friendsgicing

‘Friendsgivings’ Are A Growing Urban American Tradition

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

West Hollywood, CA–What happens during Thanksgiving in a big American city filled with Millennials, transplants, events seekers, social butterflies, or some combo? There will be fertile ground for many “Friendsgivings.” The idea of a family inviting outside friends who don’t have anywhere else to eat on Thanksgiving is common nationwide; but recently it’s taken a twist, as unrelated young people throw Thanksgiving dinner parties among themselves. This past Thursday, I got to tour several of these parties in Los Angeles, experiencing a West Coast slice of the budding urban American tradition…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Globalism — Not Nativism — Is What Made America’s Cities Great

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Glendale, CA–I could tell when first arriving in Glendale that this wasn’t a stereotypical American suburb. I’d reserved a place here for the Los Angeles portion of my cross-country trip, after hearing that it was a cheap and amenity-rich city close to central L.A. But what has immediately jumped out is the diversity of this 30-square-mile, 200,000-person city, with Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Oriental, European and Caucasus communities functioning side by side. All the same, it’s a thriving city that performs above-average economically and culturally.… Read more

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San Antonio: Growth And Success In The Mexican-American Capital

[Originally printed in the San Antonio Business Journal (paywall) and republished by the Center for Opportunity Urbanism]

 

[Ed’s note: this was part of a larger project by Joel Kotkin’s think tank, the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, to explain the growth of Texas’ cities. Scott’s essay is on pg. 40 of the pdf.]

 

San Antonio, TX — For decades, as many U.S. cities declined, and others became overly exclusive, cities in Texas evolved into places of opportunity. Due in large part to liberalized economic policies, the state’s “Big Four” metro areas — Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio — consistently rank among the nation’s leaders in population growth and job growth, experiencing the rapid urbanization once common among America’s legacy cities.… Read more

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America’s Progressive Developers–The Uptown Gateway Council

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

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

San Diego, CA–There is a scourge afflicting U.S. cities, and it is a little thing called “downzoning.” Over the past few decades, cities that were already suffering the side-effects of underdevelopment worsened their problems through stronger regulations, further reducing build-out on their infill lots. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, a large portion of Los Angeles was downzoned, even as population steadily grew. New York City has established a regulatory framework that would outlaw 40% of buildings today.… Read more

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Here’s Why Your Home Is 24% Overpriced

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

There is overwhelming academic literature saying that government regulations cause higher housing costs. I wrote an article weeks ago listing about two dozen studies that identified multiple types of regulation, and the effects they had on increasing prices, exacerbating inequality, and forcing unwanted lifestyle shifts. Some additional data published recently is more granular, analyzing not only the effects, say, of zoning, but of impact fees, building codes, design reviews, bureaucratic delays and more. The paper’s alarming conclusion is that government regulation adds 24.3% to the average price of new homes in America…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Philadelphia’s SEPTA Transit Workers Go On Strike…Again

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

It has become a familiar story: Philadelphia’s public transit workers are on strike. At 12:01 am on November 1st, 4,738 unionized employees ceased working after failed negotiations with SEPTA. This is their first strike since 2014–when President Obama himself had to intervene via executive order–and their 10th since 1977, making SEPTA America’s most strike-prone transit agency, with a new strike every 4 years on average. And while the length and magnitude of this strike remains unknown, it is different from past ones in the following way: Philadelphians finally have viable private options to fall back on.… 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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MARKET REVIEW: San Antonio’s Growth Part of a Macro-Level U.S. Trend

[Originally published by The Bexar Witness]

 

The United States is experiencing a profound shift in settlement patterns. Older metro areas in the north that were once America’s foremost economic hubs are ceding this role to southern ones. Texas has been ground zero for this shift, namely within its four largest metros, Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. As a roving urban affairs journalist for Forbes, I recently lived for a month each in all four, and became fascinated by their rapid urbanization. The least-touted among this bunch has been San Antonio, but in many ways, the city is a microcosm of this nationwide trend…[read the rest at Bexar Witness]… Read more

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Uber Has Revolutionized Transit More In 7 Years Than The Government Has In 7 Decades

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

There’s a revolution occurring in mass transit, something I’ve witnessed firsthand while traveling the nation. Many newly-christened urbanites who didn’t grow up riding transit now view it as essential to mobility. And it is more convenient than yesteryear’s transit, able to arrive within minutes after pressing a button. Was this revolution driven by any of the government agencies that have controlled transit for decades in every U.S. city? No. Instead it came from a handful of rideshare companies—Uber being the main one—that transformed in several years from scrappy startups to global behemoths.… Read more

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America’s Progressive Developers–Silver Ventures

[Originally published by Market Urbanism]

 

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

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(The Pearl’s central street leads up to Hotel Emma. / company photo)

 

In early April, I wrote in this series about a waterfront development project in New Orleans that, despite some progress, was facing roadblocks. The city had launched a $300 million plan called “Reinventing The Crescent,” which was meant to create a continuous walkway along 4.5 miles of city waterfront facing the Mississippi River. Only a fraction of the project was complete after 8 years, however, thanks to government misguidance.

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