mural

Downtown Los Angeles Is America’s Most Colorful Neighborhood

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Los Angeles–For those who love navigating cities by foot, New York will always be America’s main option. Los Angeles, despite being the densest urban area, never achieved this walkability, thanks to government efforts to socially engineer sprawl. But one Los Angeles neighborhood, at least, offers something more colorful–and arguably better–than anything else in the U.S. It is the city’s downtown area, better known here to locals as “DTLA.”….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Houston Or Portland: Which City Is Doing Urban Density Better?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Among those who appreciate cities and urban density, there are often very different associations about Houston and Portland. To many, Houston is a pro-growth metro where “the market” has led to a sprawling, incohesive hellscape. Portland, meanwhile, is considered a metro where enlightened government planning has produced walkable, European-style urbanism. Because both started from roughly the same place—as post-WWII, automobile-oriented metros—and because one has presumably become cool and cultured, while the other is disperse and smoggy, urbanists seem to believe that this validates the pro-planning model….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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The Houston Rodeo Has Returned For Its 86th Year

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Every major American city has its landmark annual event, ranging from SXSW in Austin, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, to the New Year’s Eve Times Square ball drop in New York City. But one such event gets far less media attention than the others, despite having a larger attendance and arguably more cultural relevance, at least to middle America. It occurs, no less, in the nation’s 4th-largest city and its 5th-largest metro area. That event is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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miami beach

How Far Can Miami’s Beach Development Spread?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

When people think of Miami’s beach culture, they likely focus on the three miles of shoreline along the heart of Miami Beach. What they may not realize is that this culture is spreading north, to previously suburban areas like Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. This new growth results from the same secret sauce that has bolstered South Florida at large. These once-mild coastal townships are allowing new people, crafting model public spaces, funding forward-thinking infrastructure, and most importantly, letting builders build. The result is a fast-spreading, vertical brand of urbanism that has become the region’s trademark, and turned it into an ever-growing global destination…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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mexico

When Texas Stopped Looking and Feeling Like Mexico

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

The cities along the Texas and Mexico border differ dramatically. Those in Texas are sprawling, while those in Mexico are buzzing with urban vibrancy. This is odd considering that many of these border cities have shared histories and cultures. U.S. cities like Brownsville, McAllen, Laredo and El Paso are demographically similar to their counterparts in Mexico, yet look like classic American Sun Belt cities. Their downtowns are quiet, with automobiles outnumbering pedestrians; interior neighborhoods have single-family homes; and strip malls sprawl into the peripheries.… Read more

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juarez-plaza

Mexico’s Border Cities Have Brilliant Public Spaces

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico–When most people think of Mexico’s border cities, they envision violence and drug smuggling. But if you are willing to risk a visit—and, frankly, it doesn’t feel all that risky once there—you’ll find dynamic urban street settings that are largely unsurpassed in America. From almost the second you cross the bridges into these cities, you leave the suburban sterility of the U.S. and enter an oasis of density, mixed uses, and narrow, crowded streets. Central to this atmosphere are the many brilliant public spaces…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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hemisfair

San Antonio Looks To Boost Core With Hemisfair Park

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Antonio, TX–A half-century ago, the city of San Antonio made a huge mistake. To prepare for the 1968 World’s Fair, it used eminent domain to destroy an entire neighborhood. The Fair came and went, and some longstanding uses were built, but much of the area has festered ever since. Now, in an atonement of past sins, the city is making the space usable again–and rebuilding a core piece of downtown–by opening Hemisfair Park…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Nola waterfront

America’s Progressive Developers–Sean Cummings and Steve Dumez

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

[part of an MU series on America’s Progressive Developers]

 

New Orleans, LA–In recent decades, many U.S. cities have altered their downtown waterfronts. While proximity to water was what first enabled their industrial growth, this meant that their shorelines were long cut off from the public. Once residential quality of life became more of a factor, cities like Portland, Baltimore, and New York City transformed these spaces into parks and promenades.

But New Orleans has remained behind the curve. The city famously meanders along the Mississippi River in the shape of a crescent, hence its nickname.… Read more

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America’s Progressive Developers–Oliver Kuttner

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

[part of an MU series on America’s Progressive Developers]

Charlottesville, VA

Building new structures in historic downtown areas can be tricky for developers. Especially in small towns, residents cherish the existing fabric of small older buildings, and dislike incoming ones that blow up this scale. Meanwhile developers, looking to reach financial viability, tend towards constructing buildings that are large, simple and cheap. But as I learned last December while spending Christmas in my hometown of Charlottesville, VA, there is a largely unrealized way that developers can do both. … Read more

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Houston Goes Global With New World-Class Parks And Bayous

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Houston, TX

The growth of Houston has far surpassed the perception about it from outsiders. Thanks to a warm climate, pro-business policies, and a lack of zoning, it is now America’s 4th-largest city, and is creeping up on perpetually-mismanaged Chicago. In the process, it has nurtured a host of amenities that signify its newly-global status, from the world’s largest medical center to one of America’s best restaurant scenes. Add to these several new parks, with more to come, that could tweak the city’s sprawling and auto-centric reputation…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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