In the News

The Importance of The Margin of Error

Even the best poll or survey is slightly inaccurate, because a poll of a sample of people may not accurately reflect the entire population.  To account for this problem, pollsters have developed the concept of a "margin of error"- a number (usually 2 to 5 percentage points) which shows the rang... read more »

Cities Don't Always Have Higher Taxes Than Suburbs

The Brookings Institution just came out with a national map listing property taxes by county. ... read more »

Nelson Mandela: a brief encounter

In the summer of 1993 Nelson Mandela visited NYC Mayor David Dinkins at Gracie Mansion. Several big city mayors were in town for a meeting including me as Mayor of Milwaukee. Mandela was the most impressive public figure I've encountered. He had the clear eye of one who had been unjustly imprisoned ... read more »

Two Implausible Scenarios

The Rand Corporation recently issued a report sketching out two possible scenarios for America's transportation future.  In one scenario, entitled "No Free Lunch", energy prices keep rising, leading to less driving and more compact development.  Under this scenario, government regulates gr... read more »

Chanukah Songs for Urbanists

One wonderful thing about Chanukah is how easily its songs lend themselves to adaptation.  For example, last week I adapted the Chanukah song "Mi Y'Malel" (Who Can Retell) here.   Then I created a New York version here.   Create some lyrics for your own city!  ... read more »

Great Data on Migration

I just found an interesting new website full of migration data (link here).  The website contains migration data for almost every county in the US. One thing I have learned: the migration into cities is still largely driven by twentysomethings.  For example, Manhattan and Washington contin... read more »

Big Boxes Flock Together

Some planners seek to discourage big box stores, on the theory that such stores are incipient monopolists that crush all competition.  (In particular, Wal-Mart seems to strike fear in the hearts of many). ... read more »

More on Which Age Groups are Moving to Cities

I've already blogged on which age groups are returning to cites- but I recently read something that made me think about the issue a liittle differently.  In past posts, I have noted that city population seems to be increasing among both millenials and 55-64 year olds. Although this is true, it ... read more »

The "Decline of Chinatown" Nonstory

The headline in "Wired" seems to say it all: "Mapping the Alarming Decline of America's Chinatowns." The Wired story breathlessly proclaims that "gentrification" and "development" are causing Chinatowns to "go extinct"- with the apparent agenda of trying to prevent new urban housing because of conce... read more »

Is NYC Building Enough Housing?

New York city planning director Amanda Burden recently argued that there's not much more that the city can do to make housing more affordable, claiming that the city has given out 30,000 building permits per year, yet prices have failed to go down.  But in fact, New York has built housing at a ... read more »