Suburbs

Telework: Huge Greenhouse Gas Reductions Per Statistics Canada

canada-parliament-bldg.jpg

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced as much as 8.6 megatonnes (metric tons) if “all potential teleworkers would work from home most of the time,” instead of physically commuting (traveling to and from work). The analysis was performed by Statistics Canada, the national statistics and census office.  read more »

Housing Affordability and the Pandemic

city-neighborhood-foothills-homes-886528.jpg

The median price of homes in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, grew by $100,000 in February, reports the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. That means prices were growing by $25,000 a week. The good news is that these are New Zealand dollars, which are only worth about 72 cents U.S., which means prices grew by “only” US$18,000 a week.  read more »

Battlefield 'Burbs

house_solar.jpg

America’s political culture has been shaped by its rural and urban environments, each of which tends to be dominated by one party. Urban Republicans are now as rare as rural Democrats.

Yet the political future of the country lies in the suburban and exurban rings that dominate every metropolitan region. These voters are made up predominately neither of woke city hipsters nor gun-toting rubes, the stereotypes that dominate our competing cultural memes. The suburbs are the last contestable geography in the country.  read more »

Downtown Calgary: At Risk?

cox-calgary.jpg

Downtown Calgary is a big deal (see photo above and photos following the text). Traditional American and Canadian downtown areas (central business districts or CBDs) are a holdover from the pre-auto era. Their geographical limits were largely set by the early Great Depression, with buildings that were well underway in planning by that time (such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in New York). CBD’s were far more dominant at that time.  read more »

The Transformational Role of Remote Work

homebased-worker-percentage-2019.png

One of the most significant effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a large increase in remote work. The ability to work from home has rescued the U.S. and the world from a steeper economic decline. Fortunately, information technology made it possible for a much larger part of the economy to continue working than otherwise would have been possible.  read more »

Economic Civil War

baldock-solar-farm.jpg

Our national divide is usually cast in terms of ideology, race, climate, and gender. But it might be more accurate to see our national conflict as regional and riven by economic function. The schism is between two ways of making a living, one based in the incorporeal world of media and digital transactions, the other in the tangible world of making, growing, and using real things.  read more »

A Path to Pandemic Relief in the 'Burbs'

path-ahead-suburbia.jpg

A shift in residential demand to suburban and exurban locations is nearly a year old in the pandemic.

It’s said to stem from households’ desire for more private space (as well as school and crime concerns), combined with greater flexibility to work from home. But public spaces are also an attribute of distance from the city center. Unlike most urban respites, parklands in the ‘burbs tend to have enough elbow room during most times of the year.  read more »

Strong Communities Need Public Spaces — and Private Enterprise

DC-street_Washington-DC.jpg

We need parks and libraries and town squares for gathering. We also need shops, restaurants, and other commercial amenities.  read more »

Now That the Suburbs Are No Longer Evil, When Will They Get More Functional?

suburbs-with-green-space.jpg

Nothing like an Urban Riot (and a Pandemic) to cause renewed flight to the suburbs. This recalls when I was starting out in 1968, shortly after the riots in Detroit that caused one of the strongest explosions of suburban growth this nation has ever seen. Suburbs are now more diverse, but they are still far from the egalitarian ideal they could envision.  read more »

Quality Of Life, Or Quantity Of Lives?

Street_View_Made_by_EFFEKT_Architects_for_SPACE10.jpg

Anyone who's been in the urbanism game as long as I have (or longer) is probably familiar with the annual Places Rated Almanac, the annual metro area ranking reference produced by David Savageau. First published in 1981, I remember seeing each year's edition in bookstores while I was in high school and college, and it was the first attempt I could remember at evaluating the positives and negatives of place, and ranking them accordingly.  read more »