Michael Lewyn's picture

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I would ask myself: what I am thankful for that is related to urbanism?

On a personal level, the answers are easy:

1. I live in a neighborhood that, despite its essentially suburban character, has sidewalks.

2. And even where there's no sidewalks, people have lawns to walk on so I don't have to walk on the street (unlike where I grew up in Atlanta).

3. I live within walking distance of lots of stores (even if crossing the street is sometimes an adventure).

4. I am a block away from city bus service.

5. In fact, I am one of the few non-downtown commuters in Jacksonville who can get to work without changing buses.

6. And what's more, the bus runs after dark (though not as late as in some other cities).

7. And thanks to Greyhound, I can get out of town with an hour or two's notice if there's a tropical storm brewing (as in fact happened in August).

On a national level, I am thankful that:

1. I am part of a nationwide movement of people (1) trying to help more people have what I am thankful for.

2. The outgoing Administration, despite its other deficiencies, has been reasonably helpful to public transit; both federal funding levels (2) and ridership (3) have increased over the past eight years.

3. Nationally, crime is far lower than it was twenty years ago. (4) As a result, "urban" is not as much of a dirty word as it once was.


(1) (for example).






Michael Lewyn is an assistant professor at Touro Law Center in Long Island.


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