That high-end apartment building over there has nothing to do with the low-income families who need affordable housing over here, right? In fact, we’re all more connected than we tend to think—and a new study demonstrates this in a surprising way.
A deep, dredged ship canal is a recipe for catastrophic flooding in a hurricane, whereas a coastal marsh absorbs the surge of water in a way that lets life continue to flourish. This analogy has something important to teach us about urban streets.
A new Arkansas law prohibits cities from regulating the design of single-family homes in almost all instances. This is a bad idea which takes away an important tool in a city’s toolkit to nurture strong, productive places.
Forward-thinking developers are building communities that take into account the hidden long-term costs of suburban development, and offer a more resilient alternative. But what if that alternative results in homes that are too expensive to be within reach of most Americans? And does it have to?
Cars take up a lot of space. And one way or another, that imposes very real costs on our cities. New York just took an important step toward acknowledging and covering those costs.
Don't be seduced by the "signature project" that takes 20 years to complete, when there's huge basket of small projects you could hit the ground running on. That's a wildly different approach than anything our transit agencies or federal transportation funding mechanisms are set up for. But it's a more promising one.
Richmond, Virginia’s proposed Navy Hill redevelopment would reinvent 10 blocks of the city’s core out of whole cloth, aiming for greatness in one fell swoop. The top-down, master-plan approach to city building is seductive. But it is also fragile.
The discipline of not acquiring more until we've wrung true value out of what we already possess can make our lives richer and fuller. And this is a lesson we need to apply to our cities as well.
In cities all over America, we deter people from revitalizing neighborhoods by punishing them with higher taxes for improving their property. A change in how we tax property could fix these incentives.
Even the fastest-growing cities have them: under-utilized lots in the center of town whose owners don’t want to develop, but also don’t want to sell. Often, the property tax code rewards this kind of land speculation.
Academic evidence doesn’t do much to shift public opinion about housing policy. What’s missing is trust—and cultivating that requires a different approach.
The answer might not be what you expect.
Your daily commute sucks. Is it also making you go broke?
California’s high-speed rail project appears indefinitely on hold. What is the opportunity cost of all the things the state hasn’t done during the decade-plus its leaders have spent fixated on this?
The proposed Green New Deal is ambitious and urgent—but completely omits any mention of local land use. Can sweeping federal policy mix with the kind of decentralized, bottom-up change we need?
All over North America, poor neighborhoods often punch above their weight when it comes to contributing real value and resilience to their cities—in both financial productivity and other, less quantifiable strengths.
Why are we still surprised when a highway closes and fears of traffic pandemonium don’t come to pass?
We’ve gotten very good at keeping traffic off of neighborhood streets. But at what cost to our cities?
Many of the most pressing problems we face can only be addressed if we know when to think about them locally, and when to think about them regionally.
We need to solve our housing affordability problems, but not by ignoring context and embracing “orderly but dumb” means.