CNU Salons

Exciting New Database

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy just came out with a fun new database of fiscal information about cities.   A few of the things I learned after playing around in the database for an hour:

Reviewing A Review of "The End of the Suburbs"

In the Wall Street Journal, Joel Kotkin pans Leigh Gallagher's "The End of the Suburbs."  Generally, I don't consider a fight about whether cities or suburbs are winning the future to be of much interest; in reality, there are growing cities and growing suburbs, just as there are declining cities and declining suburbs.  However, Kotkin does raise a number of points which I think are worthy of discussion.

Is Sprawl An Example of Libertarian Paternalism?

One widely-publicized attempt to find a middle ground between laissez-fair and overregulation is  "libertarian paternalism": the idea that (in the words of New York Times columnist David Brooks), "Government doesn’t tell you what to do, but it gently biases the context so that you find it easier to do things" favored by government.  For example, a state governnment could design forms making organ donation the "default option" for driver's license applicants, so one would have

New PIRG Study Shows Driving in Decline

Recently, The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) published a report that was the first study to analyze the nation’s changing trends in driving practices. The most striking aspect of this report is that it provides strong evidence to counter the assumption of U.S. government officials that vehicle use will continue on an upward trajectory. Now, U.S. PIRG has expanded on this study by producing a new report, which completes a state-by-state driving analysis.

CITY SPOTLIGHT: Sweden's Trafiklekparken

This post is part of our CITY SPOTLIGHT blog series. City Spotlight shines a light on the latest news, developments and initiatives occurring in cities and towns where CNU members live and work.

The Cross-Bronx Expressway really hurt (but not in the way you might think)

A few months ago, I finished reading Robert Caro's The Power Broker, a biography of highway/park-builder Robert Moses.  Caro asserts that Moses's Cross-Bronx Expressway ruined Bronx neighborhoods near East Tremont Avenue; many houses and apartments were destroyed to build the expressway, and the negative effects of all that deserted land blighted nearby blocks.  

Cities Can't Do Much Alone

I am about halfway through the Metropolitan Revolution (by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley) and I can't help wondering: how much good can a city do?  Of course, quite a bit- but only with a friendly (or at least non-hostile) state government.  There are many, many things a state government can do to sabotage a city.  For example, a state can:

HIGHWAYS TO BOULEVARDS BLOG: Louisville & The Ohio River Bridges Project

This post is a part of CNU’s Highways to Boulevards Blog series, which features interview summaries and insights from some of the best minds at the frontline of our Highways to Boulevards Initiative.

Is Wal-Mart The Atomic Bomb of Retail?

I was reading a conversation on the PRO-URB listserv about whether to oppose an intown Wal-Mart in Washington, and someone asserted that Wal-Mart was different from all other stores because it was a potential monopolist.  Evidently, some people believe that Wal-Mart (unlike Costco or Target) is so good at its work that it destroys all other retail.