A state can try to compel its cities to build more, but the results are at best modest. As Gov. Jared Polis learned, even getting zoning reforms enacted can be an insurmountable challenge.
Some center cities are coming back from the pandemic, with residential populations increasing even as many continue to work from home. While restaurants and retail are still suffering, it seems fair to speculate that something meaningful is happening.
With its residents upset by crime, homelessness and high taxes, it’s become a depressed and discouraging place. Can it once again be a shining exemplar of modern urbanist success?
It’s doubtful that taxing art collections, yachts or big inheritances will attract a significant political constituency. It’s all about the “endowment effect,” the value we place on the things we possess.
It’s easy to run against the downtown establishment, but neighborhood revival is a difficult process. Only a few mayors have been able to achieve success as both downtown promoters and neighborhood advocates.
Over the past couple of decades, coffeehouses became centers of sociability and community life. In the wake of the virus, many of them are switching to a grab-and-go model. Can anything replace these vital “third places”?
People love to be close to a lake, a river or an ocean, and waterfronts can be a major urban achievement. Why have so many cities done a poor job of cultivating this amenity?
You can make the case that it is, and not just in size. Every city is distinctive in some way, but nothing comes close to New York in the breadth and depth of its demographics, neighborhoods and culture.
We’ve tried several approaches, and all have their strengths and weaknesses. But one relic of the Progressive Era is on the way out.
The way we deal with it says a lot about our national and local cultures. Reforming it may not be so much about formal government action as about humans’ willingness to change their habits.
They’re happening in gentrifying neighborhoods, creating a flashpoint of ethnic and racial conflict. Some cities are trying to deal with the problem, but there are no easy solutions.
A term that once referred only to housing now encompasses everything from politics to economic life to the disappearance of community. But the center is still out there somewhere.
Bill Leighty served Virginia in a variety of ways, including as chief of staff to two governors. He knew the rules of management — and he knew when to stretch or break them.
As Prince of Wales, Charles had a lot to say about architecture and planning. But there are things that princes can do that monarchs might not be able to.
They have a long history, and they have been our "public living room." Some cities and towns that have lost their central gathering places are trying to re-create them.
It seems logical that we would be rushing to turn vacant office buildings into apartments and condos. So far it’s not happening on a large scale, but there are reasons to think it’s in our urban future.
The economy keeps adding them by the hundreds of thousands. But those big numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Without both, a new book argues, a community can’t achieve its highest purpose. Some cities and suburbs have managed to combine them. Most are finding it difficult.
In the end, we don’t know what kind of treatment might change the behavior of disturbed young people who believe society is out to get them.
Neighborhood change is unsettling. Whose fault is that? Maybe nobody’s.
Cities have been struggling with the question for decades. Some are welcoming the murals and other street painting they used to deplore. Others call it vandalism and are erasing it.
It takes entrepreneurial skill to win high office, but timing may be even more important.
States keep trying to rein in the offensive language people want to affix to their cars, but issues of free speech come up again and again. What are reasonable societal boundaries?
Levies for public transit can win at the polls when taxpayers perceive that a project benefits them. These days, properly designed bus rapid transit systems seem to have better chances than expensive light rail.
Advocates argue that cities and their connecting swaths of territory make an economic unit, despite the absence of real cultural affinities between distant metros.
The familiar grid has its detractors, but it also has strengths. Could an eccentric Spanish architect from the 1840s teach us how to do it right?
Small experiments for solving social problems may seem to work, but at least half of them fall apart when they’re expanded to a larger constituency. Costs are the main explanation, although not the only one.
A growing cadre of urban-design experts argues that there is a crucial connection between public health and the built environment. It’s a movement that has its roots in the 19th century.
We give subsidies to people who don’t need them, and order the poor to find money they don’t have when they get in trouble with the law.
His legacy has mostly slipped through the cracks, but his ideas provided a blueprint for re-creating the city as a center of modern social life, laying the groundwork for today’s New Urbanist movement.
Some legislatures have been banning reporters from their lawmaking chambers. But given how statehouse coverage has changed in recent decades, the reality is that we've simply traded one flawed system for another.