MLewyn's blog

Getting Multifamily Right in Forest Hills Gardens

I was walking through Forest Hills Gardens today, and noticed yet another way in which Forest Hills Gardens is superior to a typical steetcar suburb.  In most neighborhoods that have a variety of housing types, smaller residences are quite visibly different from bigger ones, thus maing the smaller houses look out of place.

a nice middle ground

I was reading a book ("A Modern Arcadia" by Susan Klaus) about Forest Hills Gardens (a neighborhood in Queens a few blocks south of my current apartment in northern Forest Hills, designed in the 1910s by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr) and noticed one thing I'd never noticed before: that it creates an interesting middle ground between the curvilinear streets typical of even 1920s suburbs and the urban grid.  North-south streets such as Ascan and Continental Avenues create the bones of a grid, whi

Good news and bad news about Carmel

The most recent "Better! Cities and Towns" has a glowing profile of Carmel, Indiana, an Indianapolis suburb that has rebuilt its downtown.

CNU CITY SPOTLIGHT: Pedestrian Plaza in Jackson Heights, Queens

 

This post is part of a new series on the CNU Salons, CITY SPOTLIGHT. City Spotlight shines a light on the latest news, developments and initiatives occurring in cities and towns where CNU members live and work.

Who Should Really Favor "Burning Down The Suburbs"?

National Review's website contains an article accusing President Obama of "Burning Down the Suburbs."  The article's basic claim is in the first paragraph: "Obama is a longtime supporter of “regionalism,” the idea that the suburbs should be folded into the cities, merging schools, housing, transportation, and above all taxation."'

Ryan: Not Great News From A Transportation Perspective, But....

The Transport Politic blog has a post on Paul Ryan's anti-transit voting record, and concludes that "we should be clear about what direction the United States may head after November’s election." I disagree, for two reasons.

The results of de-gentrification

When a city recovers from the urban decline of the late 20th century, there is often a lot of media blather about the evils of gentrification.  According to gentriphobes, working-class (mostly black) people lived together in peace and harmony before the onslaught of (mostly white) hipsters and yuppies drove up rents.

Having it both ways, another example

When listening to transit critics, I sometimes see the following arguments:

1. density doesn't increase transit ridership 

2.  My city/suburb just isn't dense enough for better transit.

I don't see how both arguments can be true. 

Maybe Character Shouldn't Count

A common justification for downzoning is "community character' - the idea that a given place has a (usually suburban) character, and that this "character" justifies legal rules freezing the status quo in place.

How to run a bus system

I was taking a long-distance bus to my parents' house in Atlanta and we had a layover in Charlotte, NC.  I noticed a couple of things that I thought were fairly impressive:

First, all of the region's bus schedules were in the Greyhound station.  Since bus riders are (I suspect) pretty likely to be using public transit once they arrive in town, I thought this was a pretty good idea.  (Though a regionwide bus map in the station would be still better).