Study Shows Driving Decline in America’s Cities
Source: U.S. Public Interest Research Group
A first-of-its-kind report by U.S.PIRG Education Fund details reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in America’s most populous urbanized areas, as well as greater use of public transit and biking in most cities.
The report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities,” is based on the most current available government data. It is the first ever national study to compare transportation trends for America’s largest cities and lists results for each. Among its national findings:
- The proportion of workers commuting by private vehicle—either alone or in a carpool—declined in 99 out of 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period averaged in U.S. Census data.
- From 2006 to 2011, the average number of miles driven per resident fell in almost three-quarters of America’s largest urbanized areas for which up-to-date and accurate Federal Highway Administration data are available (54 out of 74 urban areas).
- The proportion of households without cars increased in 84 out of the 100 largest urbanized areas from 2006 to 2011. The proportion of households with two cars or more cars decreased in 86 out of the 100 of these areas during that period.
- The proportion of residents bicycling to work increased in 85 out of 100 of America’s largest urbanized areas between 2000 and 2007-2011.
The number of passenger-miles traveled per capita on transit increased in 60 out of 98 of America’s large urbanized areas whose trends could be analyzed between 2005 and 2010.
Middle East: 20 Years of Skyscrapers (PDF)
Source: Council on Tall Buildings and the Urban Habitat
Twenty years ago, the region contained only one skyscraper over 150 meters in height. It is now estimated that by the end of 2015 the region will have 289 buildings in this category. While this massive increase has centered in Dubain, by the end of 2015 over 20 cities in 10 countries will have completed a 150m+ project.
The U.S. real estate recovery is set to continue into 2014, with investors increasingly looking beyond some of the traditionally popular markets to secondary markets in search of higher yields, according to Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2014, co-published by PwC US and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
According to real estate market participants, the predicted growth in secondary markets is driven by investors searching for returns as opportunities in core markets become harder to find and the best assets become more expensive. As a result, the report anticipates that 2014 may be the year that many investors who have traditionally focused mainly on large established markets such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, will be expanding their focus to other cities in order to protect capital. This trend, first noted in last year’s Emerging Trends report, is likely to build substantial momentum next year, given the steady pace of improvement in market fundamentals in secondary markets, and with more investments in those markets meeting investors’ risk/return metrics.
The movement into secondary markets is underpinned by the anticipated increase in both debt and equity capital during 2014. Respondents were particularly positive about the prospects for equity capital from foreign investors, institutional investors and private equity funds, as well as debt from insurance companies, mezzanine lenders, and issuers of commercial mortgage-backed securities.
America’s Big Cities in Volatile Times
Source: Pew State and Consumer Initiatives
This report examines how America’s big cities navigated the worst U.S. economic downturn since the Great Depression. It focuses on postrecession revenue as compared with earlier peaks, explores future prospects, and considers cities’ remaining fiscal challenges and their ability to manage future uncertainty while continuing to provide key services to taxpayers.
A Tale of Two Cities (and a Town): Immigrants in the Rust Belt (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute
In the midst of the debate over the largest potential immigration reform legislation in 50 years, some American communities struggling with decades of population loss and economic decline are being revitalized by newcomers. The role of immigrants in high-skilled fields is relatively well-known, but less acknowledged are the contributions that “blue collar” immigrants play in revitalizing depressed communities and economies, both as manual laborers and small business entrepreneurs.
In Rust Belt communities such as Baltimore, Detroit, and southeastern Iowa, immigration has slowed—and in some cases reversed—decades of population loss. It is revitalizing neighborhoods and commercial corridors. Immigrants—including lower-skilled immigrants—help generate jobs and economic growth for U.S.-born workers.
Immigrants are a disproportionate number of our country’s entrepreneurs. This is particularly true in Rust Belt cities, where immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurs than they are in more traditional immigrant gateways. But to make their full potential economic impact in the Rust Belt, unauthorized immigrants need a path to citizenship
Beijing as a Globally Fluent City
Source: Brookings Institution
Beijing is without any doubt already a global city. A symbol of China’s emergence as a global power, Beijing ranks among the world’s most influential cities. Beijing has developed into an important global city in a relatively short period of time. Beijing has benefited from efforts by the Chinese government and Beijing’s municipal government to elevate the city’s international reputation, and from Beijing’s legacy and position as China’s political and cultural center. There has also been massive investment in infrastructure to support business and innovation activities and to enhance Beijing’s global connectivity. However, Beijing’s rise as a global city is still incomplete.
Beijing’s global influence in terms of economic competitiveness and financial interconnectedness still do not measure up to the top cities in the world. In Beijing as a Globally Fluent City, Feng Wang examines four key questions on Beijing’s rise towards becoming a top tier global city:
- What kind of city does Beijing aspire to be?
- How can Beijing improve its governance?
- What does it take to build a more vibrant economy?
- How can Beijing’s global identity be further enhanced?
Source: Manhattan Institute
Much recent debate over the health of state and local budgets has been dominated by concerns about how spending on employee benefits is “crowding out” funds for basic services. The economy is growing, and spending is up—but taxpayers are seeing little benefit.
Crowd-out finds its roots in a problem of simple math. Cities can’t run deficits, so when growth in revenues fails to keep pace with any major spending category, some other category or categories must be reduced. The effect is most clearly discerned in local workforces, which are still down by over 500,000 employees since the recession, as well as salaries. Local government workers’ wages have been flat over the past decade, after adjusting for inflation, and salary spending has been taking up a smaller share of city budgets as benefits’ share has grown. Almost unintentionally, increases in benefit costs are reducing funds available to provide for salary increases for a workforce which is shrinking overall.
This paper documents the crowd-out effect at a general level and analyzes budget trends in five major American cities.
Metro Freight Series: Global Goods Trade and Metropolitan Economies
Source: Brookings Institution
The Metro Freight research series assesses goods trade at the metropolitan scale. It uses a unique and comprehensive database to capture all the goods moving in and out of U.S. metropolitan areas, both domestically and beyond. The reports in the series will describe which goods move between metropolitan areas, how they move via different modes of transportation, and uncover the specific trading relationships between U.S. metropolitan areas as well as their global counterparts.
Urban world: The shifting global business landscape
Source: McKinsey & Company
Emerging markets are changing where and how the world does business. For the last three decades, they have been a source of low-cost but increasingly skilled labor. Their fast-growing cities are filled with millions of new and increasingly prosperous consumers, who provide a new growth market for global corporations at a time when much of the developed world faces slower growth as a result of aging. But the number of large companies from the emerging world will rise, as well, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). This powerful wave of new companies could profoundly alter long-established competitive dynamics around the world.
Our research shows that the emerging economies’ share of Fortune Global 500 companies will probably jump to more than 45 percent by 2025, up from just 5 percent in 2000 (Exhibit 1). That’s because while three-quarters of the world’s 8,000 companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more are today based in developed economies, we forecast that an additional 7,000 could reach that size in little more than a decade—and 70 percent of them will most likely come from emerging markets.1 To put this dramatic shift in the balance of global corporate power in perspective, remember that many of the world’s largest companies have maintained their current status for generations: more than 40 percent of the 150 Western European companies in last year’s Fortune Global 500 had been founded before 1900.
After Sandy: A New ULI Report Looks at Mitigating Climate Change Through Land Use, Offers Recommendations on Strengthening Community Resiliency
The reality of climate change will forever change community building, with planning and development decisions increasingly based on strengthening community resilience through what is built, and where and how it is built, according to a new report released today by the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Leading up to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, ULI has prepared After Sandy: Advancing Strategies for Long-Term Resilience and Adaptability, which offers guidance on community building in a way that responds to inevitable climate change and sea level rise, and helps preserve the environment, boost economic prosperity, and foster a high quality of life.
ULI, a global research and education institute dedicated to responsible land use, has a long history of advising communities on repositioning after disasters. At the request of three ULI District Councils—ULI New York (city), ULI Northern New Jersey, and ULI Philadelphia, which serve ULI members in those market areas—ULI in July 2013 convened a panel of the nation’s foremost authorities on real estate and urban planning to evaluate local and federal plans for strengthening community resiliency post- Sandy, and offer guidance on rebuilding efforts. Candid insights and observations from these experts formed the basis for After Sandy, a comprehensive, practical set of 23 recommendations focused on four areas—land use and development; infrastructure, technology and capacity; finance, investment and insurance; and leadership and governance.
The report’s overriding message: The increased frequency of severe weather events, as well as rising sea levels, are compelling the real estate industry to address climate change by working with the public sector to implement adaptive measures that better protect both the built and natural environment.
Integrative Freight Demand Management in the New York City Metropolitan Area
Source: Center for Infrastructure Transportation and the Environment (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
This USDOT funded project was a joint effort between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rutgers University, ALK Technologies, and the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management – NYU Wagner. The intention was to promote the shifting of deliveries from the regular hours to the off-hours (7PM to 6AM) by providing incentives to businesses to receive deliveries during the off-hours. The project team enjoyed the support of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), local unions, and various business improvement districts.