CNU Salons

Suburban Poverty: A Reality Check

I just used Amazon.com to look inside a new book on suburban poverty ("Confronting Suburban Poverty In America" by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube).  

I found the following admission: "[since 2000] poverty rates rose by equal degrees in cities and suburbs (roughly 3 percentage points) though the urban poverty rate remained almost twice as high as the suburban rate". (p. 35).  So although the gap between cities and suburbs has narrowed slightly, cities are still more poverty-packed than suburbs.

Restoring the Relationship Between Health and Cities

The built environment has a unique and distinct impact on the health of its inhabitants.  Former CNU plenary speaker, Dr. Richard Jackson, recently published an article in the Journal of Public Health where he reviews the rocky history between the two.   

HIGHWAYS TO BOULEVARDS BLOG: Austin's I-35 “Cut and Cap” Approach

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.

The End of the Suburbs by Leigh Gallagher

The End of the Suburbs is a new book from Leigh Gallagher, assistant Managing Editor at Fortune Magazine, that bluntly assesses the future of suburbia. Gallagher says it's over; at least in the form it's taken for the last 50 years. She marshals demographic and consumer preference data in a driving narrative demonstrating that the large lot, separately-zoned and auto-centric suburb is doomed.

Even if Democrats Killed Detroit, Sprawl STILL Killed Detroit

One result of Detroit's recent bankruptcy has been the usual finger-pointing about the cause of that city's probems. Commonly mentioned culprits include deindustrialization, absence of federal support, and the sprawl-induced decline of urban tax bases.  Another common argument (especially among conservatives) is that if only Detroit wasn't governed by liberals, Democrats, etc. it wouldn't have become so overextended.

The Irony of Minimum Parking Requirements

As many people (including me) have written, minimum parking requirements encourage sprawl by requiring "islands of building surounded by seas of parking."  Generally, municipalities trying to end or modify these rules have started with downtowns and worked their way outward.

Confusing Suburbs With Rural Areas

A recent article discussed in the Atlantic blog suggests that suicide rates increase as density goes down, especially below 300 people per square kilometer (i.e. 777 people per square mile).   The title of the article: "The Unsettling Link Between Sprawl and Suicide." 

Obesity,Sprawl and Poverty, Part 2

Last week, I blogged about the relationship between sprawl and poverty, using metro Atlanta as an example.  I showed that in Fulton and DeKalb Counties (the two most urban, transit-friendly counties in the region) the obesity rate was only slightly higher than the poverty rate, while in more suburban counties the obesity rate was MUCH higher than the poverty rate.

Health Impact Assessments and the Law

If you've gone to conferences addressing the relationship between public health and sprawl, you may have heard of something called a "health impact assessment."  If you are a little fuzzy on how this works out in practice, you may want to read a new article coauthored by Prof. Pamela Ko and the Dean of Touro Law Center, Patricia Salkin. (In the interests of full disclosure, I note that since I teach at Touro, Dean Salkin is my boss).

Why Highways Are Less Harmful In Parks Than On Urban Streets

When I read Robert Caro's The Power Broker (a biography of New York road-builder Robert Moses), one story that didn't quite make sense is Caro's discussion of the Henry Hudson Bridge. Caro writes that Caro's routing of this bridge caused "the destruction of Manhattan's priceless last forest" in Inwood Hill Park.  But I visited the park yesterday afternoon, and it didn't look at all "destroyed" to me.  Inwood Hill Park is still one of the jewels of Manhattan's park system, full of primeval-looking forest.