Joe Cortright

Joe Cortright is the director of City Observatory.

Orange cones are pictured outside the U.S. Capitol.

Cities Alone Can't Fix What's Wrong With American Government

Localism can only flourish with a competent, generous, and fair federal government.

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Great Cities Enable You to Live Longer

Dense, well-educated, immigrant-friendly cities boost longevity—especially for the low-income.

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No, Young People Aren't Fleeing Cities

“Peak Millennial” doesn’t mean what it used to, because Millennials are getting older. And even still, they’re sticking around cities more than older generations.

Construction workers build affordable housing units.

Why Is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?

As costs keep rising, it’s becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidize projects like they’ve done in the past.

Homes in Detroit are pictured.

How Housing Intensifies the Racial Wealth Gap

The wealth of black families lags far behind whites, and housing markets play a key role.

A luxury apartment is pictured.

How Luxury Housing Becomes Affordable

Build expensive apartments now, and wait a few decades.

Why Are Manhattan's Streets Getting Slower?

The average speed of traffic has been falling for years, and it’s having a ripple effect on the city’s transit network.

An abandoned car dealership in Queens, New York

Poverty Still Isn't As Suburban As You Think

Yes, there’s need everywhere. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the pernicious dangers of urban poverty, in particular.

A house with two cars is pictured.

It's Time to Change How We Measure Affordable Housing

A cheap home isn’t affordable if it comes with high transportation costs.

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Is the Urban Renaissance Over?

The suburbs might be growing faster right now, but don’t be glum about the prospects for urban growth and revitalization.

Pedestrians on a bridge linking Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Smart Cities Are About People

Cities are organisms, not machines.

Why Is Affordable Housing So Expensive?

Limited city budgets and rising building costs create a recipe for disaster.

What Happened to Atlanta's Carmageddon?

When a major freeway closes, the expected gridlock almost never happens. This should teach us something about traffic.

A driver sits in traffic

Driving Faster Doesn’t Make You Happier

It just makes you drive farther.

Don't Dismiss the Early Signs of a Turnaround in Detroit

The Motor City faces monumental challenges, but it’s too often criticized for its glimmers of hope.

Don't Demonize Driving, Just Stop Subsidizing It

As a matter of fairness and practicality, drivers should pay for the roads they drive on.

Here’s What’s Wrong With That 'Peak Millennials' Story

The number of young adults is increasing, not declining, and a larger share of them are living in cities.

Has Louisville Figured Out How to Eliminate Traffic Congestion?

Traffic camera snapshots seem to show that the modest tolls charged on the city’s controversial highway bridge keep commuters away and traffic light.

Are the Suburbs Really Back?

The Wall Street Journal claims population growth in the U.S. suburbs is “outstripping” cities. That’s not exactly the case.

The Downsides of Data-Based Transportation Planning

The quantitative data that’s available is far too limited, and likely to lead us to the wrong conclusions.

Let a Thousand Ubers Bloom

Why more cities should promote robust competition in ride-hailing markets.