Welcome to South Chicago

pete-chicago-ship.jpg

If you've been reading my stuff here long enough, you probably know that cringe when I hear people talk about Chicago's South Side as a monolith, as code for black and poor.  The truth is, there are many facets to the South Side.  It is largely black, but not exclusively so; it is less wealthy than other parts of the city and region, but with pockets of wealth also.  It has its very troubled spots, but it has places of promise.  read more »

Bay Area Residents (Rightly) Expect Traffic to Get Worse

bay-area-plan.JPG

In a just released poll by the Bay Area Council a majority of respondents indicated an expectation that traffic congestion in the Bay Area (the San Jose-San Francisco combined statistical area) is likely to get worse.  read more »

Urban leaders should plan for the public transit of the future

1024px-Jurvetson_Google_driverless_car_trimmed.jpg

Self-driving, automated cars are coming. There will be teething pains in many forms: Some people will want highly automated vehicles while others will fear them. Some will be privately owned, and others will be taxis and shuttles for use by different people every day.  read more »

To Reunite America, Liberate Cities to Govern Themselves

pexels-photo-26165.jpg

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

243690264_9881f319e6_o.jpg

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 other California: A flyover state within a state

30611909615_8f77dae9bd_h.jpg

California may never secede, or divide into different states, but it has effectively split into entities that could not be more different. On one side is the much-celebrated, post-industrial, coastal California, beneficiary of both the Tech Boom 2.0 and a relentlessly inflating property market. The other California, located in the state’s interior, is still tied to basic industries like homebuilding, manufacturing, energy and agriculture. It is populated largely by working- and middle-class people who, overall, earn roughly half that of those on the coast.  read more »

The Ghost of Mamie Eisenhower

johnny-ghost.jpg

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 »

The Sad State of the University Degree for Planners & Designers

pexels-photo-207691.jpeg

For the past four decades, technology has improved nearly all aspects of our life - except for the physical land development patterns of our cities. The 1960's suburban pattern, still in use today, is unsustainable. However, the 'architectural' answer to the 'planning' problem of sprawling subdivisions has been to simply go backwards to the gridded past.  read more »

Subjects:

Seven Ways Life Has Gotten Better in Rural America

moms-house-1024x768.jpg

Rural America is taking a beating in the news. Part of it is deserved. I grew up in rural Indiana and am shocked at some of what is going on there: severe hard drug problems, HIV outbreaks, serious crime, etc.

Things are a long way from when I was a kid there in the 70s and 80s and people not only left their doors unlocked, they left their keys in the car.

While I don’t want to minimize the challenges facing rural America, there’s a lot that has flat out gotten better since I first moved to Harrison County in first grade around 1976.  read more »

Subjects:

The End of the Asian Era

Donald_Trump_(29347022846).jpg

For the past 40 years, the Pacific Rim has been, if you will, California’s trump card. But now, in the age of President Donald Trump and decelerating globalization, the Asian ascendency may be changing in ways that could be beneficial to our state.  read more »