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.
My sense is that the conventional political wisdom is that urban voters are Democrats, rural voters are Republicans and suburbanites are in the middle.
Given the widespread public transit closings in the 48 hours before Hurricane Sandy, it could be argued that one advantage of a car-centric society is that cars enable quick evacuation (assuming that people aren't stuck in traffic).
Hurricane Sandy is over (at least as far as we New Yorkers are concerned) and commentators are already beginning to discuss its meaning for urbanism-- for example, whether coastal cities like New York may have to do more to protect their citizens.
But one area in which New York City has an advantage over suburbs and less compact cities is its ample supply of multi-story buildings. Why does that matter? Because in this storm, the most dangerous indoor spaces were basements and single-family homes.