Screwing Over Urban America

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“Cities and metropolitan areas are the engines of our economy,” says Robert Puentes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metro Program. “The top 100 metropolitan areas alone claim only 12 percent of our land mass but harbor more than 65 percent of our population, 74 percent of our most educated citizens, 77 percent of our knowledge economy jobs, and 84 percent of our most recent immigrants. They also generate 75 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.”

[Source: Screwing Over Urban America]

The primary objective of the article discussing GOP’s non-preference for cities aside, the excerpt highlights the diminished role of urban centers in electoral politics. I would favor electoral policies that represent areas where most people are because isn’t that what democracy is all about?

Buffalo, Then and Now (1902-2011)

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Time has not served Buffalo well since. Fighting rapid population loss and economic stagnation, the city’s attempts to revitalize itself have resulted in swaths of surface parking and clusters of vapid office towers that impede on its radial street grid. We pulled sections from this 1902 map via the Library of Congress and compared it to current satellite imagery to see just how much has changed.

[Source: The Atlantic Cities]

Sadly, too many parking lots.

Population Density Range in America

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The most densely populated block group is one in New York County, New York — 3,240 people in 0.0097 square miles, for about 330,000 per square mile. The least dense is in the North Slope Borough of Alaska — 3 people in 3,246 square miles, or one per 1,082 square miles. The Manhattan block group I mention here is 360 million times more dense than the Alaska one.

As you see, America’s population density vary over a huge range. This is the reason why the electoral maps painted red and blue paint such a skewed picture of the country’s political preferences.

Racist City in America

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Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day and occasional blogger at Freakonomics wants to know which is the most racist city in America. the comment thread is rich with suggestions and opinions but I find the question too vague. It is extremely difficult to judge a city’s collective attitude toward racism without actually measuring for it. Even if you try measuring it, I don’t know if you can really come up with anything unless you specifically ask for opinions.