Louisville Bridges Project Is the Biggest Transportation Boondoggle of the 21st Century

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I have been a steadfast critic of the project to build two new bridges across the Ohio River in Louisville for over a decade. In fact, my first critical post on the bridges proposal was put up in 2007 less than six months after starting my original Urbanophile blog.

The end result was even worse than I anticipated. The project has proven to be a money waster of the highest order, and in fact by far the biggest American transportation boondoggle I can identify in the 21st century so far.  read more »

Subjects:

The Soul Of The New Machine

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Thirty-five years ago Tracy Kidder electrified readers with his “Soul of a New Machine,” which detailed the development of a minicomputer. Today we may be seeing the emergence of another machine, a political variety that could turn the country toward a permanent one-party state.  read more »

Subjects:

The Benefits of Homeownership Mean We Should Still Believe in the American Dream

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In 2004, President George W. Bush announced the aim of promoting a broader “Ownership Society,” in which more Americans could benefit from owning a home, retirement accounts, and other financial assets. “If you own something,” he declared, “you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America.” President Bush’s premise echoes ideas advanced by virtually all presidents since Franklin Roosevelt.  read more »

Update on Australian Urban Areas (with a Photographic Tour)

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Australia is one of the world’s most urban nations, with nearly 90% of its population living in urban areas, according to the United Nations (2018 estimate). Only four nations with as many residents have a larger urban population percentage (Argentina, Japan, Venezuela, and Brazil).  read more »

Class Prejudice and the Democrats’ Blue Wave?

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Two days after the mid-term elections, The Washington Post published an analysis under the headline “These wealthy neighborhoods delivered Democrats the House majority.” That headline is false in several different ways, but it is being repeated among a large group of the punditry because it fits into a class narrative that sees affluent, college-educated white people who live in suburbs as citadels of tolerant decency while white folks  read more »

How Much Density Is Enough?

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Portland New Urbanist Joe Cortright has rarely seen a high-density development he didn’t like. Like Marxist economists who always begin their papers by referring to quotations from Karl Marx, Cortright takes his cues from Jane Jacobs.  read more »

Tulsa, Oklahoma Will Pay You $10,000 to Move There

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Tulsa is joining the parade of places that are providing economic development incentives to people who are willing to relocate there. I previously mentioned Vermont’s program and also that of a Cincinnati suburb.  read more »

The Gig Economy, Americans and The Future

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The rise of automation and artificial intelligence is keeping many Americans up at night, worrying about their jobs, and certainly those of their children. The World Bank predicts that 57 percent of all jobs in developed countries could be automated in the next two decades. Some studies suggest that almost half of all current jobs will be made redundant while others suggest that past technological innovation created enough new jobs to make for those lost.  read more »

Employment Access in US Metropolitan Areas (2017)

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Much of the US population of the United States is located in its major metropolitan areas, those with more than one million population. In 2017, the 53 major metropolitan areas had 56% of the population, and they attracted two-thirds of the population growth from 2000 (present geographical delineation). Economic research, such as by Remy Prud'homme and Chang-Woon Lee at the University of Paris as well as David Hartgen and M.  read more »

Monrovia, Indiana, Idyll or Elegy?

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Frederick Wiseman turned his documentary filmmaking lens to the Midwest in his new work Monrovia, Indiana. My review of the film is now online at City Journal. Here is an excerpt:

"Wiseman spent ten weeks filming in this small Indiana town of about 1,500 people, creating a fair and insightful portrait of a section of the rural Midwest. He shows us quotidian aspects of life in Monrovia that are likely exotic to a typical big-city documentary-film audience: corn and hog farming, locals holding court at the town diner, a mattress-sale fundraiser for the local school, a farm-equipment auction, a Lion’s Club board meeting, and more.  read more »