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The Congress for the New Urbanism promotes walkable, mixed-use neighborhood development as an environmentally, socially, and economically responsible solution to the challenges of our built environment.
Updated: 12 min 17 sec ago

Not A "War on Suburbia" Election

Tue, 2014-11-18 11:42

According to Joel Kotkin, this month's elections were really about the "progressives' war on suburbia." According to Kotkin, the Democrats lost because they are "aggressively anti-suburban." Since I didn't vote for President Obama, I leave it to his supporters to defend him.

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Categories: New Urbanism

Transit Riding: Its NOT All About New York

Tue, 2014-11-11 17:05

Commentators who seek to minimize the importance of recent growth in public transit ridership argue that this increase is predominantly a result of New York's rising ridership. There is a grain of truth to this argument: New York is so big that rising ridership in that city alone can affect national ridership trends. On the other hand, New York is hardly the only city experiencing rising ridership.

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Categories: New Urbanism

One (Or Maybe Two) Cheers for Cincinnati

Mon, 2014-11-03 22:04

A recent article in New Geography points out that some of his friends who feel priced out of San Francisco have moved to Rust Belt cities like Cincinnati.  Given all the wonderful historic neighborhoods of Cincinnati or Kansas City or similar cities, why would anyone live in New York or San Francisco instead?

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Categories: New Urbanism

The Attack on Airbnb

Thu, 2014-10-23 10:55

The room-sharing service Airbnb has become controversial in high-cost cities like San Francisco and New York, in part because of concerns about affordable housing. In fact, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has recently written an op-ed attacking Airbnb. (In the interests of full disclosure, I note that both I and the Senator have financial axes to grind: I am an Airbnb customer, and Sen.

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Categories: New Urbanism

Announcement: new paper on smart growth and government regulation

Tue, 2014-10-21 10:58

I recently coauthored a paper on government regulations designed to promote smart growth and green building (published by the Mercatus Institute).   The paper examines the prevalence of minimum density requirements, maximum parking requirements, and green building-related regulations. 

We conclude that:

*Minimum density requirements are quite rare.  Only two of twenty-four cities surveyed only two have such regulations.

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Categories: New Urbanism

Americans are more multimodal than some might think

Mon, 2014-10-20 07:26

Because most Americans drive to work on any given day, one might think that they don't use any other mode of transportation, ever.  But a recent review of federal transportation surveys shows otherwise.   In fact, 65 percent of American commuters take at least one non-car trip per week, and 48 percent take three or more.

Categories: New Urbanism

Announcing....

Sun, 2014-10-12 11:57

I am happy to announce the birth of my new site, Auto-Free in Kansas City.  The purpose of this site is to help readers learn about Kansas City's neighborhoods and how to navigate them through public transit.   The site links to my Kansas City photos, as well as to my "Auto-Free in...." websites I created for some other cities I have lived in (Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Atlanta- though I note that these statistics have not been updated in years, so their bus route data is no doubt a bit outdated). 

Categories: New Urbanism

Transportation and Equity: Federal Funding for Streetcar Projects

Mon, 2014-10-06 09:26

Author Lauren Ames Fischer is a NSF IGERT Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York, New York. For inquiries on her research, contact Lauren at laf2153@columbia.edu.

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Categories: New Urbanism

Street sense

Wed, 2014-10-01 11:41
animation_cars_to_street_cars.gif

I always love using this picture when teaching urban desing and transportation and the means by which to avoid grid lock.

cheers

Brian Killin@Toronto

Categories: New Urbanism

Is the Creative Class Really Taking Over Cities? Verdict: Not Proven

Mon, 2014-09-29 19:04
In today's Washington Post, Emily Badger uses a set of maps to prove her claim that an affluent "creative class" is taking over urban cores, and as a result  "service and working-class residents are effectively left with the least desirable parts of town, the longest commutes and the fewest amenities. " But her maps don't seem to support her point.

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Categories: New Urbanism

Are Suburbanites Happier?

Wed, 2014-09-24 14:46
Categories: New Urbanism

A Myth Exploded

Tue, 2014-09-09 21:40

Every so often I read the following argument: "We shouldn't upzone popular urban neighborhoods, because if we freeze the status quo in those areas, the people who are priced out willl rebuild our city's devastated neighborhoods."  This argument has a conceptual flaw: most middle-class peoples' choices aren't limited to rich urban areas and poor urban areas, because they can always move to suburbia. 

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Categories: New Urbanism

Beauty and Boredom in Kansas City

Mon, 2014-09-08 21:39

Every so often, I walk forty-five minutes to work rather than taking a bus.  My walk takes me through Kansas City's Brookside neighborhood, an area full of distinguished-looking old houses on gridded streets with sidewalks.  Sounds great, right?

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Categories: New Urbanism

Best Practices In Sprawl: Apartments

Sun, 2014-09-07 22:00
westgae.jpg

When I visted Fargo, North Dakota, I saw a few things I liked, such as a nicely fixed-up downtown and a beautiful historic district just south of downtown. 

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Categories: New Urbanism

Too Early To Declare Victory on Affordability

Mon, 2014-08-25 19:37

I just read numerous discussions about how high-cost cities really are cheaper than you might think, based on a study by New York's Citizens'  Budget Commission purporting to show that when housing and transportation costs are combined, New York is actually one of the most affordable cities in the United States.  Since I just left New York, this seemed a bit too good to be true. 

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Categories: New Urbanism

Mr. Kotkin Talks About What "People Really Want"

Fri, 2014-08-22 10:15

Joel Kotkin recently wrote in the Washington Post that unspecified urban planners want "to create an ideal locate for hipsters and older, sophisticated urban dwellers" rather than focusing on the needs of "most middle-class residents of the metropolis." He claims that these people want "home ownership, rapid access to employment throughout the metropolitan area, good schools, and 'human scale' neighborhoods" as well as "decent

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Categories: New Urbanism

Bordeaux: A Journey of Wine, Food, French and New Urbanism

Tue, 2014-08-19 05:59
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I visited Bordeaux, France this past July to practice my French and learn some more about wine. I did not expect to see a classic example of New Urbanism in play. In a way I shouldn’t be too surprised for I always considered visiting the best way to learn about cities and discover their urban plans. It is just that in this case I did not foresee this aspect to be a dominating factor. New Urbanism welcomes you straightaway in Bordeaux and stays with you till the moment you leave.

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Categories: New Urbanism

What Ferguson Tells Us About Working-Class Suburbia

Thu, 2014-08-14 22:07

Recently, Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, has received lots of attention because of a police officer's questionable decision to shoot an unarmed civilian, followed by demonstrations, followed by some even more questionable decisions by police (such as arresting journalists and tear-gassing the citizenry).   

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Categories: New Urbanism

The "Chains Are Ruining Our City" Myth

Mon, 2014-08-11 12:32

I recently read about a blog complaining that New York was "suburbanizing" due to the "disappearance of small stores and restaurants" and their alleged replacement by national chains.

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Categories: New Urbanism

The "Building Boom" Myth

Wed, 2014-08-06 12:25

One common argument against new infill development is "my city has already experienced a building boom, and rents keep going up."  But in New York City, one of the nation's most expensive cities, this claim is built on false assumptions.  A recent study by the Citizens Budget Commission shows that New York has experienced lower growth in housing supply than all but 3 of 22 cities surveyed- and 2 of the 3 (Detroit and Chicago) lost population over the past decade.

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Categories: New Urbanism