Chicago’s Great Financial Fire

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My latest piece is online in City Journal and is called “Chicago’s Financial Fire.” It’s a look at the ongoing financial crisis in that city, which has all of a sudden gotten very real thanks to a downgrade of the city’s credit rating to junk by Moody’s. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Sprawling Boston

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Few terms are more misunderstood than "urban sprawl." Generally, it refers to the spatial expansion (dispersion) of cities and has been use to describe urbanization from the most dense (least sprawling) in the world (Dhaka, Bangladesh), the most dense in the United States (Los Angeles) and also the least dense in the world (such as Atlanta and Charlotte,  read more »

Revisiting Two Forces of Modern Urban Transformation

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Few factors have had a greater impact on recent urban growth than communications technology (ICT) and property investment strategies. The evolution of both is transforming space and social interaction at an unprecedented pace and depth, with mixed results. As these maturing forces are increasingly taken for granted, the next generation of urban growth should accommodate them in ways that preserve urban vitality and citizen livelihoods.

The jetpack that wasn’t  read more »

Subjects:

Institution of Family Being Eroded

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Recent setbacks for social conservative ideals – most particularly on same-sex marriage – have led some to suggest that traditional values are passé. Indeed, some conservatives, in Pat Buchanan’s phrase, are in “a long retreat,” deserted by mainstream corporate America sporting rainbow logos. Some social conservatives are so despondent that they speak about retreating from the public space and into their homes and churches, rediscovering “the monastic temperament” prevalent during the Dark Ages.  read more »

Gates and Borders, Malls and Moats: A Photo Essay of Manila

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Home-made housing (left): Refugee families from Mindanao set up shop-houses in the grounds of the mosque in Quiapo. Quiapo contains a number of significant sacred sites for Catholic pilgrimages and festivals. Islamic refugees are making a living in the markets, even as some have sought refuge inside their own sacred site.  read more »

Subjects:

Countering Progressives' Assault on Suburbia

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The next culture war will not be about issues like gay marriage or abortion, but about something more fundamental: how Americans choose to live. In the crosshairs now will not be just recalcitrant Christians or crazed billionaire racists, but the vast majority of Americans who either live in suburban-style housing or aspire to do so in the future. Roughly four in five home buyers prefer a single-family home, but much of the political class increasingly wants them to live differently.  read more »

How To Justify Spending $8M On Something Nobody Wants

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The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Council is gambling $8.7 million on a project to alleviate pedestrian congestion that might exist in 5 to 10 years if we’re somehow able to build two additional light rail lines and they are operating at full capacity for 10 days a year.

That’s like buying flood insurance on the house you have yet to buy.  read more »

Identifying Black Urbanists

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There are black urbanists.  There are African-Americans who have invested their life's work toward the betterment of cities.  They haven't always gotten the exposure and acknowledgement that others have received, but they have nonetheless contributed to an improved understanding of how cities work, especially in an African-American context.   read more »

Subjects:

Homebuyers Confront China Syndrome

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China has hacked our government, devastated or severely challenged our industries and enjoyed one of the greatest wealth transfers in history – from our households to its. China also benefits from by far the largest trade surplus with the United States and also owns 11 percent of our national debt.

Sometimes it seems to be increasingly China’s world, and we just happen to live in it. Some, such as columnist Thomas Friedman and Daniel A. Bell, author of the newly published “The China Model,” even suggest we adjust our political system to more closely resemble that of the Chinese.  read more »

Comparisons: Commuting in London and New York

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The world's two leading Global Cities, London and New York are, according to most indicators, remarkably similar in their patterns of regional commuting. This is the conclusion from our recent review of commuting in London and commuting in New York.  read more »