Is The End Near For Religion?

Christmas_Eve_Mass_2011 (1).JPG

“At the heart of every civilization, religious values are asserted.”

— Fernand Braudel

Even at this season that should be about spiritual re-awakening, it is hard to deny that we live in an increasingly post-religious civilization. Virtually everywhere in the high-income world, faith, particularly tied close to institutionalized religion, has been dropping for a decade, and the trend is accelerating with each new generation. Even once bright religious celebrations like Christmas have not only become less spiritual, even here in America, but seems to be inexorably returning to its original pagan roots as essentially a winter solstice holiday.  read more »

Cars: Principal Mobility for Workers in Poverty


Out of the approximately 150 million employees identified in the American community survey for 2016, nearly 10% are below the poverty level. Popular lore might provide a misleading impression that most of these employees reach work by transit. Other than in the New York metropolitan area, nothing could be further from the truth.  read more »

Questions to Ask about Amtrak 501


The wreck of the 501–the Amtrak train that crashed near Seattle on Monday–is raising lots of questions about Amtrak operations, but they aren’t always the right ones. Here are some questions that should be asked and some of the Antiplanner’s preliminary answers. Answers from Amtrak (the operator), FRA (the funder), Sound Transit (the track owner), or WSDOT (the train owner) may differ.  read more »

In Defence of Sydney's Westconnex Motorway


The acrimonious battle over Australia’s largest motorway may be a case study in how class conflict plays out across the ‘post-industrial’ metropolis. On one side, inner-urban gurus of ‘liveability’ and ‘sustainability’ envisage a string of high-amenity havens for professionals in the weightless knowledge economy. On the other, a more dispersed population of workers in the material world of freight production, delivery and storage need efficient connections between a range of scattered industries and transportation hubs.  read more »

What Is the Future of Flyover Country?


My latest piece in City Journal is a look at the interior of the country and its future. It’s an introductory survey that points out that there isn’t a simple coasts vs. the rest, but that there are many distinct regions and cities with varying performance. Many interior regions and cities are doing very well while others legitimately struggle. But in most cases there are still significant hurdles that need to be addressed.  read more »

Commuting in Canada: 2016 Census Report


Statistics Canada has just released the employment access data out of the 2016 Census, based on the main mode of commuting. Generally, there is little change between the modes, as Figure 1 indicates, compared to the 2011 Census results. (See: New Data on Commuting in Canada).  read more »

The New Mandarins Of The Deep State

Donald_Trump_(29347022846) (1).jpg

The shocking defeat of GOP Senator hopeful Roy Moore may not spell the end of Trumpism, but you can see it from there. The president’s unconventional peasant rebellion has now reached its high-water market, with a countervailing tide threatening to inundate an increasingly vulnerable GOP.  read more »


Dense Downtown vs. Suburban Dispersed: A Pilot Study on Urban Sustainability


The fashion among urban planners for “compact city” planning and intensification, emphasized as a substitute for “harmful” sprawl onto greenfields, has been supported by a substantial volume of advocacy and academic work. But as the authors of a new study, “Dense Downtown vs. Suburban Dispersed: A Pilot Study on Urban Sustainability” say in their abstract, most such work has been “…based on very large data sets of generalized data regarding whole-city energy consumption, or large-scale transport patterns, which often misses important nuances…”  read more »

Doing Houston Wrong


Last August, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, causing massive flooding in the Houston area and likely becoming one of the most expensive disasters (current estimate: $81.5 billion) in U.S. history. In the aftermath, Houstonians rallied to rebuild and look after one another, but they did so with the echoes of a persistent chorus of criticism ringing in their ears: Houston, critics said, was partially to blame for what had happened.  read more »

Bringing Down Housing Prices in the Bay Area

pic ng.jpg

On Sunday the New York Times ran a story on the difficulties of building new housing in California, focusing on the city of Berkeley. There’s a lot of good in the piece, including the insane difficulties of getting approvals to build even when you propose something in keeping with the existing zoning.  read more »