Joe Cortright

Joe Cortright is the director of City Observatory.

The High Price of Cheap Gasoline

When gas prices stopped falling, Americans again began to drive less.

A photo of a security officer directs shoppers at the King of Prussia Mall.

We Should Measure ‘Anti-Social Capital’

Cities that employ large numbers of security guards may also have lower levels of social trust.  

If You Want Less Displacement, Build More Housing

Blocking new development doesn’t keep people from moving in. It often prices residents out of the neighborhoods they’re trying to preserve.

Are Americans Fleeing Cities for Suburbs? Not So Fast.

Basic comparisons of population growth rates don’t tell the whole story, and they misrepresent important questions about where people really want to live.

There Will Be No Exit From California's Housing Hell

SB 827 may have been great economics, but it was poor politics.

Kids eating ice cream.

Free Cones Are Like Freeways: You Pay With Your Time

When it comes to our road system, Ben & Jerry’s annual ice-cream giveaway has much to teach us.

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.

People walk through a crosswalk.

Great Cities Enable You to Live Longer

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

Tourists are pictured taking a selfie.

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.

A construction worker is pictured.

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.