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Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at and

This year I am, for the first time in four years, teaching a seminar on Sprawl on the Law.  It will be a bit harder this year, in that I don’t have a simple story to tell about the local surroundings.

The first time I taught the course (in Carbondale, Il.) I could focus on the decline of St. Louis (the nearest major city).  So in a sense the course was a story about: What made St. Louis sprawl?

Then I taught the course in Jacksonville, Fl., a growing but pedestrian-hostile city.  So I could focus on: why is it so hard to get around Jacksonville without driving?

Pittsburgh is pretty pedestrian-friendly and somewhat successful- but not completely.  Its not growing like NYC (so I can’t focus on “Why is this town so expensive?” which would have to be the main NYC story), but it hasn’t declined as rapidly as St. Louis either.  It has lost a lot of population but still has more successful neighborhoods and less crime than St. Louis, so it is kind of a middle ground between the success stories and the failures.


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