managers convene at the annual State of the Valley conference to discuss and debate the health of the region. Over a thousand attendees trekked to San Jose, Calif., on Feb. 18 for the release of this year’s report. Published since 1995 by Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network and distributed for free, the new 2011 Index of Silicon Valley reported bleak indicators and a gloomy outlook.  read more »

What The Census Tells Us About America’s Future


With the release of results for over 20 states, the 2010 Census has provided some strong indicators as to the real evolution of the country’s demography. In short, they reveal that Americans are continuing to disperse, becoming more ethnically diverse and leaning toward to what might be called “opportunity” regions.

Below is a summary of the most significant findings to date, followed by an assessment of what this all might mean for the coming decade.

Point One: America is becoming more suburban.  read more »

Census 2010: A Texas Perspective


If you want to get a glimpse of the future of the U.S., check out Fort Worth, TX. Never mind the cowboy boots, but you might want to practice your Spanish.

Texas is growing explosively and much of that growth is among Latinos.   The latest Census Bureau figures show the Lone Star State grew by 20%, to over 25 million people, recording about a quarter of the nation’s overall growth.  read more »

Census 2010: Urbanizing Indiana


The first Census results for Indiana were recently released, painting a picture of an increasingly metropolitan state.  Indianapolis continues to be the growth champion as its strong economy attracted people from the rest of the state, as well as increasingly diverse populations.  Although  the core of Indianapolis fell well below expectations, its population did not fall like that of Chicago. In a switch from some other regions, the outer suburbs also lagged expectations while inner suburbs boasted a robust performance.  read more »

The Still Elusive "Return to the City"


Metropolitan area results are beginning to trickle in from the 2010 census. They reveal that, at least for the major metropolitan areas so far, there is little evidence to support the often repeated claim by think tanks and the media that people are moving from suburbs to the historical core municipalities. This was effectively brought to light in a detailed analysis of Chicago metropolitan area results by New Geography’s Aaron Renn.  read more »