Crawlable Urbanism: Cities Are for Kids, Too

By Tanya Snyder
Published: August 13, 2013
DC.StreetsBlog.org

All of a sudden, I feel like all anyone is talking about is whether it’s a good idea to raise kids in the city. I’m raising a kid in the city. I feel great about it when she has a blast on the back of the bike, or makes friends on the bus, or gets excited about pressing the beg button at the corner. I feel a little less certain when we toddle down the sidewalk and come upon guys peeing on the dumpster or passed out on the stoop. When I look at the test scores for our neighborhood schools, I get a knot in my stomach.

A few days ago I visited my friends’ new home in Potomac, a wealthy, second-ring suburb with enviable schools. Their new house sits on two acres with a pool and a basketball court. After a few hours sipping beer in their landscaped yard and watching our children frolic in the pool, I had to do some mental gymnastics to remind myself why I didn’t pick this path for myself.

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Urban shift has Americans bidding farewell to suburbs

Published August 1, 2013
The Today Show

The proverbial American dream of white picket fences in suburbia seems to have lost its luster as a radical new housing trend shows families staying put in the city. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

Watch the video here


The Cost of Sprawl on Clean Water

By Kaid Benfield
Published: June 11, 2012
theatlanticcities.com

In my day job, I work for an NGO that’s all about water. Being a sophisticated organization, we know that means being all about watersheds. Watersheds are topographic areas where all the rain that falls eventually ends up in a namesake steam, river, lake, or estuary. Thus, for example, the watershed for the Ohio River extends to the towns not only along its banks, but also along its feeder streams sometimes hundreds of miles from the main stem – the Allegheny and Monongahela, coming together at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the Kanawha River, whose mouth is at Point Pleasant, West Virginia; the Little Sandy, ending its journey in Greenup, Kentucky; and countless hundreds more streams and places, large and small.

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Planners want to make bases more ‘walkable’

By Sean Reilly
Published: May 19, 2012
Army Times

At military installations, suburban-style sprawl is out and walkable communities are in, under new Defense Department planning guidelines released Thursday.

The guidelines call for “compact development” that incorporates mass transit and a mix of residential housing close to shops and other businesses. Energy conservation is a key goal; trees and other greenery should be considered as well.

Read the rest of the article here


The End of Sprawl?

By Richard Florida
April 5, 2012
theatlanticcities.com

It just might be, according to today’s story in USA Today by Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg.

The story is built around a detailed analysis (supported by a terrific interactive map) of census data on population growth. The authors compared the data from 2006 with data from 2011.

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How Suburban Sprawl Works Like a Ponzi Scheme

By Kaid Benfield
Published: October 4, 2011
theatlanticcities.com

It will not be news to anyone who is reading this that the United States remains in the midst of the deepest economic crisis in my lifetime. (I guess it turns out that you can’t start two major wars while cutting taxes and failing to regulate financial institutions, at least not without paying a steep price. Surprise.) Getting out of this mess and becoming more economically resilient will require a basket of solutions, including a serious look at the way we have been growing our cities and towns.

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