Planning

The Homeownership Myth

One common myth about American sprawl is that it is somehow related to Americans' support for homeownership.  But in fact, Americans are more likely to rent than residents of many other countries: 33 percent of us do so, as opposed to 26 percent of EU residents, 22 percent of New Zealander... read more »

The Myth of Overcrowding

Last week, I had a conversation with a faculty colleague about densification in Manhattan.  He said he visited Philadelphia, and he liked Philadelphia better because it wasn't so crowded.   But I responded that Manhattan wasn't as crowded as he thought it was.  To be sure, there are a... read more »

More Density for Bigger Cities

I recently have noticed lots of comments in blogs and listservs on ideal densities.  But the ideal density for a city or a neighborhood (if there is such a thing) depends on context. ' Why?  The smaller the city, the less density you need for walkability. ... read more »

Two Cheers for Cheap

In new urbanist circles, "cheap" is often a dirty word; for example, I recently noticed a reference to "cheap" suburbs in a blog.  I find this objectionable for two reasons.  First, in a nation where many regions suffer from insanely expensive housing projects, we should be striving for ch... read more »

Part of What We Don't Know About Sprawl and Obesity

Numerous studies (such as the one referenced here) have suggested that there is some connection between sprawl and obesity, because residents of sprawl walk less and are thus more likely to weigh more.   ... read more »

Light and Height

One common argument against tall buildings is that they block out light, creating shadows that block the sun.  But as I was walking down Avenue of the Americas (one of Midtown Manhattan's most skyscraper-oriented streets) I saw plenty of sun- just not on my side of the street.  What was go... read more »

The pros and cons of elevator suburbs

As I was looking through my Twitter feed last night, I noticed an article on Canada's "elevator suburbs"- suburban streets (often, but not always, in low-income areas) filled with mid-and high-rise apartment buildings and shops, with lower-density housing on side streets.  How do these places s... read more »