Suburbs

The Transformational Role of Remote Work

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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

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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'

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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

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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?

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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?

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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 »

Can We Save the Planet, Live Comfortably, and Have Children Too?

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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about what Zillow calls “the great re-shuffling,” as more people head out of major metropolitan areas to work, often remotely, in less dense, even rural areas.  read more »

The Threat to Regional Unity

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Happy New Year, everybody.

My latest column in Governing magazine is about another possible piece of fallout from the coronavirus, namely the undermining of the regional unity and solidarity that metropolitan areas have worked hard to build in recent years. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

California and Urban Cores Dominate Overcrowded Housing

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Concern about overcrowded housing has been heightened by its association with greater COVID-19 infection risk. As a disease transmitted by human proximity, exposure is increased by being in overcrowded and insufficiently ventilated spaces where sufficient social distancing is not possible. Exposure density for a person is intensified by the amount of time spent in such circumstances.  read more »

The Age of Suburbia

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“Mr. Covid has been the best city and regional planner Australia has ever had. The suburbs will shine, and regions will grow. Maybe we should forget about big city infrastructure projects for a while and spend it on our future resilient communities where people look out for each other.”  read more »