Geography

Why Are Some People in the Rust Belt So Resistant to Change?

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Aaron Renn wrote a great piece over at his Urbanophile blog entitled The Challenge of Change. In it, he discusses some of the negative reaction that he got to his recent post on Kokomo, Indiana and its Mayor Greg Goodnight’s efforts to reinvent the city using what Renn describes as “the model of the working-class/creative-class, blue-collar/white-collar synthesis that many believe we need today.”  read more »

Killing the California Dream

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Californians need to give up on their dream of a “ranch-house lifestyle” and an “ample backyard” and the state should become “more like New York City,” writes LA Times columnist George Skelton (reprinted in the Mercury-News and East Bay Times in case you run into the LA Times paywall). After reading his article, the Antiplanner has just one question: Why?  read more »

What Can We Do For America's Most Challenged Cities?

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My latest Manhattan Institute study was just released, discussing the particular difficulties facing America’s most distressed cities. Post-industrial metro areas with less than one million people that have experience significant decline are in a different category than other places.  read more »

The Captain Hindsight Award

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A reader recently made a comment I took seriously:

I am certainly not here to try and refute much of what you have brought to light, only to suggest that your comments are not in the least bit constructive on the whole. That is why I have decided to pin you with the prestigious “Captain Hindsight” award.

This post is my response.  read more »

Beijing and Shanghai Limit Population Growth

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Public policies to cap population in China’s two largest municipalities are yielding results. The latest annual statistical communiqués indicate that Shanghai and Beijing are now at population levels below the all-time peaks reached earlier in this decade, as population growth is being steered to peripheral areas in exurban and rural areas. This article describes population trends through the end of 2018.  read more »

Transit’s Declining Importance

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The steady decline in transit ridership, combined with the growth of driving, is revealed in passenger-mile data published by the Department of Transportation. The table below shows changes in transit’s share of motorized travel for the nation’s 25 largest urban areas. Outside of these areas, transit’s share declined by more than 10 percent in Sacramento, San Jose, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, among many others.  read more »

Escaping the Strait Jacket of "Place"

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We like to think of "place" as something positive, something that sets our patterns of living in a good way, but sometimes those patterns and forms become a strait jacket that keep our communities from evolving and growing. Sometimes you have to throw off that strait jacket, and Seattle, where 150,000 people have moved in the last 20 years, seems to be doing just that.  read more »

Economics Needed for People-Based Urban Planning: Alain Bertaud Book Review

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Alain Bertaud’s new book, Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities (MIT Press), is particularly timely, because of the rising concern about the challenges facing middle-income households. The broad based affluence that followed World War II brought unprecedented affluence to many millions of people, principally in the high income nations. This also raised the standard of living for people living in or near poverty.  read more »

A Sprinkle of Stores – Wrestling With Jacobs’s Uncertainty

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In her 1961 book, Jacobs made daring observations about how the “good city” works. A good number of passages in the book dealt with safety, such as the following:

“The basic requisite for such surveillance [of the street] is a substantial quantity of stores and other public places sprinkled along the sidewalks of a district; enterprises and public places that are used by evening and night must be among them especially. Stores, bars and restaurants, as the chief examples, work in several different and complex ways to abet sidewalk safety.”  read more »

The City Of Dallas Needs A Homebuilding Boom To Ensure Economic Success

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While the North Texas economy is booming, the core city of Dallas faces challenges bedeviling other cities: a dwindling middle class, bifurcation into neighborhoods of haves and have-nots, and an emerging home affordability problem.  read more »