Not literally, of course, but not far off:
Basically, The Economist says that a lot of the global problems of the past 5-10 years (inequality, economic downturns, etc.) are contributed to by increasing demand for the best urban locations, both within cities and on the global scale.
In the United States, central cities lean towards left-wing parties (even in affluent areas like the Upper West Side of New York) while suburbs and exurbs lean right. But as we learned this week in the United Kingdom, this is not true everywhere. London's urban core is the Cities of London and Westminister district, which gave the governing Conservatives 54 percent of their vote this week, and almost as much in 2010.
Conventional wisdom is that making urban cores stronger and more pedestrian-friendly is irrelevant to the interests of American parents, who supposedly want to live in suburbs or faux-suburbs at the edge of cities.
After the recent Baltimore riots, I saw numerous articles using them as proof that American cities really aren't on the mend after all, because there are still plenty of poverty-stricken, crime-ridden, riot-prone neighborhoods: all of which, of course, is certainly true.
But when you compare recent events with the race riots of the 1960s (or even those of the 1990s) a more complex picture emerges.
Prof. Robert Ellickson of Yale Law School has an interesting paper up on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) website. He critciizes widespread popular support for open space, pointing out that too much open space reduces population density and thus accelerates sprawl and reduces housing supply.
I just finished reading Concerning Town Planning, a short book of essays by Le Corbusier. Before reading this, all I knew about him was a few key phrases: "Radiant City" and "towers in a park." And Le Corbusier did indeed like high-rises surrounded by greenery.
One common argument against new construction (especially high-rise construction) in cities is that rich foreigners will soak up any new housing supply. This argument is of course based on the assumption that urban high-rises, and only urban high-rises, are irresistible to rich foreigners. But an article in
After a variety of conservative groups (including some funded by the Koch brothers) sent a letter to Congress opposing gas tax increases, the liberal and urbanist blogospheres were chock full of stories like this one, complaining that Congress can't reach a transportation deal because (in the words of grist.org) "of the right-wing and Koch network’s coor