Some commentators note that the Los Angeles metropolitan area has more people per square mile than other regions, and use this alleged fact as an argument why density doesn't affect a region's level of car dependency. One region this argument is silly is that Los Angeles density is quite different from that of more transit-oriented cities.
While I was rummaging through some old files at my parents' house, I discovered two books that I thought were pretty interesting: the school directory for the boarding school I attended in the late 1970s, and the 1999 alumni directory for the same school.
As a new urbanist, my first thought was: I wonder where people lived then? And what have they chosen today? This was a pretty fancy boarding school so I figured its student body was a pretty good sample of people who can afford both urbanism and sprawl.
One common argument for allowing cities to continue to decay or de-densify is the specter of gentrification: the fear that a retrofitted city might price out the poor.
In an interesting article entitled "The Case for Listening to NIMBYs", Kaid Benfield mentions "that municipal planners would benefit by being more sensitive to building types that fit well with existing neighborhood character." He writes that pro-infill planners should encourage such infill to be consistent with the character of the existing neighborhood. Of course, he has a point: if a landowner wants to add housing units to a neighborhood, everyone is happier if those housing uni
Today's New York Times has an interesting graphic showing the precinct-by-precinct vote in this year's Presidential election. Although Republican nominee Mitt Romney did very poorly in Manhattan and in most of New York City, he carried numerous outer borough precincts.
Not long ago, Brigham Young's law review published a provocative article entitled "Smart Growth in Dumb Places." The basic theory of the article is that building near the water is dangerous, and where downtowns are near the water, infill development is thus dangerous.
Since today is Thanksgiving, I thought I would post about what I am thankful for (instead of complaining as usual about what I am not thankful for):
I am thankful that in the year 2012, urbanism is, in some ways, winning over sprawl: (some) cities are being repopulated, transit ridership is rising, and "urban" is no longer a dirty word in popular culture to the extent that it was a decade or two ago.
I am thankful that I live in a revitalized city (New York) rather than a city that is still declining.
A recent article in the New Republic has the reassuring (to me) headline: "Republicans Can't Afford to Ignore Cities Anymore." I'm certainly all for Republicans not ignoring cities, but there was a passage in the article that made me want to bang my head against the nearest brick wall.