MLewyn's blog

CNU XV Blog, Part 2: birdies

I walked from South Philly to the Lowes, and the one noise that really grabbed me was: the birds.

CNU XV Blog, Part 1: bad neighborhoods

A few hours ago, I got off the plane and took the 37 bus to South Philadelphia (where I am visiting a friend for my first couple of days here).

more evidence that smart growth isn't just for liberals

"Sanford seeks sprawl control."

That's the headline in a recent issue of the Columbia (SC) State ( Mark Sanford, the state's impeccably conservative governor, was "omnipresent" at a conference on sprawl, moderated by Andres Duany. It isn't quite clear what Sanford accurately plans to do about sprawl- but clearly, the issue is on his priority list.

yes, a city can get families

Some people have argued that even if compact cities are terrific at attracting single people, they will never attract well-off families. But an article in today's N.Y, Times
(at suggests that if a city is attractive enough and compact enough, it can get affluent families back. Money quotes:

George Will on transportation

George Will wrote a column at
which to some extent parrots the conventional road lobby wisdom. My thoughts on the relevant parts of his column:

a new argument for the road lobby

One argument I've seen a lot of in the media runs as follows: "Even though we've increased road space again and again in city after city, we still haven't done enough because road space has not kept up with vehicle miles traveled." What doesn't smell right about this argument?

Kotkin bashes urbanism

Joel Kotkin is one of America’s most prolific commentators on urban affairs. At first glance, he appears to support something very much like New Urbanism. According to one newspaper story quoted on Kotkin’s website, he favors “suburbs that are not defined by sprawl but a sense of community. He wants village-like suburbs that combine parks, restaurants and some retail within walking distance of single-family homes.” ( Similarly, New Urbanists have created suburbs such as Celebration, Fla. which combine stores and housing.

Staley article in Washington Post

Sam Staley coauthored an article in the Washington Post. I think he is one of the more thoughtful smart growth critics- partially because he agrees with me sometimes, and partially because his tone is a bit more measured than some others I might name. Moreover, he seems to be playing with more or less the same deck of facts that I play with. On the other hand, he interprets those facts differently than I do; he tends to see the glass as half-empty while I see it as half-full, and vice versa. Below are some of his thoughts and my responses.

A way to publicize your work has allowed me to create an individual web page at

This feature is available (at least for faculty) at