Central Cities

  • Miserable Cities

    Forbes identifies the Most Miserable Cities in the U.S.

    What do they have in common?  Mostly high density places that are run by “progressive” visionaries.

    The list was compiled using crime rates, foreclosures, taxes, home prices, commute times and decreasing populations.

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  • New New Urbanist Trend

    Turning churches into condos.  When you combine the general decline of organized religious participation with the New Urbanist doctrine that implicitly appeals to young urban singles who tend to be more secular in orientation, this is to be expected … for better or worse.

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  • Winning the Presidency … in the Suburbs

    NPR’s Morning Edition reports that presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a substantial lead over President Barack Obama.  We already know that President Obama will win by a sizable margin in major cities.  That leaves the suburbs, which urban historian Joel Kotkin calls America’s last politically contested territory.

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  • Vibrant Urbanism

    We need higher densities so that transit will work.  We need to be more like New York – a Livable Community!

    According to Travel & Leisure magazine: NYC dirtiest U.S. city

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  • More New Urbanism Problems

    No water or air conditioning in ‘luxury’ downtown apartments.

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  • Compact Living = High Rents

    In addition to the crowding and congestion, another “feature” of the high density living that urban planners seem to love is … high rents.  The New York Post reports that rents in Manhattan are growing at a rapid rate with the average rent in Manhattan at $3,778 monthly, up 9 percent since last year.  And “average studio rents leaped to $2,569 in the second quarter of the year, a whopping 18.8 percent jump compared with the same period in 2011.”

    We’re talking small units here.  Not as small as NYC Mayor Bloomberg is pushing for, but small nonetheless.

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  • Central Cities Are NOT Growing Faster Than the ‘Burbs

    The Antiplanner has a good piece refuting one of the key articles of faith among urban planners – that is, that people are “coming back” to the city.  Recently, a burst of news stories came out saying that city growth was outpacing suburban growth.  Planners and Smart Growth politicians see this as validation of their command-and-control doctrine: through regulatory overkill they have made the urban core more attractive and people are voting with their feet.

    Except they’re not.  The Antiplanner shows the glowing news reports look at percentage of growth rather than actual population growth.  This is perhaps significant as a long term change if this pattern holds, but as it stands it is rather insignificant.  For the 51 largest metropolitan areas, there was a 1.03 percent increase in central cities versus 0.93 percent in the suburbs from 2010 to 2011.  In terms of actual growth, ten times as many people moved into the suburbs (757,078) than into the central cities (69,289).  Further, only 8 of the 51 metros actually saw urban cores grow more, in real terms, than the ‘burbs.

    Wendell Cox also provides a detailed breakdown of the data here.  The bottom line is, more people prefer lower density places away from the center of things.

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  • Bedbugs … on Public Transit

    The Detroit News provides us another example of why automobility is preferable to the “Smart Growth solution” in so many ways.  Gotta love this quote:

    “When you have a high density of people and you have a high density of people living in multiunit housing, their ability to spread is great, the chance of them [bedbugs] spreading is high unless … the infestations are being treated.”

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  • More Smart Growth Claims Refuted

    The indispensable Wendell Cox is out with another excellent piece questioning the messianic conception of Smart Growth.  Cox details a new study in the Journal of the American Planning Association that either refutes or diminishes the most significant assumptions of Smart Growth.  A major conclusion of the study found that “Smart growth principles should not unquestioningly promote increasing levels of compaction on the basis of reducing energy consumption without also considering its potential negative consequences. In many cases, the potential socioeconomic consequences of less housing choice, crowding, and congestion may outweigh its very modest CO2 reduction benefits.”

    In Wendell’s review of the study, he uses loaded words like “messianic” and “sacred foundations” when referring to the key assumptions of Smart Growth.  For those of us who follow closely this urban planning doctrine, we recognize that Wendell is a lot closer to being literal instead of figurative.  Smart Growth acolytes have elevated this planning doctrine to the status of a clique religion.  Smart Growth principles were cast in stone and are articles of faith that simply need not be challenged, so any effort to challenge them must be derived from ill motives.  Contrarians – even outstanding researchers like Wendell – are heretics.  Evidence (to the contrary) is ignored because evidence is unnecessary.

    Smart Growth is a faith … a pretty pathetic faith.

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  • Are small towns weirder than cities?

    So asks Matt Lewis, writing in the Daily Caller.

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