Urban Notebook

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Catalyzing Economic Success for Every Citizen

Realizing inclusive growth in our cities

How a focus on inclusion can build stronger communities and drive long-term economic health   READ MORE

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Four Ways Data Can Unlock Cities' Growth

Great Data; Great City

Even since the days of Athens and Sparta, cities have staked their claim to greatness. Kafka had Prague. Hemingway had Paris. The iconic New York poet Walt Whitman made his case to qualify a great city back in 1865. “A great city,” he wrote, “is that which has the greatest men and women.” In 2017 that quote might be effectively edited to include the greatest men and women and the greatest data. READ MORE

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Parag Khanna: Data-Cities Lead Economic Progress

Foreword 

As cities around the world are confronted with population growth and increasing demand for their legacy systems bold ideas are needed to propel the dialogue between governments, civil society and the private sector. Urban leaders in every corner of the globe are demonstrating how digital technologies and data analytics can help drive efficiencies and more seamless experiences. However, creating “smart” cities should not be viewed as an end in itself, rather it’s a means toward unlocking economic growth opportunities for cities, creating a better quality of life for citizens, and building more sustainable and resilient communities. READ MORE

Have States Lost Their Place as Labs of Democracy?

Back in the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was president, there was a lot of buzz around the idea that the states would become -- in the words of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis -- “laboratories of democracy,” where policy innovations could be hatched and experimented with and then spread across the nation.

Now history is (kind of) repeating itself. READ MORE

Build, Baby, Build: A New Housing Movement’s Unofficial Motto

Local control, as I wrote in my last column, can sometimes backfire. America’s affordable housing crisis is a prime example. The sensible response to rapid population growth and inflated prices in our cities is to build more housing. But thanks to a “not in my backyard” mentality that is supported by a hyper-local planning model, existing residents are able to resist new construction that promotes density. 

To get around this obstacle, land use control has in some cases shifted from localities to states. But a top-down approach isn’t very democratic and, as a result, has helped spur a counter, grassroots movement of YIMBYs, or “yes in my backyard” supporters. READ MORE