I recently coauthored a paper on government regulations designed to promote smart growth and green building (published by the Mercatus Institute). The paper examines the prevalence of minimum density requirements, maximum parking requirements, and green building-related regulations.
We conclude that:
*Minimum density requirements are quite rare. Only two of twenty-four cities surveyed only two have such regulations.
Because most Americans drive to work on any given day, one might think that they don't use any other mode of transportation, ever. But a recent review of federal transportation surveys shows otherwise. In fact, 65 percent of American commuters take at least one non-car trip per week, and 48 percent take three or more.
I am happy to announce the birth of my new site, Auto-Free in Kansas City. The purpose of this site is to help readers learn about Kansas City's neighborhoods and how to navigate them through public transit. The site links to my Kansas City photos, as well as to my "Auto-Free in...." websites I created for some other cities I have lived in (Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Atlanta- though I note that these statistics have not been updated in years, so their bus route data is no doubt a bit outdated).
I always love using this picture when teaching urban desing and transportation and the means by which to avoid grid lock.
In today's Washington Post, Emily Badger uses a set of maps to prove her claim that an affluent "creative class" is taking over urban cores, and as a result "service and working-class residents are effectively left with the least desirable parts of town, the longest commutes and the fewest amenities. " But her maps don't seem to support her point.
Every so often I read the following argument: "We shouldn't upzone popular urban neighborhoods, because if we freeze the status quo in those areas, the people who are priced out willl rebuild our city's devastated neighborhoods." This argument has a conceptual flaw: most middle-class peoples' choices aren't limited to rich urban areas and poor urban areas, because they can always move to suburbia.
Every so often, I walk forty-five minutes to work rather than taking a bus. My walk takes me through Kansas City's Brookside neighborhood, an area full of distinguished-looking old houses on gridded streets with sidewalks. Sounds great, right?
I just read numerous discussions about how high-cost cities really are cheaper than you might think, based on a study by New York's Citizens' Budget Commission purporting to show that when housing and transportation costs are combined, New York is actually one of the most affordable cities in the United States. Since I just left New York, this seemed a bit too good to be true.