CNT in the News

New Urbanism Isn't Dead--But Thanks To Climate Change, It is Evolving

City Metric | October 23, 2017

New Urbanism is certainly not dead, but it is evolving. From the CNU Climate Summit, we can see the broad outlines of what it might become: a movement that marries a vision of livable communities to the necessities of a changing climate. The goal: resilient, equitable, carbon-neutral cities that people want to live in. That’s the new New Urbanism

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Donkeys, Elephants, and Convenient Solutions

CNU Public Square | October 10, 2017

The Congress for the New Urbanism held a Climate Summit in Alexandria, Virginia in October to brainstorm on solutions to climate change. The recent catastrophic hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida—some link the heightened storm activity to climate change—makes the topic especially urgent. The tendency of citizens and elected officials to repeat the same mistakes over and over again makes the task daunting.

The “elephant in the living room” is sprawl. “Land use is not a big consideration in today’s climate action plans being adopted by cities,” notes Jen McGraw of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, reporting at the summit. “Affordable transportation is not prioritized.” 


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Is There--Or Is There Not--An Affordable Housing Crisis in the Twin Cities?

MinnPost | October 4, 2017

Minneapolis city officials are saying it, a St. Paul neighborhood group is saying it, and housing advocacy groups are saying it: the Twin Cities are in an affordable housing crisis.

That might come as a surprise to some. After all, this isn’t San Francisco, overrun with wealthy tech bros and with limited room to expand. To be sure, the Twin Cities are more affordable than a lot of coastal cities. First things first: how do we know whether housing is unaffordable or not? The standard measure for whether housing is affordable or not is if a household is spending 30 percent or more of its income on housing expenses. But is a standard developed 80 years ago still relevant today? Not everyone thinks so. Critics dismiss the 30 percent benchmark as all but meaningless because it doesn’t account for the differences in other expenses households have, be they medical or transportation costs. 

Sticking to numbers that are easier to measure, another metric, preferred by some, is the H+T Index calculated by the Center for Neighborhood Technology. H+T starts with a regular income threshold and adds in transportation costs, which it says are most households’ second-largest expense.

According to this measure, housing is affordable if households spend no more than 45 percent of their income on housing and transportation. When you factor in transportation like this, some parts of the suburbs, where households would presumably spend more on transportation, become less affordable.

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Why Walkability Is Not a Luxury

CNU Public Square | October 2, 2017

Should we build more sprawl to create affordable housing? Is walkability an extavagance that adds nothing essential to day-to-day living? On the contrary, the evidence strongly suggests that walkability lowers overall household costs while contributing substantially to individual families’ needs.

Most analyses of affordability focus only on the cost of housing. The most common standard for affordability is that someone should not pay more than 30 percent of one’s income on housing. But that is a misleading and incomplete analysis—each house comes with a location, and the cost of transportation varies dramatically depending on walkability and transit service. The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing + Transportation Affordability Index (H&T Index) combines housing and transportation cost data for every address in US metro areas. H&T costs together are a better measure of household costs. CNT prefers the affordability standard of 45 percent for housing and transportation combined.

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CNT Work Featured in Suburban Poverty Report by The Congress for the New Urbanism

The Congress for the New Urbanism | September 7, 2017

The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has released a report on suburban poverty, focusing on the Puget Sound region in Washington, within the national context of growing poverty beyond city limits in many regions of the country. The report summarizes a May 2017 symposium in Seattle that drew nearly 1,000 participants.

Combating the Suburbanization of Poverty: The Future of Just, Sustainable Growth in the Puget Sound Region is the result of a partnership between CNU, King County GreenTools, and the Bullitt Foundation. The multi-faceted discussion that led to the report was held on May 2, 2017, in conjunction with CNU’s annual Congress in Seattle.

The report summarizes key points and findings from the event’s speakers, including Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution, co-author of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America; and Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). 

Bernstein, using CNT’s AllTransit and Housing and Transportation Index tools, has shown how spatial mismatch contributes to the expense of transportation and persistent suburban poverty in Puget Sound. With housing widely spread out, fewer areas that mix services and retail with housing, and most jobs concentrated in the urban core, suburban residents all pay a high premium for transportation—a reality that hits those in poverty the hardest.

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CNT Data Helps Demonstrate Disparities in Legal Access in Georgia

Georgia State University | September 5, 2017

As part of its goal to help identify and better understand the difficulties people face in navigating the justice system, the Center for Access to Justice has produced an online Access to Justice map of Georgia.

The map provides insight into attorney representation and other factors that affect how, and if, Georgia residents are able to gain access to the justice system.

The data were compiled from a number of sources, including The State Bar of Georgia, the Self Represented Litigants Network, census data from the 2014 American Community Survey, 2015 statistics from the Federal Communications Commission, and data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology's AllTransit tool. 

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