It is conventional wisdom that big cities have problems retaining the middle class because of poor schools. But many older cities labor under a disadvantage that their suburbs don't have- lots of students from underprivileged background.
In case you all haven't read it already, Pope Francis' Laudato Si released this week talks very directly on many New Urbanist themes, taken almost directly from the Charter. If anyone is interested in getting together and talking about this document in more detail, please let me know.
Robert Moses is most famous (or perhaps infamous) for paving over large chunks of New York City with highways. But he also built and rehabilitated thousands of acres of parks and playgrounds; and in this area his contribution to the city was more unambiguously positive.
One common argument against public transit is that transit doesn't pay for itself. A recent article in Citylab points out that the best transit systems (that is, high-ridership systems like New York's) actually lose less money per rider than the minimal transit systems that are more common in the U.S. For example, New York's transit loses less than $1 per trip, while Dallas transit loses over $4 per trip.
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.