Urban Issues

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 »

Time to Deliver: How Biden Should Respond to the Insurrection

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“The faith that anyone could move from rags to riches – with enough guts and gumption, hard work and nose to the grindstone – was once at the core of the American Dream.” –Robert Reich, economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor

“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” –Dante Alighieri, inscription on the gates of Hell, The Divine Comedy, circa 1321  read more »

Progressives Must Stop Celebrating Urban Flight

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As the nation enters 2021 with hopes of healing divisions, Vox published a story with the drop headline, “Young families and wealthy people are decamping for the suburbs — which might make cities more pleasant for everyone else.” This is exactly the continued nonsense from the left that continues to polarize our discourse, and it needs to stop.  read more »

2020 Metro Virus Fatality Rates & Observations

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This article provides data on COVID-19 fatality rates for the 53 US major metropolitan areas, from the first infection to December 31, 2020.Because so many US major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population) stretch across state lines, the article indicates all of the states each is located in (for example, Philadelphia is in four states, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland).  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 »

The Case for American Optimism

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Now that Trump has been edged out of office, Joe Biden may emerge as the harbinger of a brighter, better blue future or as a version of Konstantin Chernenko, the aged timeserver who ran the Soviet Union in its dying days. To succeed, he will have to confront massive pessimism about America’s direction, with some 80 percent thinking the country is out of control. The Atlantic last year compared the U.S. to a “failed state,” while The Week predicts “dark days ahead.”  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 »

Evidence on Post-Pandemic Telecommuting

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More studies have been published indicating that telecommuting is likely to be far more important after the pandemic than it was before. A University of Chicago study published early this month concluded that “22 percent of all full work days will be supplied from home after the pandemic ends, compared with just 5 percent before.”  read more »

New Zealand Adopts Texas MUDs

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New Zealand home prices are among the highest in the world relative to incomes and rents, with the capital city of Auckland having a median home price of $830k and a house price to income median multiple of 8.6 – in contrast to Houston’s far more affordable 3.6 - as documented in the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. These prices have been growing at one of the fastest rates in the OCED: 266% since 1991.  read more »