At CNU, Richard Florida quipped that high-rises were "vertical suburbs". At the time, I couldn't quite figure out what he was trying to say.
I just did something I wanted to do since moving to New York: visited Levittown, a historic postwar suburb. Photos of my visit are here.
There's been a lot of hubbub about the Bloomberg Administration's proposal to make city-owned land available for 275-square-foot apartments. The city proposes to allow developers to build these "micro-units" and rent them for $2000 a unit. If you read some of the comments in the press, you might think this was somehow unprecedented.
But when I lived in Toronto, I had 140 square feet of living space (not counting the bathroom) and had enough space for everything but houseguests.
There will always be those who argue that the suburb-dominated status quo is inevitable.
When cities were declining, they had an easy case to make. They could argue: "look, cities are declining so suburbia is inevitably the wave of the future!"
Then when cities started to gain population, defenders of suburbia moved the goal posts. They argued: "Sure, cities are growing, but suburbs are growing faster."
In a recent post on Planetizen's group blog, Todd Litman discusses the pros and cons (mostly cons) of lawns.
Today I began my apartment search, looking at an apartment in the neighborhood next to mine (a neighborhood less high-income than Forest Hills, Queens, where I now live). In addition to being in a cheaper area than mine, the building is a fairly long walk to the subway (about 15 minutes, farther than numerous competing buildings) and across the street from a cemetery. Yet the cheapest apartment rin this new building rents for 30 percent more than in my current building (closer to the subway and in a fancier area). Why?
A recent article by Josh Barro admits that cars are subsidized through road spending, but argues that roads are less subsidized per capita because so much of car-related spending is private.
Congress recently passed a two-year transportation funding bill, to less-than-glowing reviews from environmentalist-oriented transportation lobbies.
According to some media commentary, any form of civic improvement (such as, say, light rail) is dangerous because it might lead to something called gentrification (i.e. middle-class people moving back into cities) which allegedly leads to displacement (i.e. poorer people being priced out of an area by rising rents).