Forty years ago, Nashville and Birmingham, Ala., were peers. Two hundred miles apart, the cities anchored metropolitan areas of just under one million people each and had a similar number of jobs paying similar wages. Not anymore. The population of the Nashville area has roughly doubled, and young people have flocked there, drawn by high-paying jobs as much as its hip “Music City” reputation. Last month, the city won an important consolation prize in the competition for Amazon’s second headquarters: an operations center that will eventually employ 5,000 people at salaries averaging $150,000 a year.
Birmingham, by comparison, has steadily lost population, and while its suburbs have expanded, their growth has lagged the Nashville area’s. Once-narrow gaps in education and income have widened, and important employers like SouthTrust and Saks have moved their headquarters. Birmingham tried to lure Amazon, too, but all it is getting from the online retail giant is a warehouse and a distribution center where many jobs will pay about $15 an hour.
Amazon’s announcement has been widely described as a rich-get-richer victory of coastal “superstar cities” like New York and Washington, regions where the company plans to employ a total of at least 50,000 workers. But the company’s decisions also reflect another trend: growing inequality among midsize cities.
Nashville and the other Amazon also-rans, like Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, are thriving because of a combination of luck, astute political choices and well-timed investments. At the same time, Birmingham and cities like it, including Providence, R.I., and Rochester, are falling further behind.
Shawn Bucholtz and Jed Kolko describe one of the facts of American life: most U.S. residents live in suburbs, but the federal government doesn’t actually categorize communities as suburban. The federal government makes a distinction between urban and rural, but not for suburban. “The lack of an official federal definition of suburban means that government data are not reported separately for suburban areas. That makes it hard to measure the reach and impact of federal programs and to produce vital statis
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs projects that the world’s 10 fastest growing cities, between 2018 and 2035, will all be in Africa. The visualization below first maps the location of the fastest growing cities in the world with a population greater than 2.5 million. Interestingly, many of the fastest growing African cities are specifically located on the Gulf of Guinea including Lagos, Abuja, Abidjan, Doula, and Kumasi.
More people than ever want to live on the wild edges of Western cities, despite the risk wildfires pose to their homes. A recent study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, found that wildfires drive down real estate prices only in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Home prices in burned areas typically rebound to pre-fire levels within one to two years.
Yet developers will continue to build in high-risk areas as long as there’s a demand. Residential growth in forested areas across the United States has exploded in recent years, from an estimated 12.5 million housing units in 2000 to 44 million by 2010. “We should be worried about that,” said University of Nevada, Las Vegas, research economist Shawn McCoy, who led the study. “The societal costs of wildfire will increase, because people continue to develop there. They know that those homes will sell regardless of the risk.”
The researchers found that the value of homes within sight of burn scars did dip after a fire and was slower to rebound. But even there, homebuyers’ awareness of fire risk didn’t impact their willingness to invest in those properties. Overall, housing values in the high-risk zones dropped in the year following a wildfire, but rebounded to pre-fire prices in one to two years.
….wildfire suppression accounts for 52 percent of the Forest Service’s budget; by 2021, it’s projected to increase to 67 percent….
The total value of commercial assets owned by state and local governments is sure to be of the same magnitude, or larger. After all, local governments own and operate most airports and ports, as well as utilities such as water, sewerage, and electricity – all of which are in desperate need of funding. But real estate comprises the bulk of public commercial assets. By some estimates, publicly owned assets account for as much as one-quarter of the total market value of real estate in a city or county. At the same time, many localities need additional funding for affordable housing.
All told, this public wealth represents a substantial opportunity for investors, local governments, and society as a whole. If professionally managed, the yield from such a vast portfolio of commercial assets could fund not just critically needed infrastructure investments, but also any other public goods and services that are in demand.
As the OMB report’s first graph illustrates, while the regulations during the analyzed decade cost industry at most $128.5 billion—in 2015 U.S. dollars—the estimated benefit for the public was estimated to be $930.3 billion. OMB estimate of costs and benefits
Real estate industry is starting to ask location, location, climate change.
Warehouse developer asks if site or roads will be flooded in 10 years and new consulting firms try to answer.
What Does China’s ‘Ecological Civilization’ Mean for Humanity’s Future? | By Jeremy Lent | Common Dreams
China’s leader affirms an ecological vision aligned with progressive environmental thought. Whether it’s mere rhetoric or has a deeper resonance within Chinese culture may have a profound global effect
Propaganda or hope for the future?
Deaf Urbanism is about changing the conversations around our cities, bringing our Deaf cultural values to the city at large, and preserving our place in society at large — as well as defining urbanism for our own community. Many tenants of Deaf Urbanism have to do with fostering a sense of inclusion as well as eliminating ableism and tokenism…
Deaf Urbanism is really just good design
Many able-bodied people benefit from technological advancements that were first designed for Deaf people, such as subtitles and texting. In urban contexts, various design ideals in DeafSpace include tactile elements, visual access and wayfinding throughout the urban environment. Tactile elements are simply changes in the walking surfaces to denote uses and boundaries — think of a rough stone edge near a curb, so that when you are looking away, you can feel with your feet when you are reaching the edge.
When it comes to visual access, having buildings and spaces that are open, have lots of light, and have direct visual connection benefit everyone. Being able to see your friends in a group in a building across the way on the second floor is simply good design. Applying these items in a larger urban context, we can use different materials in paving to denote different spaces and transitions, such as a cafe, a sidewalk, and a crosswalk. Having appropriate visual connection of buildings to Metro stations instead of buildings obscuring the visual landscape benefits everyone.
Many other urban design elements — such as gentle slopes and wide sidewalks instead of stairs — benefit people that have limited mobility and are also appreciated by able-bodied people. Another example is reduced curb cuts, which benefit pedestrians and bikers as well as people who are Deaf and disabled. Instead of having to step down or look for cars, an able-bodied person can just walk through…
Deaf people communicate in a 3-D language that can benefit planning conversations. It is intuitively simpler to communicate a 3-D environment in a 3-D modality. In our roundtable conversations for Deaf Urbanism, we discuss the scale of streets and how they should look with bike lanes, streetcar lanes, and the like in only a few signs…
Imagine you were given a serious chunk of Calgary’s core, a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, and told you could turn it into whatever you wanted.That’s pretty much what the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is doing with Victoria Park.Planners and a couple of architectural firms are hammering away at a vision for the future of one of Calgary’s oldest neighbourhoods.It’ll be a 20-year plan to turn what’s currently a seriously bizarre jumble of skyscrapers, empty lots, an aging Saddledome, a bus barn and several rail lines, into Calgary’s entertainment district of the future. And a cool new place to live.
From 2016 but even more salient today. Compare to Trump’s Infrastructure Plan once released and see where the plan misses the key points.
Congress was once a world leader in regional planning. The Louisiana Purchase, the Pacific Railroad Act (which financed railway expansion from Iowa to San Francisco with government bonds) and the Interstate System of highways are all examples of the federal government’s thinking about economic development at continental scale. The Tennessee Valley Authority was an agent of post-Depression infrastructure renewal, job creation and industrial modernization cutting across six states….
What would this approach look like in America? It would start by focusing not on state lines but on existing lines of infrastructure, supply chains and telecommunications, routes that stay remarkably true to the borders of the emergent super-regions, and are most robust within the new urban archipelagos…
Where possible, such planning should even jump over international borders. While Detroit’s population has fallen below a million, the Detroit-Windsor region is the largest United States-Canada cross-border area, with nearly six million people (and one of the largest border populations in the world). Both sides are deeply interdependent because of their automobile and steel industries and would benefit from scaling together rather than bickering over who pays for a new bridge between them. Detroit’s destiny seems almost obvious if we are brave enough to build it: a midpoint of the Chicago-Toronto corridor in an emerging North American Union.
To make these things happen requires thinking beyond states. Washington currently provides minimal support for regional economic efforts and strategies; it needs to go much further, even at the risk of upsetting established federal-state political balances. A national infrastructure bank, if it ever gets off the ground, should have as part of its charter an obligation to ignore state lines when weighing
For the first time in a decade, the number of Americans living in suburbs grew faster than that of urban dwellers in 2017, buoyed by young homeowners who are planting roots outside cities, according to the Brookings Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.“
You’re seeing more millennials moving to the suburbs, especially as they have kids,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com®. “People are definitely looking for affordability, better schools, less crime. … More outer suburbs have really put in an effort to develop walkable town centers and other places for people to gather to enjoy similar benefits they’d find in urban centers.”
Realtor.com®’s research team analyzed the ZIP codes outside the nation’s largest cities to find the best suburb for each major metro for families. They factored in housing affordability (defined as less than $400,000 to buy a home for most metros); percentage of children residing in each ZIP code; availability of child care; school rankings; number per capita of restaurants, bars, and museums; crime rates; and reasonable commuting time (considered 70 minutes or less).
The Union Pearson Express launched with expensive rides and low ridership. Now, with fares slashed in half and a light rail connection in the works, it’s a legitimate transit alternative for workers.
A very interesting project to track. Conversion of an industrial waterfront into a modern office park with exceptional architects/planners and a developer with a vision.
Aerial view of the Kearny Point site. Image via STUDIOS Architecture (Architecture) in collaboration with WXY architecture + urban design (Master Planning).
Kearny Point, which is located cross the Hudson River in Kearny between Newark and Jersey City, is being positioned as a sustainable business campus. The developer, Hugo Neu, is renovating and redesigning spaces that were once dedicated to one of the most well-known and most active shipbuilding sites, which opened in 1917 in the months leading up to the entrance of the United States in the first World War…..The developers have since renovated a first building, Building 78, that serves as Kearny Point’s proof of concept. It currently houses 150 small businesses, of which over 70% of which are minority or women-owned, a co-working space called Kearny Works, a cafe and a blue roof. The site also houses various companies, including a vertical farm, a bridal design company, a vitamin company, and much more.
A master plan has been developed by WXY, the architecture and urban design firm behind projects like the Spring Street Salt Shed and DSNY Manhattan District Garage, the Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park, the redesign of Astor Place, and the reconstruction of the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk. At Kearny Point, WXY has envisioned a comprehensive plan that will densify the site, add public open space, offer new waterfront access, restore native habitat, and protect the site from flooding.
$1 billion is planned to be invested over the next decade, contributing to 7000 new permanent jobs and new tax revenue for the state and local jurisdiction. There will be three million square feet of converted or new office space. In addition, 15 acres of restored shoreline will accompany a new 4,100 foot waterfront promenade and 10 acres of publicly accessible civic and open space, including a 20,000 square foot amphitheater. It is anticipated that the waterfront area around the south basin and Building 197 will be completed this year, with another large portion of the historic yard anticipated to be completed between 2017 and 2018. A second waterfront phase is projected to be completed by 2023.
Cape Coral may be the best place to gauge the future of the dream—and to see whether Florida has any hope of overcoming its zany developmental, political and environmental history—because Cape Coral is the ultimate microcosm of Florida. It’s literally a peninsula jutting off the peninsula, the least natural, worst-planned, craziest-growing piece of an unnatural, badly planned, crazy-growing state. Man has sculpted it into an almost comically artificial landscape, with a Seven Islands section featuring seven perfectly rectangular islands and an Eight Lakes neighborhood featuring eight perfectly square lakes. And while much of Florida now yo-yos between routine droughts and routine floods, Cape Coral’s fluctuations are particularly wild. This spring, the city faced a water shortage so dire that its fire department feared it couldn’t rely on its hydrants, yet this summer, the city endured a record-breaking flood. And that “50-year rain event” came two weeks before Irma, which was also supposedly a 50-year event.
An unprecedented study of 6 million pieces of data claims to shows that the knowledge framework underpinning UK construction is not fit for purpose.As the industry reels from the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, the study’s authors warn that practitioners do not have ready access to critical knowledge and that more mistakes are “inevitable”.Designing Buildings Wiki, an open knowledge base, says it has undertaken the first comprehensive mapping of construction industry knowledge.
“‘Conquering’ nature has long been the western way,” writes Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. “Our hubris, and often our religious ideologies, have led us to believe we are above nature and have a right to subdue and control it. We let our technical abilities get ahead of our wisdom. We’re learning now that working with nature—understanding that we are part of it—is more cost-effective and efficient in the long run.”
A new report by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) delivers a detailed roadmap for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings like office towers, recreation centers, hospitals, arenas and schools across the country. CaGBC’s A Roadmap for Retrofits in Canadademonstrates the critical role existing buildings play in realizing Canada’s low carbon future, according to a release.
The report provides recommendations to retrofit large buildings that will contribute to achieving a reduction in GHG emissions of at least 30 percent (or 12.5 million tons) by 2030, with the potential to reach 51 percent or 21.2 million tons. The roadmap provides government and industry with a targeted plan to yield the greatest carbon savings from buildings and grow Canada’s clean economy.
Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new University of British Columbia study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs.
Ties in with The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (definitely worth reading) where he discusses how trees in a forest create their own micro-climate and provide each other with physical support against wind and storms. But also read where he discusses the plight of urban trees forced to live without the forest community that they evolved for.
Today, the drug-running and dumping are contained, new residents are moving in, and the enclave is considered an example, both regionally and nationally, of how a community can organize itself and choose the future its residents want. Blocks of houses, some old, some renovated, some looking brand new radiate out from the renovated former fire station and boxing gym that’s the headquarters for the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, which drives the revitalization efforts. Next door is a small park with a playgrou