The Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, a think tank close to Hong Kong governor Donald Tsang, has just released a report arguing that it might make sense for Hong Kong and Shenzhen to merge into a single metropolitan entity. According to The Economist Cities Guide email update (one of the magazine's best services for subscribers and a most for global urban trendwatches): Opinion
Aug 14, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
After the dramatic collapse of the Minneapolis freeway bridge last week, the collective hand-wringing began. The bridge was known to be faulty, but had not been replaced. Our entire public transit system is underfunded, we were told.In addition to transportation infrastructure, those concerned with urban issues have a litany of complaints about American cities. Our transit systems are not adequately linked to zoning laws. Our high parking requirements doom alternative modes of transit and drive up development costs. Our policies encourage uncontrolled sprawl, which seemingly nobody likes. Opinion
Aug 10, 2007   By Robert Goodspeed
The August 1 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis has briefly reminded municipalities across the continent that they, too, have crumbling infrastructure. Local officials have reacted to this tragic current event by reassuring their respective constituencies that they will do whatever they can to make sure their bridges are safe. But if that bridge in Minneapolis hadn't collapsed, would America's formerly-unconsidered bridges be getting all of this attention? Opinion
Aug 9, 2007   By Nate Berg
Valleywag, the uber-obnoxious Bay Area gossip blog has a great piece on the impact a rapidly-expanding has on downtown Palo Alto (The Institute is right across the street!) Opinion
Aug 7, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
I first visited the African American suburb of Country Club Hills, south of Chicago, as an interviewer for a research project. It seemed as though only race had been reversed: The Maryland suburbs I had grown up in were 80 percent white, these were 80 Black, but otherwise they were so utterly familiar, right down to the floor plan of the split-level ranches, that I knew the layout of every home before I went in. In research I’ve begun on other Black, middle-class suburbs, however, it turns out that more than color has been reversed. Opinion
Aug 7, 2007   By Greg Smithsimon
The gang at Appleseed, one of New York City's most interesting boutique economic development consultancies, has just launched a new blog. This is looking to be a must-read, as founder Hugh O'Neill has been one of the most accurate analysts and forecasters of economic trends in the New York region for many years now, and a strategist bar none. If his first post, a take on New York City's current commercial real estate market is a harbinger of things to come, I suspect we'll be back for more. Opinion
Aug 6, 2007   By Anthony Townsend
Whether kissed by trade winds in Hawaii, home to dozens of unique cultures in the Caribbean, or scoured by Nor’easter’s off the coast of Maine, islands are magnetic to burnt-out urbanites but tend to be tough places for natives. I was a guest not long ago of Fernando Menis, an architect who has built an international reputation from Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. It’s not easy to be true to a unique place – as he aspires to be – when what works locally doesn’t always “translate” in the globalized and image-driven world of architecture. Opinion
Aug 5, 2007   By James S. Russell
After spending more than two decades in local government before my eight years as Governor of Maryland, I came to realize how the state was contributing to the spread of sprawl by funding infrastructure improvements, school construction, and transportation investments, among many other things. When we began to utilize the entire state budget as a tool for smarter growth, we found ourselves in uncharted territory. Leading the way is certainly an adventure, but it also comes with the unenviable task of not having someone who has gone before to help navigate the journey. Opinion
Aug 3, 2007   By
In an editorial posted yesterday in Popular Mechanics, national security expert Stephen Flynn argues that Americans are relying on decades-old infrastructure intended for a much smaller passenger and vehicle load. Opinion
Aug 3, 2007   By Diana DeRubertis
The collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis puts the spotlight on the unsexy topic of infrastructure maintenance. But a smart growth policy, "Fix it First," has been focused in the area for some time. The policy, in place in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and for the last four years in Massachusetts, states that no new highways or bridges can be built until all existing infrastructure is in a state of good repair. Opinion
Aug 3, 2007   By Anthony Flint