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Assessments

From sports teams to high schools, we’re in turmoil about what we consider a deserving name. But we shouldn’t rewrite history as a byproduct of ignorance.
Too much of the space in our downtowns is taken up by parked cars, and requiring developers to provide so many parking slots inflates the cost of housing. It’s becoming clear that those mandates are irrational.
It’s gospel among economists that regulating rents is a bad idea. But there’s evidence that the burdens it imposes might be an acceptable price for society to pay.
We’ve tried taxing drinkers, smokers and soda-guzzlers. Sometimes it helps, improving the public’s health, even if it doesn’t produce a lot of revenue. But it still raises equity and moral issues.
Edward Glaeser got a lot of attention with his argument that cities succeed in a deregulated environment. His new book embraces a broader role for government.
It’s tempting for a mayor or a governor to swing for the fences, promising to solve every intractable societal problem. But leaders who go for what's realistically achievable are more likely to succeed.
Counties range in size from thousands of residents to millions, with varied levels of responsibility and efficiency. Some advocate shrinking the number of them, but that raises questions both practical and sentimental.
The pandemic has given frustrated solo commuters some relief, but history suggests that its effects may not last. Maybe Ebenezer Scrooge actually knew something.
Republican and Democratic states aren’t exactly sure what they are for, but they know what they’re against.
The concept that everything should be within a short walk or bike ride keeps coming up, but making it a reality raises challenging questions.
The idea has come up again and again, and now there’s a flurry of experimentation. But it never seems to take hold.
It's gaining in popularity around the country, touted as a way to restore civility and bipartisanship. But it's not a perfect solution, and it doesn't come without costs.
It's been with us for nearly four decades, but we still can't definitively answer the question of whether it prevents crime in our cities.
It’s clear that adding lanes to urban expressways or building new ones doesn’t reduce congestion. Sometimes it makes things worse. So why do we keep doing it?
We miss the locally owned shops that once sustained community on our Main Streets. We need to try to sustain them in a radically different economic world.
Just about everybody agrees that we need more affordable housing, and there are lots of ideas for making it happen. So far, though, none of them have come to much.
In examining six older industrial cities, two urbanists raise a lot of good questions, though they don’t provide any definitive solutions.
It's true that some cities have been losing population, but it's not because of a mass exodus to escape the coronavirus. Don't look for a lot of moving vans heading from Brooklyn to Mayberry.
A few of them have worked out well. Most of them have been failures. But the idea of building new ones has never died, and there are signs of still another incarnation.
Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood is rich and mostly white, but the same jump in violent crime that many cities are seeing has alarmed its residents. Some of them think secession is the answer.
Most states set a mandatory retirement age for their judges, typically 70. Does that still make sense in this day and time? The wisdom and stability of longevity are worth something.
How much authority should governments have to protect people misbehaving in ways that are, in most cases, dangerous only to themselves?
Lawmakers in much of the country will be doing their work next year by remote control. That will make a tough job even tougher.
By defining the downtown Loop more than a century ago, elevated trains and tracks gave the city a vibrant economic and cultural center. It's a core element that other cities don't have.
Charlotte's majority-millennial city council has accomplished a few things, but mostly what its members have done is squabble with each other. Succeeding as a 'change agent' is harder than it might seem.
One state took a small step this week , but we're a long way from eliminating noncompetitive districts and partisan malfeasance.
It may depend on what millennials really want. But none of the ideas aimed at that generation would make more than a dent in America's acute housing shortage.
Efforts to merge municipalities make a lot of sense, particularly in this virus-plagued, cash-poor moment. But they usually don't succeed. Three struggling Illinois towns are about to try it anyway.
It means different things to different people. In the end, it doesn't really mean much at all. And there's very little that politicians or government can do to uphold or restore it.
Cities keep lurching between electing their governing bodies from districts and choosing them at large. The district approach is gaining, but its fragmentation doesn't promote a broad view of community needs.
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