'Urban Dinosaurs,' 'Scamazon,' Green New Deal Among Chief Issues for U.S. Cities in 2019

January 3, 2019
Man running down middle of street in Boston, Mass.
Photo: Unsplash/Derek Thomson

In 2019, U.S. cities will continue to adapt to 10 major issues, including rising homelessness and unaffordability, climate change, and zoning clashes.

The recent passage of one of the buzziest zoning decisions in decades, the Minneapolis 2040 plan "effectively banishes single-family zoning citywide," in an effort to cut carbon emissions, improve equity and increase density, according to Curbed's Patrick Sisson, adding that the plan "moves the goalposts in a way that few recent urban planning decisions have." Sisson writes that a zoning story to watch over the coming year is the Oregon proposal by local House Speaker Tina Kotek to upzone the entire Beaver State, mandating towns with populations exceeding 10,000 people to allow four units on land parcels currently zoned for single-family residences.

Beginning with a partial federal government shutdown, 2019 has started with a potent reminder of dysfunction at the national level. The current budget brinkmanship only reinforces the importance of innovative local government to address pressing issues.

Last year, pundits from Richard Florida to Deborah and James Fallows talked about the power of localism, how local governments—from small towns to superstar cities—represent innovation, collaboration, and progress.

At the same time mayors and local leaders are trying and testing new ideas, urban growth, especially when it comes to inequality, has created challenges and setbacks for growing cities.

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