Monday, 3 of August of 2015

Category » Media

What’s New in Urban & Suburban News?

The latest edition of the ADC Communicator is available here.

Sprawling, No-Zoning Houston … America’s Coolest City

The Anti-Smart Growth city of Houston tops Forbes list of America’s coolest cities.  Somewhere, Richard Florida is crying in his martini.

Best City to Live? Depends On What You’re Looking For

Time magazine has produced a list of the world’s best cities.  It’s number one city is Hong Kong, based on an index called the Spatially Adjusted Liveability Index that measures seven characteristics – “green space, urban sprawl (or lack thereof), access to nature, availability of world-class cultural assets (measured by counting the number of U.N. World Heritage Sites nearby), connectivity (how easy it is to reach the rest of the world), isolation (measured by the number of other large cities nearby) and pollution.”

An architect, Filippo Lovato, created the index and if you want to know how the measures skew his opening line gives the game away: “Hong Kong, the winner, is a very compact city….”

If that matters to you, then maybe Hong Kong – population density is 25,900 people per square mile – is the place to live.  For other people, the best city may be some place that has a lot of amenities but is also one where the dollar stretches the furthest.  If that’s the case, then Joel Kotkin recommends Houston, Texas: “What puts Houston at the top of the list is the region’s relatively low cost of living, which includes such things as consumer prices and services, utilities and transportation costs and, most importantly, housing prices.”

“Adjusted for cost of living, the average Houston wage of $59,838 is worth $66,933, tops in the nation.”

With a population density of just 4,644 people per square mile, Houston won’t make many lists that put high priority on crowding and congestion.  But if I had to chose, I’d easily pick Houston over Hong Kong.  Plus, the barbeque is better in Texas anyway.

June Edition of the ADC Communicator

If you’re looking for the most comprehensive digest of news and opinion about urban and suburban policy, then check out the June edition of the ADC Communicator.  Back issues here.  Here’s a sample from June:

** Top Reads **
Questioning the Messianic Conception of Smart Growth – Wendell Cox, New Geography
Cities Growing Faster Than Suburbs–Not! – The Antiplanner
The Folly of Energy Independence – Anne Korin & Gal Luft, The American Interest
** New Report: The Great Streetcar Conspiracy – Randal O’Toole, Cato Institute **
Mobility & Transportation
The Atlanta Transportation Tax: Too Much for Too Little – Wendell Cox, New Geography
Incentives for Drivers Who Avoid Traffic Jams – New York Times
I Can’t Drive 85 – Slate
Red-light cameras: Cash cow in the fast lane – Philadelphia Inquirer
D.C. collects record $55.1 million from camera enforcement –
Environmental objections in path of bullet train – Los Angeles Times

Rest of the June edition is here.

Family Friendly Cities?

Forbes is out with it’s list of the best cities for raising a family

  1. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  2. Boise, Idaho
  3. Provo, Utah
  4. Youngstown, Ohio
  5. Raleigh, North Carolina
  6. Poughkeepsie, New York
  7. Omaha, Nebraska
  8. Ogden, Utah
  9. Cincinnati, Ohio
  10. Worcester, Massachusetts

Where’s Portland?  Where’s Charlotte?  Where’s Seattle?  And all of the other hip, Smart Growth Cities?

The writers at Forbes thought that measures such as median income, cost of living, housing affordability, crime rate, education quality, commuting delays and percentage of families owning homes matter in determining if an urban area is hospitable to people trying to raise children.  As Wendell Cox has said, “Families want to raise children in backyards, not condo balconies.”

What They Think About You

“A lot of people live in the suburbs and they have a few cars and they live in houses that they probably bought in the 1980s.  We need to morally exclude those who don’t recognize the problem, and let them know that they have no place in a future America.”

Scenes from the Madison Square Park rally by Occupiers on May Day.

Light Rail in Pinellas County (FL)?

Bay News 9 in Pinellas County reported on the Rail Forum that I participated in.  Joining me was Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute, who is also known as the Antiplanner.

Sponsored by the Tea Party group South Pinellas 912, major kudos go to Barbara Haselden for organizing the event.  They have a great website – Rail Tax Facts - that is worth checking out.  Hopefully, the citizens will be well armed with the pro-rail PR kicks into overdrive.

Smart Growth Explained …

… on the level of Smart Growthers.

A (Good) Planner’s Take on the Tea Party

Sam Staley, who is the Director of Urban and Land Use Policy for the Reason Foundation and is the Associate Director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University, tries to explain to the planning community what the Tea Party is all about.  It’s always amazing to me how urban planners and Smart Growthers act as if grassroots activists are from another planet.  The planning community would benefit greatly if more of them listened to Staley.

Sam Staley on Understanding the Tea Party

When Streetsblog Talks About Libertarians Talking About Transit

I recently presented at the Mobility Choice Roundtable in Washington, D.C.  This is put on by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and moderated by the always impressive Anne Korin.  And the pro-transit, progressive Streetsblog D.C. covered the event.  The author of the piece, Ben Goldman, lets slip his bias right away:

“There’s more than one way to approach transportation reform. One is to believe that an ideal transportation policy promotes the use of modes that are environmentally sustainable and which foster livable cities, while those that perpetuate overdependence on automobiles do neither.”

There you have it.  The ideal policy pushes what Washington bureaucrats deem to be sustainable and “livable” and, by definition, “automobiles do neither.”  That is the policy environment into which I entered last Thursday.  There were some allies at the table and, of course, Ms. Korin was a skillful moderator, but the general assumption is that transit can and should be the catalyst to transform society into a high density, transit-oriented place.  I challenged that view.

Read the article here.