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The Folly of Go-Big-or-Go-Home Transit

The Folly of Go-Big-or-Go-Home Transit

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.

Is a Top-Down Approach the Best Way to Revitalize Downtown?

Is a Top-Down Approach the Best Way to Revitalize Downtown?

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.

Does Your City Have Shiny New Toy Syndrome?

Does Your City Have Shiny New Toy Syndrome?

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.

What's With That Empty Lot in the Heart of the City?

What's With That Empty Lot in the Heart of the City?

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.

What's Missing From the Green New Deal

What's Missing From the Green New Deal

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?

The Hidden Value of a Poor Neighborhood

The Hidden Value of a Poor Neighborhood

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.

What's the Real Size of Your City?

What's the Real Size of Your City?

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.

Growth and the Fallacy of Control

Growth and the Fallacy of Control

The pitfalls of rapid growth are real. But trying to micromanage how, where, and even if our cities are allowed to grow is not the answer.

Best of 2018: Gentrification and Cataclysmic Money

Best of 2018: Gentrification and Cataclysmic Money

Gentrification and concentrated poverty are two sides of the same coin. We’ve engineered our cities so that neighborhoods get either too much investment or too little: the trickle or the fire hose.