The United States Census Bureau has just released its 2015 population estimates for metropolitan areas and counties. Again, the story is Texas, with the Bureau’s news release headline reading: Four Texas Metro Areas Collectively Add More Than 400,000 People in the Last Year. The Census Bureau heralded the accomplishment with a ”Texas Keeps Getting Bigger” poster, which is shown below. The detailed data is in the table at the bottom of the article. read more »
The Washington Metro system was shut down completely for a day recently to allow crews to inspect all of the power cables in the system. They found 26 cables and connectors in need of immediate repair.
This is just the latest in a series of safety problems and breakdowns that have plagued the system.
Metro has a large unfunded maintenance liability. This doesn’t surprise us because we expect American transit systems to have a backlog. read more »
Trump envisioned and created today’s city of white boxes for rootless new money types, who dominate the city even as they leave little mark here.
An old joke—that in heaven, the Italians do the cooking; in hell, they run the government—feels a lot darker now that American politics are taking an Italian turn. read more »
Density rules new development. From Florida to Texas to points west, city boosters herald a mixture of apartments and shops as an improvement on local 'density'. Dense development can be well designed, and can contribute to the form of a city, but the new density’s formulaic style is a crossbreed of strip shopping centers joined with 1980s apartment complexes. read more »
The increased likelihood of Donald Trump as the GOP presidential nominee, as evidenced by his win in Florida and other states last week, spells the end of the Republican Party as we have known it. Successful political parties unite interests under a broadly shared policy agenda. The Clinton Democrats may seem ethically challenged, condescending and bordering on dictatorial, but they share basic positions on many core issues and a unifying belief in federal power as the favored instrument for change. read more »
Journalists in older cities like New York, Boston or San Francisco may see the role of rail transit as critical to a functioning modern city. In reality, rail transit has been a financial and policy failure outside of a handful of cities. read more »
If you haven’t seen The Big Short, the movie version of Michael Lewis’s fascinating book about the explosion of the housing bubble, you should see it for the entertainment value alone. The film tells an important story with humor, relative accuracy and strong acting. It is so good that it has been nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. But the film largely ignores the experiences of the homeowners who signed notes and mortgages that backed the securities and derivatives that the film describes. A decade later, millions of working-class homeowners are still suffering from results of the greed and recklessness so well documented by the movie. read more »
Headlines were recently made recently as Japan finally experienced a long predicted official decline in population. This is widely expected to be the beginning of a long decline in population, which the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research has projected will drop Japan’s population from its present 127 million to 43 million by 2100 (Chart). read more »