Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure
60 Minutes — November 23, 2014
There are a lot of people in the United States right now who think the country is falling apart, and at least in one respect they’re correct. Our roads and bridges are crumbling, our airports are out of date and the vast majority of our seaports are in danger of becoming obsolete. All the result of decades of neglect.
Humans Are Becoming City-Dwelling “Metro Sapiens”
Smithsonian Magazine — November 24, 2014
Cities have been around for thousands of years, since the first were settled in Mesopotamia between 4000 and 3000 B.C. But only over the last several centuries have humans moved into cities en masse. Now more than half the world’s population can be found in urban areas. “Cities are very much the dominant habitat of our species,” writes Jason Vargo in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.
Our transit future in peril: How idealism is threatening to derail vital projects
Salon — November 23, 2014
Rest in peace, Arlington streetcars. We hardly knew ye. The longtime plan to build rail transit on two of the major roads in this Washington, D.C., suburb officially died on Tuesday, thanks to a gradual but decisive shift in the political control of the county.
Wanted: More (and Better) Discourse on Designing Diverse Communities
Citylab — November 24, 2014
Scientists have proved that the way our brains are wired plays into how we engage with the physical spaces around us. But so, surely, do our life experiences—where we come from, and our cultural values make a difference in how we perceive space and utilize it.
Category: SGA News Clips
Falling apart: America’s neglected infrastructure
What Millennials Love About Pittsburgh
The Atlantic — November 22, 2014
It’s a very good time to be in Pittsburgh if you’re a young person (need we really call them “millennials”?). So, if you’re roughly in that age cohort and now living somewhere else—in a place where opportunities seem limited—consider a move to the City of Bridges. It would be a wise decision for a whole bunch of reasons, the least of which is that Pittsburgh is a really beautiful city.
Salt Lake City mayor named president of Nat’l League of Cities
KSL Utah — November 22, 2014
As its newest president, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is hoping to give the National League of Cities more pull in Washington, D.C. “It is in our municipalities and communities where real innovation, real action and real decisions are being made,” he said. “We are driving not just our local and regional economies, but we are driving progress in our country overall.”
Urban Acupuncture Is Coming to America
Governing — December 2014
A little more than 100 years ago, the celebrated architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham offered his famously bombastic advice to those who wished to change the face of America’s cities. “Make no little plans,” he said. “They have no magic to stir men’s blood. … Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”
Anthony Foxx: Funding bill needed to keep pace with growth
Charlotte Observer — November 23, 2014
U.S. Transportation Secretary and former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx asked national transportation leaders on Sunday to help pass a long-term transportation funding bill, saying the current funding system is short-term and prevents states from keeping up with population growth.
Building a Community on Polluted Land: Ex-Shipyard in Amsterdam Houses Shops and Offices
The New York Times — November 19, 2014
Although Amsterdam’s latest urban experiment, De Ceuvel, is built on solid ground, there’s much that reminds its denizens — artists, entrepreneurs, designers, sustainability experts — of its past as a commercial shipyard. Converted rowboats serve as benches, stranded houseboats are used as buildings and — raised 90 centimeters, or 35 inches, off the polluted ground — a quay-like walkway constitutes the sidewalk.
Can the Urban Dream Work in the Suburbs?
Vegas Seven — November 19, 2014
There’s a distinct difference between charisma and character. Character is earned, not instantaneously created. Charisma is charming, but often fleeting. Downtown Summerlin aims to blend both qualities with an ambitious plan to create a culturally vibrant center in an otherwise manicured HOA-driven sprawl.
Urban neighborhoods are getting more diverse. But what are they losing?
The Washington Post — November 20, 2014
Within recent memory, the neighborhoods north of downtown Portland, Ore., were among the most segregated in the Pacific Northwest. By 1970, violence and discrimination helped create large areas where African Americans made up as much as 84 percent of the population.
Foxx cautious on Amtrak reauthorization
USA Today — November 19, 2014
Administration officials see a bright future for high-speed passenger rail, despite a House bill that would send federal money for those trains only to the Northeast Corridor, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Wednesday.
Watershed Conservation a ‘Positive’ for Cities: Report
Bloomberg — November 18, 2014
One-fourth of cities would see a “positive return on investment” if spending was directed at conserving and protecting vital watershed sources, according to The Nature Conservancy. Preventing pollution and sediment from reaching potable sources often costs less than later treating that water, the Arlington, Virginia-based organization said today in a report that analyzed 2,000 sources of drinking water for 534 cities.
Why It’s So Hard for Millennials to Find a Place to Live and Work
The Atlantic — November 19, 2014
The cities with the least affordable housing often have the best social mobility. And the cities with the worst social mobility often have the most affordable housing. When good jobs for the middle class and affordable homes are living in different cities, it represents a slow-motion splintering of the American Dream.
Good data make better cities
The Boston Globe — November 18, 2014
According to a recent Harris poll, Americans ages 18 to 44 believe that five years from now most interactions with cashiers, cab drivers, and waiters will be handled by online apps. They think there will be “big data” health services that provide real-time medical monitoring and alert their doctors when they’re in danger. And they’re confident they will be asking for help from companies who can send them needed products before they have to order them.
Transportation secretary: U.S. needs major highway bill
USA Today — November 19, 2014
The nation’s transportation system is threatened by short-term federal funding measures and will be “in trouble” unless it gets more money, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told USA TODAY reporters Wednesday.
Report: Blame Uncle Sam for congestion on your commute
WTOP — November 18, 2014
A report released Tuesday blames the federal government for congested commutes, saying they offer too many incentives to drive and too few to use mass transit. The federal government offers up to $250 per month for employer-provided or employer-paid parking each month, whereas it only offers $130 per month for transit benefits.
Here Are The Best Cities For Successful Aging
Forbes — November 18, 2014
“No city has the top score in everything,” says economist Anusuya Chatterjee, who was in charge of the survey’s methodology. “The common theme among the winners is: economic strength, an abundance of health care services, an active lifestyle, access to amenities and intellectual stimulation.”
Warren, Warner urge action on housing finance reform
The Hill — November 18, 2014
Two Senate Democrats are urging one of the nation’s top housing regulators to move toward eliminating mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and setting up a new housing finance framework. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Mark Warner (Va.) said Tuesday that while Congress must pass comprehensive housing finance reform, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) can take steps now to overhaul the system.
Smart Cities Will Take Many Forms
MIT Technology Review — November 18, 2014
A very promising development is we’re seeing mayors and other civic leaders take on the challenge of figuring out what the vision of the smart city should be and how to draw on all of the different resources that can provide technical expertise and innovations that will allow it to happen.
How Cities and States Are Fighting Gentrification’s Displacement Factor
Next City — November 18, 2014
In cities all across America, neighborhoods are gentrifying and rising home prices and rents make it difficult for low- and moderate-income residents to find places to live or remain in their homes. Meanwhile, in many of these same cities, other neighborhoods remain plagued by blight and abandoned properties that could be returned to productive use, easing the affordability crisis at the same time.
Wherever American cities are going, the battle will be won or lost in Newark, not New York
The Guardian (UK) — November 18, 2014
Newark is New York’s rough cousin, its poor relation, sat just 10 miles west of the Manhattan skyline. It is a bullish industrial city marooned in a post-industrial era; scarred by its past and full of unquiet ghosts. But maybe it points the way to the future as well.
What the shape of our cities says about the way that we live
Salon — November 16, 2014
Even a roaming cartophile, looking through an airplane window at night, would be challenged to identify a city by its sodium-glow footprint. There are exceptions, like peninsular San Francisco or the archipelago of New York. But few cities can be said to have more famous footprints than skylines.
Cities Find Rewards in Cheap Technologies
MIT Technology Review — November 18, 2014
Cities around the globe, whether rich or poor, are in the midst of a technology experiment. Urban planners are pulling data from inexpensive sensors mounted on traffic lights and park benches, and from mobile apps on citizens’ smartphones, to analyze how their cities really operate.
The major cities where homeownership is the most — and least — affordable
The Washington Post — November 17, 2014
The hurdles to homeownership are many. On top of saving for the down payment, some people are too busy stressing about other debt to want to take on a mortgage. Others are better off stashing the money away for retirement. But all that aside, many people living in large cities couldn’t afford to buy a house even if they wanted to.
Upending Urbanism: How New Postgrad Programs are Revolutionizing the Way We Create Cities
ThisBigCity — November 17, 2014
For students interested in becoming professional urban practitioners, postgraduate options have expanded similarly, perhaps in response to the changing landscape of urbanism. Educational options for would-be urban world-changers were once comprised of architecture, planning, design, and urban studies. Today, prospective students have the opportunity to pursue an MA or MSc in everything from Sustainable Environmental Systems to City Design and Social Science or Urban Strategies and Design.
White House turns climate change spotlight to U.S. cities, towns
Reuters — November 17, 2014
After announcing a major deal with China to curb emissions and a $3 billion pledge into a fund to help poor countries fight climate change last week, the Obama administration will turn its focus to American towns and cities to help them adapt to the impacts of global warming.
Riding light rail and streetcars into better communities
The Washington Post — November 14, 2014
Students of how cities have been built throughout history know that transportation drives development. The transportation systems a society chooses dictate the form of their cities. Area civic leaders recognized that dictum when they built the freeways in the 1960s, radiating from the District to surrounding counties.
5 ways to make a city more walkable
Marketplace Weekend — November 14, 2014
For about half a century, American cities and suburbs were built as car towns – with long stretches of road. And sometimes without sidewalks. But lately, things have been changing. Americans are seeking more intimate city spaces and putting a high premium on good public transportation. Millennials don’t seem to want to buy cars, or drive much. In their quest for more walkable cities, they are teaming up with some unlikely allies: Retirees.
Walkable neighborhoods don’t just offer convenience. They’re also great for health
NWI Times — November 16, 2014
An increasing number of studies are showing that walkable communities boost physical activity on a daily basis. In fact, the American Diabetes Association even reported this year that people who live in neighborhoods that encourage walking experienced a substantially lower rate of obesity, being overweight and diabetes than those who lived in more neighborhoods that depended on the use of cars.
The Unfinished Suburbs of America
The Atlantic — November 14, 2014
There are hundreds of zombie subdivisions like this one scattered across the country. They’re one of the most visible reminders of the housing boom and bust, planned and paved in the heady days where it seemed that everybody wanted a home in the suburbs, and could afford it, too. But when the economy tanked, many of the developers behind these subdivisions went belly-up, and construction stopped.
Is manufacturing moving back to cities?
CityMetric — November 14, 2014
One transition common to most world cities, especially in the developed world, is the shift from industrialisation to post-industralisation. As service economies became more profitable, “making stuff” became less fashionable. In 1960, manufacturing accounted for 30 per cent of London’s wealth; by 1990 it was less than 11 per cent. But new technologies might be changing things yet again.
These Are the Poorest Cities in America
TIME — November 14, 2014
One potential reason for the geographic split could be the role public transportation plays in bringing poorer people to city centers, which is exactly what Edward Glaeser, Matthew Kahn, and Jordan Rappaport argued in 2000 in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The Human Dimension of Mixed-Use Development
The Huffington Post — November 13, 2014
On a walk from Fréjus to Saint-Raphaël last week, an elderly man asked us, in French, why I had just taken a photograph of his house. I offered to erase the photograph, which was intended to show, in modern urbanist visual language, the delight of a stamp and coin shop as first floor retail at an intersection across the world from our hometown.