One sprawl lobby argument I have occasionally is heard: "So what if people have to drive to reach jobs in sprawling areas? Used cars are so cheap that even poor people can afford them!"
One common argument against infill: "but there isn't room for any more people!" (or, alternatively, "we can't have more people without turning into a skyscraper monoculture!"
Manhattan is far from a skyscraper monoculture- even in midtown there are lots of 2-6 story buildings of all types. And yet our housing density is 70,000 people per square mile- more than four times that of San Francisco, more than seven times that of Washington.
In other words, at Manhattan densities San Francisco could accommodate more than 3 million people.
(Cross-posted, with some additions, from my personal blog).
Since the weekend that just ended was Presidents' weekend, I thought now would be a good time to acknowledge some especially pro-urban Presidents. I don't plan to focus on their actual policies (a complicated topic, and one not very relevant to most pre-New Deal presidencies) but on their post-White House personal lives. The majority of Presidents have retired to resorts, estate-home suburbia, or (in the 18th and 19th century) country plantations.
However, I would like to honor a few exceptions to this rule:
I am currently reading White Flight/Black Flight by Rachael Woldoff of West Virginia University. The book discusses a neighborhood at the edge of a northern city (Philadelphia, I suspect) which was overwhelmingly Jewish as late as 1990, and became black in the 1990s. One area of interest to new urbanists is its discussion of white "stayers" - elderly people who are not at all displeased with integration. What drives them out is not crime or social disorder, but steps.
Today, I read a blog post by Joel Kotkin asserting, for the umpteeth time, that famlies with children prefer suburbs. But at the bottom of the post is a chart comparing the child population (as a percentage of total population) for dozens of cities and their suburbs.
A few weeks ago I posted an entry on transit ridership under several Republican governors who might be running for President; since most governors are judged based on one or two high-profile decisions (e.g.
My review of Emily Talen's book City Rules is now online. To briefly summarize the book: in addition to explaining how land use and street design regulations promote sprawl, Talen shows how those regulations have become stricter over time. In addition to addressing oft-discussed issues like single-use zoning, Talen discusses issues like curb radii (the measurement of the edge of a block).
While walking around I occasionally see the "Coexist" bumper sticker, showing the symbols of various religions in order to suggest that it would be nice if they all coexisted peacefully.
I just finished watching all nine Best Picture nominees, and thought I would discuss what the front-runners should be from an urbanist perspective. Which films occur in an urban or walkable environment? Which films present such environments favorably (or at least not unfavorably)?