Urban Issues

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 »

If Housing is a Human Right...

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If housing is a human right, then it should no more be the vehicle for profiteering than other basic utilities of human existence such as the supply of water, education or life-saving medicine. If housing is a human right, then profiteering off housing is not only bad policy, it’s also immoral.

Among numerous groups in California and elsewhere, there is much talk about a “housing crisis.” Yet this talk is misleading, and if self-styled “housing advocates” want to invoke any crisis, they should more properly be discussing an “affordable housing crisis.”  read more »

Demographia International Housing Affordability – 2021 Edition

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The Urban Reform Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy are pleased to present the 2021 edition of Demographia International Housing Affordability. This report provides housing affordability ratings, using the median multiple, a measurement of income in relation to housing prices, or 92 major markets (metropolitan areas) in eight nations for the third quarter of 2020.  read more »

The American City's Long Road to Recovery

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Even before 2020, America’s great cities faced a tide that threatened to overwhelm them. In 2020, the tsunami rose sud­denly, inundating the cities in ways that will prove both troubling and trans­formative, but which could mark the return toward a more hu­mane, and sustainable, urbanity. The two shocks—the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring, followed by a summer punctuated by massive social un­rest—have undermined persistent fantasies of an inevitable “back to the city” migration.  read more »

Subjects:

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 »

COVID-19 and the Ongoing Global Workplace Revolution

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For most of the recent past, economic geography has shifted to ever-larger cities across the globe. By the end of the last decade, many were convinced that we were entering a supreme era of the glittering, high-rise “superstar” city that would inevitably swallow all the best bits of the economy, and serve as unparalleled centers of tech, culture, political activism, and global trade.  read more »

Despite Wishful Thinking, Cities Won't Come Back Without Major Reform

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America’s urban leaders seem to prepare for the post-pandemic future with delusions that everything will go back to the way before the COVID-19 pandemic set in. Nothing can be more dangerous to the prospects for cities; the pandemic and recent rise in crime have created a vastly different prospect for cities, necessitating serious reconfiguration.  read more »

Environmentalism is the New War on the Working Class

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"There should be a real liberal party in this country, and I don't mean a crackpot professional one." – Harry Truman.

John Kerry, President Joe Biden's new climate czar, took a private jet to accept an environmental award in Iceland in 2019.  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 »