Up To Speed

Which cities did the biggest music hits come from in 2012?

Which cities did the biggest music hits come from in 2012?.

South Korea’s PSY took the world by storm in 2012 with his smash hit single “Gangnam Style.” His song, however, was an anomaly for Asian cities with regards to internationally pop song hits, with the vast majority originating from artists in North America and Western Europe. More from The Atlantic:

In this evolving international soundscape, just how global is the popular music Americans listen to? Where are its major locational epicenters? To get at this, UCLA urban planning doctoral candidate Patrick Adler took a look at the geography of two lists of the year’s best music: Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks and Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs.

Adler used geographic data from Twitter, SoundCloud, AllMusic, and Pitchfork to assign a location to the metro area where the artist behind each track currently resides. He gave preference to the locations identified by the artists themselves. The list is based on where artists currently live and work, not where they originally hail from. This can sometimes penalize non-U.S. locations.

Up To Speed

Report: retailers ‘vastly overestimate’ the role of free parking

Report: retailers ‘vastly overestimate’ the role of free parking.

We hear time and time again that urban retail centers need free and plentiful parking, and without it the customers will not come. New research, however, shows that the actual evidence for such claims is scant at best, and that retailers “vastly overestimate” the role free parking plays in their success. More from The Atlantic:

The review was conducted earlier this year by the cross-party policy group London Councils. The group performed a thorough meta-analysis of the existing academic and public agency research on the role of parking in urban commerce. It also sent parking questionnaires to all 33 London boroughs (comprising the city center, as well as inner and outer areas) and conducted market research with shoppers at three commercial centers in the outer regions. The findings can be reduced down to four main reasons retailers don’t need free parking to thrive.

1) Free, plentiful parking often hurts more than it helps, 2) shopkeepers overestimate how many customers arrive by car, 3) they also overestimate how much car customers spend, and 4) a mix of retailers is more important than parking supply.

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Work begins on $15 billion Manhattan infill project

Work begins on $15 billion Manhattan infill project.

Earlier this week, New York City officials celebrated the groundbreaking of Hudson Yards, a new $15 billion office and residential district to be built above the Long Island Railroad’s yard on Manhattan’s west side. The development’s 16 towers will create nearly as much new office and residential space as currently exists in downtown Cincinnati. An extension of the #7 subway serving the development will be completed in 2014 and new buildings should be ready for occupancy in 2015. More from the New York Daily News:

The groundbreaking ends years of deal-making between developers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the rail yard and will lease the development rights for 99 years for more than $1 billion…The 26-acre site, to be built on platforms over the rail facility, will be the largest private real estate development in the history of New York.

For New Yorkers trying to wiggle out of a recession, Hudson Yards could mean thousands of jobs and hundreds of units of affordable housing…Urban experts see Hudson Yards as a means for New York to stay competitive with Shanghai, London and Paris as a key 21st century city.

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Would an aerial tram make sense for Mt. Adams?

Would an aerial tram make sense for Mt. Adams?.

The number of cities using aerial trams (cable cars) as a means of urban transport is growing. In Cincinnati, the idea of implementing an aerial tram between Over-the-Rhine and Mt. Adams has long been considered. Often times the trams take passengers from low-lying areas to the tops of hillsides, but they are also being used to traverse rivers and more. More from The Guardian:

Cable transport is cost-effective, environmentally friendly, safe and requires little infrastructure. It is particularly suitable for crossing natural obstacles such as rivers or scaling hills, there being no need for expensive engineering work. Over an equivalent distance a cable link costs half as much as a tram line, and though no rival for underground railways in terms of capacity, some models can carry up to 8,000 passengers an hour.

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What does the decline of the nuclear family mean for America’s cities?

What does the decline of the nuclear family mean for America’s cities?.

What has long been considered to be the traditional family household in America is changing. People are living longer, young individuals are putting off marriage, women are increasingly becoming dominant in the workforce, and same-sex couples are taking a more prominent role in our society. These changes mean a variety of things socially, but it also means that our types of housing are and need to continue to change. More from Urbanophile:

As affluent people who choose to remain childless remain in more urban areas, and those who choose to have kids live in suburban ones, we’ll have legitimate matters of interest driving them apart politically. In a piece called “Geographies in Conflict” I noted how different economic geographies in the same physical space is an inherent conflict. Red states and blue states don’t just have different political points of views. They increasingly do different things. If you are Texas and are in the business of energy, chemicals, logistics, and manufacturing, the things that you need to be successful are very different from a Silicon Valley or Manhattan, which specialize in ultra-high end, high value service industries. The conflicts are as much a product of legitimate self-interest as political philosophy.

I think we’ll see similar conflicts between the needs, wants, and desires of the childless urban population and those of the suburban families with kids. It’s kind of nice to do your shopping daily on foot or by bicycle at the local market and such when you don’t have three kids to buy for and haul around with you. Bloomberg’s proposed micro-apartments in New York are an example of a market designed to cater to singles, not families. It’s not a matter of one being good and another bad. It’s merely that singles (or childless married couples) and people with children have very different priorities and concerns in life.