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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
One thing that can make suburban roads less intolerable for pedestrians is a large median, so that the pedestrian can cross a huge road two or three lanes at a time, instead of having to cross an entire six- or eight-lane highway in one mad dash.
At the Smart Growth for Conservatives blog, analyst Michael Brown has written a series of interesting posts about congestion pricing, most recently one on how to make congestion pricing (that is, tolling highways during peak periods to reduce congestion) sound appealing to the general public. He also suggests that congestion pricing will increase
One common explanation for the high housing costs of New York and San Francisco is that the wealthy are pricing everyone else out of the market. According to this narrative, there are so many obscenely wealthy people in such cities that developers are only building housing for the rich, thus making it impossible for the law of supply and demand to function.
One common argument for the highway-centric status quo is that highways pay for themselves, while trains and buses are government-subsidized. This argument has been debunked again and again, and the debunking itself has even been debunked.
This weekend, I visited Kansas City, Mo. to look for apartments (since I am moving there in August to teach at the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School). I focused my search on the Brookside and Country Club Plaza neighborhoods, two areas within a 45-minute walk of the law school.
Planners are not usually known for letting loose with their feelings, but urban planner and U. of Louisville professor John Gilderbloom unloaded on his Mayor Greg Fischer. Read all about it here.
After seeing another blog post about how density is bad because Los Angeles is dense, it occurred to me to suggest that just as there is good and bad cholesterol, there is good and not-so-good density.
From a new urbanist perspective, good density is density that contributes to walkability: density near public transit, density within walking distance of shops and jobs in a place where walking is possible.
In 2012, Urban Design Associates (UDA) was awarded a Charter Award for their project The New Faubourg Lafitte in New Orleans. The project is a redevelopment and rehabilititaiton of a 27-acre superblock public housing that had been badly damaged by hurricane Katrina. CNU praised the collaboration with the community in the plan's creation, the social anchoring of the design, and its connections and consistency with the surrounding fabric.
Those of us who believe in the laws of economics keep trying to explain that land use regulation really does make development (especially infill development) more expensive. A recent blog post by James Bacon includes a wonderful essay quantifying the impact of regulation in Austin, hardly one of the nation's most expensive or regulation-happy cities. The article points out that these regulations tend to be more restrictive in center cities. Read it.
Tremé is one of the oldest and most central neighborhoods of New Orleans. In its early history, it was a popular destination for immigrants and free people of color.
After reading yet another blog post talking about how New York is losing migrants to other cities, I had an extremely insightful date. My date was with a woman who lived in Flatbush, at the outer, more car-oriented edge of Brooklyn. She drives everywhere. When I told her about my youth in Atlanta, she seemed downright envious: where I saw slavery to cars, she saw "quality of life" (English translation: cheap land).