CNU Salons

How The Sprawl Lobby Is Totalitarian

I recently read the following comment justifying sprawl-oriented policies: "people still want the freedom of choice, privacy and flexibility a car affords." 

I have often seen this sort of argument; it seems to me to endorse the following chain of logic: (1) an unspecified number of "people" (presumably a majority) want cars and therefore (2) we should enact policies that make car ownership effectively mandatory (e.g. using highways to shift development to places without public transit, building streets too wide to be crossable by pedestrians).

High-Speed Streets Cause Tragedy in Jacksonville

Last Friday night, a woman and her daughter were struck by a car while crossing the street to attend Yom Kippur services in Jacksonville, Florida. The mother died instantly, the daughter was hospitalized.

HIGHWAYS TO BOULEVARDS BLOG: The Language of Urban Freeways

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.

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.