A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Blurred lines: Once upon a time there were distinct markers between urban and suburban—i.e. “cities are dangerous,” big-box shopping is in the ‘burbs. But more and more now, economist Tyler Cowen writes in Bloomberg, those boundaries are becoming indistinguishable:
One way to study the future is to see how new cities and suburbs are being built, mostly looking toward Asia. Rapidly growing areas have lots of well-distributed skyscrapers, but without a clearly defined urban center as you might find in European (or some American) cities with 18th century or medieval roots. Singapore is sometimes called a “city-state,” but outside of its small central core, it often feels more like a “suburb-state,” albeit with high population density.
Commentators may be missing the new reality of convergence because so many of the intellectual elite live in a few highly distinctive major cities—New York, London or San Francisco—or in “urban adjuncts,” such as Berkeley, California, or Cambridge, Massachusetts. I see those areas as isolated outposts, not the future for most of the West. Think instead of how the urban and suburban areas of Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Orlando really don’t differ that much.
- With this blur of urbanism into the suburbs, another Bloomberg column notes that offices are no longer so thirsty for downtown locations.
Trump on city crime: In an interview with Sean Hannity yesterday, President Trump claimed police in big cities are “not allowed” to respond to rampant crime due to political correctness, and blamed that crime on the Democrats who “have ruled inner cities for 100 years.” Meanwhile, a favorite Trump reference point—the mystery cop who says he can stop Chicago crime—reappeared in ultra-bravado form. (Washington Post, Chicago Tribune)
The ugly word: Have big cities hijacked the debate on gentrification? Two sociologists pose that question in The Conversation, suggesting that the knee-jerk negative connotations aren’t very relevant for a near-bankrupt city like Hartford, Connecticut.
Unsafe streets: The U.S. has just seen its worst two-year spell in traffic deaths in more than 50 years, with cyclists and pedestrians accounting for a rising share of those fatalities. (Streetsblog)
Green market: Cities in California are scrambling to figure out how cannabis sales will work within their boundaries, before the state law legalizing recreational weed goes into effect Jan. 1. (L.A. Biz)
The urban lens:
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