Urban Issues

The Geography of COVID-19

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The ongoing pandemic is reshaping the geography of our planet, helping some areas and hurting others. In the West, the clear winners have been the sprawling suburbs and exurbs, while dense cores have been dealt a powerful blow. The pandemic also has accelerated class differences and inequality, with poor and working class people around the world paying the dearest price. These conclusions are based on data we have repeatedly updated.  read more »

America’s Post-Pandemic Geography

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Even as vaccination increases across the United States and an end to the tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic seems in sight, the economic, fiscal, political, and geographic fallout from the virus cannot be overstated: a massive public health crisis that left more than half a million Americans dead, an economic catastrophe that caused record unemployment and small-business closures, and a seismic political event that surely helped tip the presidential election. The pandemic will pass, and the economy will revive, as it is already doing.  read more »

Vuca Waymo

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I’m prone to going down YouTube rabbit holes that take me to unexpected places. I recently eavesdropped on a Zoom conference where a woman in rural Idaho was strategizing on the global dairy trade. Turns out Mormon farmers are locked in a dog-eat-dog international competition over bulk milk commodities and specialty cheeses. New Zealand is their prime nemesis. Who knew?  read more »

America's Dispersing Metros: The 2020 Population Estimates

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The big story among the nation’s major metropolitan areas (the now 51 of 55 over one million with more than one county) over the past decade has been the persistence of urban core out-migration and suburban in-migration.

The Nearly 5,000,000 Suburban Net Domestic Migration Advantage  read more »

Could COVID Exodus Speed the Heartland Revival?

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Over the past two decades America’s largest urban areas enjoyed a heady renaissance, driven in large part by the in-migration of immigrants, minorities and young people. But even as a big-city dominated press corps continued to report on gentrification and displacement, those trends began to reverse themselves in recent years as all three of those populations started heading in ever larger numbers to suburbs, sprawling sunbelt boomtowns and smaller cities and out of the biggest ones.  read more »

Telework: Huge Greenhouse Gas Reductions Per Statistics Canada

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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 »

The Cleveland Joke

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I grew up on a Rust Belt street in a Rust Belt city: Colgate Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. The street had an alley. It had working-class kids born to working-class parents. Life on the street wasn’t idyllic. But that’s not how life is, particularly in Cleveland. The city can be exceptional in its realism. “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans,” said playwright Tennessee Williams. “Everywhere else is Cleveland.”  read more »

Florida Downtown Commutes Fall the Least from COVID, Recover the Most

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Mass transit may have taken the biggest hit from Covid-19, declining by 55% in the New York urban area, 43% in Los Angeles and 57% in Chicago, but car commutes also suffered. The latest INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard finds that US vehicle traffic to downtowns (central business districts) also declined by a substantial 44% in the pandemic year of 2020. According to Bob Pishue, an INRIX traffic analyst: “COVID-19 has completely transformed when, where and how people move.  read more »

Protect Neighborhoods by Saving Zoning

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Atlanta, your city government is trying to trick you.

Now that sentence, all by itself, may not seem to you like a “man-bites-dog” lead.  read more »

Historically Black and White Neighborhoods Share Opposition to Affordable Housing Apartment Complexes

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The Dallas Morning News editorial, A Blow to Affordable Housing, illuminates the opposition to the affordable housing apartment complex by the historically Black neighborhood, Hamilton Park. They are joined by the ethnically diverse neighborhood area of Stults Road in their opposition to this proposed apartment complex named Cypress Creek at Forest Lane.  read more »