CNU Salons

Do Tall Buildings Attact Foreigners?

I was discussing Washington, D.C.'s height limits with some acquaintances on Twitter; one of them suggested that allowing taller buildings might turn Washington into a "global city", which in turn would cause foreigners to surge into Washington and drive up real estate prices (as has arguably been the case in parts of Vancouver and New York).

This argument seems to be to be based on two assumptions that are at best unprovable:

From The Department of Worst Practices: Two-lane stroads

One phrase that has become common in transportation planning circles is "stroad"- a street that is oriented towards cars (like a major road) but is full of intersections (like a traditional, more pedestrian-oriented street) and thus doesn't function well as either a street or a road.  When I think of a stroad, I think of six-to-eight lane streets like San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville, or Queens Boulevard in Queens.

Best Practices In Publicizing Data : Pittsburgh Shows How

It is fairly common for city planning departments to publish demographic data about city neighborhoods - usually containing basic demographic information such as age, income and poverty.  But Pittsburgh's planning department has created an unusually impressive set of data tables.  It has created a set of six online spreadsheets (available at

Best Practices In Publicizing Data : Pittsburgh Shows How

It is fairly common for city planning departments to publish demographic data about city neighborhoods - usually containing basic demographic information such as age, income and poverty.  But Pittsburgh's planning department has created an unusually impressive set of data tables.  It has created a set of six online spreadsheets (available at

Seniors And Walkable Neighborhoods

I occasionally read that seniors are likely to be a strong constituency for walkable, public-transit oriented neighborhoods.  This argument runs as follows: seniors gradually lose the ability to drive as they get older.  Thus, they are eventually going to need more transit and more walkable neighborhoods, and designers of walkable neighborhoods should be especially focused on the needs of seniors. 

Learning from London's Comeback

A recent post on Citymetric.com suggests that after losing population for decades, London will soon reach its pre-World War II peak of 8.6 million people.  London last achieved this population level in 1939, and lost nearly two million people after World War II, bottoming out at 6.7 million in 1988.  Can we learn anything from this?  Why, yes we can.  To name a few things:

Rents CAN go down, even in high-cost markets

One common argument often used to frustrate infill development is that in high-cost markets, the law of supply and demand simply does not apply, and that new housing will somehow fail to increase rents.

Utilities, Schools and Induced Demand

Numerous commentators have questioned the view that increased highway spending reduces congestion, pointing out that highways may increase demand for driving, thus leading to more traffic.  In a recent newsletter, Robert Poole responds to the “induced demand” concept by writing:

 

Not A "War on Suburbia" Election

According to Joel Kotkin, this month's elections were really about the "progressives' war on suburbia." According to Kotkin, the Democrats lost because they are "aggressively anti-suburban." Since I didn't vote for President Obama, I leave it to his supporters to defend him.

Transit Riding: Its NOT All About New York

Commentators who seek to minimize the importance of recent growth in public transit ridership argue that this increase is predominantly a result of New York's rising ridership. There is a grain of truth to this argument: New York is so big that rising ridership in that city alone can affect national ridership trends. On the other hand, New York is hardly the only city experiencing rising ridership.