The Battle of Oak Grove

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“People Come and Go. I Plan for the Land.”

Our initial efforts to save Oak Grove from densification were pretty naïve. First, we thought we could persuade the Clackamas County planners that densification was a bad idea. We invited the lead planner to walk the neighborhood with some of us, a walk that ended with a visit in Jeanne Johnson’s home.  read more »

How Cities Lost Control of the Urban Revolution (or, Three Generations of Smart Cities)

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I was a columnist in the print edition of Governing magazine for about five years. Sadly, the publication closed last year. But the company who owned it has relaunched Governing as an online only publication focused on the intersection of technology and public policy.  read more »

2020 Election: Democrats Heading Toward a Brokered Convention

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Today, President’s Day, is as good as any to draw some lessons from the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Crowded Field

FIRST, the Democrats do not yet have a candidate with proven national appeal.  read more »

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The Luxury City is Going Bust

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In a year when two boosters of the “luxury city,” Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, are vying to run the whole country, the very model that created their “success” is slowly unraveling. After roughly 20 years of big-city progress, measured by economic growth and demographic progress, the dense urban centers, including New York, are again teetering on the brink of decline.  read more »

The Limits of Being “Near Transit”

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In a recent paper, David King of Arizona State University, Michael Smart of Rutgers University and Michael Manville of UCLA cited the legendary urbanist Mel Weber on the importance of facilitating sufficient mobility for low-income citizens: “Our central mission is to redress the social inequities thrown up by widespread auto use, and our central task is to invent ways of extending the benefits of auto-like transportation to those who are presently carless.”  read more »

How Different Generations are Influencing Our Politics

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Race, gender and class may be shaping our society, but increasingly generational change drives our politics.

Over time this suggests a major realignment of America’s party system that could create either whole new parties or transform the current, and failing, political duopoly.

One must look just at the results in New Hampshire. Bernie Sanders won by winning roughly half of voters under 30, according to exit polls, almost twice the percentage he gained among the rest of the electorate.  read more »

The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago's South Side

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Chicago is known as one of America’s great cities for architecture. But other than the Illinois Institute of Technology campus, designed by Mies van der Rohe, very little of the architecture of the South Side is included in the public’s mind when thinking about it. Lee Bey, former architecture critic of the Chicago Sun-Times and a South Side residents, aims to change this with his book  read more »

The City as a Self-Organizing, Adaptive System - Part 2

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Vienna's Ringstrasse has transformed multiple times on its way to becoming a multi-modal arterial.

In a preceding article, I argued that a "city-as-an-artifact" approach to planning misses the organic nature of cities, and, when used in action, this approach could result in disappointing, if well-intended, outcomes. Similarly, biomorphic models for cities fail to construct a unified, actionable theory of planning.  read more »

The Next Economy: Following the Trail of U.S. Job Growth

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A decade ago, in the wake of the Great Recession, Lee County, Florida was dubbed “the foreclosure capital of the country” by the national media, the poster child for all that had gone wrong with the American economy.  read more »

2019 Ridership Numbers Reveal Transit's Dim Future

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Thanks to a late-year surge in New York subway ridership, nationwide transit ridership in December 2019 was 3.0 percent greater than December 2018, and ridership for 2019 as a whole was 0.1 percent greater than in 2018, according to data released last week by the Federal Transit Administration. Take away the New York City subways and nationwide ridership fell by 1.5 percent in December and 1.2 percent for the 2019 as a whole.  read more »

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