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On Housing

  • A report from the Brookings Institution: restrictive (read, “exclusionary”) zoning may lead to lower test scores for kids.

“As the nation grapples with the growing gap between rich and poor and an economy increasingly reliant on formal education, public policies should address housing market regulations that prohibit all but the very affluent from enrolling their children in high-scoring public schools in order to promote individual social mobility and broader economic security.”


  • An analysis by US Today shows the recession accelerated trends towards urbanization.

“The shift to more urban housing development has been growing slowly during the past couple of decades and thanks to the recession and housing crash, this trend has accelerated. It is probable that the trends that the USA Today analysis points to are the precursors to a long-term shift in suburban development resulting in more in-fill, close-in development and far less growth on the outer edges of metropolitan areas.”



  • Downtown Cleveland is growing while suburban/exurban growth slows or reverses course.

“Take the latest population figures in the 5 county metropolitan area [around Cleveland]. From 1990 to 2010, the City of Cleveland shrank, as did many of the suburban areas of Cuyahoga County. The growth mostly occurred in the increasingly exurban fringes of the metro, as well as on the edges of Cuyahoga County. Except there is one outlier: downtown Cleveland. Over the last two decades, the neighborhood’s population grew 96%, with residential totals increasing from 4,651 to 9,098. It was the single largest spike of any neighborhood, suburb, or county measured for the two decades under study.”



Defining Neighborhoods through Data Tracking

“…a research project called Livehoods, from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, aims to shed some light on how people really inhabit their cities—and how this changes over time—by mapping data collected from 18 million Foursquare check-ins that have been sent out via Twitter.”



ITDP Mexico Takes on Traffic



Rethinking the National Mall

“Many of the world’s top landscape architects and architects presented their designs for three grand projects on the National Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds at Sylvan Theatre. The competition is fierce because all the design proposals offer elegant, exciting, innovative ideas for solving sticky ecological, security, and public space design challenges.”



Creativity & Cities

Jonah Lehrer’s ambitious new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, takes a fascinating dive into the world of creativity and how it all works, not to mention devoting a chapter entirely to cities.
Lehrer recently took some time to chat with Atlantic Cities and expand on his ideas concerning the nexus of creativity and cities.



Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture has a number of advantages for communities, including:

  • improving the quality of the urban environment through the introduction of green space and, thus, a reduction in pollution and global warming;
  • supporting the reduction of energy use through local production of food, including savings in transportation costs and food storage. Purchasing produce from farmers within a 100-mile (160-km) radius reduces automobile emissions and eliminates packaging waste;
  • helping close the urban loop system characterized by importation of food from rural zones and exportation of waste to regions outside the city or town;
  • incorporating use of wastewater for irrigation and organic solid waste for fertilizer;
  • promoting alternative development options, such as cultivation of vacant urban land for agricultural production;
  • helping build equitable responses to food needs by providing local food sources for low-income communities to improve access to fresh foods;
  • invigorating the community by incorporating local ideas and engagement; and
  • incorporating a cross-sector approach to look at long-term, systemic solutions to problems in cities with the goal of improved health and wellness.





Transit Score

Guess who’s ahead of Portland? And who’s right behind?!