As readers know, Market Urbanism has for several years had a strong homepage and Twitter presence. And thanks to Adam, it is getting a stronger Facebook one, both on MU’s official Facebook page, and its chat group. If you enjoy reading substantive things, I recommend following both, but especially the chat group, which is available for anyone to join.
Many of its updates feature links from around the web posted by MU readers, informing us about the world’s biggest urban issues, with everything from mainstream news clips, to esoteric working papers and book chapter pdf’s.… Read more
1. The article I wrote this week for Forbes makes the connection between post-WWII urban renewal, and today’s tax increment financing. I realize that the two redevelopment policies aren’t identical, most notably not in scale. Urban renewal was a nationwide policy during an era of extreme central planning; TIF is funded at local and state level to bring redevelopment to targeted sites. But during its four-decade rise, TIF has reflected urban renewal’s flaws, perpetuating waste, cronyism, and property confiscation.
2. Another article I liked was by City Journal contributing editor Aaron Renn, called “Libertarians of Convenience.” It is about how urban progressives resist government regulations for their preferred activities, while calling for more regulations overall.… Read more
Walk today through the parts of my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, that underwent “urban renewal,” and you start to grasp the policy’s failures nationwide. The southern city that’s home to Thomas Jefferson and UVA is defined by charming historic neighborhoods. But several downtown areas disrupt this fabric with an oddly suburban aesthetic of parking lots and insular apartment complexes. Without foreknowledge, one might guess that these resulted from a free market that plopped down modern development without regard for context. But the opposite is true. … Read more
2. About a month ago, I asked readers whether they thought cities would be smarter to invest their pension funds using “in-house,” government-hired money managers, or outside private ones. I haven’t been able to address the issue, but last night rediscovered in my notes the story that sparked the question.… Read more
It’s easy to label taxi drivers’ resistance to ridesharing companies as just a bunch of people trying to stop progress. This is, after all, what they are doing, since companies like Uber and Lyft represent a modern fix for the old urban scourges of congestion and immobility. But it is still worth noting the cabbies’ side of the story. [read the rest at Forbes]… Read more
By now, it is common knowledge which cities are the U.S. banking capitals. Because of Wall Street, New York City remains #1, and the Bank of America headquarters has made Charlotte #2. But fly further south to Miami, and you’ll witness the emergence of another international banking center, in a neighborhood called Brickell. [read the rest at Forbes]… Read more
1. This week I wrote three articles: one for Governing Magazine about how to make pedestrian malls successful; and two for Forbes—about how Syracuse is squelching a driveway-sharing app, and the latest attempts from San Francisco NIMBYs to stop a Warriors arena.
2. Today would have been Jane Jacobs’ 99th birthday, and I know many of you celebrated by attending (or hosting) Jane’s Walks in your cities. Because of other obligations, I wasn’t able to attend the Miami one, which was hosted in Little Havana by local realtor Carlos Fausto Miranda.… Read more
So let me get this straight. The Golden State Warriors—who have the NBA’s best record, and a player, Steph Curry, whose skills have earned him the nickname “baby-faced assassin”—want to build an arena in San Francisco. For several years, the team’s owners meticulously crafted a plan that would bring the city unbridled benefits. The arena’s construction and operation would create voluminous jobs, stimulus, and tax revenue; include much-needed new surrounding uses; and revive pedestrian access along a dilapidated waterfront. And, unlike most stadiums today, it wouldn’t accept a dime of public money.… Read more
Pedestrian malls have a long and complicated history in the U.S. During the 1960s and ’70s, several cities closed parts of their downtown to auto traffic at one time or another. It seemed like a natural placemaking tool, but eventually, many failed. Poorly planned, most pedestrian malls were inaccessible, hid businesses and attracted crime.
That was certainly true of one such pedestrian mall in my hometown of Charlottesville, Va. “You could shoot a gun at five o’clock from one end and not hit anyone on the other,” says Mayor Satyendra Huja.… Read more
By now, the scenario is familiar: some creative, over-caffeinated young person rooted in business and technology launches a web-based service that revolutionizes city life. And the local government, feeling confused or threatened, squelches it. We’ve seen cities across the U.S. do this against Uber, Airbnb, and private transit. Now, another sharing-economy-style app may join the list: ParkAmigo. [read the rest at Forbes]… Read more