Urban Studies

Bringing New York to the Broadway Stage

In 1987, two very different reviews of the state of New York City appeared almost simultaneously. The first was a report issued by an ad hoc Commission on New York in 2000 chaired by Robert F. Wagner Jr., who was the son of the city’s beloved three-term mayor and grandson of a popular New York Senator, and was himself deeply involved in city affairs and a chair of the City Planning Commission. The second review was a special issue of the distinguished leftist journal Dissent edited by author and journalist Jim Sleeper.

Harnessing the Power of Grey: Aging Societies and Revitalizing Regional Urban Centers in Japan and the United States

Nearly 40 percent of Japan’s population is expected to be over 65 years old by 2060, addressing the needs of a greying society could well be Japan’s single biggest challenge. In the United States, a steady flow of immigration has kept the demographic spread more balanced, but some cities are facing more obstacles than others to address the concerns of an aging population. Yet meeting the needs of an increasingly aging population could actually lead to greater innovation and efficiencies in urban areas.

The Terrible Amusement Park that Explains Chongqing’s Economic Miracle

Locajoy, an amusement park a two-hour drive from downtown Chongqing, has seen better days. When I visited in November, the walls of the dolphin enclosure — where dolphins perform daily with a chimpanzee in a yellow Hawaiian shirt and a handler dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow — were stained brown with what looked like giant cigarette burns. Brightly colored, animal-shaped Fiberglass floats, built for parades through the park, had been bleached white in parts by the sun, and some had such large holes that you could see inside their empty shell.

10 steps to a more genuine D.C. experience

Every year, around Labor Day, recent college graduates descend on the District in hopes of finding a job. I am writing to offer them some advice about how to adapt to their new home.

Small is Beautiful: A Washington Tale of Little Red Rockers and Ducks

 Sometimes the smallest of interventions into the life of a city are the most appreciated.  This lesson is on display once more with the addition of a dozen or so bright red rocking chairs around the Southwest Duck Pond in Washington, D.C.

Busting the Ghosts Haunting Technologically Advanced Transit Systems

Smart technology holds the promise of mobility with ease, thereby resolving vexing issues of immobility and non-connectivity. Cars – often self-driven – will stand at the ready for anyone to use; parking will be ubiquitous; self-propelled buses, subways, and trains will carry busy passengers to all ends of town; boom-and-bust traffic cycles tied to rush hours will even out; electronic vehicles propelled by self-charging super-battery technologies will alleviate the need for fueling breaks; and the poor will be able to get to jobs on the rich side of town.

Summer of Washington’s Capital Discontent: Lessons from the Past

This has been a summer of discontent in Washington best symbolized by the region’s collapsing metro.

Washington's Rose Park and the Lessons of Welcoming Public Space


CARPETing the City with Transit: Essential Elements for Promoting Mobility and Equity with Sustainable Development

In September 2015, the United Nations approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intended to shape the global effort to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change. Among the 17 goals, one is devoted to the urban condition that is shared by more than half of humanity. Goal 11 calls for action to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

The Next Urban Future: Smarter and More Resilient Cities

On January 20, the Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory and Meeting of the Minds co-hosted “The Next Urban Future: Smarter and More Resilient Cities,” a seminar to examine tools, policies, and strategies for building urban resilience in the digital age.