Archive | Economics

Geodesic Domes outside of Amazon's Seattle HQ

Don’t Hold Your Breath on Amazon

Recently, Amazon announced plans to build “HQ2,” a second headquarters for their growing business. Amazon is soliciting various municipal and state governments with a request for proposals outlining the strengths of their particular region (unique and valuable business intel in and of itself, but that’s a whole ‘nother post) and what kind of tax breaks […]

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Kitten Reading Internet Comments

We Read the Strib Parking Article’s Comments So You Don’t Have To

When controversy happens….when tempers flare….we read the comments, so you don’t have to. On Sunday, as teased on Twitter by our own @streetsmn account, the Star Tribune posted an article It’s not your imagination — parking is disappearing in Minneapolis. The subhead and picture on the article gave a taste of what was to come, with a […]

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wall

A Plan for Tearing Down Exclusionary Zoning Walls

Earlier this month, The New York Times ran an op-end titled “The Walls We Won’t Tear Down” about how some of society’s worst problems have a very boring cause: exclusionary zoning laws. Here’s the conclusion: Just as it is shameful for government regulation to exclude people from neighborhoods on the basis of race, it is similarly deplorable […]

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I Got Kicked Out of My House — You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

I got kicked out of my house a month ago.  I was renting a little three bedroom house tucked into the armpit of a highway in southwest Saint Paul. I paid my rent on time and did all the repairs the house needed myself as things broke. I’d bill for the repair out of my […]

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Chart of the Day: Costs of Driving a Car

Here’s a chart from an excellent ten-year-old report out of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute called “Socially Optimal Transport Prices and Markets” that stands up pretty well today. The 50-page report goes into detail about different country’s incentives for driving, walking, transit, and bicycling in an effort to explain why country’s transportation systems are so […]

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Wyoming is Asking the Right Questions About Job Creation

It’s no longer news that business incentive programs are controversial. A landmark New York Times investigation back in 2012 found that state and local governments gave up more than $80 billion each year to companies. Further back but closer to home, a 2008 report from Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor concluded that the now-defunct […]

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Chart of the Day: New York City Uber Effectiveness with and without Surge Pricing

Here’s an interesting chart from The Economist (sent in by Board Member Dana Demaster) that centers on the effectiveness of “surge pricing” as used by Uber in Manhattan. Here you go: The concept of surge pricing is something that comes up a lot in urban design discussions, especially around solving issues like parking, transit fares, […]

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Lost Right-Of-Way Fee Found at Ford

In August 2016, the city of Saint Paul lost a court case in the Minnesota Supreme Court.  It was about right-of-way fees, a primary funding source for the city’s roads.  To make a long story short, the court found that the fee was not a fee but a tax, meaning that every non-profit and government property […]

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Placemaking and Animal People: Why “Night in the Woods” Rocks

Night in the Woods is a video game about an anthropomorphic cat. It’s also one of the most insightful explorations of the challenges struggling communities face today — and the hidden strengths that bring those communities together. Night in the Woods tells the story of a college dropout named Mae who returns to her hometown […]

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It’s Crossing the Street, Stupid

First off, apologies for the insult. The title is of course a riff on the famous 90s political truism, “it’s the economy, stupid.” It’s amazing to me how easily we forget this little fact. Facilitating safe easy street crossings should be “job one” for any urban street design, and yet so many of our streets […]

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