In the News

Review of Emily Talen's book online

My review of Emily Talen's book City Rules is now online.   To briefly summarize the book: in addition to explaining how land use and street design regulations promote sprawl, Talen shows how those regulations have become stricter over time.  In addition to addressing oft-discussed issues ... read more »

Urbanism and the Oscars

I just finished watching all nine Best Picture nominees, and thought I would discuss what the front-runners should be from an urbanist perspective.  Which films occur in an urban or walkable environment?  Which films present such environments favorably (or at least not unfavorably)? ... read more »

Comparing Christie With Other Governors: Public Transit

In view of the recent scandal involving the politically-motivated closing of some bridge lanes in New Jersey, I thought I would start to take a look at how New Jersey Gov Christie's record compares with those of some other governors who might be running for President.  But rather than going pro... read more »

More Evidence That There Are Still Poor People In Cities (Or, I Told You So)

In numerous blog posts (most extensively here) I have pointed out that despite the enormous amount of writing about suburban poverty and urban gentrification, cities still have a disproportionate share of regional poverty.   ... read more »

A Threat To Retrofitting Sprawl?

Because Houston has no formal zoning code, one might think that infill is easier there than in other cities.  But a few neighborhood activists may create a new obstacle to infll: nuisance law. ... read more »

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 »