title={Great Streets},
author={Jacobs, A.B.},
series={Great Streets},
publisher={MIT Press},
comment={A side-by-side comparison of the pysical characteristics of ‘great streets’ to try to explicate what makes them great.},
category={Urbanism, physical planning, streets, urban planning, traffic}
% Apparently most of the ‘great streets’ of the world are in Europe. And most of those are in France. And most of those are in Paris. Which is funny because I don’t remember ever being in Paris and thinking “hey, this is a great street” — an experience I often have in NYC.
% Page 89: On Market Street in San Francisco and how it was once great but is no more: “It isn’t as if people don’t know that the street is not what it once was and don’t care; they do. More than two-thirds of the voters, in 1967, voted to spend almost $25 million to help make it a great street again. That was when the subway was being built. Wide sidewalks, trees, refurbished lights, new wide paving and large granite curbs, a new family of street signs and benches and specially designed trash bins and other new details, and three large new plazas and more small ones were carefully designed and built. They make a positive difference, but not as much as one would have thought. After 20 years the trees are still not a major presence. They are not big enough and don’t look robust. Brick crosswalks, as continuations of the sidewalks, have been replaced with some hard-to-describe reddish-pinkish aggregate material. Asphalt seems to creep over the special paving materials. There is a difference between cleanliness (and the street is kept clean and maintenance (such as of trees and sidewalks) that seems to go unrecognized.
% Note last line in quote above. Though that chapter is also a good example of how little control planners actually have. It seems that what make Market Street great back in the day was mostly a combination of 1930s-style office buildings and the street being full of slowly-moving trolley cars that connected to the suburbs (both aspects entirely commercial operations back then, hence multiple trolley lines on the street). Also (unrecognized by Jacobs) just a different culture of going outside to get lunch from a shop, walking to your meetings in other buildings, not even considering taking a car anywhere.
% Jacobs archetype of a great street seems to be The Ramblas in Barcelona. See that chapter. % It seems like the goal of ‘great streets’ for Jacobs is something between a mall and a park. It is all about slow pedestrian walking and browsing open shops. For him (for the archetypal urban planner) maybe the goal is slightly more elevated than the mall where shopping is the end-goal of ALL aspects. Jacobs wants the highest elevation of street design to be a place to stroll with interesting things to look at and people to see and be seen by. These are, of course, all the same aspects a mall is trying to achieve too, Jacobs just (very slightly) reverses the top goal to the actual walking rather than the stores. I’m not sure chambers of commerce would agree with that flip, but it’s such a minor flip that they would not disagree with a planner trying to achieve it — and that, I think, is a question that a socially oriented planner should be wrestling with more explicitly (and typically does not). A park has the interesting-strolling-seen-and-be-seen as its highest goal as well and it is extracted entirely from the shopping. That’s nice and socialist, though personally I find a park dull compared to an active city street (shopping or no).
% By 100 pages in, Jacobs has dealt very little with residential great streets. Which you would think would be the most interesting! Let commercial streets take care of themselves. As a planner, I’m not super interested in designing malls. I am interested in how people live out their lives other than when they are shopping. What makes a residential street a great street to live on? Especially in urban areas? There’s a very simple answer to that: Sesame Street. It is the ideal residential street. (And note: there are no rich people on Sesame St.) It should be in this book! Maybe it is unachievable today (even putting aside the muppets, how do you get a street with zero cars like that?) But it is the goal that EVERY city street should be aiming for.
% I guess that’s my fundamental disappointment with this book. I was hoping for measured physical parameters of streets like Sesame Street (or, if you prefer, streets Jane Jacobs would recommend). Instead it’s mostly parameters of European shopping streets, and the occasional death-made-flesh residential boulevard.
% I believe he has a single example (the first one, in Pittsburgh) of a great street to actually live on. I can’t get over how virtually all the examples are either outdoor malls (he likes to “stroll” and appears to admire having many shops) or tree-lined boulevards. Even the Japan examples, like Motomachi St, Yokohama, while extremely compelling, if you look at it on google maps you can see it is essentially a mall. Not even essentially. It looks like a mall.
% When I think of a great street, I think of a street that has lots of people out on it, barbqueing, listening to music, interacting with each other, hanging out — which might include some shopping, but the goal I think of a great street is to get people to stop for a while, not just to stroll along as through a park. If there’s movement through it, it should be movement of people in a way that encourages neighbors to run into neighbors and interact. It’s possible Allan Jacobs didn’t feel the need to address this because that’s what Jane Jacobs did? But I feel like so much of what makes a street work is in fact the physical qualities. I don’t think those physical qualities are the same as what Allan Jacobs is lifting up. Rugby Road might be beautiful, but there’s very few people outside on it. But Argyle Road, the block before the parade ground, always has tons of people out on the street. Partially because of the high-density walls of apartment buildings on that street, but also because the culture of the folks who live there is to go outside to get out of the tiny apartment. (I’ll say it right here: rich white people are the death of street life. No worse thing can happen to your neighborhood — And I am not really an exception!) High density helps the most, I think. But the street itself is a pleasant place to be. It has that outdoor-room quality (who writes about that idea? it’s so powerful!) even though there’s no street furniture and few trees. There are other physical elements that can help life on a street: some commercial (like coffee shops or, most especially, like the Puerto Rican food trailer in the South Bronx), porches (but not balconies), and maybe most important of all: slow, low traffic. High-speed traffic is the other death of street life. Allan Jacobs seems to at least get this.
% The Monument Avenue chapter is interesting for how much is misses the mark. Presumably some of what makes a street great is the enduring longevity of its design. (See the chapter on the porticos of Bologna, which have been supported by the city for hundreds of years.) In the case of Monument Avenue, the history from the period this book was written and now shows how hard it is to predict that. The monuments themselves have been deemed offensive and torn down/removed leaving gaping holes in the middle of the street design. (Presumably SOMEONE is smart enough to realize that something should be done with those spaces rather than leaving them as the sparsely-planted dirt patches they currently show as on Google Maps.) But that maybe could have been predicted (or even called for, by someone with some serious foresight), and can be remedied. What Jacobs apparently could not see was the brutal desolation of gentrification. Running google maps up and down that street now, it is a wasteland of mansions. Maybe nice buildings, but there are NO people on the streets (and very few cars moving on the road even.) It is so wide that it looks destructively sunny — the kind of street you can’t wait to get off of and find a commercial street with a coffee shop and shade. The houses all have that quality of being over-cared-for. You don’t want to linger there because some rich person might send a security guard out to move you along. You certainly would never want to walk your dog there. No kids playing, no people walking, houses that look renovated rather than lived in. It looks like hell. You couldn’t pay me to live on that street now, and I doubt you could have in the 90s when Great Streets was written. Jacobs got this one wrong entirely.
% There are a couple of nods to active residential streets: see page 178 Yohga Promenade, Setagaya, Japan; and page 182 Paddington Streets, Sydney.
% There are also one or two nods to modern street design (not that I think those are good). But Jacobs seems to think the archetypes of a great street is one you stroll past stores on in Continental Europe.
% The Amsterdam canal streets section (page 184) suggested to me that street narrowness is entirely seen by the public as how wide the roadway is for cars. That the canals actually make the street more than 100 feet wide is not perceived by normal people at all.
% Part 3 where he has a bunch of figure-ground 1-mile scale maps of cities to compare is pretty interesting. Though these days, you could write a plugin for google maps that would give you that kind of map at any scale for any place in the world — but would you want to? Once nice thing is that it is curated.
% Page 237: Pompeii had a solid grid 2000 years ago! He mentions on page 259 that Romans laid down grid patterns and gives as examples Bologna, Florence, and Lucca as still having grids from the Romans. (So what the heck happened to cities in the middle-ages? Were their insane street patterns for defense? Does Mumford address this? I can’t remember.)
% Page 256: he talks about how topography has an effect on the layout of cities, almost inevitably. Even in San Francisco where they tried to impose their rigid grid on the landscape (thus explaining the ridiculously steep streets). Topography is as much part of city design as any other element.
% Page 257: He discusses elements that give order to city layouts (by order here, he means mostly I think things that provide wayfinding and orientation to someone moving through the cities). Natural features (including topography, but also rivers and whatnot) help orient a person. So do large streets that cut through a city, particularly if they break a rigid pattern like Broadway. Not discussed: non-design elements that help with orientation, like NYC’s street numbering. (Which may seem cold and clinical in the abstract, but the street number-names do the same thing any name does to human consciousness: its base meaning recedes in favor of the name being attached to the specific place (or person). When you think of 6th street in Manhattan, you don’t picture a number, you picture a row of Indian restaurants all right next to each other.
% Page 265-266: re-enforced by the notion that streets are public spaces, he points out the trend towards bigger blocks, fewer intersections, and general enlargement of city centers over time. Clearly leaning towards a love of “fine-grained” (as he calls it), dense center cities with many intersections per mile, Jacobs points out that the trend towards bigger blocks means bigger/richer players (developers) and fewer mom-and-pop shops and homes. His argument is that fine-grained, many-intersectioned, complex city centers enables more people to participate in shaping the city. He says even co-ops act as one body. This is, it seems to me, an argument against tall center cities. And maybe there’s something to that: it seems like high-rises never deliver on their promise for enlivened neighborhoods (excepting the folks I know who argue co-op city is a great place to live). Though large apartment buildings often do (especially if they are pre-war), and fit into the large-block paradigm nicely. He shunts aside concerns that fine-grained complex blocks are bad for wayfinding.
% I guess my problem here is I just can’t get on board with a general supposition that medieval European cities generate more great streets than, say, NYC. While Jacobs is not authoritarian in his views, and tries to see great streets everywhere (except for the lack of any examples in NYC…), his general pattern is always towards these ancient continental, and I would argue relatively small cities. He often seems to be falling into the trap of comparing city centers, which (as I am always pointing out) is hardly ever an apples-to-apples comparison. For instance, there’s no part of the book that mentions NYC outside of Manhattan. But NYC is so large that the outer boroughs contain plenty of examples of dense, very active, great streets. (In the part of the city where, you know, most people actually live.)
% Page 267, Part 4: does give specifics like tree spacing, and what precisely constitutes “human scale”, and how more horizontal spacing between buildings creates less definition of the street. Nothing is set in stone or dogmatic though.

Author={Jennings, Viniece and Rigolon, Alessandro and Jelks, Na’Taki Osborne},
Title={When Green Spaces Displace Residents, Our Cities’ Health Suffers},
journal={Next City},
comment={Green spaces in cities increase health. But they also play a role in gentrification (sometimes contributing to it, sometimes a result of it). Some people are calling to make cities “just green enough” and parks-related anti-displacement strategies.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, green gentrification, parks, gentrification}

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={The Ground-Floor Window Into What’s Ailing Downtowns},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Ground floor retail is suffering in many cities, largely because of vacant office space upstairs. Fixing it means addressing the (to me) obvious requirements that have been ignored in the past: people like to see people more than anything else; ground floors should be more about interaction than transactions; ground floor retail (read: mixed use) maybe can’t go EVERYWHERE because it dilutes the power of commercial districts; ground floor activities should be considered in light of other ground floor acitivities, so you don’t just have coffee shops and banks; alternatives to conventional retail in ground floor could improve the experience, things like light manufacturing or public bathrooms.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, ground floor, mixed use}

Author={Pollan, Michael},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Old article where Michael Pollan dwells on the insanity of lawns in America.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, lawns, grass}

Author={Flavelle, Christopher and Healy, Jack},
Title={Arizona Limits Construction Around Phoenix as Its Water Supply Dwindles},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Phoenix is cutting off development for lack of water. Phoenix uses twice as much water as NYC, even though it has half the population.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality}
% So much for Glaeser’s theories about building your way out of expensive housing. In fact, in this case, the cheapest housing is the housing that is most impacted by the water shortages. And it’s not like water is the only resource that could limit development!

Author={Wilson, Ben},
Title={Let the Post-Pandemic City Grow Wild},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={An argument for more green spaces in cities that are partially tended and semi-wild.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, green space, world war 2, WWII, fresh kills}
% This article is kinda all over the place, glomming together a bunch of arguments for green cities that don’t seem, to my mind, to flow together linearly. He talks about the miracle of “bomb weed” growing in destroyed sections of European cities after WWII as an example of how nature is capable of coming back in unique ways quickly even in the worst environments as if just letting nature takes its course in places (and hey, why not just bomb out some places? says the punk rocker in me) was the best solution to green cities. But then he makes some convoluted argument that wild spaces also need tending, and then proceeds to list pretty much everything except traditional parks as examples of what he’s talking about: lots to be developed left to be green spaces until they are, green roofs, walkways over nature areas, Fresh Kills – these hardly seem like “neglect” to me. I don’t understand what he thinks is the right balance of neglect vs tending. I’m not sure he does himself.
% Also, not clear what this has to do with the post-pandemic period at all. (Nothing was bombed in the cities that I know of, nor is there suddenly a huge amount of unused space – unless you include office space in Manhattan.)

Author={Hu, Winnie},
Title={Can $50 Million Make a Dull Brooklyn Office Park Cool?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={MetroTech Center is being rebranded as “Brooklyn Commons” because the original plan that it would be a tech hub in Brooklyn did not come to pass, even while Brooklyn itself thrived around it. Contains a nice history of how MetroTech Center came to be in the 1990s and how it succeeded despite the interest of tech companies.},
category={Urbanism, nyc, metrotech center, brooklyn commons, brooklyn}
% Contains maybe the most poignant 12 words on urban planning ever quoted: “It kind of worked out, but not the way he envisioned it,” said Kurt Becker, the vice dean of research, innovation and entrepreneurship at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering.

Author={Russell, Anna},
Title={King Charles’s Vision of Britain, Writ Small},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={About Pounbury a small development with planned rules like Seaside Florida, except with a mishmash of architectural styles. It was a pet project of King Charles.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, poundbury, seaside, king charles, england}
% This article has an odd tone that is fairly critical of Poundbury, but has very little that is bad about it to point to.

Author={Chen, Stefanos},
Title={Taller Towers, Fewer Homes},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={There are now a number of cases where developers have torn down buildings and built larger buildings with FEWER units in them in order to cater to the ultra-wealthy market.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality}
% Once again, unbridled capitalism fails to generate the incentives that would create the city we actually want. Why are planners so committed to free-market economics again?

title={The Death and Life of Great American Cities},
author={Jacobs, J.},
series={A Vintage book ; V-241},
publisher={Vintage Books},
category={Urbanism, new york city}
% (You should definitely re-read “The Need for Aged Buildings” chapter.)
% Page 268: Waterfronts too, can be made to act much more like seams than they ordinarily do today. The usual form of rescue for a decayed waterfront vacuum is to replace it with a park, which in turn becomes a border element—usually appallingly underused, as might be expected—and this moves the vacuum effect inland. It is more to the point to grasp the problem where it originates, at the shoreline, and aim at making the shore a seam. Waterfront work uses, which are often interesting, should not be blocked off from ordinary view for interminable stretches, and the water itself thereby blocked off from city view too at ground level. [Example of an industrial dock near her, with the line “Since it does not belong to the Parks Department nobody is forbidden anything.” Then: This is not pretty-pretty, but it is an even greatly enjoyed on the dock.
% Page 307: East Harlem is declared a deprived country, and money is poured in from decisions by absentee experts from the remote continent inhabited by housers and planners. The more that poured in, the worse became the turmoils and troubles of East Harlem, and still more did it becomes like a deprived, backward country.
% Page 317: It is so easy to blame the decay of cities on traffic… or immigrants… or the whimsies of the middle class. The decay of cities goes deeper and is more complicated. It goes right down to what we think we want, and to our ignorance about how cities work. The forms in which money is used for city building—or withheld from use—are powerful instruments of city decline today. The forms in which money is used must be converted to instruments of regeneration—from instruments buying violent cataclysms to instruments buying continual, gradual, complex and gentler change.
% Page 334 footnote: On rats: debunking the argument that new buildings have fewer rats. She points out that demolishing old buildings just displaces rats, and the only way to get rid of them is with extermination. Given that construction is widely understood now to increase rat populations, I’m not sure anyone is still making this argument that new buildings help with the rat problem.
% Page 335: Corruption, on the other hand—either corruption for the sake of money or corruption for the sake of power—has a different nature from that of strait-laced bureaucracy. Corruption grows more inventive, rather than less so, the longer it has an object to play with. To combat both stultification and corruption, we ought, every eight or ten years at least, to try out new methods of subsidizing dwellings or add variations to old ones that are working well enough for us to retain. We ought even to call into being entirely new agencies for these new jobs, from time to time, and let old ones fade away. … Deliberate, periodic changes in tactics of subsidy would afford opportunity to meet new needs that become apparent over time, but nobody can foresee in advance.
% Page 343: We went awry by replacing, in effect, each horse on the crowded city streets with half a dozen or so mechanized vehicles, instead of using each mechanized vehicles to replace half a dozen or so horses. The mechanical vehicles, in their overabundance, work slothfully and idle much. As one consequence of such low efficiency, the powerful and speedy vehicles, choked by their own redundancy, don’t move much faster than horses. Trucks, by and large, do accomplish much of what might have been hoped for from mechanical vehicles in cities. They do the work of much greater numbers of horse-drawn vehicles or of burden-laden men. But because passenger vehicles do not, this congestion, in turn, greatly cuts down the efficiency of the trucks.
% Page 347: Excessive numbers of horses produced similar conflicts; people who have experienced an Amsterdam or New Delhi rush hour report that bicycle in massive numbers become an appalling mixture with pedestrians.

Author={Saki Knafo},
Title={The True Legacy of Michael K. Williams},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Michael K. Williams (Omar on the Wire) made his legacy the community organizing organization We Build the Block, which promotes on-the-ground healing for those involved in violence.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, community organizing, the wire}

Author={Kaplan, Erin Aubry},
Title={Is My Little Library Contributing to the Gentrification of My Black Neighborhood?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A black woman wrings her hands about putting out a “My Little Library” box in her black neighborhood when a white couple stops to look at it. Arcs into some history of gentrification and white-return.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, My Little Library}
% It’s easy to keep white people out of your neighborhood. Just join your neighbors in getting a giant speaker system and blasting soca until 2am. Rich white people lead boring dance-party free lives.

Author={Vartabedian, Ralph},
Title={Years of Delays, Billions in Overruns: The Dismal History of Big Infrastructure},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={“Agencies have less internal technical talent. Legal challenges have grown stronger under state and federal environmental laws. And spending on infrastructure as a fraction of the economy has shrunk, giving local agencies less experience in modern practices.” “Bent Flyvbjerg, a professor at the University of Oxford who has studied scores of projects around the world, found that 92 percent of them overran their original cost and schedule estimates, often by large margins — in part, he said, because cost estimates are “systematically and significantly deceptive.”” The U.S. used to be ranked first in the world in the quality of its infrastructure. Now it is ranked 13th. ““If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved. The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big there’s no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.”” ““All the major projects have cost and schedule issues,” he acknowledged. “The truth is these are very high-risk and difficult projects. Conditions change. It is impossible to estimate it accurately. That is naïve.”” “The environmental review process has become so complex, in part to defend against inevitable lawsuits, that neither state agencies nor federal departments can write and review the documents without teams of outside consultants.”},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, infrastructure, environmental review}

Author={Yuko, Elizabeth},
Title={Where Did All the Public Bathrooms Go?},
journal={Bloomberg CityLab},
comment={In the style of Urban Omnibus, extensively covers the history of public toilets, the (let’s be honest, fairly obvious) reasons for their decline, and the small hope for their future.},
category={Urbanism, history, bathrooms, public toilets, nyc, pay toilets}
% No mention of my idea that the city should just pay Starbucks and other private bathroom locations around the city to allow the public to have access to their bathrooms, in a totally fucked-up but simple public-private partnership solution.

Author={Simon, David},
Title={The Question Michael K. Williams Asked Me Before Every Season of ‘The Wire’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A eulogy for Omar by David Simon. Pretty much everything that ever needed to be said about cities is wrapped up in here.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, Music, the wire}

Author={Williamson Alex},
Title={Which Community Benefits Agreements Really Delivered?},
comment={A rundown and review of the effectiveness of CBAs, including detailed coverage of the results of Atlantic Yards where it turned out that Ratner had been basically funding the community organization side of the CBA agreement in order to make it look like he had community buy-in. Virtually nothing remains of the community organizations that signed the Atlantic Yards CBA, very few CBA goals were met, and there is no one to enforce the ones that weren’t.},
category={Criticality, Urbanis, Housing, community benefits agreements}
% Also mentioned in here is that “Atlantic Yards” was rebranded “Pacific Park” in 2014. I cannot imagine anything more Orwellian that they might have chosen. I don’t know how I missed it when that happened.

Author={Gebeloff, Robert},
Title={Why New York State’s Population Growth Surprised Experts},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={New York State lost a congressional seat in the 2020 Census by only 89 people. But it gained population, perhaps due to carefully making sure as many people as possible got added to the Census’ master address list. This article has some interesting details about the specific mechanics of how the Census is carried out.},
category={Urbanism, census}

author={Gurney, Kevin Robert
and Liang, Jianming
and Roest, Geoffrey
and Song, Yang
and Mueller, Kimberly
and Lauvaux, Thomas},
title={Under-reporting of greenhouse gas emissions in U.S. cities},
journal={Nature Communications},
abstract={Cities dominate greenhouse gas emissions. Many have generated self-reported emission inventories, but their value to emissions mitigation depends on their accuracy, which remains untested. Here, we compare self-reported inventories from 48 US cities to independent estimates from the Vulcan carbon dioxide emissions data product, which is consistent with atmospheric measurements. We found that cities under-report their own greenhouse gas emissions, on average, by 18.3{%} (range: −145.5{%} to +63.5{%}) – a difference which if extrapolated to all U.S. cities, exceeds California’s total emissions by 23.5{%}. Differences arise because city inventories omit particular fuels and source types and estimate transportation emissions differently. These results raise concerns about self-reported inventories in planning or assessing emissions, and warrant consideration of the new urban greenhouse gas information system recently developed by the scientific community.},
comment={Do to inconsistencies in methods, US cities are generally under-reporting their greenhouse gas emission, by 18 percent on average.}, category={Urbanism, Science, greenhouse gasses, climate change, cities}

Author={Engler, Christina},
Title={Young children are intuitive urban planners — we would all benefit from living in their ‘care-full’ cities},
journal={The Conversation},
comment={The input of pre-schoolers on the urbban planning process can have important outcomes for improving the health and qulaity of cities.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, pre-schoolers, childern, planning}

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={The Pandemic Has Pushed Aside City Planning Rules. But to Whose Benefit?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Uses the moves made by cities during the pandemic to open streets or allow drinking and eating on sidewalks as an example of the much larger problem of meaningful participation by low-income communities of color. Some of the argument for this criticism is made strongly in quotes within the article.},
category={Urbanism, community planning, Criticality, participation}
% ““It would be very easy for us to just say, ‘We did a survey and 75 percent of Oaklanders say they support Slow Streets,’” Mr. Russo said. “When you see the fact that it’s disproportionately folks who are higher-income who really enjoy it, and people who are white who are saying that, that’s a very important thing for government to be listening to.” Those survey response rates echo research on public meetings about development, conducted by the political scientists Katherine Levine Einstein, David Glick and Maxwell Palmer. The people who show up for such meetings, thus shaping what kind of housing is built, tend to be older, whiter, higher-income and homeowners. Those are the people with more time for public meetings, the flexibility to show up on a weeknight, and motivation to do so. They also wield the most power when they speak, with their homeowner’s concerns about property values at stake, or with their credentials as engineers, architects or lawyers who have read the zoning code.”
% \url{}
% ““Participation processes are broken in two different ways,” said Professor Einstein, who teaches at Boston University. “They’re weaponized by privileged white people. And then when less privileged communities do try to use them, they’re not as effective as a tool for them.” Jeremy Levine, a sociologist who spent several years following community meetings in poorer neighborhoods of Boston, found that those meetings often served to give officials and developers the power to say “the community” is on board. “More meetings, better-attended meetings or differently designed meetings will not alleviate these fundamental challenges,” said Mr. Levine, a professor at the University of Michigan. This is the reality as cities consider what it would mean to have more community input: In city planning, participatory democracy has largely increased inequality, not lessened it.”

Author={Zimmer, Carl},
Title={Is It Safe to Come Out of Lockdown? Check the Sewer},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The technology to take samples from sewage and predict the amount of virus in the population is developing, soon the point where it may be possible to predict an outbreak in a specific neighborhood before anyone tests positive. This technology obviously extends beyond just covid.},
category={Science, Urbanism, Health, covid, sewers}

Author={Green, Peneloppe},
Title={Our Lives, Under Construction},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={300 miles of sidewalk sheds in NYC. Most are up for about a year, but some have been up for 11 years.},
category={Urbanism, sidewalk sheds, nyc, scaffolding}

Author={Appelbaum, Binyamin },
Title={When Historic Preservation Hurts Cities},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Argues that Historic preservation, in practice, is not about preserving history. It is about preserving the lifestyle of an affluent urban elite.” Argues that while preservation of historically significant buildings is important, individual houses are not historically significant. Quotes Rem Koolhaus arguing that EVERYTHING should be preserved, if we’re going to preserve at all. And therefore Koolhaus is in favor of strips of preservation through a city.},
category={Urbanism, historic preservation, solar panels}

Author={Pietrzak, Adrian},
Title={Rent and Ride Affordability is About Both},
journal={Citizens Budget Commission (CBC)},
comment={When both transportation costs and housing costs are considered together as a portion of income, NYC is only an averagely expensive city among 20 peer cities. Even though housing costs are high, transportation costs are very low. When these things are considered together, Houston ends up being about as expensive as NYC, and it’s residents earn less so they pay a greater share of their income to live there.},
category={Urbanism, affordability, housing costs, income, transportation costs, houston, nyc}
% Though this doesn’t account for the fact that you get a bigger space and own your own car in Houston, assuming you wanted those things.

Author={MacGillis, Alec},
Title={The Tragedy of Baltimore},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Gives a detailed history of the problem of crime in Baltimore whose murder rate has beein rising to the point that in 2017 with 342 murders it not only had vastly more than any other city around 500,000 people in size, but had more total murders than NYC, which is 14 times its size. This is after crime declined up to about 2014 in the wake of The Wire years. It argues that Baltimore is talked about by the right wing media only as “American carnage” with no sense of historical forces or societal abandonment. And the left wing media ignores Baltimore’s crime problem because they have no way to engage with policing except as being fundamentally suspect. In giving a detailed history of the fall and rise of crime in Baltimore it also gives a lot of background on real-life people who inspired characters in The Wire, like Tony Barksdale.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, crime, baltimore}

Author={Kaufman, Dan},
Title={The City Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Would Have Loved to Live In},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={From 1920-1960 socialists known as the “sewer socialists” were in political control in Milwaukee. They were known for their die-hard commitment to integrity and against corruption and providing the best government for the most appropriate amount of money. They were focussed on building infrastructure (including sewers) the most well-known of which was the Milwaukee County park system by urban planner Charles Whitnall along Lake Michigan’s waterfront.},
category={Urbanism, Economics, Politics, parks, socialism, milwaukee}

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={A Nobel-Winning Economist Goes to Burning Man},
journal={New York Times},
comment={Argues that planners design too much, and economists trust markets to do everything. Nobel Prize winner (economics) Paul Romer argues that the right place is somewhere in between, and then uses Burning Man’s street layout as the argument for how having the constraint of streets gives just enough order for the benefits of cities to flourish.},
category={Urbanism, Economics, paul romer, burning man}

Author={Marshall, Colin},
Title={A ‘radical alternative’: how one man changed the perception of Los Angeles},
journal={The Guardian},
comment={A recap of Reyner Banham’s book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies from the 1970s in which he argues that LA is a great city. In doing this he foresaw concepts that would come to the forefront in the future — like the city as scrambled egg, with its business yolk mixed with its domestic white, and nodes of centers spread across a huge area. The most famous chapter of the book is his argument for loving the LA freeways.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, los angeles}

Author={Berkey-Gerard, Mark},
Title={Eminent Domain Revisited},
journal={Gotham Gazette},
comment={Overview of eminent domain use in NYC, including the standard of “blight” that must be reached to use eminent domain under state law — and how it is a weak standard. And how the Kelo vs. New London decisions expanded the notion of eminent domain — which used to only be used for very public developments, like bridges — to include private developments. Also covers some places in NYC that eminent domain was used recently (as of 2005).},
category={Urbanism, cup, eminent domain, nyc, kelo v new london, blight}

Author={Capps, Kriston},
Title={The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed},
comment={Describes the EB-5 immigration program, which allows developers to purchase visas for workers if they invest in “distressed urban areas” in the US. What a “distressed urban area” is was not defined by the legislation passed by congress. In NY State, Empire State Development draws the lines defining these areas. They conveniently connected the lower west side space of Hudson Yards to areas with public housing in Harlem (by including Central Park) for this particular area. As a result, Hudson Yards has taken advantage of the EB-5 visa program by claiming they investing in an area of Harlem that needs redevelopment.},
category={Urbanism, cup, hudson yards, eb-5, immigration, visas}

Author={Ogren, Thomas Leo},
Title={Botanical Sexism Cultivates Home-Grown Allergies},
journal={Scientific American},
comment={Decades of urban arborists and other tree experts pushing for the planting of male trees in urban areas to avoid the seed litter produced by femals has aggravated the asthma and allergy problems in cities, since instead of seeds the male trees produce pollen. Until the 1980s most street treest were big elms, which were inset pollinated. But most of these male trees that have replaced them since dutch elm disease are wind pollinated. Despite what you read about pollen blowing hundreds of miles, most pollen lands close by to wear it originated. Trees also do pull polutants out of the environment - and incorporate them into the tree, and males put them back out as pollen which is inhaled by humans (while females would drop pollutants in seeds, which would not be eaten by humans). This is known as botanical sexism.},
category={Urbanism, street trees, pollen, allergies, asthma}

Author={Chokshi, Niraj},
Title={How Dangerous Is It to Be a Bird in Your City? Buildings Kill Hundreds of Millions a Year},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Between 350 million and nearly a billion birds are killed crashing into buildings in the US each year. It appears to be because the lights of the city disorient them. In NYC the September 11th Tribute in Light beams have been documented to disorient whole flocks of birds. It is possible that turning the lights off in cities for even 7 (nonconsectutive) days in the spring and fall could have huge impacts on reducing the number of bird deaths.},
category={Urbanism, Science, birds, buildings, light}

Author={Baker, Kevin T.},
Title={Model Metropolis},
comment={Sim City’s algorithms were largely based on the theories put forth by Jay Forrester in his 1969 book Urban Dynamics. Forrester had built an early city simulator based on 150 equiations and 200 parameters. The simulator found that once the land area of a city was used up and the only way to grow was by replacing already existing structures, his simulated cities went into inevitable decline. This (unfortunately) matched what people were seeing with the urban crises of the 60s and 70s. Built into the models was classist assumptions, like the poor had higher birth rates, made fewer contributions to taxes, and increased public expenditures. (In addition, it was vastly oversimplified - almost to the point of an “outsider” like vision of cities.) Forrester was careful to not claim his simulations reflected particular cities, but made generalizations about cities in general. He claimed that programs aimed at helping the underemployed - particularly low-income housing - cost public resources and occupied land that could be more productively used for other thigns. Forrester’s simulations gave a theoretical backing to conservative notions of “benign neglect” (ala Daniel Patrick Moynihan) hands-off urban policies. Forrester felt that throughout human history people have had a simplistic cause-and-effect approach to policy making based on our simplistic “mental models”, but our social interactions are far more complex and we can’t hold them in our heads. Because of that, he felt that the effects of social programs would be different than those imagined by policymakers. The intuitive solutions are “wrong most of the time”. Things we do to try to improve society are likely to backfire. This is, of course, totally a conservative notion. Albert O. Hirschman calls this the “perversity thesis” and identifies it throughout history. Where a conservative speaker can claim they share your social goal, while simultaneasly arguing that your approach will only make it worse. ``Expert knowledge, of course, has an important place in democratic deliberation, but it can also cut people out of the policy process, dampen the urgency of moral claims, and program a sense of powerlessness into our public discourse. Appeals to a social system’s “complexity” and the potential for “perverse outcomes” can be enough to sink transformative social programs that are still on the drawing board. This might not matter in the context of a virtual environment like that of Urban Dynamics or SimCity, but we have decades of real-world evidence that demonstrates the disastrous costs of the “counterintuitive” anti-welfare agenda. Straightforward solutions to poverty and economic misery—redistribution and the provision of public services—have both empirical backing and moral force. Maybe it’s time we start listening to our intuition again. ‘’},
category={Urbanism, sim city, urban simulation, complexity, perversity thesis, benign neglect}
% Dates on this issue are approximate
% Consider also checking out another book by Forrester: The Limits to Growth

Author={Rothwell, Johnathan},
Title={The Biggest Economic Divides Aren’t Regional. They’re Local. (Just Ask Parents.)},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The latest research shows that regional differences are far less than the differences between different economic classes within a given area. Over the last 100 years, states have become far more similar when talking about economic prospects. So there is a much greater difference between low-income people and high-income people in LA than there is between CA and MS. The greatest economic prospects go to children who grow up in wealthier areas, no matter where those wealthier areas are located. Mostly because of the quality of schools. Since the cost of housing is much lower in some places, it can be cheaper to move into a wealthier area in those places and gain the benefits of better schooling.},
category={Urbanism, Economics, regional differences, income inequality}

title={Verbalizing, visualizing, and navigating: The effect of strategies on encoding a large-scale virtual environment.},
author={Kraemer, David JM and Schinazi, Victor R and Cawkwell, Philip B and Tekriwal, Anand and Epstein, Russell A and Thompson-Schill, Sharon L},
journal={Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition},
publisher={American Psychological Association},
comment={Using testing on a virtual city model, finds that giving instructions verbally is better for recognizing landmarks, and visual directions are better for judgements of relative direction. This was true regardless of individual “cognitive style”.},
category={Urbanism, mapping, directions, learning styles}

Author={Badger, Emily and Bui, Quoctrung},
Title={What if Cities Are No Longer the Land of Opportunity for Low-Skilled Workers?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={While dense cities still offer opportunity to those with college degrees, there is evidence that for low-skilled workers they no longer offer any more opportunity that less dense rural places. For people struggling to advance without higher education, there is no longer an obvious place they can move to that would help them.},
category={Urbanism, Economics, low-skilled workers}

Author={Wu, Winnie},
Title={What Happens When 25,000 Amazon Workers Flush Toilets?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Looks into whether the addition of 25,000 people to Long Island City with the new Amazon headquarters would impact the sewer system, and generally finds it wouldn’t. Includes interesting info like that the average New Yorker uses 100 gallons of water per day. It is obvious from city officials they talked to in this article that this number is a widely-used heuristic for estimating sewer load. And that the city’s system is capable of far more than the 2.5 million gallons the heuristic indicates.},
category={Urbanism, long island city, amazon, combined sewer overflows, sewers, water use}

Author={Bellafante, Ginia},
Title={Henri Bendel and the Death of Luxury},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Observes that the rich no longer have shops available to them in NYC that sell genre-defining cutting-edge style and products. The stuff is expensive, but it’s fundamentally dull. She proposes that this is the result of corporatization of retail, not the high cost of real estate.},
category={Urbanism, nyc, retail, rich people}
% This is such an interesting observation, but the causes are SO much more complicated than just the corporatization of retail or expensive real estate. Rich people - the shoppers - simply aren’t as sophisticated as they used to be (or think they are). And the internet combined with fast-fashion has democratized what is cutting edge in terms of fashion and style. Being rich no longer entitles you to first access to new and inspiring styles - it just entitles you expensive styles. Similarly “luxury” items are no longer strongly correlated with well-made things or a rarefied aesthetic, they are just correlated with cost. One luxury car is basically indistinguishable from another nowadays. One luxury apartment looks just like the next.
% Instead, the truly beautiful, the new, and the culture-defining belong to the people who have the vision to seek them out, from the deepest corners of the internet and the dankest corners of upstate thrift stores. This is as it should be - let the rich rot with their bleached and boring overpriced and underwhelming junk.

Author={Strader, Stephen M.},
Title={This Map Shows How the Carolinas Became More Vulnerable to Hurricanes},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The thing making damge from hurricanes worse isn’t climate change - it’s ever-increasing building of new homes along the coasts.},
category={Urbanism, hurricanes, coastal development}
% The exact same thing is true of forest fires: \url{}
% More and more homes are built in the WUI (wildland urban interface) - the areas where access provided by roads reaches their ends before vast woodland stretches. We pay massive amounts to fight fires in the back country to save those homes.
% Meanwhile the homes in the WUI conduct fire to more urbanized areas - often the damage from “forest fires” is of subdevelopments burned down after burning homes in the WUI set them on fire.

Author={O’Hagan, Andrew},
Title={The Tower},
journal={London Review of Books},
comment={A 60,000 word in-dept look at the Grenfell Tower fire in London. In addition to a lot of personal stories, it tries to piece together who was at fault in the fire, and concludes that the main fault lies with failure of national regulation around the manufacture and installation of insulation and other construction materials. It also shoots holes in the myth that the local community groups used the disaster to score political goals at the cost of truth. “Soon became the kind of group that wants to know you’re on its side before it will answer your questions.” Meanwhile the local government was blamed for lack of action after the fire, but close examination shows that the local government was extremely active, just not in a public/media way that would be picked up as part of the larger story.},
category={Urbanism, community groups, london, grenfell tower, fire}

Author={Caron, Christina},
Title={Should I Flush It? Most Often, the Answer Is No},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The only things that should be going down toilets is human waste and TP (which breaks down in a minute). Everything else, including floss, tampons, even tissues have a chemical binder, should not be flushed.},
category={Urbanism, toilets, sewage}
% The interesting thing to me is that the idea of “rugged disposables” is kinda a myth.
% It’s like: either choose objects for your life that last a long time, and use them over and over again.
% Or choose TP because it’s gone in a minute. Everything in between is waste.

Author={Ferré-Sadurní, Luis},
Title={What Will It Cost to Fix New York’s Public Housing?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={NYCHA did an update to their 7 year old estimate for what it would cost to bring NYCHA buildings up to good working order: 31.8 billion dollars over the next five years.},
category={Urbanism, nycha, public housing, nyc}

Author={Baker, Kevin},
Title={The Death of a Once Great City},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Tries to articulate all that is going wrong with affluence taking over NYC and other big world cities. Offers real estate policy tinkering as a solution.},
category={Urbanism, nyc, gentrification}
% This article does a nice job of cataloging all the problems, but ultimately fails to offer a coherent critique.
% It falls back on the problem of “real estate” and how to fix it. But cities are way more complex than that.
% I wrote a letter to Harper’s on this subject, published in the September issue.
% Also see this blog post about trying to re-decentralize the internet: \url{}
% There are many similar issues to saving cities as there are to saving the internet. The core one being: there is no single answer. (At least not one that isn’t rooted in radical Marxism.)

Author={Rosenberg, Tina},
Title={Trying to Cut Crime in Public Housing by Making It More Livable},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={NYC is trying to lower the crime rate in the most dangerous public housing complexes by making the neighborhoods better: with well-maintained buildings, services, engaged civic life, and neighborhood collaboration to solve problems. This includes “Working elevators, summer jobs for teenagers, community centers open till midnight, residents who know what to do when the trash piles up.” The idea is that these things build trust in government and creates “collective efficacy”. Lack of collective efficacy is the reason poor communities have more crime. Communities that create collective efficacy — even without government support — have lower crime rates.},
category={Urbanism, collective efficacy, public housing, nyc}
% Collective efficacy is defined in this paper: \url{}
% Definintion: ““mutual trust among neighbors combined with willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good, specifically to supervise children and maintain public order.””

Author={Robbins, Christopher and Younes, Lylla, and Campbell, Jon},
Title={How Gramercy Park Became A Private Playground For NYC’s Elite},
comment={Explains the (questionable) rationale behind Gramercy Park’s locked gate and private access only for this public park. The idea is that properties with access to the park should be assessed with higher property taxes to cover the value of the park. Gothamist does some updated research and finds that while properties close to the park as sold at higher costs, they pay roughly the same taxes as other properties in the area.},
category={Urbanism, property taxes, parks, gramercy park, nyc}

Author={Mele, Christopher},
Title={There’s a Persistent Hum in This Canadian City, and No One Knows Why},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The “Windsor Hum” is a low-frequency sound heard in various places in and around Windsor Ontario, since around 2011. Nobody can figure out the cause.},
category={Urbanism, conspiracy theories, sound}
% As far as conspiracy theories go, this isn’t a very good one.
% But it has some interesting aspects in terms of how people percieve their environment.
% It’s possible the hum has been there for decades, and it’s just the interenet that let someone
% point it out, and others find out about it, and so something that they
% ignored before comes to their attention.

Title={San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={San Francisco has been encouraging the development of high rises. Newer high rises are designed using computer modeling, but earthquakes are not predictable, and it’s likely the models don’t account for everything. The building code is pretty weak; it says buildings have to have a 90 percent chance of avoiding total collapse. Which means that 10 percent of the buildings COULD collapse. In addition, that’s “total collapse” — many buildings might stay upright but become nonfunctional and too expensive to repair. The Millennium Tower was built in 2009 and won all sorts of engineering awards. It has now sunk a foot and a half, and is leaning 14 inches towards its neighbors. Most of the development of high rises has been in the parts of San Francisco that are MOST at risk of liqufaction — where the ground behaves like quicksand during an earthquake.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, san francisco, high rises, skyscrapers, millenium tower, engineering, earthquakes}
% Update on the info in this article: \url{}

Author={Kolko, Jed and Katz, Josh},
Title={What Is Your City’s Twin?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Comparing cities based on their job mix reveals cities on opposite sides of the country that have a many characteristics in common. Generally large metro areas have a more diverse job mix that is similar to the nation overall than smaller metro areas do.},
category={Urbanism, jobs, Economics}

Author={Kois, Dan},
Title={Iceland’s Water Cure},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={In Iceland, every small community has a communal pool — usually geothermally heated. They are municipal pools, that serve as the centerpiece of community. Iceland also has one of the happiest populations in the world.},
category={Urbanism, municipal pools, iceland, pools, geothermal}
% In the catergory of things that could be elements of city planning - but generally aren’t.

Author={Santora, Marc},
Title={Dancing Nymphs and Pirate Ships: Notes from a Capital of Kitsch},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Skopje, Macedonia is a city that has recently been retouched at great expense (mostly though corrupt siphoning off of funds). The “improvements” take the form mostly of statues of dubious historical accuracy, and non-sequitors.},
category={Urbanism, kitsch}
% It’s like a city that is starting adopt the approach of House On The Rock.
% I’m sure it too will be entirely successful in it’s endeavor to become a tourist trap.

author={Oliver E J Wing and Paul D Bates and Andrew M Smith and
Christopher C Sampson and Kris A Johnson and Joseph
Fargione and Philip Morefield},
title={Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States},
journal={Environmental Research Letters},
abstract={Past attempts to estimate rainfall-driven flood risk across the US either have incomplete coverage, coarse resolution or use overly simplified models of the flooding process. In this paper, we use a new 30 m resolution model of the entire conterminous
US with a 2D representation of flood physics to produce estimates
of flood hazard, which match to within 90% accuracy the skill of local models built with detailed data. These flood depths are combined with exposure datasets of commensurate resolution to calculate current and future flood risk. Our data show that the total US population exposed to serious flooding is 2.6–3.1 times higher than
previous estimates, and that nearly 41 million Americans live within the 1% annual exceedance probability floodplain (compared to only 13 million when calculated using FEMA flood maps). We find that population and GDP growth alone are expected to lead to significant future increases in exposure, and this change may be exacerbated in the future by climate change.},
category={flooding, fema, Urbanism}

Author={Wagner, Kate},
Title={City Noise Might Be Making You Sick},
journal={The Atlantic},
comment={``People living in cities are regularly exposed (against their will) to noise above 85 decibels from sources like traffic, subways, industrial activity, and airports. That’s enough to cause significant hearing loss over time. If you have an hour-long commute at such sound levels, your hearing has probably already been affected. Urban life also sustains average background noise levels of 60 decibels, which is loud enough to raise one’s blood pressure and heart rate, and cause stress, loss of concentration, and loss of sleep. Sirens are a particularly extreme example of the kind of noise inflicted on people every day: They ring at a sound-pressure level of 120 decibels —a level that corresponds with the human pain threshold, according to the World Health Organization.’’ This article also retells the story of Julia Barnett Rice, the wealthy lady who fought against the sound of tugboat horns in the early part of the 20th Century. This article argues that her story set up a dynamic where noise was a nuisance to rich people — who often got abatements at the cost of the livlihoods of poorer people, instead of a health issue affecting everyone. Still, city officials were often unwilling to curb industry noise because of the economic output of those businesses. But the noise from transportation and industrial businesses does the most health damage (not nightclibs). Noisy industrial businesses, airports, and highways tend to be near low-income neighborhoods.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, noise, zoning, gentrification, Health}
% This article is a little all over the place, but does have some very interesting things in it.

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={Tech Envisions the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Some people in the tech industry dream of building whole cities from scratch, arguing that cities aren’t evolving the way technology is. This is not radically different from other unsuccessful attempts at utopians cities built from the ground up — which generally fail spectacularly. There is some arguments that many of the things that the tech dreamers want are similar to what urbanists want — transit connections, affordable housing, dense walkable mixed neighborhoods. But the technologists want to solve the problems through engineering and technology, rather than fixing our current cities though politics. The technologists prize “first principles” — the idea that breaking new ground opens new solutions, and also implies that historical awareness and traditional expertise can be limiting. They equate their ideas with early radical ideas about cities, like grids. And they suggest maybe all the rules of a city could fit in 100 pages. This article points out that urban planning utopias are not the only thing that failed, but even within technology planning has failed in the past — NASA tried to get into the planning game back in the 1960s, thinking that their groundbreaking technologies in space exploration could be applied to all sorts of fields. ``Technologically optimized cities, he says, failed then for the same reason they would be unsuccessful now. Technology can help reduce traffic, or connect you faster to a ride home. “But a city is not at its fundamental level optimizable,” he said. A city’s dynamism derives from its inefficiencies, from people and ideas colliding unpredictably. It’s also unclear what you’d optimize an entire city for. Technologists describe noble aspirations like “human flourishing” or “quality of life.” But noble goals come into conflict within cities.’’},
category={Urbanism, technology, utopia, city planning, nasa, first principles}
% I love this article for it’s balanced approach, that identifies possible positives of the utopian tech dreamers, and at the same time recognizes the limitations.
% The technologists want Soylent Cities - like their quick mix engineered nutrition, a simple solution to a complex problem.
% The real problem of course is that while a certain small subset of the techno-oriented population might be happy to live with an efficient over-simplified city that is the metro equivalent to Soylent, everyone else in the population wants all the richness and inefficiencies, and yes sometimes even unhealthy qualities of human city.
% It would certainly be fun to try to write the rules for a city in 100 pages…

Author={Johnson, Howard},
Title={Would you eat meat recycled from landfill?},
comment={n the Philippine capital, Manila, meat is recycled from landfill tips, washed and re-cooked. It’s called “pagpag” and it’s eaten by the poorest people who can’t afford to buy fresh meat.},
category={Urbanism, food, Humanity, Health, poverty, manila, philippines, meat, landfill, garbage, trash}
% This really makes me think about how there is no way the rural poor would eat food like this. This is a product of urbanism, and capitalism.
% Still, the meat is boiled in hot sauce. It’s probably human-edible. But there is no doubt this is disgusting.

Author={Willians, Kieth},
Title={Those Dastardly Standpipe Spikes},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={The basics on standpipes. They are color coded. If they are painted green they connect to the buildings sprinkler system. If they are painted red they connect to the standpipe system — vertical pipes that have connections inside the building for firefighters to connect hoses to. To use the standpipes, firefighters connect a hose from a hydrant nearby to the standpipe ``siamese’’ connection, to add water to or boost the pressure in the building.},
category={Urbanism, standpipes, firefighting}

title={The Modernist City: An Anthropological Critique of Brasilia},
author={Holston, J.},
publisher={University of Chicago Press}
comment={The history of the capital of Brazil, Brazilia.},
category={Urbanism, brazil, modernism, brasilia, oscar niemeyer}
% See also this article about Brasilia’s landfill and the trashpickers who occupy it. Trash was, of course, not planned for in Brasilia.
% \url{}

title={The Finest Building in America: The New York Crystal Palace, 1853-1858},
author={Burrows, E.G.},
publisher={Oxford University Press},
comment={A history of The New York Crystal Palace — an 19th Century exhibition hall built in what is now Midtown Manhattan. It was a knock off of a similar building in London’s Hyde Park, build of cast iron and glass panels. It burned down completely a few years after its construction in a dramatic fashion.},
category={Urbanism, history, nyc, world’s fairs, 19th century, fires, manhattan}
% In the 19th Century there was a notion that exposing children to fine art would have a soothing effect as they were overcome with awe at being in the presense of genius. One class of 100 girls was brought to the Crystal Palace to look at fine art. But they were more interested in ice cream and toys. Page 138

% The Times ran an article on “Mobocracy” which talked about how, unlike in Euope, a riot in the US didn’t necessarily mean a prelude to revolution. Riots should be understood as a price of freedom, and should not require draconian countermeasures. Page 178

Author={Tabuchi, Hiroko},
Title={Tokyo Is Preparing for Floods ‘Beyond Anything We’ve Seen’},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Reporting and photographs of Tokyo’s vast anime-scale Kasukabe underground infrastructure, large enough to contain the Statue of Liberty, to handle flooding in the city. It cost billions of dollars in the 1990s to build, and may only serve to encourage people to build in areas that are at risk of future flooding. The opinion is expressed that Japan could not afford to build a project like this now - it was a one-time thing. ``There’s a limit to what you can do with hardware, and it leads to a false sense of security,’’},
category={Urbanism, Science, superscience, tokyo, japan, flooding, infrastructure, public works}

Author={Krugman, Paul},
Title={Why Can’t We Get Cities Right?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Painted in broad simple strokes, Krugman outlines the dichotomy between Houston’s no-regulation environment and how it contributed to the flooding disaster of Hurricane Harvey, and San Francisco’s NIMBYist environment and how it contributes to the affordable housing crisis for low-income workers. Krugman points out that this is one of the few places where he agrees with the “both sides get it wrong” philosophy. He points out the San Francisco and Houston are extreme examples, but not that extreme in that many of the aspects that those cities represent are reflected in other major coastal cities versus southern sunbelt cities. Namely that there is nearly no regulation in the sunbelt cities, and NIMBYism prevents nearly anything from being done in the coastal elite cities.},
category={Urbanism, sunbelt cities, hurricane harvey, nimby, san franscico, houston, affordable housing}
% Mostly I’m with Krugman in criticising NIMBYism, but there is an element to this where he is being both too much of an economist and too much focussed on the individual issue of affordable housing, rather than overall affordability of cities.
% On econmics because I know fundamentally he believes in the basic supply and demand issue of housing, where if more housing is built at any price range, housing becomes cheaper overall. This has been proven wrong time and again in the real world, but it doesn’t stop economists from believing it.
% And the affordability of housing in those elite coastal cities is off-set to a large degree (though usually not entirely) by lower transportation costs. If you take into account the ability to live in NYC without owning a car, the affordability of the city dives into the average range.
% See also this in-depth article on the same subject: \url{}
the area around Houston is a patchwork of counties and municipalities with different rules and no coordination because Texans believed the upside of what became, in essence, institutionalized entropy was that it allowed residents to avoid the encumbrances of city governments, regulations and taxes. The problem is that hurricanes and floods, worsened by climate change, do not recognize political borders or county lines. Their toll is shared by everyone.'' But what does “affordable” really mean if residents have to pay hefty transportation costs and rebuild, time and again, after floods? Houston’s affordability leans on loosely regulated, low-cost immigrant labor providing an abundance of cheaply made, slab-on-grade, single-family houses that sprawl on all that open land, in areas like the Katy Prairie. And it relies heavily on American taxpayers providing government tax credits, mortgage interest deductions, gas subsidies, artificially low flood insurance rates, highway construction money — and emergency relief, including buying out homeowners to remove their properties from harm’s way.’’

Author={Dollinger, Arielle},
Title={For Farmers Without Land, a Long Island Lawn Will Do},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Profiles Lawn Island Farms, a small company that is using yards of suburban houses on Long Island for farming.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, farming, long island}
% I like this idea because it is such a different vision of what a suburb could be.
% But I seriously doubt they have the financials figured out, and I doubt it could scale up in any meaningful way. Farming a 1/8 acre plot by hand is not a way to grow things that could ever be cost effective.
% But one could imagine rich people paying their gardeners to grow vegetables instead of grass. Which might mean it’s good that Lawn Island Farms is showing that it could be done.
% Also reflects the sadness of how LI used to be covered in a lot of farmland, not so long ago.

Author={Elstein, Aaron},
Title={Shaping a neighborhood’s destiny from the shadows},
journal={Crain’s New York Business},
comment={Covers the history of Business Improvement Districts in NYC. They were started in Midtown to improve Bryant Park, and have since become serious forces shaping the city. They are created with the permission of City Council (I assume in order to be able to collect the fees). One problem is that since the land owners are the ones paying the fees, the BIDs are really responsive to landlords, not to business owners who rent from the landlords. They are likely tools that contribute to gentrification.},
category={Urbanism, Criticality, bids, business improvement districts, gentrification}

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={Blue Cities Want to Make Their Own Rules. Red States Won’t Let Them.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Republican-controlled state legislatures have intensified the use of “pre-emption law” which block towns and cities from adopting their own laws. Many towns and cities have left-wing values. The pre-emtion laws don’t just shut down individual local laws, but block whole realms of governing. This despite the long-held Republican value of “Goverment clostest to the people governs best.” Now Republicans apparently feel the best government is the state - because that’s where they have the power.},
category={Ubranism, pre-emption laws, home rule, states rights}

Author={Goldstein, Matthew and Cohen, Patricia},
Title={When Companies Lead on Infrastructure, Taxpayers Often Bear the Costs},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A critique of public-private partnerships (P3s) that points out that while they might offer short-term cost savings, they have not had a good track record with long-term benefits and costs. Other countries have much more developed public-private partnerships, but in the US state and local bonds are exempt from federal taxes, so public financing of infrastructure is much more attractive than in other countries. One of the problems is that generally whether the taxpayers foot the bill in a payment to a contractor, or a private company collects tolls to make money, the cost burden still falls on the public. Points out that private companies have different, narrower profit-raising goals from governments, which are thinking more broadly and in terms of wider benefits. Has examples of onerous agreements that governments went into with private companies that made it cheaper to build something, but prevented governments from expanding in the smartest way later. Talks about a toll road payment that a city had to make to evacuate an area - companies want to make a profit, governments want to save lives. Quotes Mildred Warner.},
category={Urbanism, Politics, ppps, public-private partnerships, p3s}
% Seems like it would have been obvious before everyone started hyping P3s that private companies don’t have the same goals as government.
% Doesn’t address the fact that while tolls might fall on the public, it doesn’t fall on the public EQUALLY, it falls on the users of the roads.

Author={Kurutz, Steven},
Title={Bleecker Street’s Swerve From Luxe Shops to Vacant Stores},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Tells the history of Bleecker Street, from a street full of quirky independent shops, to Sex In The City filming a cupcake eating scene at Magnolia Bakery, to being completel overrun by insanely expensive boutique stores, to the now-empty storefronts of those same stores. A single scene in Sex In The City gave the street huge cultural cache. And boutique stores were willing to lost money on storefronts with little actual shopping being done just to have a vanity location. But now facing competition from online, vanity locations are less attractive. And now landlords are willing to hold out with the dream that the rents for a vanity location will come back again.},
category={Urbanism, shopping, bleecker street, sex in the city, cupcakes}
% Really, this is a very simple economic bubble. It would a lovely thing to see Bleecker descend back to a punk-rock war zone. But that isn’t going to happen. There will be an adjustment, eventually landlords will offer more reasonable rents, and those stores will fill again - probably not with quirky shops. The damage has been done. It will end up as over-priced restaurants and cellular phone stores, just like everywhere else.

Author={Kolko, Jed},
Title={Seattle Climbs but Austin Sprawls: The Myth of the Return to Cities},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Shows data that while some urban areas are getting denser and more urban — particularly wealthy coastal cities like DC and NYC — and while rural areas are losing ground to cities, WITHIN cities most in the US are becoming less dense as people move to the suburbs. This includes cities like SLC, Las Vegas, Houston, etc. The author advises skepticism when talking about the back-to-the-city ideals.},
category={Urbanism, density, sprawl}
% What he doesn’t make clear is the ratio of sprawl versus growth. One could argue that places with space to spread out are doing so BECAUSE of increased urbanization. So it still COULD BE a back-to-the-city movement in those places, but with a lack of transit the only option to reach an affordable living situation is by car, and so people hit the suburbs. It may be they don’t WANT the suburbs, but are forced there for economic reasons. And they choose that over rural areas because they want to be as close to the city center as they can reasonably afford.
% In this telling (for which no data is provided here) the city centers might still be growing, but the suburbs grow faster for affordability reasons, making the data look like people are still choosing suburbs over cities. Meanwhile in a place like seattle, people can afford to be where they want to be, and there is transit, so the city center grows.
% Upshot: not a convincing argument for suburbs here.

Author={Schreuer, Milan},
Title={A Photo From Space Shows Belgium Shining Bright, and Social Media Lights Up},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={In night photos from space, Belgium shines out with a brightly defined outline of the country because it has a densly packed road network with streetlamps left on all night long. This includes rural roads. Most countries do not light rural roads, or turn the lights off during low-traffic hours.},
category={Urbanism, Science, light pollution, space, belgium, streetlights}

title={The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld},
author={Asbury, H.},
publisher={Vintage Books},
comment={The classic set of tales of (mostly) 19th Century gangs in NYC. Partly true, partly tall tales.},
category={Urbanism, gangs, violence, 19th century, nyc}
% This book has very little to do with the movie.
% The only detail I really remember from this book was something like Bill the Butcher being 8 feet tall and going into battle wielding a pair of cleavers.
% What I really took away from this book, and the point that I think it makes which few appreciate, is that the old west had nothing on 19th Century NYC for violence, corruption, and street battles.
% It’s like this violent mold of Americanism that is just as influential as the old west was, but remains more or less forgotten in the popular conciousness.

author = {Wang, Hua and Wright, Tim J. and Yu, Yongping and Lin, Hong and Jiang, Lilong and Li, Changhui and Qiu, Guangxin},
title = {InSAR reveals coastal subsidence in the Pearl River Delta, China},
journal = {Geophysical Journal International},
volume = {191},
number = {3},
pages = {1119},
year = {2012},
doi = {10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05687.x},
URL = { +},
eprint = {/oup/backfile/Content_public/Journal/gji/191/3/10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05687.x/2/191-3-1119.pdf}
comment = {The development in the Pearl River Delta in Guangzhou, China is so heavy that the land is sinking under the weight of it.},
category = {Urbanism, china, guangzhou, development}
% See NY Times article on the topic: \url{}

Author={Reed, Drew},
Title={Lost cities #10: Fordlandia – the failure of Henry Ford’s utopian city in the Amazon},
journal={The Guardian},
comment={A short recap of the history of Fordlandia — Henry Ford’s attempt to build a utopian city in the Amazon jungle.},
category={Urbanism, fordlandia, rubber, brazil, amazon}
% I dug this up after seeing a terrible article about Fordlandia in the NY Times.

title = “Who Should Own and Control Urban Water Systems? Historical Evidence from England and Wales”,
author = “Brian Beach and Werner Troesken and Nicola Tynan”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “22553”,
year = “2016”,
month = “August”,
doi = {10.3386/w22553},
URL = “”,
abstract = {Nearly 40% of England’s privately built waterworks were municipalised in the late 19th century. We examine how this affected public health by pairing annual mortality data for over 600 registration districts, spanning 1869 to 1910, with detailed waterworks information. Identification is aided by both institutional hurdles and idiosyncratic delays in the municipalisation process. Municipalisation lowered deaths from typhoid fever, a waterborne disease, by nearly 20% but deaths from non-waterborne causes were unaffected. Results are also robust to the adoption of several strategies that control for the possibility of mean reversion and other potential confounds.},
category = {Urbanism, Health, public health, water systems, Economics}
% I haven’t read this.

title={The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces},
author={Whyte, W.H. and Project for Public Spaces},
publisher={Project for Public Spaces},
comment={The classic based on the films and research Whyte did, most famously showing how people would move with the sun in a public plaza, and how plaza design is important to NYC.},
category={Urbanis, public space, plazas, nyc}

Author={Kimmelman, Michael},
Title={Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Kimmelman explains the problem of Mexico City sinking — large portions of it are going down at 7-9 inches a year. He points out that this is the first urban century in human history (meaning, more people now live in cities than not). He talks about the Grand Canal, a mega project from the end of the 19th century to drain away the sewage from the city, originally gravity-driven, but now having to pump out the waste. He talks about plazas sinking around their monuments, hills forming where it was flat, undulating streets, and cracks opening up. This is all due to climate change, even though Mexico City is in the middle of the continent, it’s not at risk the same way a coastal city is. The city built over its permeable soil so the water table is draining under it, and it sinks at different rates depending on the soil.},
category={Urbanism, mexico city, water tables, permeable surfaces}
% There is nothing about this article that requires it to be interactive.
% Jakarta is sinking too: \url{}

Author={Dougherty, Conor},
Title={Peak Millennial? Cities Can’t Assume a Continued Boost From the Young},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Suggests that demographers think we have reached peak millenial''. That giant generation is now shrinking, and along with it possibily their interest in moving into center-cities. While many things affect the increasing popularity of city living, including lower crime rates and a preference for walkable neighborhoods, one of the biggest factors is simply the number of people who are around 25.’’},
category={Urbanism, demography, peak millenial, gentrification}

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={How to Predict Gentrification: Look for Falling Crime},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Covers research by Ingrid Gould Ellen at the Furman Center which finds that when violent crime falls sharply, wealthier and educated people are more likely to move into lower-income and predominantly minority urban neighborhoods.},
category={Urbanism, crime, gentrification}
% Need to track down the actual paper this article is about.
% Not mentioned here is the artists who are the first white people to move into a high-crime neighborhood. They might have similar low-incomes as the current residents, and so are willing to take the risk of moving there. But once they are there, more white people around might make wealthier people feel like it’s now a safe neighborhood. (Not to mention that developes see artists moving in and start building new buildings for wealthier people - a visual cue that for the rich that it’s a place to move to.) It’s the fact that they are WHITE that might actually make it seem safe for the rich, before the crime rate actually drops.
% The crime rate dropping is an indicator for the VERY wealthy that they can move in.
% and then of course the rich drive the artists on to other neighborhoods.
% See also that crime dropped drastically in NYC in 2016: \url{} This article interenestingly says “You never trust the numbers produced by an agency whose performance is evaluated by producing numbers,” he said. “We know that crime is much lower than it was 20 years ago in the city; what we’re cynical about is the specific numbers.” a reminder about juking the stats from the Wire.

Author={Peters, Mark G and Eure, Philip K.},
Title={An Analysis of Quality-of-Life Summonses, Quality-of-Life Misdemeanor Arrests, and Felony Crime in New York City, 2010-2015},
journal={New York City Department of Investigation Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD (OIG - NYPD)},
comment={Report that looks at extensive police records and finds that there is NO association between quality-of-life (``broken windows’’) policing and felony crimes.},
category={Urbanism, crime, quality-of-life, broken windows, stop and frisk}

Author={Jorgensen, Jillian},
Title={NYPD IG: No Link Between Quality of Life Enforcement and Lower Crime},
comment={A NYPD Inspector General report finds no connection between ``quality of life’’ policing and decreasing rates of felony crime.},
category={Politics, broken windows, police, community policing, nypd}
% See: peters2016crime

author = {Dash Nelson, Garrett AND Rae, Alasdair},
journal = {PLOS ONE},
publisher = {Public Library of Science},
title = {An Economic Geography of the United States: From Commutes to Megaregions},
year = {2016},
month = {11},
volume = {11},
url = {},
pages = {1-23},
abstract = {The emergence in the United States of large-scale “megaregions” centered on major metropolitan areas is a phenomenon often taken for granted in both scholarly studies and popular accounts of contemporary economic geography. This paper uses a data set of more than 4,000,000 commuter flows as the basis for an empirical approach to the identification of such megaregions. We compare a method which uses a visual heuristic for understanding areal aggregation to a method which uses a computational partitioning algorithm, and we reflect upon the strengths and limitations of both. We discuss how choices about input parameters and scale of analysis can lead to different results, and stress the importance of comparing computational results with “common sense” interpretations of geographic coherence. The results provide a new perspective on the functional economic geography of the United States from a megaregion perspective, and shed light on the old geographic problem of the division of space into areal units.},
number = {11},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0166083},
comment={Research that looks at commutes to define megaregions in the US.},
category={Urbanism, commutes, megaregions, gis, mapping, geography, census}
% See article about this in CityLab: \url{}

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={Why Trump’s Use of the Words ‘Urban Renewal’ Is Scary for Cities},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A nice little history of urban renewal'' and all the problems associated with it. Urban renewal was fundamentally about places, not people — and the people in the way of redeveloping those places were often scattered to other slums or housing they could not afford. Seldom were they welcomed back to what was built in place of their homes. And less than 1 percent of all federal spending for urban renewal between 1949 and 1964 went to relocation, Mr. Gans wrote.’’ Four units of low-income housing were destroyed for every one new unit that was built. And more than two-thirds of the displaced were black or Hispanic, a pattern that was clear by 1963 when the author James Baldwin observed that urban renewal “means Negro removal.”'' The psychologist Marc Fried, studying the same West End community, later documented the severe grief those residents experienced after they lost their homes. They lived through what the Columbia researcher Mindy Fullilove has today eloquently named “root shock.” Pull people from their communities, she argues, and they experience trauma not unlike what happens when you uproot a plant.’’},
category={Urbanism, Housing, urban renewal, trump, grief, root shock, displacement}

Author={McCann, Erin},
Title={Solving a Mystery Behind the Deadly ‘Tsunami of Molasses’ of 1919},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={New research into the fluid dynamics of the Boston molasses disaster of 1919 shows how the molasses could move at 35mph at the temperature it probably had.},
category={Urbanism, disasters, molasses, boston}
% This is not a particularly well written article though.

Author={NYU Langone Medical Center},
Title={Impact of a supermarket on children’s diets},
comment = {Early study that suggests locating supermarkets in `food deserts’ doesn’t actually improve eating habits. This is an early study (and I cannot find the original report referenced). It needs more research.},
category = {Urbanism, Health, food, supermarkets}

Author={Kinney, Jen},
Title={Watching Philly Grocery Shoppers Is Changing How Cities Build Supermarkets},
journal={Next City},
comment={The conventional wisdom on food access issues was a sort of `if you build it they will come’ approach to supermarkets. It turns out that it is a lot more complicated than that. ``food deserts aren’t a geography, they’re an experience. Earlier studies relied heavily on maps, assuming people would abandon complicated shopping rituals like Morris’ and come to rely primarily on their newer, closer store. Evidence shows they don’t. Grocery shopping is a more personal experience than that, dictated not only by proximity but also by income, disability, education, role models and habit. The ability to eat healthy isn’t caused by one factor, it’s a whole ecosystem. Changing behavior often means overhauling all of it.’’},
category={Urbanism, Health, food, supermarkets, maps}

Author={Brenzel, Kathryn},
Title={Notorious B.I.D.s: Just how much influence do developers wield?},
journal={The Real Deal},
comment={Carl Weisbrod was president of the Downtown Alliance — NYC’s largest Buisness Improvement District. Criticism of BIDs over the years tends to revolve around minimal oversight and lack of residential representation — BIDs in New York are only required to have one tenant on their boards. An essay in the Yale Law & Policy Review in 1996, “Restraining the Power of Business Improvement Districts,” called the nonprofit status of these organizations “undemocratic” and “unwarranted,” arguing they are designed to enrich business owners rather than benefit the neighborhood.},
category={Urbanism, Politics, carl weisbrod, bids, buisiness improvement districts, downtown alliance}

title = “The Optimal Distribution of Population across Cities”,
author = “David Albouy and Kristian Behrens and Frédéric Robert-Nicoud and Nathan Seegert”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “22823”,
year = “2016”,
month = “November”,
doi = {10.3386/w22823},
URL = “”,
abstract = {The received economic wisdom is that cities are too big and that public policy should limit their sizes. This wisdom assumes, unrealistically, that city sites are homogeneous, migration is unfettered, land is given freely to incoming migrants, and federal taxes are neutral. Should those assumptions not hold, large cities may be inefficiently small. We prove this claim in a system of cities with heterogeneous sites and either free mobility or local governments, where agglomeration economies, congestion, federal taxation, and land ownership create wedges. A quantitative version of our model suggests that cities may well be too numerous and underpopulated for a wide range of plausible parameter values. The welfare costs of free migration equilibria appear small, whereas they seem substantial when local governments control city size.},
comment = {Pretty simple conclusion: American cities should be bigger for optimal economic efficiency.}
category = {Urbanism, city size, Economics}
% Download draft pdf here: \url{}

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={What’s Your Ideal Community? The Answer Is Political},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Asks the question: do liberals pick cities and conservatives pick suburbs? Or do those places influence the residents politics? Doesn’t really answer that question, but does pose the theory that cities are places where externalities pile up quickly so government has to deal with them, and therefore residents see the government working in their lives regularly. (Whereas in less dense places, government still works all the time, but often through things like mortgage intereest deductions which are far less visible.)},
category={Urbanism, density, Politics, externalities, self selection}
% References a classic article called The Suburban Century Begins by William Schneider in The Atlantic \url{} which is probably worth reading.
% The quick “piling up of externalities” could actually be seen as one of the key components of the machine of cities.
% Problems arise faster and are more visible, solutions are offered more quickly.

Author={Nelson, Garrett},
Title={The Deception of Density},
comment={An excellent easy to understand overview of the modifiable unit area problem (MUAP) and problems with measuring density. Makes the argument that it isn’t density per se that is good about cities but some of the aspects of density. References research that shows that happily living in a city is having a good commute and being able to easily get to all the things you need for living (post office, church, library, grocery store, restaurant, bar, cafe). This can be achieved in small towns if things are close together. Also: ``But it isn’t just convenience and transportation efficiency that draws so many of today’s urbanists to prize density. They point to the ways that density nurtures both innovation and social diversity to argue that there are fundamental “agglomeration effects” which result from gathering people and businesses together in close proximity. There’s certainly something to this: the geographer Waldo Tobler’s famous “first law of geography” states that “near things are more related than distant things,” and we are undoubtedly more likely to participate in both acts of social solidarity and economic interchange with people who are close at hand than with those who are far distant. But it’s naïve to assume that all people have equal access to one another just because they happen to be bumping shoulders—a fantasy bred in the cozy atmosphere of elite college campuses and well-decorated coffeehouses. In reality, our social and economic interactions are highly stratified by barriers like race, gender, education, and class.’’},
category={Urbanism, density, muap, agglomeration, geography, commute times}
% The research referenced here about commutes suggests to me the idea that the bicycle actually might be THE critical tool to pair with cities to make them livable. Too bad that other than small beach towns and Amsterdam that idea has never really been propogated.
% Possibly because people simply are too lazy to overcome the learning curve (convenience curve? weather curve? maintenance curve? social acceptability curve?) to actually embrace the bicycle as our salvation of cities.

Author={Kimmelman, Michael},
Title={The Kind of Thinking Cities Need},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Kimmelman goes to the UN’s Habitat III conference, and comes away feeling good about the young idealistic ideas about cities that are being pushed forward. He points out that for the first Habitat, 40 years ago, cities were seen as problems to be solved. Now they are seen as opportunities for economic and social progress.},
category={Urbanisma, habitat iii}
% Of course cities are neither problems to be solved to opportunities for progress. They are both and neither of those things.
% Nowadays cities are known to be tools that can be leveraged to benefit people. But who benefits is still entirely up in the air. And like a chainsaw used improperly, they can be useful for one thing, but a mistake can cause them to jump back and bite the user. Or be weilded against other people instead of a log.

Author={Pryor, Lisa},
Title={Our Precious Urban Lives},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A nice little op-ed by a doctor in Australia that is about gentrification without using the word gentrification. She says that the dream of Jane Jacobs has died and been replaced by shiny wealthy inward-looking urban villages. It is a beautiful life, and effective at reducing car travel. But there is a darker side to it. The urban village ethos has encouraged prosperous neighborhoods to turn inward and even take pride in not connecting with fellow citizens in the suburban areas beyond.'' The language we still hold on to about the inner city disguises the changes that have taken place. We still invoke the social justice battles of urban neighborhoods of the past — community, environment, heritage, people power — in an endless war to fight for even greater advantages for ourselves.’’ ``The challenge for our city and many like it is to think beyond the urban villages. The passion for well-designed communities needs to be directed outward instead of inward, geographically and in spirit. We need to let go of some of our resources; we need to learn to share. And if we are going to fight for our perfect little villages, the most honorable fight is the one to retain and expand public housing, to keep what little diversity we have left.’’},
category={Urbanism, public housing, gentrification, jane jacobs, sydney, australia}

Author={LaVecchia, Olivia and Mitchell, Stacy},
Title={Affordable Space How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It},
journal={Institute for Local Self-Reliance},
comment={Looks at the rising costs for renting commerical space for business, and how those rising rents are driving out smaller businesses. Includes recommendations for policy changes that could help support local business.},
category={Economics, Urbanism, business displacement, commerical rent}

Author={Clark, Anna},
Title={Suing for Sidewalks},
journal={Next City},
comment={The result of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that universal design principles are often implemented only in places that are beneficial to economic development. As a result for many people the best tool for implementing universal design has been lawsuits.},
category={Urbanism, universal design, complete streets, ada, americans with disabilities act}
% See information about architect Ronald Mace, who pioneered the concept of universal design, here: \url{}

Author={Park, Haeyoun and Katz, Josh},
Title={Murder Rates Rose in a Quarter of the Nation’s 100 Largest Cities},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Murder rates are rising in some cities from the last few years, significantly in Baltimore, Chicago, Clevelan, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, and Washington. But overall the murder rate is much lower than in the 1990s. In Chicago the homicide solving rate is as low as 20% in some poor neighborhoods, which fuels a cycle of mistrust of the police. `` the city’s problems were intensified in recent years by the closing of more than 50 public schools in 2013, the dismantling of public housing throughout the 2000s, and the federal government’s successful prosecution of big gang leaders, which destabilized gang hierarchies, territories and illegal drug markets.’’ In Baltimore the rate is up because of a flood of opiates looted during the riots in 2015.},
category={Urbanism, violence, drugs, murder rate, homicide, baltimore, chicago}

Author={Edwards, Riley},
Title={5 Myths About School Crowding In New York City},
journal={Citizens Budget Commission},
comment={The Citizens Budget Commission finds that there are plenty of seats for students city-wide and that higher income neighborhoods have higher crowding levels (with the worst in immigrant neighborhoods in northern Queens and Bay Ridge). Elementary schools are more crowded than middle and high schools.},
category={Urbanism, schools, crowding}

Author={Independent Budget Office},
Title={Which Sections of the City Generate the Most & Least Complaints to Graffiti-Free NYC?},
comment={NYC has a program that will remove graffiti from private property called Graffiti-Free NYC. IBO looked at the data of calls to 311 about graffiti complaints and found that city-wide complaints about graffiti are down. (Though there are far more complaints and they are generally rising in wealthier neighborhoods.)},
category={Urbanism, graffiti}

Author={Settis, Salvatore},
Title={Can We Save Venice Before It’s Too Late?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={Venice is in danger of being destroyed by tourism, says UNESCO. Eventually the historic center might be ENTIRELY tourist accomodations.},
category={Urbanism, tourism, venice}
% More people travel, more people go to tourist destinations, and the less of a real place those destinations are. Travel, like “appreciating the outdoors” is something that people need to do LESS of, not more. In this case it is actually DESTROYING a historic city.

Author={Badger, Emily},
Title={The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams},
comment = {A nice summary overview of the (typically presented) history of urban planning as presented by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association.},
category = {Urbanism, san francisco, urban history, corbusier, radiant city, ebenezer howard, garden city, franky lloyd wright, broadacre city, street grid, mega region, transect, nolli map, psychogeography, kevin lynch}

title={The City That Never Was},
author={Marcinkoski, C.},
publisher={Princeton Architectural Press},
comment={Looks at the abadonment of major urbanization projects as a result of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, but particularly at the abandonment of projects in Spain, where the government invested heavily in infrastructure, starchitect projects, and giant residential developments.},
category={Urbanism, speculative urbanization, financial crisis, spain}
% cites this article from Time: \url{,8599,2114888,00.html} that talks more briefly about the same phenomenon, but focuses on Calatrava’s shady sucking up of money for his starchitect projects in Spain.

Author={Campbell, Alexia Fernández},
Title={The City That Embraced Its Decline},
comment = {The director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation talks about the effectiveness of Youngstown’s 2010 plan to embrace shrinking.},
category = {Urbanism, youngstown, ohio, shrinkage}
% Basically, reading between the lines, the plan sounds like it wasn’t really something that was implemented at all, but was in fact just a way to get residents to consider a future of shrinking as not being a bad thing.

Author={Piiparinen, Richey},
Title={The Wrong Way to Grow a City},
comment={Cleveland has a shrinking population. But this article argues that population growth is a lazy heuristic that doesn’t reflect success. The problem with this is the prejudice against shrinking cities can blind leaders in those cities to the emergence of the cities. Which means those leaders might miss their chance to put protections against gentrification into place.},
category={Urbanism, cleveland, ohio, shrinkage}

Author={Nir, Sarah Maslin},
Title={In Brooklyn Bridge Park Conflict, Neighbors See Trouble. Players See Intolerance.},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Rich white people living near Brooklyn Bridge park are annoyed at the young black people who come to the park to play basketball.},
category = {Urbanism, nimbys, racism, basketball, parks}

Author={Jacobs, Karrie},
journal={Architect Magazine},
comment = {The redevelopment of Eero Saarinen’s Bell Labs in New Jersey as a New Urbanist development. This building somehow manages to tie together all sorts of architectural trends, from the General Motors Technical Center outside of Detroit to Andrés Duany. Sasaki Walker Associates designed the original landscape of this building (in the parking lot, to be seen from side the building). It is being reimagined as the centerpiece of a New Urbanist development, but the community fought that, so now it’s the centerpiece of a old-age mcmansion development. This article quotes Alexander Gorlin as saying ``“The 100-foot width of the atrium is equal to many great avenues and public spaces historically, including Lincoln Road, one of the great pedestrian streets that Morris Lapidus adapted to the pedestrian mall, and the Crystal Palace in London, and St. Peter’s Basilica … ” According to Gorlin, whether it’s measured in feet or meters, the width is always the same. “It’s some kind of human dimension of grandeur and intimacy,”’’ },
category = {Urbanism, new urbanism, duany, gorlin, swa, zucker, new jersey, public space}

Author={Correal, Annie},
Title={On Governors Island, Mountains of Junk Where Children Find Adventure},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Governor’s island has an adventure playground'' this summer, which is just a pile of junk for kids to play on, with close adult supervision. (The kids do have some tools they can use on the junk.) The first of the adventure playgrounds appeared in Denmark during World War II. They sprouted up next in England, where children had started playing on bomb sites.’’},
category = {Urbanism, children, adventure playgrounds}
% I am seriously skeptical of the claim of children playing on bomb sites. Or at least that what saying that implies isn’t the same as the reality of it.
% It does remind me of the Noguchi proposals for bombing the ground to CREATE playgrounds.

author={Bertaud, Alain},
journal={The perfect storm: The four factors restricting the construction of new floor space in Mumbai (available at http://alainbertaud. com)},
comment={Looks at how Mumbai has among the lowest consumption of floor space'' in the world. This is caused by a limitation of buildable area combined with limitations on land use permissions to build bigger buildings. The result is high level of slum’’ living despite relatively high incomes.},
category={Urbanism, macro-urbanism, mumbai, india, density, far, fsi}
% I made up the term “macro-urbanism” here to describe these papers which look at “cities” as giant systems that can be compared country-wide or world-wide. Not sure if that’s a real thing.

Author={Menand, Louis},
Title={The Time of Broken Windows},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment = {Using the framework of a review of Garth Risk Hallberg’s book City on Fire'' this article looks at the state of NYC in the 1970s. Upscale New Yorkers today may complain about the gentrification and the commodification and the tourists. But not many of those people would have lasted long in the city of 1975. They would have found it so unhealthy. People smoked in restaurants and did not clean up after their dogs. Forget about cell phones and Wi-Fi; most people didn’t even have cable. If you parked your car on the street, someone would steal the radio. There were no espresso bars in the nineteen-seventies, no Mario Batali or David Chang or Dan Barber. There was Chock full o’ Nuts, and people ate in places like Lüchow’s and Mama Leone’s, huge barns of fat and cholesterol. Gyms were for pumping iron, not for doing Pilates. No one had ever heard of Pilates. It was another era, remote not just in time but in spirit, and now that we know how it all came out it’s nice to have a book that brings a little of it back. You can always close a book.’’},
category = {nyc, Urbanism, 1970s, city on fire, garth risk hallberg, trump, black outs, riots, bronx}

title={The streets were paved with gold},
author={Auletta, Ken},
comment={A history of NYC published in the 1970s about how NYC went bankrupt.},
category = {nyc, 1970s}
% I haven’t read this book, but it looks good.

title={Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City},
author={Mahler, Jonathan},
comment = {A history of nyc in the 1970s.}
category = {nyc, 1970s},
% I haven’t read this book, but it looks good.

Author={Jeffries, Stuart},
Title={In praise of dirty, sexy cities: the urban world according to Walter Benjamin},
journal={The Guardian},
comment = {How Walter Benjamin valued the dirtier, lower-class cities of Europe. Without being unduly cynical, culture has become part of capitalism’s sanitising redevelopment of one of the most cherishably wicked of world cities.'' Benjamin was always drawn to these outmoded utopias, the formerly state-of-the-art technology, the ruins of progress – since they encoded, he thought, the delusions that capitalism instilled in its victims.’’ so many of the world’s leading cities have turned sclerotic – socially stratified cages to keep the riff raff out and the rest of us polishing our must-have Nespresso machines. In Paris, the poor are banished beyond the périphérique so that when they revolt, they destroy their own banlieues rather than the French capital’s fussily maintained environment.'' Manhattan island is today a pristine vitrine on which the lower orders don’t even get to leave their mucky paw prints, but inside which the rich get to fulfil with unparallelled freedom their uninteresting desires.’’ ``The point of the cities Benjamin loved, by contrast, was that they broke through physical, ethnic and class barriers. In Marseille, Naples and Moscow, life was not a private commodity, but “dispersed, porous, commingled”.’’},
category = {dirty cities, walter benjamin, zaha hadid, marseille, moscow}
% Read the Benjamin essay referred to in this article, Hashish in Marseille: \url{}
% This article is written as if this is a problem that reflects conditions from 100 years ago. But that is probably a European thing. In NYC it is a problem reflecting conditions from the 70s.
% Also, without having read any of the Benjamin itself, this does make it seem like Benjamin was more or less a dude coming from a wealthy background enjoying the pleasures of slumming it. Maybe this is unusual at the level of slumming a whole CITY and an in-depth philosophical, anti-capitalist argument, but the impulse hardly seems different than bros hitting up dive bars for cheap beer.

Author={Rueb, Emily S.},
Title={How New York Gets Its Water},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A nice simple description and drawings of how the NYC water supply gets to New York.},
category = {Urbanism, nyc watershed, water, water supply}
% And then the city postponed work on tunnel #3: \url{}

title={More Inclusive Parks Planning: Park Quality and Preferences for Park Access and Amenities},
author={Smiley, Kevin T and Sharma, Tanvi and Steinberg, Alan and Hodges-Copple, Sally and Jacobson, Emily and Matveeva, Lucy},
journal={Environmental Justice},
publisher={Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 140 Huguenot Street, 3rd Floor New Rochelle, NY 10801 USA},
comment={Houston did a survey for park priorities and found that connectivity was the most requested feature. Some academics did a second survey of low-income communities and found that connectivity was the LEAST important priority to those communities.},
categord={Urbanism, race, parks, public space}
% See CityLab article on this reasearch: \url{}
% It would be interested to see this research applied to Atlanta’s BeltLine: \url{}

Author={Appelbaum, Binyamin},
Title={Does Hosting the Olympics Actually Pay Off?},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {There is zero evidence that hosting the Olympics is good for an economy. But it might in fact make people a little happier. Is that worth the amount it costs?},
category = {olympics, Urbanism, Economics, happiness}

Author={Kaufman, Rachel},
Title={Cambridge Is Working on an Inclusive City Road Map},
journal={Next City},
comment = {Interboro is contributing to outreach around the new Cambridge, MA master plan. It includes more accessible public meetings, a table-map of Cambridge that can be moved around the city, and a newspaper publication about the process, the history of Cambridge, and who lives in Cambridge.},
category = {planning, Urbanism, interboro, cambridge}

Author={Correal, Annie},
Title={Trash and Vaudeville, a Punk Emporium, Leaves Its East Village Home},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Trash and Vaudeville closes its St. Marks Place location, representing probably the last of punk rock culture on St. Marks},
category = {st marks, trash and vaudeville, punk rock, Urbanism}
% Nobody talks about displacment of punk rockers as a gentrification issue.
% Also see this review of the book St. Marks Is Dead: \url{} which covers the long history of St. Marks before it was a punk rock center.

title={Water for Gotham: a history},
author={Koeppel, Gerard T},
publisher={Princeton University Press}
comment={About this history of water in NYC.},
category={nyc, water, urbanism}
% I haven’t read this book, but it looks interesting.

title={The growth and spread of concentrated poverty, 2000 to 2008-2012},
author={Kneebone, Elizabeth},
journal={The Brookings},
url = {},
comment = {Based on Census data, poverty is increasing in metro areas, particularly suburbs. Also mentions that the negative affects of poverty start to show up when a neighborhood reaches 20% of people living in poverty.},
category = {Urbanism, poverty, suburbs}

Author={Respaut, Robin},
Title={With NFL Rams gone, St. Louis still stuck with stadium debt},
comment = {Football stadiums are built for 8 home games a year, and are hard to use for anything else. They are often left econmically valueless because of NFL anctics long before they are physically valueless.},
category = {nfl, stadiums, Urbanism}

Author={Citizens Budget Commission},
journal={Citizens Budget Commission},
year = {2016},
month = {02},
comment = {CBC looks at the cost of the compost test programs in NYC, and concludes that generally it would be pretty expensive to expand it city wide. They recommend in-sink disposers which could make the diversion of food waste to the city’s wastewater digesters efficient.},
category = {composting, in-sink disposers, nyc, urbanism}

author = {Stephen M. Wheeler},
title = {Built Landscapes of Metropolitan Regions: An International Typology},
journal = {Journal of the American Planning Association},
volume = {81},
number = {3},
pages = {167-190},
year = {2015},
doi = {10.1080/01944363.2015.1081567},

URL = {

eprint = {

abstract = { Problem, research strategy, and findings: Built landscapes—patterns of streets, blocks, parcels of land, buildings, and related infrastructure at the scale of an urban neighborhood or greater—are often difficult for decision makers and the public to understand, especially within the complex “collage city” of the postmodern era. Yet understanding the variety of these forms can help stakeholders make wise choices regarding how to plan and design urban regions in the future to meet goals such as livability and sustainability. Based on aerials, maps, and images available through Google and other sources, I develop a typology of built landscape forms found within 24 metropolitan regions worldwide and use GIS to map these forms and compare regions. The analysis shows that 27 basic types of built landscape make up metropolitan regions worldwide, of which nine are very common. Traditional urban types now make up a small fraction of most metropolitan areas worldwide, while suburban and exurban forms comprise the vast majority of the land area. There are noted regional differences in the mix of built landscape types.Takeaway for practice: Each built landscape form offers challenges and opportunities for planning objectives such as livability and sustainability. It is important for planners to a) help the public and decision makers understand built landscapes and their implications; b) include landscape-scale elements, such as street patterns and networks of green infrastructure, when framing urban development alternatives; c) ensure that local codes and design guidelines enable desired forms of built landscapes and discourage those that are problematic for sustainability; and d) encourage built landscape change that promotes sustainability. },
comment = {Dude looked at street patterns around the world and found that some repeat. Then created GIS maps showing how those patterns play out in individual cities. See article about it here: \url{}},
category = {urban design, morphology, landscape, street patterns}

Author={Kimmelman, Michael},
Title={For New York’s Best New Public Sculpture, Thank the Sanitation Department},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Kimmelman argues that NYC built a beautiful salt shed and garage in TriBeCa over heavy community opposition/input. He says community input was both hard, but also made the design better. Argues that city facilities should be balanced in different neighborhoods. WXY architects.},
category = {fair share, community planning, salt shed, sanitation, garbage trucks, architecture}
% When you ride by this thing, and compare it to the salt shed on the west side in Harlem, you can’t help but think: how is this fair? Why should a rich community get a fancy salt shed, while a poor one gets a big quanset hut?
% If the city can afford a fancy salt shed in one neighborhood, they should have to afford them in all neighborhoods.

Author={Conniff, Richard},
Title={Bright Lights, Big Predators},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Op-ed arguing that cities should accept large predators as part of the city wildlife. Cities already accept dangerous things like cars because we think the benefits outweigh the risks. So why not predators as well?},
category = {predators, leopards, wolves, parks}

title = “Urban Networks: Connecting Markets, People, and Ideas”,
author = “Edward L. Glaeser and Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto and Yimei Zou”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “21794”,
year = “2015”,
month = “December”,
doi = {10.3386/w21794},
URL = “”,
abstract = {Should China build mega-cities or a network of linked middle-sized metropolises? Can Europe’s mid-sized cities compete with global agglomeration by forging stronger inter-urban links? This paper examines these questions within a model of recombinant growth and endogenous local amenities. Three primary factors determine the trade-off between networks and big cities: local returns to scale in innovation, the elasticity of housing supply, and the importance of local amenities. Even if there are global increasing returns, the returns to local scale in innovation may be decreasing, and that makes networks more appealing than mega-cities. Inelastic housing supply makes it harder to supply more space in dense confines, which perhaps explains why networks are more popular in regulated Europe than in the American Sunbelt. Larger cities can dominate networks because of amenities, as long as the benefits of scale overwhelm the downsides of density. In our framework, the skilled are more likely to prefer mega-cities than the less skilled, and the long-run benefits of either mega-cities or networks may be quite different from the short-run benefits.},
comment = {Seems like this paper dives into what exactly the benefits of larger cities are.},
category = {city size, population, networks}
% I don’t have access to this article and therefore haven’t read it yet.

title = “Big Data and Big Cities: The Promises and Limitations of Improved Measures of Urban Life”,
author = “Edward L. Glaeser and Scott Duke Kominers and Michael Luca and Nikhil Naik”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “21778”,
year = “2015”,
month = “December”,
doi = {10.3386/w21778},
URL = “”,
abstract = {New, “big” data sources allow measurement of city characteristics and outcome variables higher frequencies and finer geographic scales than ever before. However, big data will not solve large urban social science questions on its own. Big data has the most value for the study of cities when it allows measurement of the previously opaque, or when it can be coupled with exogenous shocks to people or place. We describe a number of new urban data sources and illustrate how they can be used to improve the study and function of cities. We first show how Google Street View images can be used to predict income in New York City, suggesting that similar image data can be used to map wealth and poverty in previously unmeasured areas of the developing world. We then discuss how survey techniques can be improved to better measure willingness to pay for urban amenities. Finally, we explain how Internet data is being used to improve the quality of city services.},
comment = {Could be a particularly interesting paper in light of what it is doing with Google Street View and surveying to find out people’s willingness to pay for services.},
category = {data, google street view, survey technique, urban amenities, urban services}
% I don’t have access to this paper, but I’d love to read it.

Author={Nevius, James},
Title={How New York’s Central Park Escaped Dozens of Misguided ‘Improvements’},
comment = {Central Park has been suggested for many ``improvements’’ in the last couple of hundred years. Boss Tweed argued for home rule to gain control over it (and skim money off the top of city finances.) Robert Moses kicked the sheep out of Central Park to build Tavern on the Green.},
category = {boss tweed, central park, robert moses, sheep, home rule}

Author={Longman, Phillip},
Title={Why the Economic Fates of America’s Cities Diverged},
journal={The Atlantic},
comment = {Until the early 1980s, a long-running feature of American history was the gradual convergence of income across regions. The trend goes back to at least the 1840s, but grew particularly strong during the middle decades of the 20th century.'' starting in the early 1980s, the long trend toward regional equality abruptly switched. Since then, geography has come roaring back as a determinant of economic fortune, as a few elite cities have surged ahead of the rest of the country in their wealth and income.’’ But over the last generation this trend, too, has reversed. Since 1980, the states and metro areas with the highest and fastest-growing per capita incomes have generally seen hardly, if any, net domestic in-migration, and in many notable examples have seen more people move away to other parts of the country than move in. Today, the preponderance of domestic migration is from areas with high and rapidly growing incomes to relatively poorer areas where incomes are growing at a slower pace, if at all.'' Throughout most of the country’s history, American government at all levels has pursued policies designed to preserve local control of businesses and to check the tendency of a few dominant cities to monopolize power over the rest of the country. These efforts moved to the federal level beginning in the late 19th century and reached a climax of enforcement in the 1960s and ’70s. Yet starting shortly thereafter, each of these policy levers were flipped, one after the other, in the opposite direction, usually in the guise of “deregulation.” Understanding this history, largely forgotten today, is essential to turning the problem of inequality around.’’ Mostly we are talking about anti-trust regulations and anti-big-chain-store regulations of the 20s and 30s, led by Woodrow Wilson and Louis Brandeis, which prevented wealth from concentrating in big cities. But also includes laws preventing patent monopolies and bank mergers. Also tackles the decline of transit funding.},
category = {anti-trust, monopolies, public policy, transit, economics}
% An interesting argument that the decline of smaller cities isn’t as simple as rust-belt decline due to overseas manufacturing, but is entrenched in deregulation across the board, removing protections that promoted small local businesses.

title={Towards a New Architecture},
author={Le Corbusier},
series={Dover books on architecture},
publisher={Dover Publications},
comment = {This book. Original translation (apparently the translation to English eventually became part of the dispute over this book.)},
category = {corbusier, architecture, modernism}
% Grain elevators! Page 28 (among others)
% The styles of Louis XIV, VX, XVI or Gothic, are to architecture what a feather is on a woman's head ; it is sometimes pretty, though not always, and never anything more.'' Page 37 (among others) % A City of Towers (graphic) This section shows on the left how dust, smells, and noise stifle our towns of to-day. The towers, on the other hand, are far removed from all this and set in clean air amidst trees and grass. Indeed the whole town is ``verdure clad.’’
% I say: Architecture is neither the problem nor the solution. It simply isn’t that important. HOUSING matters far more.

Author={Kimmelman, Michael},
Title={Express Bus Service Shows Promise in New York},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Select Bus Service installed on 86th St. Kimmelman makes an argument that the technology involved should be installed all over the City.},
category = {select bus service, transit, equity, nyc, CUP}
% It’s an equity issue. New Yorkers living outside Manhattan have the longest average public transit commutes in urban America. New York City buses, express routes aside, are the slowest in the country. Three-quarters of a million New Yorkers now take more than an hour to travel to work. Two-thirds come from households that earn $35,000 a year or less. A study by the Pratt Center found that black New Yorkers have the longest commute times of all, 25 percent longer than the average commute time for whites.'' % The gap is widening as escalating housing costs around subway stations push poorer people toward southeastern Queens and parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island cut off from decent public transit, where they’re forced to rely on slow, frequently delayed buses.’’
% As commuting patterns have changed, transit hasn’t kept up. Subways were designed a century ago to funnel riders into Manhattan’s core. But between 1990 and 2008, Bronx residents traveling to work in Queens and Westchester County rose by 38 percent, those traveling within the Bronx by 25 percent — and those into Manhattan, only 13 percent. It’s the same story in Brooklyn.'' % Of course, this being New York, there have been storms of protest from fretful shopkeepers and car owners who don’t like to give up lanes and parking spaces. A study of bus rapid transit along First and Second Avenues revealed that retailers wildly overestimated the number of customers who arrived by car. Forty-five percent came by bus or subway; 43 percent walked or rode a bike. Rapid bus service turned out to be a boon, not a hindrance, to business, with similar results along other express routes like Fordham Road in the Bronx.’’

Author={Johnson, Ian},
Title={As Beijing Becomes a Supercity, the Rapid Growth Brings Pains},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {China has a plan to turn Beijing into a super-city, Jing-Jin-Ji, as the region is called (“Jing” for Beijing, “Jin” for Tianjin and “Ji,” the traditional name for Hebei Province)'' Interesting to note, According to Zhang Gui, a professor at the Hebei University of Technology, Chinese planners used to follow a rule of thumb they learned from the West: All parts of an urban area should be within 60 miles of each other, or the average amount of highway that can be covered in an hour of driving. Beyond that, people cannot effectively commute. High-speed rail, Professor Zhang said, has changed that equation. Chinese trains now easily hit 150 to 185 miles an hour, allowing the urban area to expand. A new line between Beijing and Tianjin cut travel times from three hours to 37 minutes. That train has become so crowded that a second track is being laid.’’},
category = {megacities, china, high-speed rail, trains}

title = “Cities and Ideas”,
author = “Mikko Packalen and Jay Bhattacharya”,
institution = “National Bureau of Economic Research”,
type = “Working Paper”,
series = “Working Paper Series”,
number = “20921”,
year = “2015”,
month = “January”,
doi = {10.3386/w20921},
URL = “”,
abstract = {Faster technological progress has long been considered a key potential benefit of agglomeration. Physical proximity to others may help inventors adopt new ideas in their work by increasing awareness about which new ideas exist and by enhancing understanding of the properties and usefulness of new ideas through a vigorous debate on the ideas’ merits (Marshall, 1920). We test a key empirical prediction of this theory: that inventions in large cities build on newer ideas than inventions in smaller cities. We analyze the idea inputs of nearly every US patent granted during 1836–2010. We find that a larger city size provided a considerable advantage in inventive activities during most of the 20th century but that in recent decades this advantage has eroded.},
comment = {Data shows that for 100 years big cities were drivers of scientific innovation. New data suggests that is no longer true. This does not apply to creative fields. (And, to my mind, it makes me wonder if there is a distinction between where hard science is being carried out, and where the ideas to pursue new scietific directions are being generated.) See also NPR coverage, \url{}},
category = {agglomeration, city size, economics, science}

Author={Greenstone, Michael},
Title={The Connection Between Cleaner Air and Longer Lives},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {The Clean Air Act worked dramatically to reduce air pollution in NYC cities (and small towns). Of course a lot of polluting industries just moved overseas.},
category = {air pollution, smog, clean air act}

Author={Holleran, Sam and Holleran, Max},
Title={Lab City: The Limits of Pop-up Problem Solving},
comment = {Sam and Max critique institutional design ``labs’’, including the New Museums’ and the BMW lab for their lack of engagement of local and low-income community members.},
category = {design labs, gentrification}

Author={Holleran, Max},
Title={How Gentrifiers Gentrify},
journal={Public Books},
comment = {Max’s review of Good Neighbors by Sylvie Tissot. Through such benign-sounding activities as philanthropy, historic preservation, and serving on committees for parks and liquor licenses, gentrifiers solidified their position in the community and began to erase the cultural presence of those who preceded them. Tissot draws on years of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews, as well as historical material on the South End (much of which appears in fascinating boxed-text asides), to demonstrate how culture was used as a cudgel in a protracted battle of neighborhood realpolitik.'' Tissot implies that these gentrifiers, in prioritizing upper-middle-class, white prerogatives, did not just disagree over the proper uses of public spaces but were specifically drawn to concerns that privileged their cultural knowledge and maintained them in a position of prominence.’’ Good Neighbors powerfully demonstrates how gentrifiers often fixate on the old (homes) and the marginally political (greenmarkets) so that they do not have to think about the displacement involved in neighborhood change and their own role in it.'' Newcomers endeavor to project a relaxed and egalitarian nature by working through civic groups rather than more formal channels of institutional and state power (although these are always there if they need them). Yet within these groups they create many barriers for participation: from inconvenient meeting times to all-but-mandatory large donations and discussions held in a language of corporate-speak and legalese.’’},
category = {gentrification, boston, public space}

title={Good Neighbors: Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End},
author={Tissot, S. and Broder, D. and Romatowski, C.},
publisher={Verso Books},
comment = {Book reviewed by Max Holleran (hollerangentrifiers2015) about the political process of gentrification in Boston’s South End.},
category = {gentrification, boston}

Author={Sanneh, Kelefa},
Title={Is Gentrification Really a Problem?},
journal={The New Yorker},
comment={Discusses the use of the word `ghetto’ to mean something bad. And how The opposite of gentrification is not a quirky and charming enclave that stays affordable forever; the opposite of gentrification is a decline in prices that reflects the transformation of a once desirable neighborhood into one that is looking more like a ghetto every day.'' Also covers how, while in NYC poor black neighborhoods might be likely to gentrify, this isn't (yet) the case in other places, like Chicago. Do tenants have a political right—a human right—to remain in their apartments? In New York, regulations like rent stabilization not only limit the amount by which some landlords can raise rents but also restrict a landlord’s ability to decline to renew a lease. In Sweden, the rules are tighter: rents are set through a national negotiation between tenants and landlords, which means that prices are low in Stockholm, but apartments are scarce; a renter in search of a long-term lease there might spend decades on a government waiting list. Another solution is to allow more and taller buildings, increasing supply in the hope of lowering prices. Often, the steepest rent increases are found in places, like San Francisco, that have stringent building regulations: a recent study of the city found that fewer poor residents had been displaced in neighborhoods with more new construction. In seeking to preserve what Ruth Glass called the “social character” of a neighborhood, anti-gentrification activists echo the language that was once used to defend racially restrictive covenants. Arguments over gentrification are really arguments over who deserves to live in a city, and the notion of a right to stay put is sometimes at odds with another, perhaps more fundamental right: the right to move.’’ ``In the ghetto narrative, a poor neighborhood falls victim to isolation; in the gentrification narrative, a poor neighborhood falls victim to invasion. These stories are not necessarily contradictory—they reflect a common conviction that the sorrows and joys of neighborhood change tend to be unequally shared. One effect of gentrification is to make this inequality harder to ignore. The call to save a neighborhood is most compelling when it serves as a call to help a neighborhood’s neediest inhabitants. That might mean helping them stay. But it might also mean helping them leave.’’},
% Refers to the freeman2005displacement paper as evidence that gentrification doesn’t impact poor households negatively. He backs this up with another bit of research by Kathe Newman and Elvin Wyly called The Right to Stay Put Revisited, which finds displacement is a problem, but maybe a mild one.

author = {Barton, Michael},
title = {An exploration of the importance of the strategy used to identify gentrification},
volume = {53},
number = {1},
pages = {92-111},
year = {2016},
doi = {10.1177/0042098014561723},
abstract ={Urban scholars have described the importance of gentrification in major cities across the USA since the 1970s. While there is consensus that gentrification shaped social and physical aspects of neighbourhoods, scholars have yet to agree on how gentrified neighbourhoods should be identified. Owing to the lack of consensus, gentrification was measured in a variety of ways, which greatly influenced the neighbourhoods studied in previous research and potentially the findings of research that assessed the importance of gentrification for other neighbourhood outcomes. The current study contributes to this debate by applying and comparing two census-based strategies for identifying gentrified neighbourhoods with a qualitative neighbourhood selection strategy derived from The New York Times to New York City neighbourhoods for the span of years from 1980 to 2009. Results confirm that each of the strategies identified different neighbourhoods and that qualitative strategies for identifying gentrified neighbourhoods may overlook areas that experienced similar changes to those more widely recognised as gentrified. Given these findings, additional analyses assessed which census-based neighbourhood selection strategy better represented the neighbourhoods perceived by The New York Times, a major media outlet that shaped discourse on gentrification in the USA, as having experienced gentrification.},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {Urban Studies},
comment = {Using qualitative measures of gentrification yields a very different picture of which NYC neighborhoods are gentrifying than the ones the NY Times thinks are.},
category = {ny times, gentrification, Urbanism}
% See CityLab coverage of this paper: \url{} since I don’t have access to the actual paper.

Author={Florida, Richard},
Title={The New Grand Bargain Between Cities and Anchor Institutions},
comment = {New report shows that cities are now dependent on anchor institutions like universities, hospitals, and research organizations rather than the old model of depending on manufacturing. But there is often a disconnect between cities and their anchor institutions.},
category = {anchor institutions}
% OK, this one has Florida firmly back in his crummy creative-class-sill-save-us-all camp. If anchor institutions have replaced factories as the economic engines of cities, doesn’t that in fact imply that the people who used to work in those factory jobs now have nowhere to go, and the educated are the core of the cities?

Author={Lavey, Nate},
Title={The Most Radioactive Place In New York City},
journal = {The New Yorker},
comment = {Interactive feature that explains how the Wolff-Alport site became the most radioactive site in NYC. Also includes a cool graphic of the insane radioactivity scale.},
category = {radioactivity, nyc, Ridgewood, Queens}

Author={Seelye, Katherine Q.},
Title={Remnant of Boston’s Brutal Winter Threatens to Outlast Summer},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Watch the snow pile leftover from Boston’s record winter build up into a giant white pile, and melt down to a black sludge. And 6 months later nobody knows when it will actually be gone.},
category = {snow, garbage, storms, trash}

% For The City in History, Lewis Mumford, see the Long Entries section

author={More, Thomas},
publisher={A. Murray & son},
comment = {Mumford goes into a detailed account of this book, describing a 19th century utopian city, where everything is laid out in a regular walkable neighborhood quarters (repeated, so all neighborhoods are the same), and everyone is required to garden. (And do a compulsory year in the country, so that the countryside and city dwellers are essentially the same.)},
category = {classics, utopia}
% I haven’t read this.

title={Controlling Development: Certainty and Discretion in Europe, the USA and Hong Kong},
author={Booth, P.},
series={Natural and built environment series},
publisher={UCL Press},
comment ={On page 71 has an explanation of Lex Adickes which is an early form of zoning implemented in Frankfurt Germany.},
category ={development}
% I haven’t read this book. But Mumford (page 424 City in History) references Lex Adickes and this book explains what it is.

title={Townless highways for the motorist},
author={MacKaye, Benton and Mumford, Lewis},
% I haven’t read this, but this is the article in which MacKaye proposes “Townless highways, and highwayless towns.” Probably worth reading. His other essays might be good too. He was a radical planner.

author={Caro, R.A.},
annote={This is just a test of the annote tag, on my favorite book.},
comment = {The classic tome on Robert Moses.},
category = {Urbanism, classics, tomes, cities, history, nyc}
% Check out this interview with Caro about The Power Broker: \url{} Particularly note his comment about Trump. And that he sees writing about Moses as a way to talk about how power works - particularly unelected power - in cities everywhere.
% From the NYPL display, by (presumably) Robert Caro of Moses’ Slum Clearance brochures: ``Moses was a real artist. He put a lot of work into brochures he made to illustrate his proposals. And they are totally convincing. The main purpose was to show people how beautiful his projects were going to be. He would give them to the City Council members and the mayors to gain their support, even though some of his plans were problematic. In the Slum Clearance brochures, a lot of these places weren’t slums. It was a surprise to the residents, who woke up to find they were being evicted.’’
% Astoria Ferry: p. 448-451

title={Saving Fire Island from Robert Moses: The Fight for a National Seashore},
author={Verga, C.},
publisher={History Press},
comment={Fills in the story of Moses’ battle against the residents of Fire Island to build a highway along the length of it. A story which is sadly missing from the Power Broker.},
category={Urbanism, fire island, robert moses, highways}
Page 25: Moses used to take clients who came out to Long Island to the Snapper Inn in Oakdale for meetings. (The same restaurant we had my Grandma’s post-burial party at.)
Page 41: 1930 Newspaper quote: “Fire Island’s principle charm is that few people know about them, and second that it is unprofitable for the New York Telephone Company to run a line there. To escape from the telephone for a period of days, weeks or months is one of the rarest modern pleasures.”
% Because of all this, Fire Island ends up being such an interesting example of “planning.” The island is, maybe arguably, a perfect place the way it finished up: Jones Beach and Robert Moses Beach provide easy access for millions of beachgoers. One end of the island is fully protected wildlife area. The gay communities on the island retained their identities and carry on from their history. The wealthy enclaves hold on to their isolation. But NONE of this is how any individual would have PLANNED it. Moses argued that the elites wanted to block the highway to keep Fire Island to themselves. And certainly their wealth and education helped prevent the highway on Fire Island. At the same time, it would have been a real loss if Jones Beach had never been built. (OK, so Ocean Parkway could be removed and nobody would lose anything.) But all in all, it was just sheer dumb luck that the power balances fell out the way they did and Fire Island really did reach the highest and best use it could be put to.

Author={McGrath, Charles},
Title={Robert Caro’s Big Dig},
journal={The New York Times},
comment={A really nice in-depth profile of Robert Caro, including a lot of information both about Lyndon Johnson and Caro’s process of writing about him. “They were talking one day about highways and where they got built,” he recalled, “and here were these mathematical formulas about traffic density and population density and so on, and all of a sudden I said to myself: ‘This is completely wrong. This isn’t why highways get built. Highways get built because Robert Moses wants them built there. If you don’t find out and explain to people where Robert Moses gets his power, then everything else you do is going to be dishonest.’” Also photographs, and a nice description of how he got his start and his first jobs.},
category={Urbanism, robert caro, lyndon johnson, research, robert moses}

title={Making equity planning work: Leadership in the public sector},
author={Krumholz, Norman},
publisher={Temple University Press}
% As Christine says, Participation is a limited resource.
% Though I think that the need for participation is a symptom of the fact that our representative democracy isn’t working.
% I should do some more reading on the city as a marxist redistribution tool. And I think Krumholz is a pretty good place to start for that.

Author={Kotkin, Joel and Cox, Wendell and Modarres, Ali and Renn, Aaron M.},
Title={Size is not the Answer: The Changing Face of the Global City},
journal={Civil Service College, Singapore},
comment = {Argues that size won’t be the determining factor in future global'' cities. Instead it will be how much of their industry is globalized industry like tech. I am highly skeptical, but I only read the intro. They believe the decline’’ of large cities is correlated to the decline of world empires. Also seems to not address the power of 2nd and 3rd world cities.},
category = {urbanism, population, city size}

Author={Huxtable, Ada Louise},
Title={Architecture: How To Kill A City},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Op-ed by Ada Louise Huxtable laments the loss of Penn Station. Leads directly to Wagner signing the historic preservation law.},
category = {historic preservation, Penn Station}

title={Plutarch’s essays and miscellanies, comprising all the works collected under the title of “Morals”, translated from the Greek by several hands, corr. and rev. by William W. Goodwin},
author={Dryden, J. and Clough, A.H. and Goodwin, W.W. and Emerson, R.W.},
series={Plutarch’s Lives and Writings},
publisher={Little, Brown},
comment = {Contains the quote: ``that in a certain city the cold was so intense that words were congealed as soon as spoken, but that after some time they thawed and became audible; so that the words spoken in winter were articulated next summer.’’ Which I got from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.},
category ={cold, cities, classics}

Author={Renn, Aaron M.},
Title={What’s the perfect size for a city?},
journal={The Guardian},
comment = {A broad overview of regional governance and fragmentation of cities. Mentions that Indianapolis developed a regional ``Unigov’’.},
category = {fragmentation, regionalism}

author={Alinsky, S.D.},
publisher={Vintage Books New York},
comment = {The classic short book where the legendary Alinsky lays out the method to fight the man.
Some of his specific rules are quoted in my thesis. There is some key concepts of keeping
oneself as a community organizer outside of the community.}
% I have this book. In digital form.

author={Wingo, L. and others},
comment = {Contains article by Gutheim below. The back describes some concept of intellectual
consciousness or something. It is categorized as an economics book. Note the date.}

author={Weizman, E.},
publisher={Verso Books},
comment = {The book where Weizman articulates the theory that Palestine is being bordered from
Israel vertically instead of horizontally.}

author={Davis, M.},
comment = {I read about half of this, but I found it hard reading. I believe because I have no idea who the
people are he refers to, and where the places are. I found Davis’ slums article below much more
% I have this book.

author={Lynch, K. and Hack, G.},
publisher={The MIT Press},
comment = {Early on this mentions the necessity of constantly reviewing one’s previous planning work to see if techniques were successful or not. Also talks about how site planning is related to man and environment working together, a la McHarg.}

author={McHarg, I.L. and American Museum of Natural History},
publisher={J. Wiley},
comment = {Only read the first chapter on tidal zones thus far, and there is some neat stuff about beach erosion in there. Presumably at some point he covers his famous overlay techniques.}
% I have this book.

author={Stein, CS},
publisher={Cambridge: MIT Press},
comment = {The classic for which there is a fund given at Cornell Planning. The first page has a graph that shows how the projects Stein built are related to the economic and cultural times they were built in. Stein leads the charge for New Towns and Howard style Garden Cities in America. This book contains a chapter on the Valley Stream Project (not built) one goal of which was to create jobs in the construction industry after the war. Stein cites it as a major influence on later projects that were built, including the separation of road/ped and parking away from housing. Radburn is interesting for not having a Greenbelt (which is key for Howards GCs), instead, Stein has them look towards the interior of their superblocks (the unit scale at which he designs) for green. Other Projects: Sunnyside, Chatham Village, Phipps Garden Apartments (I and II), Hillside Homes, Greenbelt, Greenhills, Greenbrook, Greendale, Baldwin Hills Village.}
% This is a book I SHOULD own.

author={Rittel, H.W.J. and Webber, M.M.},
journal={Policy sciences},
comment = {Horst Rittel defines the concept of “wicked problem” in this famous paper. These are problems which cannot be solved with simple, measurable solutions. Lays out a whole set of rules of what makes a problem wicked. Began the whole theory of wicked problems, now widely used in many fields.},
categor = {planning theory, wicked problems}
% Chusid’s favorite paper.
% Think of physics. It is a field in which math is used to describe observed phenomenon, and then to generate new things to look for (like elementary particles.) The field is convinced that with enough time, research, and data, they can come up with formulas that will describe the whole of the observable universe.
% But social scientists and economists, while they use math as a tool, aren’t even CLOSE to formulas that describe a tiny part of human behavior accurately.
% The physicists take COMFORT in the idea that their field is explainable, even if they aren’t there yet.
% The social scientists (maybe?) take comfort in the idea that their field is not explainable.
% I have a digital copy of this article.
% See also this review of the book “Range” that describes why generalists are better at tackling wicked problems:
% \url{}
% Also that article has clear definitions for “polymaths” “dilettantes” and “generalists”

Author={Russell, James S.},
Title={Biloxi Clues: The Gulf Coast Community Design Studio provides a model for rebuilding after Katrina.},
journal={Architectural Record},
comment = {This is from my theis. The Arch Record article that made the GCCDS famous.}
% I have a digital copy of this article.

author={Gutheim, F.},
journal={Cities and Space},
comment = {I started reading this article in the book below.
It looks like an interesting early treatment of Urban Design.
It also contains the line “the doctrine could not be eaten as hot as I had cooked it.”}
% I have a digital copy of this article.

author={Bettencourt, L. and West, G.},
publisher={Nature Publishing Group},
comment = {Short article from (I presume) the researchers who did the quantitative city analysis reported on Radiolab.},
category = {population}
% I have a digital copy of this article.

title={The origins of scaling in cities},
author={Bettencourt, Lu{'\i}s MA},
publisher={American Association for the Advancement of Science},
comment = {Another paper by Bettencourt that talks about their ability to predict things about cities based on population alone. He argues that we should ask what cities do, not what they look like or how they grow. Referred to by this CityLab article: \url{}},
category = {population}
% I haven’t read this paper.

title={Settlement Scaling and Increasing Returns in an Ancient Society},
author={Ortman, SG and Cabaniss, AHF and Sturm, JO and Bettencourt, LMA},
comment = {Bettencourt and crew tackle their same size theories in ancient Mexico. Reffered to by this CityLab article: \url{}},
category = {population}

Title = {A Road Less Traveled},
journal={Pacific Standard},
Author = {Burns, Melinda},
comment = {A public article on peak travel. We may be reaching a maximum number of cars.
Reading between the lines, we are still screwed though.}
% I have a digital copy of this article.

author={Davies, M.},
journal={New Left Review},
comment = {The article that preceded the book. Apocalyptic urbanism.
I remember thinking this article was awesome, but I don’t remember much of it.}
% I have a digital copy of this article.

author={UKERC, UK},
journal={Report. London},
comment = {A summary of a set of studies which suggest that the “rebound
effect” from efficieny gains can lead to \emph{increased} energy
consumption due to economic reasons. I first read about this
report in this NY Times article:
% I have a digital copy of this article.

Author={Shaer, Matthew},
Title={Not Quite Copenhagen: Is New York too New York for bike lanes?},
journal={New York Magazine},
comment = {This is an excellent article about the current status (3/20/11)
of bike lanes in NYC. Mentions that the law firm that defended
Bush in Bush v. Gore is defending anti-bike lane advocates pro
bono. Also that the battle over Prospect Park West’s bike lane
may affect cycling worldwide. It talks about how this all happened
before, with Koch in the 80s and the lanes were bulldozed. And
the article implies that safety goes up on bike lane streets, even
if the actual number of riders does not.}
% I have a digital copy of this article.

Author={Seelye, Katharine Q.},
Title={Detroit Census Confirms a Desertion Like No Other},
journal={New York Times},
comment = {The Census says that Detroit lost 1/4 of its population in the last
10 years. It is the only city to rise above 1 million people, and
then fall below it.}

Author={Cheramie, Kristi Dykema},
Title={The Scale of Nature: Modeling the Mississippi River},
journal={Design Observer},
comment = {An article about a 200 acre model of the Mississippi River Basin
built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 60s to try to predict
floodplains. It is written in a kind of Landscapese, but still
pretty damn amazing.}

Author={Spiegel, Alix},
Title={What Heroin Addiction Tells Us About Changing Bad Habits},
comment = {This is a pretty amazing article about how addiction is actually impacted by \emph{place}.},
quote = {“one big theory about why the rates of heroin relapse were so low on return to the U.S. has to do with the fact that the soldiers, after being treated for their physical addiction in Vietnam, returned to a place radically different from the environment where their addiction took hold of them.” “It’s as if over time, we leave parts of ourselves all around us, which in turn, come to shape who we are.”},
category = {urbanism, politics}

Author={Florida, Richard},
Title={Inequality and the Growth of Cities },
comment = {Florida (in his continuing efforts to amend for the sins of his youth?) argues the data shows that there is weak to no association between inequality and growth. But that redistribution (i.e. fighting inequality) either doesn’t hurt, or helps growth, and therefore should be done.},
category = {urbanism, inequality, growth}

Author={Hampton, Shane},
Title={60 Years of Urban Change: Midwest},
comment = {A page of awesome aerial view sliders for then and now of Midwest cities. See the other regions linked to as well.},
category = {urbanism}

title={Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West},
author={Cronon, W.},
number={pts. 2-3},
publisher={W. W. Norton},
comment={One of the best books I ever read about economics. Who knew you could learn about how the futures market works by reading about grain elevators? Also makes a compelling argument that hinterlands actually \emph{are part} of the cities they feed. We \emph{all} live in major cities, whether it seems like it or not.},
% See also: \url{}

Author={Edsall, Thomas B.},
Title={The Gentrification Effect},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Breaks down falling black populations in city centers},
category = {gentrification, suburbia}

Author={Sugrue, Thomas},
Title={Diversity, Toleration, and Space in Metropolitan America},
journal={Cities Papers},
comment = {Referenced in the Edsall piece in the Times on gentrification. Overview of increasing racial mix of US population, continuing segregation, and income inequality.},
category = {gentrification, suburban, racism, segregation, inequality}

Author={Silver, Nate},
Title={The Most Diverse Cities Are Often The Most Segregated},
comment = {Statistically breaks down the fact that the country’s most diverse cities are also the most segregated, by neighborhood.},
category = {diversity, segregation}

Author={Pendall, Rolf and Hedman, Carl},
Title={Worlds Apart - Inequality between America’s Most and Least Affluent Neighborhoods},
journal={Urban Institute},
comment = {Rolf looks at a comparison of Commuting Zones'' which are areas with shared economic interests. He then looks at the factors defining the top’’ and bottom'' census tracts within those CZs. some central cities have a “favored quarter” where some of the commuting zone’s most affluent households live \ldots Like bottom tracts in the same cities, these high-income, central-city areas often form part of much larger zones that extend into the suburbs. Some of these areas began as “suburbs within the city” in the 1800s and early 1900s and have maintained their positions atop the neighborhood hierarchy thanks to their appeal to a subset of high-income households.’’ New York stands out from most other cities in that so many of its top households live in the middle of the central city. These super-rich neighborhoods — which spread into previously affordable areas, giving rise to much recent debate on gentrification — form the densest concentration of affluence in the United States, eclipsing the smaller privileged areas that have recently gentrified in Boston and DC.'' The productivity and higher costs of big CZs do not translate to higher incomes, education levels, and housing values in their bottom tracts. If anything, conditions in the bottom tracts are a little better on average in the smaller CZs — measured on this national scale — than in larger ones. The processes that add up to clustering by affluent households in privileged neighborhoods may therefore be leaving disadvantaged people behind in distressed neighborhoods.’’},
category = {income inequality, commuting zones, gentrification}

Author={Florida, Richard},
Title={Is Your Neighborhood Changing? It Might Be Youthification, Not Gentrification},
comment = {Florida argues that it’s not \emph{gentrification} it’s \emph{youthification}. Which is really just statiticians trying to put quantitative measures on gentrification. But maybe ties into my idea that it isn’t hipsters who are ruining NYC, but the yuppies — still.},
category = {urbanism, gentrification}

Author={Wayne, Teddy},
Title={Tell-Tale Signs of the Modern-Day Yuppie},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {A dense essay that covers how the term ‘yuppie’ is fading away, and that hipsters are simple a sub-category of yuppies. As for millennials, they have inherited an economy too fragile, and student loans too insurmountable, to enable their full-fledged yuppification. But they still share their ancestors’ love for conspicuous consumption'' Perhaps the hipster’s rebellion from the yuppie’s careerism should be commended for its ingenuity. He has deduced how to work the minimal amount for maximal comforts. He’s seen that the yuppie lifestyle didn’t ultimately satisfy his (possibly divorced) boomer parents, has opted out of traditional adulthood and is cutting his losses now, because if the country is no longer ascendant, it probably means he can’t be, either. The hipster’s laissez-faire dissent is not quite as subversive as the Weathermen’s bombing of the Pentagon. But it’s what passes for revolution in our yuppified time.’’},
category = {yuppies, hipsters, consumerism}

Author={Velsey, Kim},
Title={Gentrification May Be Complicated, But It’s Not a Myth and Neither Is Displacement},
comment = {An argument against another paper arguing that gentrification is a myth. Focused on NYC.},
category = {housing, urbanism, CUP}

Author={Thompson, Derek},
Title={The Miracle of Minneapolis},
journal={The Atlantic},
comment = {Minneapolis doesn’t benefit from a proximity to other rich cities and their intermingling of commerce. Instead, it’s so far from other major metros that it’s a singular magnet for regional talent.'' It’s really hard to get people to move to Minneapolis, and it’s impossible to get them to leave.’’ ``The Minnesota state legislature passed a law requiring all of the region’s local governments—in Minneapolis and St. Paul and throughout their ring of suburbs—to contribute almost half of the growth in their commercial tax revenues to a regional pool, from which the money would be distributed to tax-poor areas.’’},
category = {minneapolis, urbanism, redistribution}

Author={Doulis, Maria},
Title={Don’t Block Design-Build},
journal={Citizens Budget Commission},
comment = {Argues that using design-build contracts for public works is more efficient than design-bid-build. NY State has been experimenting with design-build, but it is up for official approval in Albany now.},
category = {design-build, albany}

Author={Bogost, Ian},
Title={Video Games Are Better Without Characters},
journal={The Atlantic},
comment = {Claims that games like Simcity are good for society because they promote the idea that we are part of a complex system. Having characters in games might promote the identity politics and further splits in our culture. While systems-modeling games let us play the role of the system. We might all be better off if we realized our place in larger systems, rather than see ourselves as an individual character.},
category = {video games, simcity, identity}

Author={Heins, Scott},
Title={Roaming The Forbidden Zones With NYC’s Young Urban Explorers},
comment = {Overview of the current landscape of ``urban explorers’’. Talks about the history of urban exploration including Moses Gates},
category = {urbanism, decay}

title={Gentrification and its discontents: Notes from New Orleans},
author={Campanella, Richard},
journal={New Geography},
url = {},
comment = {A nice little look at the effects of gentrification on New Orleans after Katrina.},
category = {nola, gentrification}

Author={Davidson, Adam},
Title={Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {Discusses the fact that most research shows that maximizing allowable immigration would be a boost to the economy. Unfortunately doesn’t address the idea that there is no limit to growth.},
category = {immigration}

Title={Space and the city},
journal={The Economist},
comment = {The Economist makes the argument for near total relaxation of development controls. Actual quote: ``First, they should ensure that city-planning decisions are made from the top down.’’},
category = {economics, housing, zoning}

Author={Lobo, Arun Peter and Salvo, Joseph J.},
Title={The Newest New Yorkers Characteristics of the City’s Foreign-born Population 2013 edition},
month ={12},
comment = {3 million people in NYC are immigrants. The biggest population is Dominicans (but not for much longer). The second biggest is Chinese. 6 in 10 New Yorkers are immigrants or born to immigrants. Brooklyn and Queens each have a million immigrants. Manhattan far fewer. Immigrants drive the demand for housing: ``Close to one-half of all housing units occupied for the first time after 2000 had an immigrant householder; add the second generation and the share rises to more than 6-in-10.’’ Referenced by this article in the Times about increasing and spreading Chinese populations: \url{}},
category = {immigration, housing, chinese}

Author={SteinBrueck, Peter and Winter, Mikaela and Williamson, Stormie and Patterson, Matthew S. and Barb'{e} and Greaney, Yari},
Title={SSNAP REPORT 2014},
comment = {Seattle does a detailed look at outcomes from their 20 year plan issued 20 years ago.},
category = {planning}
%I haven’t read this, just an article about it:

Author={Shriver, Lionel},
Title={Ruining That Moody Urban Glow},
journal={The New York Times},
comment = {LED street lighting is being tested in Windsor Terrace},
category = {led, streetlights}
% This person argues in favor of orange sodium lights. And, manages to sound like a horrible person too.

Author={Cortright, Joe},
Title={The True Costs of Driving},
journal={The Atlantic},
comment = {The average household pays 1100 a year in costs to support roads. Taxes and tolls give the impression that drivers support the cost of roads, but it isn’t even close in reality.},
category = {cost of driving, cars, economics}

Author={Surico, John},
Title={The Journey from Death to Hart Island},
journal={Urban Omnibus},
comment = {A look at Hart Island, NYC’s potters field, where more than a million people are buried.},
category = {burial, potters field, hart island}