Op-Ed: Cities Still Subsidize Everyone Else

Donald Trump rode waves of anti-urban sentiment to the White House. But is some city smugness forgivable if urban economies subsidize rural places?

1 minute read

April 26, 2017, 2:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Boston Seaport

holbox / Shutterstock

"A political backlash against cities is brewing, and it might have been expected, given the last several years of urban triumphalism." In response to that edgy column by Ross Douthat in the New York Times, Renee Loth counters that cities are still under-prioritized in many ways. 

For one thing, urban areas often contribute more to the pot than they get, and that'll only worsen under Trump policies. "[...] urban tax dollars are already subsidizing rural counties. A disproportionate amount of federal dollars flow to mostly rural states, while richer states with large urban centers pay more in taxes than they receive in federal benefits."

Loth concludes, "If Douthat and friends want to redistribute the wealth, why not call for a guaranteed minimum wage, or free college and vocational tuition — or adjust tax rates so the rich pay their fair share, wherever they might live?"

Monday, April 3, 2017 in The Boston Globe

Red on white 'Room for Rent, Inquire Inside' sign

In Most U.S. Cities, Archaic Laws Limit Roommate Living

Critics argue laws preventing unrelated adults from living in the same home fail to understand the modern American household.

May 24, 2023 - The Atlantic

Vancouver Chuck Wolfe

Ten Signs of a Resurgent Downtown

In GeekWire, Chuck Wolfe continues his exploration of a holistic and practical approach to post-pandemic urban center recovery, anchored in local context and community-driven initiatives that promote livability, safety, and sustainability.

May 24, 2023 - GeekWire

New York MTA subway station

Off-Peak is the New On-Peak

Public transit systems in major U.S. cities are starting to focus on non-rush hour travelers as pre-pandemic commuting patterns shift and transportation needs change.

May 19, 2023 - Curbed

REndering of two-story white supportive housing building converted from a former hmotel

Orange County Motel Converted to Supportive Housing

The renovated building offers 57 housing units and supportive services to people formerly experiencing homelessness.

1 hour ago - The Orange County Register

View of Colorado River from top of Hoover Dam with concrete column on left

The New Colorado River Deal: An Explainer

According to one analyst, the agreement approved by the states doesn’t go nearly far enough to protect the river in the long term.

3 hours ago - The Land Desk

View of cars stuck in gridlocked traffic with traffic lights in background

Research Indicates the Large Potential Benefits of Parking Cash-Out Laws

‘Free’ employee increases driving. Parking cash-out laws reward commuters who use climate-friendly modes, which increases fairness and reduces traffic problems.

5 hours ago - An Assessment of the Expected Impacts of City-Level Parking Cash-Out and Commuter Benefits Ordinances

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.