What Does the Future Hold for the Automobile?

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For a generation, the car has been reviled by city planners, greens and not too few commuters. In the past decade, some boldly predicted the onset of “peak car” and an auto-free future which would be dominated by new developments built around transit.  read more »

Progressive Cities: Home of the Worst Housing Inequality

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America's most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics.  read more »

Oh, for those good days without fossil fuels!

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Maybe it’s time to start scaling back on our leisurely lifestyle to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and start reverting back to the pre-1900 horse and buggy days for our transportation systems, and the “snake oil” pitchmen for our healthcare system, and no medications, no cosmetics, no fertilizers, no computers nor IPhones, and shorter life spans.  read more »

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Case Studies in Autonomous Vehicles, Part I: Shared Use Vehicles and the Challenge of Multiple, Intermediate Stops

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There has been a lot of discussion about the potential of autonomous vehicles to change our transportation landscape, in particular the potential for such cars to be shared, reducing car ownership, parking needs and congestion on our roads. A principle idea behind this concept is that since autonomous vehicles can be driven from stop to stop without a driver, they will be cheaper and more mobile, prompting current car owners to switch to mobility as a service (MaaS) where rides are purchased on an as needed basis.  read more »

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Local Empowerment Should Be About Local Matters

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I’ve generally been someone who wants to see local governments have more power and flexibility to meet local needs. My rationale is simple. States are full of diverse communities that are a bad fit for one size fits all policies. Chicago, Danville, Peoria, Cairo, etc. are radically different places. They have different circumstances, needs, and local priorities. Hence it makes sense for them to have the ability to chart their own course to some degree. Some states have accommodated this to some extent through classes of cities with different powers based on size.  read more »

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Bringing Soviet Planning to New York City

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to bring the same policies that worked so well in the Soviet Union, and more recently in Venezuela, to New York City. “If I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed,” he says. “And there would be very stringent requirements around income levels and rents.”  read more »

The Bottom Line of the Culture Wars

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America’s seemingly unceasing culture wars are not good for business, particularly for a region like Southern California. As we see Hollywood movie stars, professional athletes and the mainstream media types line up along uniform ideological lines, a substantial portion of the American ticket and TV watching population are turning them off, sometimes taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the bottom line.  read more »

Transit Work Access in 2016: Working at Home Gains

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Working at home continues to grow as a preferred access mode to work, according to the recently released American Community Survey data for 2016. The latest data shows that 5.0 percent of the nation's work force worked from home, nearly equaling that of transit's 5.1 percent. In 2000, working at home comprised only 3.3 percent of the workforce, meaning over the past 16 years there has been an impressive 53 percent increase (note). Transit has also done well over that period, having increased approximately 10 percent from 4.6 percent.  read more »

Garden Grove: The Other Kind of Incremental Urbanism

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This is the historic Main Street in Garden Grove, California. Back in 1874 land was platted in small twenty five foot wide lots and sold off with minimal infrastructure. Individuals built modest pragmatic structures with funds pulled largely from the household budget, extended family, and short term debt. This was long before the thirty year mortgage, government loan guaranties, mortgage interest tax deductions, zoning regulations, subsidies, economic development grants, or the codes we have today.  read more »

Too Many Rust Belt Leaders Have Stockholm Syndrome

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One of the criticisms leveled at Richard Florida is that many of the Rust Belt cities that tried to cater to the creative class ended up wasting their money on worthless programs.

What this illustrates instead is that leaders in the Rust Belt have taken the contours of the current economy as a given, and attempted to find a way to adapt their community to that.  read more »