Some drops in density do far more damage than others

What does Robert Pershing Walden, the tallest man to have ever lived on record, have to do with density of cities? If you understand why there are not many people nine feet tall, you understand why big drops in density can be devastating for city finances. For every inch that Walden grew in one dimension, his blood vessels had to … Read More

When Transportation Falls Off the Road-Length Cliff

Modern planning has a foundational idea: below a certain density, few people walk, bike or take transit. Just about any city-building goal, from supporting main streets to running an effective transit system, requires a certain minimum number of people living within walking distance. Our research suggests another indicator can do even better job for identifying thresholds after which almost no … Read More

How Halifax is Making itself Poorer—And How to Fix It

Halifax’s greenfield developments have made the city more expensive for everyone but, simultaneously, contribute less tax revenue to pay for those costs. Since 1996, the length of road per person in Halifax’s suburban and urban areas has increased by 5%. For each taxpayer, that means 5% more costs for road maintenance, snow clearing, and garbage pickup. It means providing pipes, sewers, transit and emergency services also … Read More