Last week, City Observatory celebrated its first birthday. This week, we’re taking some time to look back at all the reports and commentaries we researched and wrote in the last year, and picking out some of what we think are the most important facts and insights. We put eleven of them into a one-pager with links to some of our greatest hits. We think it all adds up to a good portrait of where American cities find themselves now: in the midst of a historic increase in demand for city living, but with considerable challenges from concentrated poverty, segregation, and too many street design, transportation, and land use policies that are stuck in the past. We hope that you’ll find it useful—and look out for more highlights of from the first year of our work over the rest of the week.
1. Less time in traffic. People are losing 40 percent less time to traffic congestion since 2010.
2. 12 to 1. The number of newly-poor neighborhoods exceeds the number of gentrified low-income neighborhoods 12 to 1.
3. We’ve got a shortage of cities. Building more great neighborhoods would go a long way towards addressing city housing affordability.
4. Cars don’t pay their way. Car user fees cover 30 percent of the total cost of roads.
5. City jobs are back. After decades of decentralization, jobs are coming back to urban centers.
6. The wealthy are leaving. The growth in income segregation has been driven by the secession of the wealthy.
7. Wider does not mean safer. Wider streets are not safer streets.
8. We’re driving less. Americans are driving less—and that’s good for our economy.
9. Cities are more poor. Two million more people live in high-poverty urban neighborhoods than did in 1970.
10. That neighborhood you love is illegal. The country’s zoning laws prevent us from building more high demand, great places like Soho in NYC and Over the Rhine in Cincinnati.
11. 85,000 more young people. In 2014, about 85,000 more people aged 20 to 29 moved to central cities than suburbs.