Posts tagged "united states"
The Atlantic Cities:
"Are the Suburbs Where the American Dream Goes to Die?
New research shows upward mobility is higher in denser cities
Matthew O’Brien. July 23, 2013
Rumors of the American Dream’s demise have been greatly exaggerated — at least in parts of America. 
That’s the message of a new study that looks at the connection between geography and social mobility in the United States. It turns out modern-day Horatio Algers have just as much a chance in much of the country as they do anywhere else in the world today. But if you want to move up, don’t move to the South. As you can see in the chart below from David Leonhardt’s write-up in the New York Times, the American Dream is on life support below the Mason Dixon line.”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Atlantic Cities:

"Are the Suburbs Where the American Dream Goes to Die?

New research shows upward mobility is higher in denser cities

Matthew O’Brien. July 23, 2013

Rumors of the American Dream’s demise have been greatly exaggerated — at least in parts of America. 

That’s the message of a new study that looks at the connection between geography and social mobility in the United States. It turns out modern-day Horatio Algers have just as much a chance in much of the country as they do anywhere else in the world today. But if you want to move up, don’t move to the South. As you can see in the chart below from David Leonhardt’s write-up in the New York Times, the American Dream is on life support below the Mason Dixon line.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Atlantic Cities:
"Poverty Maps From 1980 Look Astonishingly Different Compared to 2010
Emily Badger. July 2, 2013
Poverty in the United States doesn’t look like it did just a few decades ago. In many metro areas, it touches more people today than in 1980. The demographics have changed too, with new and expanding communities of the Hispanic poor in cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas. And the geography has shifted – as we’ve previously written, following the work of Brookings Institution researchers Alan Berube and Elizabeth Kneebone, poverty now stretches well into the suburbs.
To get a better picture of what all these changes look like over time, the Urban Institute recently created a helpful new mapping tool that tracks fine-grained Census data on poverty for every metropolitan area of the country, spanning the years from 1980-2010. The patterns vary by city (Chicago Magazine has a good discussion of what the tool illustrates there). Just about everywhere, however, poverty appears to be spreading.
In some cities, like Milwaukee, it remains racially segregated, with the black poor living in one part of town, the white poor in another, and the Hispanic and Asian poor in separate pockets. In other cities, like Houston, racially diverse families living under the poverty line appear to share some of the same neighborhoods.”
Image: Urban Institute

The Atlantic Cities:

"Poverty Maps From 1980 Look Astonishingly Different Compared to 2010

Emily Badger. July 2, 2013

Poverty in the United States doesn’t look like it did just a few decades ago. In many metro areas, it touches more people today than in 1980. The demographics have changed too, with new and expanding communities of the Hispanic poor in cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas. And the geography has shifted – as we’ve previously written, following the work of Brookings Institution researchers Alan Berube and Elizabeth Kneebone, poverty now stretches well into the suburbs.

To get a better picture of what all these changes look like over time, the Urban Institute recently created a helpful new mapping tool that tracks fine-grained Census data on poverty for every metropolitan area of the country, spanning the years from 1980-2010. The patterns vary by city (Chicago Magazine has a good discussion of what the tool illustrates there). Just about everywhere, however, poverty appears to be spreading.

In some cities, like Milwaukee, it remains racially segregated, with the black poor living in one part of town, the white poor in another, and the Hispanic and Asian poor in separate pockets. In other cities, like Houston, racially diverse families living under the poverty line appear to share some of the same neighborhoods.”

Image: Urban Institute

Lincoln House:
“Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities
June 25, 2013
Many of America’s legacy cities — older industrial metropolitan areas facing manufacturing decline and population loss — have had a difficult time bouncing back. But the key to revitalization for Baltimore, St. Louis, Camden, N.J., Youngstown, Ohio or Flint, Michigan, is to take stock of the assets right at their doorstep, such as downtowns, parks, transit systems, and academic and cultural institutions. That’s the message of Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities, an analysis of 18 cities by Alan Mallach and Lavea Brachman, who advocate step-by-step “strategic incrementalism” as a path to economic development, rather than the silver-bullet approach of signature architecture, a sports stadium or other megaprojects.
     In preparing the Lincoln Institute’s latest Policy Focus Report, Mallach and Brachman, who are both nonresident fellows at The Brookings Institution, examined cities in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the Midwest, that had a population of at least 50,000 in 2010, and a loss of at least 20 percent from peak population. They concluded that a renewed competitive advantage, which will enable legacy cities to build new economic engines and draw new populations, can come from leveraging longstanding assets such as downtown employment bases, stable neighborhoods, multimodal transportation networks, colleges and universities, local businesses, historic buildings and areas, and arts, cultural, and entertainment facilities.”

Lincoln House:

Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities

June 25, 2013

Many of America’s legacy cities — older industrial metropolitan areas facing manufacturing decline and population loss — have had a difficult time bouncing back. But the key to revitalization for Baltimore, St. Louis, Camden, N.J., Youngstown, Ohio or Flint, Michigan, is to take stock of the assets right at their doorstep, such as downtowns, parks, transit systems, and academic and cultural institutions. That’s the message of Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities, an analysis of 18 cities by Alan Mallach and Lavea Brachman, who advocate step-by-step “strategic incrementalism” as a path to economic development, rather than the silver-bullet approach of signature architecture, a sports stadium or other megaprojects.


     In preparing the Lincoln Institute’s latest Policy Focus Report, Mallach and Brachman, who are both nonresident fellows at The Brookings Institution, examined cities in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the Midwest, that had a population of at least 50,000 in 2010, and a loss of at least 20 percent from peak population. They concluded that a renewed competitive advantage, which will enable legacy cities to build new economic engines and draw new populations, can come from leveraging longstanding assets such as downtown employment bases, stable neighborhoods, multimodal transportation networks, colleges and universities, local businesses, historic buildings and areas, and arts, cultural, and entertainment facilities.”

Architect:
"Don’t Forget the Burbs
By Amanda Kolson Hurley
The global age of the city is upon us. But as June Williamson reminds us, architects and designers shouldn’t give up on the quest to retrofit suburbia.
Remember when we were going to save the suburbs? In 2008, Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA, and June Williamson released Retrofitting Suburbia, a handbook for turning sprawl into walkable, sustainable, more urban places. The book got national media attention, Dunham-Jones gave a TED talk, and for a while, dead malls were the topic du jour.
Then the recession came, putting the brakes on many suburban redevelopment plans and shifting the attention of designers and policymakers elsewhere. We started to see the effects of climate change, such as powerful, more frequent storms, and grew concerned about resilience and adaptation, not just prevention. Meanwhile, Generation Y’s preference for city living intensified, and among designers, conversation shifted to designing for health and social impact, with a renewed interest in serving inner-city communities and the developing world.
The elephant in the room: In the United States, most of our aggregate metropolitan area is auto-dependent suburban sprawl, and it’s not going away. Meanwhile, countries such as China and India are starting to replicate our bad land-use decisions. If anything, the need to retrofit suburbia is more urgent now than it was five years ago, when it seemed more buzz-worthy.”
Image: A rendering of Attain This!, an affordable housing project that Holler Architecture and AB Architekten are designing in Deer Park, N.Y., for the Long Island Housing Partnership. The prototype is expected to achieve Passive House standards.
Courtesy of Tobias Holler of HOLLER Architecture and Matthias Altwicker of AB Architekten

Architect:

"Don’t Forget the Burbs

By Amanda Kolson Hurley

The global age of the city is upon us. But as June Williamson reminds us, architects and designers shouldn’t give up on the quest to retrofit suburbia.

Remember when we were going to save the suburbs? In 2008, Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA, and June Williamson released Retrofitting Suburbia, a handbook for turning sprawl into walkable, sustainable, more urban places. The book got national media attention, Dunham-Jones gave a TED talk, and for a while, dead malls were the topic du jour.

Then the recession came, putting the brakes on many suburban redevelopment plans and shifting the attention of designers and policymakers elsewhere. We started to see the effects of climate change, such as powerful, more frequent storms, and grew concerned about resilience and adaptation, not just prevention. Meanwhile, Generation Y’s preference for city living intensified, and among designers, conversation shifted to designing for health and social impact, with a renewed interest in serving inner-city communities and the developing world.

The elephant in the room: In the United States, most of our aggregate metropolitan area is auto-dependent suburban sprawl, and it’s not going away. Meanwhile, countries such as China and India are starting to replicate our bad land-use decisions. If anything, the need to retrofit suburbia is more urgent now than it was five years ago, when it seemed more buzz-worthy.”

Image: A rendering of Attain This!, an affordable housing project that Holler Architecture and AB Architekten are designing in Deer Park, N.Y., for the Long Island Housing Partnership. The prototype is expected to achieve Passive House standards.

Courtesy of Tobias Holler of HOLLER Architecture and Matthias Altwicker of AB Architekten

The Atlantic Cities:
“Does Having Lots of Local Governments Help or Hurt Economic Development?
Richard Florida. May 6, 2013
Americans are far more likely to like their local government than that at the state or federal level, a recent Pew Research Center report finds. But can some places have too many local governments?
Urban planners and good government types have long been concerned with what they see as the growth and proliferation of local agencies across counties and metro areas. They even coined a word for it — “political fragmentation” — which they argue generates duplication and inefficiency in the delivery of local services. The ultimate consequences include higher tax burdens, increased fiscal stress on local governments, and reduced levels of economic growth.
Some advocate consolidating government agencies across cities, counties, and metro areas — a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “metropolitan government.” Metro government has already been instituted in a number of metro areas including Indianapolis, Nashville, Kansas City, Louisville, and Jacksonville. Calls for government consolidation have only risen in light of the increasing budget woes and fiscal stress that have followed the economic crisis.”
Photo: jabiru/Shutterstock

The Atlantic Cities:

Does Having Lots of Local Governments Help or Hurt Economic Development?

Richard Florida. May 6, 2013

Americans are far more likely to like their local government than that at the state or federal level, a recent Pew Research Center report finds. But can some places have too many local governments?

Urban planners and good government types have long been concerned with what they see as the growth and proliferation of local agencies across counties and metro areas. They even coined a word for it — “political fragmentation” — which they argue generates duplication and inefficiency in the delivery of local services. The ultimate consequences include higher tax burdens, increased fiscal stress on local governments, and reduced levels of economic growth.

Some advocate consolidating government agencies across cities, counties, and metro areas — a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “metropolitan government.” Metro government has already been instituted in a number of metro areas including Indianapolis, Nashville, Kansas City, Louisville, and Jacksonville. Calls for government consolidation have only risen in light of the increasing budget woes and fiscal stress that have followed the economic crisis.”

Photo: jabiru/Shutterstock

GOOD: 
Social Designers: Why Our Own Neighborhoods Need Us as Much as Sub-Saharan Africa
Julie Kim. April 8, 2013

There are three ways of doing good work in the world that I think we need to consider in closer relationship to one another: humanitarianism, design, and local activism. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of emerging models for applying our expertise abroad, especially in the developing world. Culturally, there’s a certain cache and starpower we attach to global humanitarian work.
But let me ask a question: Is there the same level of commitment to and investment in our local communities? Are we as aware of the need in our own back alleys? And maybe the hardest question: Do we care as much about these local issues? Do we care as much about these people?
I’ve lived in San Francisco for almost 15 years now and so it’s the place and the community I know best. But the opportunity for local design activism is everywhere. Because human need is everywhere.
It’s the sad truth, but also the huge opportunity for us to step in as designers.
Need, and the concept of who is needy, is very tricky to define. By certain definitions, nobody in America needs a thing. The thinking goes: there are always people in the world who are worse off. I think that’s a dangerous mentality to fall into. We see human need as existing not here at home, but somewhere else, far away, over there.”
Photo: Shutterstock

GOOD: 

Social Designers: Why Our Own Neighborhoods Need Us as Much as Sub-Saharan Africa

Julie Kim. April 8, 2013

There are three ways of doing good work in the world that I think we need to consider in closer relationship to one another: humanitarianism, design, and local activism. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of emerging models for applying our expertise abroad, especially in the developing world. Culturally, there’s a certain cache and starpower we attach to global humanitarian work.

But let me ask a question: Is there the same level of commitment to and investment in our local communities? Are we as aware of the need in our own back alleys? And maybe the hardest question: Do we care as much about these local issues? Do we care as much about these people?

I’ve lived in San Francisco for almost 15 years now and so it’s the place and the community I know best. But the opportunity for local design activism is everywhere. Because human need is everywhere.

It’s the sad truth, but also the huge opportunity for us to step in as designers.

Need, and the concept of who is needy, is very tricky to define. By certain definitions, nobody in America needs a thing. The thinking goes: there are always people in the world who are worse off. I think that’s a dangerous mentality to fall into. We see human need as existing not here at home, but somewhere else, far away, over there.”

Photo: Shutterstock

The Atlantic Cities: 
"For Cleveland, Climate Change Could Mean Tons of Toxic Algae.
John Metcalfe. April 4, 2013
That’s toxic cyanobacteria swirling in the lake waters north of Cleveland. At the time, this slippery stuff covered nearly one-fifth of Erie’s surface, becoming the biggest bloom in the lake’s recorded history. It looked and smelled awful, turned fishing into a hook-detangling nightmare and killed untold numbers of marine creatures by hypoxia.
Worse, the algae’s loaded with foul substances harmful to the heart, blood and skin of many creatures. A dog that ingests one byproduct called microcystin can curl up and die within hours. (In humans it can cause flu-like symptoms, just in case you’re about to eat a bowlful.) The algae might also cause fish to change sexes.
The monstrous algae invasion represented a biological throwback to the 1960s, when tons of phosphorus in the Great Lakes seeping from agriculture, sewage systems and industry summoned up bloated algal titans of an immensity never before seen. These blooms disappeared for the most part after the ’70s thanks to the U.S. and Canada enacting the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. But it appears we’re mired once again in the days of floating slime, with algae levels creeping up since the ’90s.”
Image: NASA

The Atlantic Cities: 

"For Cleveland, Climate Change Could Mean Tons of Toxic Algae.

John Metcalfe. April 4, 2013

That’s toxic cyanobacteria swirling in the lake waters north of Cleveland. At the time, this slippery stuff covered nearly one-fifth of Erie’s surface, becoming the biggest bloom in the lake’s recorded history. It looked and smelled awful, turned fishing into a hook-detangling nightmare and killed untold numbers of marine creatures by hypoxia.

Worse, the algae’s loaded with foul substances harmful to the heart, blood and skin of many creatures. A dog that ingests one byproduct called microcystin can curl up and die within hours. (In humans it can cause flu-like symptoms, just in case you’re about to eat a bowlful.) The algae might also cause fish to change sexes.

The monstrous algae invasion represented a biological throwback to the 1960s, when tons of phosphorus in the Great Lakes seeping from agriculture, sewage systems and industry summoned up bloated algal titans of an immensity never before seen. These blooms disappeared for the most part after the ’70s thanks to the U.S. and Canada enacting the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. But it appears we’re mired once again in the days of floating slime, with algae levels creeping up since the ’90s.”

Image: NASA

Citytank:
Driven into Poverty: Walkable urbanism and the suburbanization of poverty
David Moser pens a compelling essay that examines the ways in which sprawling auto-dependent land use patterns exacerbate poverty. As more low-income individuals and families are pushed to the suburbs, “this problem is gaining urgency.”
David Moser. March 8, 2013

American suburbs are a particularly bad place to be poor. Though poverty poses dire and unjust challenges no matter where it exists, sprawling and auto-dependent land use patterns can exacerbate these difficulties. And this problem is gaining urgency, as more and more of America’s low-income individuals now live in suburbs (or are being pushed there), a phenomenon the Brookings Institute has called “the suburbanization of poverty”.

There are many reasons suburbs make the experience of poverty worse, but first among them is that automobiles are really expensive. Purchasing, maintaining, repairing, insuring, and fueling a car can easily consume 50% or more of a limited income. For someone struggling to work themselves out of poverty, these expenses can wreck havoc on even the most diligent efforts to maintain a monthly budget. With gas now approaching or exceeding $4.00/gallon, a full day’s work at minimum wage sometimes won’t pay for a single tank of gas. The burdens of sprawl weigh heaviest on the poor.”

 

Citytank:

Driven into Poverty: Walkable urbanism and the suburbanization of poverty

David Moser pens a compelling essay that examines the ways in which sprawling auto-dependent land use patterns exacerbate poverty. As more low-income individuals and families are pushed to the suburbs, “this problem is gaining urgency.”

David Moser. March 8, 2013

American suburbs are a particularly bad place to be poor. Though poverty poses dire and unjust challenges no matter where it exists, sprawling and auto-dependent land use patterns can exacerbate these difficulties. And this problem is gaining urgency, as more and more of America’s low-income individuals now live in suburbs (or are being pushed there), a phenomenon the Brookings Institute has called “the suburbanization of poverty”.

There are many reasons suburbs make the experience of poverty worse, but first among them is that automobiles are really expensive. Purchasing, maintaining, repairing, insuring, and fueling a car can easily consume 50% or more of a limited income. For someone struggling to work themselves out of poverty, these expenses can wreck havoc on even the most diligent efforts to maintain a monthly budget. With gas now approaching or exceeding $4.00/gallon, a full day’s work at minimum wage sometimes won’t pay for a single tank of gas. The burdens of sprawl weigh heaviest on the poor.”

 

Switchboard:
“Are Main Streets a thing of the past? Is that OK?
Kaid Benfield. February 4, 2013.
As someone whose job is to promote sustainability in our communities, I sometimes think the traditional American Main Street is a terrific model worth preserving and emulating.  It meets so many of the basic aspirations of smart growth:  it’s walkable, compact, centrally located, with many types of shops and services integrated together, usually with places to live on upper floors or in houses a short walk away.  It has a human scale, neither skyscrapers nor sprawl but something in between.  Does the past point the way to a more sustainable future?  Some smart observers strongly believe so.
But, when it comes to “Main Street,” the definition can get a little fuzzy.  The Cambridge Dictionary of Essential American English is as good a place as any to start:  Main Street is “the main road in the middle of a town where there are stores and other businesses.”  The Oxford English Dictionary cites usages going back as far as 1598.  When those of us in the field of placemaking use the phrase, we’re generally thinking of the kind of shopping districts that used to serve smaller towns and cities.  Frequently the shops and services were aligned adjacent or close to each other along the most prominent street in town, which many places literally called Main Street.”
Photo: Broadway Street, Cottonfalls Way, KS. Sandy Sorlien 

Switchboard:

Are Main Streets a thing of the past? Is that OK?

Kaid Benfield. February 4, 2013.

As someone whose job is to promote sustainability in our communities, I sometimes think the traditional American Main Street is a terrific model worth preserving and emulating.  It meets so many of the basic aspirations of smart growth:  it’s walkable, compact, centrally located, with many types of shops and services integrated together, usually with places to live on upper floors or in houses a short walk away.  It has a human scale, neither skyscrapers nor sprawl but something in between.  Does the past point the way to a more sustainable future?  Some smart observers strongly believe so.

But, when it comes to “Main Street,” the definition can get a little fuzzy.  The Cambridge Dictionary of Essential American English is as good a place as any to start:  Main Street is “the main road in the middle of a town where there are stores and other businesses.”  The Oxford English Dictionary cites usages going back as far as 1598.  When those of us in the field of placemaking use the phrase, we’re generally thinking of the kind of shopping districts that used to serve smaller towns and cities.  Frequently the shops and services were aligned adjacent or close to each other along the most prominent street in town, which many places literally called Main Street.”

Photo: Broadway Street, Cottonfalls Way, KS. Sandy Sorlien 

The Atlantic Cities: 
In Search of ‘Eldertopia’
Lisa Selin Davis. Jan 31, 2013
Some 54 million Americans over the age of 55 are hoping to grow old in their own homes, and that population should increase by 50 percent over the next 30 years. Their hope is no easy thing to realize, because most American housing stock wasn’t built grow (or shrink) with us as our needs evolve.
But cutting edge strategies for aging-in-place are coming from an unlikely source: the university classroom.
"We have a responsibility to train the next generation of architects to think about accessibility and housing flexibility," says Georgeen Theodore, associate professor and director of the Infrastructure Planning Program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “It shouldn’t just be a niche market for older adults, but part of the larger project of housing.”
Theodore’s students interviewed senior citizens to understand their needs at different stages of life, then considered the full spectrum of issues related to aging in place: connectivity, transit, density and social interaction among them. Incorporating these notions, her students dreamed up housing types and communities that could shift with the needs of the inhabitants.”
Photo: Katie Chu

The Atlantic Cities: 

In Search of ‘Eldertopia’

Lisa Selin Davis. Jan 31, 2013

Some 54 million Americans over the age of 55 are hoping to grow old in their own homes, and that population should increase by 50 percent over the next 30 years. Their hope is no easy thing to realize, because most American housing stock wasn’t built grow (or shrink) with us as our needs evolve.

But cutting edge strategies for aging-in-place are coming from an unlikely source: the university classroom.

"We have a responsibility to train the next generation of architects to think about accessibility and housing flexibility," says Georgeen Theodore, associate professor and director of the Infrastructure Planning Program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “It shouldn’t just be a niche market for older adults, but part of the larger project of housing.”

Theodore’s students interviewed senior citizens to understand their needs at different stages of life, then considered the full spectrum of issues related to aging in place: connectivity, transit, density and social interaction among them. Incorporating these notions, her students dreamed up housing types and communities that could shift with the needs of the inhabitants.”

Photo: Katie Chu

Architectural + Urban Research

Mass Urban is a multidisciplinary design-research initiative concerned with contemporary cities and urbanism. Mass Urban was co-founded in April 2011 by David Lee and Cliff Lau.

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