Urban Issues

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 »

New York Again Seeks a Handle Up

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One aspect of New York City’s clean-up in the 1990s was the closing of many dingy Off-Track Betting parlors. Some tidier operations lived on for a few years but ultimately Gotham said good riddance to the public gambling-on-horses corporation.  read more »

Work Trips in the CSAs with the Largest CBDs

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This article describes the reduction in work visits, by counties within the six combined statistical areas (CSAs), also called commuting zones, that include the nation’s six largest downtown areas (central business districts, or CBDs) by employment. CSAs are combinations of adjacent metropolitan and micropolitan areas that have strong work trip commuting connections, but not as strong as within metropolitan areas (MSAs).  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 »

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 »