I’ve spent much of the last three years working on transportation finance and planning issues in China, and Reason Foundation now has transportation policy projects up and running in the cities of Chongqing, Xi’an, and Beijing.
Two years ago I saw John Norquist, former Mayor of Milwaukee and current President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, give a presentation on the state of America’s cities. During the slide show, Norquist used two sets of images to effectively convey a point about urban disinvestment in America. The first set of images was of Berlin and Detroit circa 1945. Unsurprisingly, the Berlin image displayed a war-torn and rubble-strewn city, while the Detroit image revealed why it was once called the Paris of the Midwest -- it was simply elegant. However, the second set of images displayed the same two cities 60 years later. It was as if Detroit had been through an epic war and not Berlin.