Archive | Economics

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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Seven Ways Automobility Undermines a City’s Bottom Line, from Least to Most Direct

Earlier this month, both Minneapolis and Saint Paul released their property tax levy numbers, and for both cash-strapped core cities, they went up quite a bit. Despite the recent development booms in both downtowns, the fiscal facts on the ground remain stubborn. Saint Paul and Minneapolis have a lot of needs, and funding them is […]

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Minnesota Property Taxes Explained, Part 2: How are Property Taxes Calculated?

In Part I I covered the basics of what property taxes are.  This time I’ll dive into how exactly property taxes are calculated, starting with (for Minneapolis) the half billion dollar question. What is tax capacity? In its simplest form, the tax capacity of a property is its taxable market value (explained below) multiplied by its class […]

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Chart of the Day: Small Business Turnover vs. Gentrification in New York City

From City Observatory, here’s an interesting chart ripped from a study about small business turnover and gentrification in New York City. It compares the number of businesses that close, go vacant, or are replaced with new businesses in gentrifying and non-gentrifying neighborhoods (gentrifying neighborhoods were defined as meeting a certain change in income within a census tract). Here’s […]

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Chart of the Day: Shopkeepers Travel Mode Share Estimates (Bristol UK)

Alex Schieferdecker turned me onto an old Citylab article about parking perception versus parking reality called Four Reasons Retailers Don’t Need Free Parking. It cites a (hard to find) study out of the UK which charted perceived mode-share versus actual mode share for a shopping street in Bristol, UK (a medium-sized city in the Southwest, population 450K). Here’s the chart […]

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