Matthew Kiefer knows NIMBYs (Not-in-my-backyard). His essay on the social function of NIMBYism may be the best description of the phenomenon I’ve read. It is a dispassionate, clinical assessment by a physician who has seen this condition too many times. read more »
My eldest child tells me that when she arrived at an East Coast college her classmates—many of whom had never visited LA—would ask, “Does your family live in the city, or outside of it?” Her answer, she says, was always long — really long — and of eye-glazing complexity.
Anyone who has raised kids in the middle-class neighborhoods of multipolar LA might chuckle at the thought of trying to define urban or suburban. read more »
As children return to classes in Philadelphia this week, more than half of the kindergarteners attending three downtown public elementary schools will come from their immediate middle-income neighborhoods. Three private schools that also serve this area, drawing over 70 percent of their enrollment from downtown families, are bursting at the seams. Having doubled and tripled pre-school programs over the last half decade, each is now physically expanding to accommodate the 11,200 children, born to downtown parents between 2000 and 2005. read more »
“Suburbs,” the great urbanist Jane Jacobs once wrote, “must be a difficult place to raise children.” Yet, as one historian notes, had Jacobs turned as much attention to suburbs as she did to her beloved Greenwich Village, she would have discovered that suburbs possessed their own considerable appeal, particularly for those with children.
Although some still hold onto the idea that suburbs are bad places to raise children, in virtually every region of the country, families with children are far more likely to live in suburbs than in cities. read more »
The United States has experienced a revolutionary change in social structure over the last 25 years, and this in turn has led to a significant change in settlement, especially the geography of many metropolitan areas.
At the risk of over-generalization, our society has shifted from a structure based on economic class to one based more on education and social values. read more »
Phoenix may be one of the nation’s most misunderstood urban areas. The conventional wisdom is that Phoenix is one of the most suburbanized (or if the pejorative is preferred, “sprawling”) urban areas in the United States. Not so. According to 2000 U.S. Census data, Phoenix ranked number 10 in population density out of the 36 urban areas with more than one million in population. read more »
Fifty years ago, Phoenix was Tiny Town in the Desert, smaller than Oshkosh or Santa Fe today. Now, it is larger than Philadelphia and the metro area has the bulk of Arizona’s population. That does not mean it gets any respect; on the contrary, it is, to many, a joke, with all of Los Angeles’ traffic and smog but without the ocean, the celebrities or the Lakers. read more »
Much has been said about the rootlessness of our two Presidential aspirants, but both men have spent their political lifetimes representing real places and specific constituencies. Newgeography.com has already looked into the realities shaping Senator Barack Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago. Now we turn to the city that has most shaped Senator John McCain’s career: Phoenix. read more »
To paraphrase Mark Twain, “The report of Phoenix’s death has been greatly exaggerated.” To be sure, the Phoenix metropolitan area, for the first time in years, is suffering through a period of economic distress both in absolute and relative terms. read more »
On his way to Denver, Barack Obama has been trying to mainstream his campaign. The selection of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate was intended to be a steadying force as the historic nature of his campaign as a candidate of change remains unsettling for some. But so much has been said about his status as a candidate of racial change, that his status as a candidate of generational change has been little noticed. The torch, as JFK might say, is passing to a new generation.
Obama is the first Gen X Presidential candidate — for better and for worse. read more »