Urban Issues

LSE Economist Paul Cheshire on Urban Containment and Housing Affordability

100_5674.JPG

Paul Cheshire, Professor Emeritus of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics, has distinguished himself as one of the world’s pre-eminent housing economists. This article discusses his recent interview with Ahir Hites, a senior research officer in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Research Department, reported in The Unassuming Economist Global Housing Watch Newslettter.  read more »

Ranking the Best & Worst Transit Agencies

1200px-BRT_stop_King_Rd_San_Jose.jpg

The nation’s worst-managed transit systems lose 65 cents for every dollar they spend on operating costs, fill only 42 percent of their seats, carry the average urban resident just 40 round trips per year, use more energy and spew out more greenhouse gases per passenger mile than the average car, carry fewer than 14 percent of low-income workers to work, and lost 4 percent of their customers in the last four years.  read more »

St. Louis Blues

1200px-St._Louis_skyline_September_2008-1024x306.jpg

My latest article is online in City Journal and is a look at the most recent failed attempt to merge St. Louis city and St. Louis county governments in light of the backdrop of civic challenges there. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

Metropolitan America

1200px-Queensboro_Bridge_1908_LOC_3c00105u.jpg

The rural to urban exodus is well known. It has driven the growth of the largest urban areas from one million residents as late as 1800 to nearly 40 million today. The United States has risen from less than 40 percent urban in 1900 to more than 80 percent today. Other, more affluent nations have experienced similar trends. Even more quickly, China has risen from 19 percent urban in 1980 to 56 percent in 2015 today, according to the United Nations. Even the least affluent nations are urbanizing rapidly.  read more »

Is There A Future For Transit-Oriented Development in Orange County, CA?

oc photo.jpg

California was once a state of great builders, and its legacy of grand construction projects remains plenty visible today. Major infrastructure investments like the California Aqueduct enabled the sprawling metropolises of the Southern California desert to thrive, becoming some of the most prolific economic and cultural centers in the world. The Golden State pioneered highway construction, linking its cities with each other and the rest of the nation. And perhaps the most iconic symbol of California, the Golden Gate Bridge, was a remarkable civil engineering feat of its time.  read more »

Primer on Politics of Homelessness in LA

Phase_1_of_Skid_Row_Super_Mural.jpg

I’ll start by giving you all a chance to consider some basic questions that Mayor Eric Garcetti and his staff failed to address –- and the mainstream media left hanging -- in the wake of a report that confirmed the obvious rise in homelessness in Los Angeles over the past year or so.  read more »

China's Urban Crisis

1200px-China_Resources_Headquarters_Nanshan_Shenzhen_China.jpg

China stands as the primary exhibit of twenty-first-century urbanism. At a time when elite cities in the West barely manage to grow in population, Chinese cities have emerged out of virtually nothing, as hundreds of millions of people have moved from farm to city.  read more »

New Urbanism and Jane Jacobs – A Tangled Disconnect

fanis-jacobs-1.jpg

By a majority of votes and voluminous citations, Jacobs tops the list of the 20th century's most influential urban thinkers. Had this been a transient fascination, as with literary works, it would be a major achievement in itself. In this case, it's far greater: an entire profession mesmerised in thought and action.  read more »

The “New Zealand Dream” is Still Alive

1280px-Elm_Row_City_Rise_Dunedin.jpg

The promotion of middle-income home ownership long has been a policy priority of governments around the world. This includes New Zealand, as Gael Ferguson indicated in The New Zealand Dream, published in 1994:  read more »

When it Comes to Road Diets, Small Businesses are the Biggest Losers

venice-blvd.jpg

Twenty-one businesses have closed in less than two years since the city of Los Angeles reconfigured a 0.8 stretch of Venice Boulevard in the west side’s Mar Vista neighborhood. The city replaced one of three traffic lanes in each direction with protected bike lanes, removed some street parking, and installed physical barriers. The project is called a “road diet” and it’s part of the city’s “Vision Zero” and “Complete Streets”  programs.  read more »