Archive

Archive for the ‘urban issues’ Category

When New Yorkers Move Out of New York City Where Do They Go?

July 24, 2014 Comments off

When New Yorkers Move Out of New York City Where Do They Go?
Source: New York City Independent Budget Office

Click on a state to see number and percent of households moving to that state.

About these ads

What Makes a City Great?

July 23, 2014 Comments off

What Makes a City Great?
Source: Sasaki

Urbanites across the country agree on a few things: they want great food, they love waterfronts, and they value historical architecture. As planners and designers, our job is to understand what people want and balance these desires with the big picture—economic realities, cultural needs, environmental concerns, and design opportunities—ultimately helping to shape a more satisfying and sustainable urban experience.

Our new report, The State of the City Experience, outlines the results of a survey of 1,000 people who both live and work in one of six dynamic US cities—Boston, Chicago, New York, Austin, San Francisco, and Washington DC. We asked what they like and what they don’t like about their built environment in four key areas: architecture, activities, parks and open space, and transportation, and what their personal outlook is for staying in a city long-term. Our participants’ answers show that while we may be in the “century of the city,” there is still much work to be done to improve urban life through thoughtful planning and innovation.

Migration’s Local Dividends: How Cities and Regions Can Make the Most of Immigration (Transatlantic Council Statement)

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Migration’s Local Dividends: How Cities and Regions Can Make the Most of Immigration (Transatlantic Council Statement)
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Well-managed immigration can be a windfall for local economies by creating jobs and fueling growth, fostering innovation, and bringing in new revenue. But these benefits are neither automatic nor do they accrue evenly. Highly skilled and entrepreneurial migrants tend to flock to certain geographic “magnets”—such as vibrant metropolises, financial hubs, or tech clusters—while other regions may struggle to attract and retain native and foreign workers alike.

Meanwhile, increasing mobility has brought new challenges, which are also asymmetrically distributed. And many cities, even those experiencing new dynamism and growth, have to contend with community tensions arising over the allocation of often scarce public resources such as housing, social welfare, and health services, as well as difficult-to-address problems of poverty, residential segregation, and social exclusion.

While cities and regions experience both the positive and negative effects of immigration firsthand, they are typically at arm’s length, at best, from the policy reins that enable and shape these movements. Immigration policies are rarely calibrated to regional, let alone local, needs.

This Council Statement from the 11th plenary meeting of the MPI-convened Transatlantic Council on Migration examines how policymakers at all levels can work together to get more out of immigration. The Statement launches a series of reports from the Council’s meeting on the topic “Cities and Regions: Reaping Migration’s Local Dividends.” The series examines place-based immigration and entrepreneurship policies, city attractiveness, social cohesion, and means to build inclusive cities.

London Tops MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index as Most Visited City

July 21, 2014 Comments off

London Tops MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index as Most Visited City
Source: MasterCard

London tops the list as the destination of choice for international travelers for the third time in four years, according to the annual MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index released today.

Now in its fourth year, the index provides a ranking of the 132 most travelled cities from around the world.

Rounding out the top five cities are Bangkok, Paris, Singapore and Dubai, which are benefiting from a surge in international travel fueled by an expanding middle class, innovations in luxury travel and rising need for business travel. The index also indicates this surge will continue, even with more technology and collaboration tools available to businesses.

The Brink of Renewal: A Business Leader’s Guide to Progress in America’s Schools

July 18, 2014 Comments off

The Brink of Renewal: A Business Leader’s Guide to Progress in America’s Schools
Source: Boston Consulting Group

Major cities in the U.S. are committed to improving education, and their resolve is beginning to bear fruit. Cities such as Boston, New York, New Orleans, Dallas, and Denver have made measurable progress in student achievement and graduation rates. Denver, for example, boosted on-time graduation rates from 38.7 percent to 61.3 percent over a recent six-year period.

However, while individual examples of progress are heartening (and worth celebrating), the big picture isn’t nearly as bright.

On the whole, the nation’s preK-12 education system continues to be plagued by low overall achievement, wide achievement gaps, and uncertain prospects for the future. Consider just one indicator: the U.S. spends more on its schools than almost all other industrialized nations, and yet its students still lag behind their global peers—performing at or below average on many international measures.

It’s no surprise that pessimism prevails. In a recent Harvard Business School survey on U.S. competitiveness, the nearly 7,000 business leaders who responded named preK-12 education among the greatest weaknesses in the U.S. business environment. A significant majority also said they believe the U.S. is falling behind in preK-12 education compared with other nations.

Despite the troubling data, we believe that today can represent a historic turning point for U.S. schools. Promising trends, some decades in the making, are converging to make a transformation of the U.S. education system possible.

A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth

July 16, 2014 Comments off

A New Partnership: Rail Transit and Convention Growth (PDF)
Source: American Public Transportation Association

This joint report produced with the U.S. Travel Assocation examines how cities with rail stations connected directly to airport terminals can realize increases in hotel performance. The report compares six cities with direct rail access from their airport terminal to five cities without. The analysis found that from 2006-2013, hotels in the cities with direct rail access brought in 10.9% more revenue per room than hotels in those cities without.

Unhappy Cities

July 15, 2014 Comments off

Unhappy Cities (PDF)
Source: Harvard University (Glaeser et al)

There are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. metropolitan areas, and residents of declining cities appear less happy than other Americans. Newer residents of these cities appear to be as unhappy as longer term residents, and yet some people continue to move to these areas. While the historical data on happiness are limited, the available facts suggest that cities that are now declining were also unhappy in their more prosperous past. One interpretation of these facts is that individuals do not aim to maximize self-reported well-being, or happiness, as measured in surveys, and they willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs. In this view, subjective well-being is better viewed as one of many arguments of the utility function, rather than the utility function itself, and individuals make trade-offs among competing objectives, including but not limited to happiness.

The ACA and America’s Cities: Fewer Uninsured and More Federal Dollars

July 14, 2014 Comments off

The ACA and America’s Cities: Fewer Uninsured and More Federal Dollars
Source: Urban Institute

This report estimated the effect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on 14 large and diverse cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Columbus, Charlotte, Detroit, Memphis, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, and Miami. For each city we estimated changes in health coverage under the ACA, particularly the resulting decline in the uninsured. We also estimated the additional federal spending on health care that would flow into these cities. For cities in states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility, we provide estimates both with and without expansion.

See also: Increase in Medicaid under the ACA Reduces Uninsurance, According to Early Estimates

The Societal Costs and Benefits of Commuter Bicycling: Simulating the Effects of Specific Policies Using System Dynamics Modeling

July 14, 2014 Comments off

The Societal Costs and Benefits of Commuter Bicycling: Simulating the Effects of Specific Policies Using System Dynamics Modeling
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

Background:
Shifting to active modes of transport in the trip to work can achieve substantial co-benefits for health, social equity, and climate change mitigation. Previous integrated modeling of transport scenarios has assumed active transport mode share and has been unable to incorporate acknowledged system feedbacks.

Objectives:
We compared the effects of policies to increase bicycle commuting in a car-dominated city and explored the role of participatory modeling to support transport planning in the face of complexity.

Methods:
We used system dynamics modeling (SDM) to compare realistic policies, incorporating feedback effects, nonlinear relationships, and time delays between variables. We developed a system dynamics model of commuter bicycling through interviews and workshops with policy, community, and academic stakeholders. We incorporated best available evidence to simulate five policy scenarios over the next 40 years in Auckland, New Zealand. Injury, physical activity, fuel costs, air pollution, and carbon emissions outcomes were simulated.

Results:
Using the simulation model, we demonstrated the kinds of policies that would likely be needed to change a historical pattern of decline in cycling into a pattern of growth that would meet policy goals. Our model projections suggest that transforming urban roads over the next 40 years, using best practice physical separation on main roads and bicycle-friendly speed reduction on local streets, would yield benefits 10–25 times greater than costs.

Conclusions:
To our knowledge, this is the first integrated simulation model of future specific bicycling policies. Our projections provide practical evidence that may be used by health and transport policy makers to optimize the benefits of transport bicycling while minimizing negative consequences in a cost-effective manner. The modeling process enhanced understanding by a range of stakeholders of cycling as a complex system. Participatory SDM can be a helpful method for integrating health and environmental outcomes in transport and urban planning.

The Shortest Path to Happiness: Recommending Beautiful, Quiet, and Happy Routes in the City

July 14, 2014 Comments off

The Shortest Path to Happiness: Recommending Beautiful, Quiet, and Happy Routes in the City
Source: arXiv.org

When providing directions to a place, web and mobile mapping services are all able to suggest the shortest route. The goal of this work is to automatically suggest routes that are not only short but also emotionally pleasant. To quantify the extent to which urban locations are pleasant, we use data from a crowd-sourcing platform that shows two street scenes in London (out of hundreds), and a user votes on which one looks more beautiful, quiet, and happy. We consider votes from more than 3.3K individuals and translate them into quantitative measures of location perceptions. We arrange those locations into a graph upon which we learn pleasant routes. Based on a quantitative validation, we find that, compared to the shortest routes, the recommended ones add just a few extra walking minutes and are indeed perceived to be more beautiful, quiet, and happy. To test the generality of our approach, we consider Flickr metadata of more than 3.7M pictures in London and 1.3M in Boston, compute proxies for the crowdsourced beauty dimension (the one for which we have collected the most votes), and evaluate those proxies with 30 participants in London and 54 in Boston. These participants have not only rated our recommendations but have also carefully motivated their choices, providing insights for future work.

Hat tip: ResearchBuzz

World’s population increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas

July 14, 2014 Comments off

World’s population increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas
Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Today, 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050. Projections show that urbanization combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050, with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations report launched today.

The 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects by UN DESA’s Population Division notes that the largest urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria. These three countries will account for 37 per cent of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2014 and 2050. By 2050, India is projected to add 404 million urban dwellers, China 292 million and Nigeria 212 million.

With nearly 38 million people, Tokyo tops UN’s ranking of most populous cities followed by Delhi, Shanghai, Mexico City, São Paulo and Mumbai

The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014. Asia, despite its lower level of urbanization, is home to 53 per cent of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe with 14 per cent and Latin America and the Caribbean with 13 per cent.

The world’s urban population is expected to surpass six billion by 2045. Much of the expected urban growth will take place in countries of the developing regions, particularly Africa. As a result, these countries will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy and employment, as well as for basic services such as education and health care.

Summer Fun: How Much Hotter Will Your City Be?

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Summer Fun: How Much Hotter Will Your City Be?
Source: Climate Central

If it feels hot to you now in the dog days of this summer, imagine a time when summertime Boston starts feeling like Miami and even Montana sizzles.

Thanks to climate change, that day is coming by the end of the century, making it harder to avoid simmering temperatures.

Summers in most of the U.S. are already warmer than they were in the 1970s. And climate models tell us that summers are going to keep getting hotter as greenhouse gas emissions continue. What will this warming feel like? Our new analysis of future summers illustrates just how dramatic warming is going to be by the end of this century if current emissions trends continue unabated.

Understanding Social Impact Bonds and Pay for Success

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Understanding Social Impact Bonds and Pay for Success
Source: Urban Institute

Pay for success (PFS) financing and social impact bonds (SIBs) have generated immense enthusiasm in the public and private sectors as a means to shift risk and generate new capital for social programming. In PFS and SIB transactions, private investors provide capital for an evidence-based social program. The investors’ principal is returned with a profit if rigorous evaluation concludes predetermined performance goals are met.

There are more than a dozen operating SIBs in the United Kingdom, and several PFS projects in US cities and states. However, transitioning from an experiment to a stable social funding structure requires a rigorous selection and evaluation process, and an appropriate pricing scheme for governments and investors. Urban Institute researchers have developed roadmaps for the next step for PFS development in the United States by drawing on evaluation research, policy development, and cost-benefit analysis.

The Future of Large Old Trees in Urban Landscapes

July 1, 2014 Comments off

The Future of Large Old Trees in Urban Landscapes
Source: PLoS ONE

Large old trees are disproportionate providers of structural elements (e.g. hollows, coarse woody debris), which are crucial habitat resources for many species. The decline of large old trees in modified landscapes is of global conservation concern. Once large old trees are removed, they are difficult to replace in the short term due to typically prolonged time periods needed for trees to mature (i.e. centuries). Few studies have investigated the decline of large old trees in urban landscapes. Using a simulation model, we predicted the future availability of native hollow-bearing trees (a surrogate for large old trees) in an expanding city in southeastern Australia. In urban greenspace, we predicted that the number of hollow-bearing trees is likely to decline by 87% over 300 years under existing management practices. Under a worst case scenario, hollow-bearing trees may be completely lost within 115 years. Conversely, we predicted that the number of hollow-bearing trees will likely remain stable in semi-natural nature reserves. Sensitivity analysis revealed that the number of hollow-bearing trees perpetuated in urban greenspace over the long term is most sensitive to the: (1) maximum standing life of trees; (2) number of regenerating seedlings ha−1; and (3) rate of hollow formation. We tested the efficacy of alternative urban management strategies and found that the only way to arrest the decline of large old trees requires a collective management strategy that ensures: (1) trees remain standing for at least 40% longer than currently tolerated lifespans; (2) the number of seedlings established is increased by at least 60%; and (3) the formation of habitat structures provided by large old trees is accelerated by at least 30% (e.g. artificial structures) to compensate for short term deficits in habitat resources. Immediate implementation of these recommendations is needed to avert long term risk to urban biodiversity.

Categories: ecology, PLoS ONE, urban issues

The Role of Transit in Support of High Growth Business Clusters in the U.S.

July 1, 2014 Comments off

The Role of Transit in Support of High Growth Business Clusters in the U.S. (PDF)
Source: American Public Transportation Association

This study addresses issues of business productivity, market access and transit service for America’s Innovation Districts. The study draws on eight high-growth knowledge-oriented business clusters and their transportation conditions in six US cities to provide an estimate of the total national income and employment consequences of congestion and how investment in public transportation maintain competitiveness.

FDI in U.S. Metro Areas: The Geography of Jobs in Foreign-Owned Establishments

June 23, 2014 Comments off

FDI in U.S. Metro Areas: The Geography of Jobs in Foreign-Owned Establishments
Source: Brookings Institution

This paper advances the understanding of foreign direct investment (FDI)—that is to say, the U.S operations of foreign companies— in U.S. metro areas. It presents new data on jobs in foreign-owned establishments (FOEs) across the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas between 1991 and 2011.

UK — How broadband coverage varies between cities

June 19, 2014 Comments off

How broadband coverage varies between cities
Source: Ofcom

Some people living in urban areas are still putting up with very low broadband speeds, according to an Ofcom study that reveals a varying picture of coverage and take-up across major cities.

While lower broadband availability, take-up and speeds are commonly associated with rural areas – something Ofcom has researched before – the new study aimed to understand whether cities had similar problems.

The results show that superfast broadband coverage varies widely between major urban areas, with Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland the best performing city for superfast broadband availability at 99%.

We the urban people: The demographic view on 30 world cities

June 18, 2014 Comments off

We the urban people: The demographic view on 30 world cities
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

If “a great city is an inventory of the possible,” as René Descartes said about 17th century Amsterdam, people themselves give life to a city and turn dreams into possibilities—whether schools or businesses, parks or theatres, roadways or hospitals. Demography provides a statistical portrait of the people in fine detail and broader trends on ages, densities, dependencies, and more, applying statistics to the study of human population. Here, we examine the population patterns of the 30 cities included in Cities of Opportunity 6 and take a closer look at two important demographic groups. First, global cities all require highly skilled, working-age people to build the future. Insight into urban professionals comes from 15,000 at PwC who took five minutes to tell us their city story. Second, an increasingly elderly world population calls for wise approaches to urban aging. Solutions being developed in Seoul, Stockholm, and Tokyo show cities working hard to turn lonely old age into a longevity dividend.

The Rise of Innovation Districts; A New Geography of Innovation in America

June 12, 2014 Comments off

The Rise of Innovation Districts; A New Geography of Innovation in America
Source: Brookings Institution

As the United States slowly emerges from the great recession, a remarkable shift is occurring in the spatial geography of innovation. For the past 50 years, the landscape of innovation has been dominated by places like silicon valley—suburban corridors of spatially isolated corporate campuses, accessible only by car, with little emphasis on the quality of life or on integrating work, housing and recreation.

A new complementary urban model is now emerging, giving rise to what we and others are calling “innovation districts.” These districts, by our definition, are geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. They are also physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired and offer mixed-use housing, office, and retail.

Innovation districts are the manifestation of mega-trends altering the location preferences of people and firms and, in the process, re-conceiving the very link between economy shaping, place making and social networking. Our most creative institutions, firms and workers crave proximity so that ideas and knowledge can be transferred more quickly and seamlessly. Our “open innovation” economy rewards collaboration, transforming how buildings and entire districts are designed and spatially arrayed. Our diverse population demands more and better choices of where to live, work and play, fueling demand for more walkable neighborhoods where housing, jobs and amenities intermix.

Municipal overspending costs Canadian households $7,800

June 2, 2014 Comments off

Municipal overspending costs Canadian households $7,800
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Canada’s Municipal Spending Watch provides a snapshot of extravagance at municipalities across the country. The report pegs the total cost of municipal overspending nationwide at over $7,800 per household over 12 years.

Nationally, municipal spending is out of control, increasing at four times the rate of inflation and population growth combined. In some municipalities, namely St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal and Victoria, the problem is even worse.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 857 other followers