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15 minutes 38 seconds ago

On September 1, Indianapolis is set to unveil its first bus rapid transit (BRT) route. The speedy express bus is just the first piece of a much bigger transit improvement program that will roll out over the next five years. It’s built entirely around better buses. And for other low-density cities that are looking to boost mobility without investing in costly rail-based systems, Indy’s capital-efficient approach should be a model worth studying.

Indianapolis, famous for its car race, is an extremely automobile-oriented city. Less than 1 percent of commuters in the metro area use transit to get to work, and it ranks sixth lowest among major U.S. metros in transit commuting. As local advocates for better transit like to point out, Indianapolis is the 17th largest municipality in the U.S., but it has the 99th largest bus system. This is a bit unfair—its size is inflated by a city-county consolidation, so the city contains large areas that would elsewhere be counted as suburban. But Indianapolis, by its own admission, definitely has low transit ridership.

Having lived in Indy, I can tell you that the local culture is traditionally all about driving. (I’ve had people drive me less than two blocks to get lunch.) And if you wanted to ride the bus, it was very infrequent and unreliable. “Our service is kind of spotty,” says Jerome Horne of IndyGo, the city’s transit agency.

On that front, Indy has plenty of company: Only 10 major American metros have transit commute mode share of greater than 5 percent. Indy’s bus system serves around nine million riders per year, roughly the same as Nashville. But Nashville and Indy chose very different paths in seeking to improve local transit. Nashville opted to attempt a $5.4 billion “shock and awe” plan to build 26 miles of light rail, including a subway tunnel through downtown. That plan was resoundingly defeated by county voters in 2018.

By contrast, Indy opted for an entirely bus-based plan, in part by necessity. The city required specific state authorization to put a transit plan tax to a vote, which took local leaders three sessions to get through the legislature—and then only with a provision that prohibited light rail. The business-led Central Indiana Transit Task Force, which spent years developing the improvement plan, based its recommendations on econometric estimates of return on investment. That math also pointed to bus upgrades.

In November 2016, voters approved a 0.25 percentage point increase in the county income tax in order to fund a program that would significantly increase the level of bus service delivered by IndyGo, including building three cross-county BRT lines. The Red Line will run north-south, the Blue Line an east-west, and the Purple Line to the northeast line serving an era of comparatively heavy existing transit ridership.  

But it’s not just BRT: “The three BRT lines serve as the central spine of a brand new redesigned bus network,” IndyGo’s Horne says. The redesigned regular bus network features a high-frequency grid, replacing the current hub and spoke network. Improvements include ancillary upgrades such as a new fare collection system with features like fare capping. Under fare capping, riders pay cash fares until they cumulatively hit a spending threshold that automatically converts them into an unlimited ride pass.

“Bus rapid transit” may be one of the most overused terms in transit, since it gets applied to a wide range of systems. The Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP) rates BRTs globally, with Gold ranking reserved for elaborate systems like Bogota’s famed TransMilenio. The U.S. has two Silver-rated lines—Cleveland’s RTA HealthLine and Hartford’s CT Fastrak; other American lines are rated Bronze at the highest.

In Bogota, Colombia, about 2.4 million people ride the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system on an average weekday. (EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

Indy’s BRT lines aren’t formally rated yet but are likely to be Bronze-level systems. They’ll have a number of enhanced features—stations with level boarding, off-board fare collection, traffic signal priority, and wider-than-normal stop spacing. The first phase has only 28 stops along its 13-mile length. Future phases will be extended north and south to the county lines, and potentially into adjacent counties if local voters there approve funding. About 60 percent of the line will have dedicated bus lanes, entirely on the North Side. (The less-congested South Side streets are too narrow for exclusive lanes.) Service will run every 10 minutes during the day, with longer headways early mornings and late evenings beginning at 5 a.m. and ending at 1 a.m.

The BRT buses themselves—all-electric articulated coaches from BYD—are a major upgrade over the standard models. Riders will get amenities like Wi-Fi, USB ports, and automated announcements; a series of attractive new bus stations will feature arrival time information and an integrated snow melt system. But while the Red Line will be America’s first all-electric BRT line and only the third system with fare capping, the features alone are not groundbreaking. What stands to be transformative is the overall impact the improvements could have on Indianapolis, which is currently saddled with a little-used bus system featuring lines running every 30 or 60 minutes.

The BRT line is just one part of an improved overall bus network redesigned by Jarrett Walker & Associates, the firm led by transit consultant (and occasional CityLab contributor) Jarrett Walker. This future high frequency grid will be rolled out incrementally once the Red Line goes live. Walker senior associate Michelle Poyourow, who worked on the Indy network, says, “Indy is about to demonstrate that when you invest in the whole network rather than just a handful of rapid transit lines, you can spread the benefits of rapid transit far across the whole city.”

Horne promises that this new network will have “a better span of service, with every route running every day of the week.” Currently, many bus routes take weekends off. Buses will also run more frequently on many core routes, with more non-radial lines providing additional transfer opportunities. That should be a game-changer for riders, Horne says. “Having that frequent, fast, reliable bus service is really essential.”

A big selling point of this system for cost-conscious Hoosier voters is its low cost. The transit tax will raise only a bit more than $50 million per year, mostly for operations. Phase one of the Red Line cost $96 million, with $77 million from federal grants, and construction included a large amount of street maintenance and other improvements that will benefit drivers and pedestrians as well as bus riders. Nearly the entire route was repaved, drainage improved in spots, sidewalks added or repaired, and traffic signals replaced. The bus improvements have proven to be a critical source of federal funds for street improvements that would otherwise have been inaccessible. The projected cost of all BRT lines in Indianapolis at full build out—62 miles with 97 stations—is projected to be about $500 million. If federal funding is fully realized, this will have a local cost of only $220 million, but it’s affordable even without federal aid.

Though not always advertised as such locally, Indy’s transit improvements are also designed to improve equity in the community. While the Red Line is targeting downtown and several affluent neighborhoods, the rest of the lines and the improved high-frequency regular bus network will overwhelmingly serve the existing rider base—a low-income, transit-dependent population. Almost one in ten Indianapolis households do not have a vehicle—and unlike in dense coastal cities, this is largely not by choice. As with many U.S. cities, there’s a big spatial mismatch between where they live and where jobs are being created.

Still, even the modest bet on transit that Indianapolis is making is fraught with risk. America’s previous attempts at BRT have a mixed record. Albuquerque ordered the same all-electric BYD buses as Indy for its BRT line, but they failed when put into service. Cleveland’s HealthLine was an initial success, but ridership has since fallen significantly in the wake of an adverse court ruling against the fare enforcement approach that improperly relied on police officers. Grand Rapids’ BRT line also fell far short of ridership projections.

The credibility of transit in Indianapolis is already low, so the city really has to execute on the rollout. It also has to deliver an increase ridership, not just improve the operating characteristics of the system. That could be a tall order: The Red Line is going live at the same time as the new fare system, and as a new CEO is taking over the helm at IndyGo. IndyGo is going fare-free for a month when the Red Line launches, is recruiting temporary customer service volunteers to staff stations, and has arranged a grace period for ticketing bus lane violators (police will only issue warnings) until drivers in Indy figure out the new traffic pattern. Still, there are a lot of balls in the air, with much to potentially go wrong. Over the summer, the city announced a year-long delay in building the next two BRT lines—an inauspicious development.

But if Indianapolis can make its new system work and draw more riders, it would represent something all too rare in the U.S—a capital-light model for improving transit in a car-centric city. If warranted, light rail can always be added later, but as IndyGo’s Horne says, “The bus system is the backbone of any good mobility network.”

15 minutes 38 seconds ago
Tongva Park + Ken Genser Square. Image Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations LLC / Tim Street-Porter Tongva Park + Ken Genser Square. Image Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations LLC / Tim Street-Porter

The American Society of Landscape Architects has published a new Guide to Universal Design. According to the ASLA, one billion people, or 15 percent of the global population, experience some form of disability. The new guide explores the ways in how Universal Design means that everyone, regardless of ability or age, can access and participate in public life.

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15 minutes 52 seconds ago
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

As urban planners grapple with the need for creative flood management systems in cities around the world, Zaha Hadid Architects provides an interesting example in Hamburg.

Located along the Elbe River, the new Niederhafen River Promenade offers two functions in one: a flood wall and a riverfront promenade. Set in a popular tourist area alongside one of the city’s most important public spaces, the new promenade offers views of the Elbe, links to adjacent neighborhoods and lots of room for pedestrians, food stalls, cafes and street performers, with shops and public utilities set into the structure at street level on the side that faces the city.

The barrier at Niederhafen was first built in the 1960s in the aftermath of severe storm surge floods that caused 315 fatalities and destroyed the homes of 60,000 residents, but according to modern calculations, it was no longer high enough to be effective. In addition to raising the total height of the barrier by .8 meters, the overburdened supporting elements of the structure needed to be replaced. The city announced a competition to design a redevelopment, awarding the project to Zaha Hadid Architects.

Standing 8.6 meters (28 feet) high on the eastern side and 8.9 meters (29 feet) high on the western side, the barrier is now tall enough to protect the city from maximum winter storm surges and extreme high tides. The architects carved sculptural staircases into the sides at various points, creating angular amphitheaters that encourage people to linger and enjoy the views and “generating an oscillating sequence in the river promenade as it repeatedly widens and narrows.”

“Dedicated cycle lanes at street level run the length of the flood protection barrier. Wide ramps at Baumwell and Langdungsbrücken connect the river promenade with street level and provide accessibility for all. A third central ramp enables service vehicles to access the promenade and Überseebrücke.”

“The river promenade is divided into two sections with different spatial qualities. The zone to the west is at a larger scale, offering wide views downstream of all shipping activity on the river. To the east, the port’s marina creates amore intimate atmosphere with a long ramp alongside the amphitheater leading visitors down to the water’s edge.”

Of course, concrete flood walls aren’t right for every city, especially those where aquatic wildlife habitats have been destroyed and need to be restored. Some cities are working on plans to do just that, like Chicago’s “Wild Mile.” Read more about how “urban rewinding” can help make cities more flood resistant.

Photos by Piet Niemann via Zaha Hadid Architects

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

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15 minutes 52 seconds ago

Like many towns across America, Harrison, New York is desperate to revitalize its downtown. The same old grocery stores and nail salons have made up most of the retail landscape for years. “If you look at a picture from the 1950s and ’60s, it looks the same today as it did then, with the same places,” says Ron Belmont, the town supervisor. “There’s not much variety.”

The big magnet to the Westchester County town is its Metro-North Railroad commuter rail station, which provides a 45-minute connection to midtown Manhattan. Although Harrison has had a steady population increase since 2010, Belmont is thinking about the future: namely, a younger generation that prefers the bustle of urban life to the quiet of suburbia. The community needs more to make them stick around, he believes. “What I’m trying to do is attract Millennials, so eventually they want to buy here in Harrison,” he said.

That is what inspired Harrison’s Halstead Avenue project, a $76.8 million mixed-use real estate development built in collaboration between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which oversees the Metro-North, and developer AvalonBay Communities. It is the first time ever that the Metro-North will sell a parcel of its land for transit-oriented development (TOD); in this case: 143 apartments, 27,000 square feet of retail space, two pedestrian plazas, and a 598-space parking garage, most of which is reserved for the public and commuters.

A rendering of Harrison’s future. (Avalon Bay)

After a seven-year approval process, construction kicked off in June on the site, which is currently a park-and-ride on the Connecticut-bound side of the Harrison train station. “This would be a great shot in the arm for the downtown area,” said Belmont.

The New York MTA, the largest transit agency in the U.S., is becoming more familiar with this type of construction. The Hudson Yards project—where the MTA decked over its train yards, and sold the rights to developers for $1 billion to build an entire Manhattan neighborhood on top, with a new subway line extension beneath—is perhaps the largest TOD project in American history. At One Vanderbilt Avenue, an office building being constructed across from Grand Central Terminal, developer fees to the MTA will pay for interior improvements throughout the huge hub.

But the Harrison project marks a new direction for the cash-strapped MTA, which is on the hunt for new revenue: Decades of underinvestment and recent ridership declines have left the MTA with a projected $433 million budget shortfall, a gap that a recession could worsen. Meanwhile, critics agree that Manhattan’s soon-to-come congestion pricing scheme cannot alone cover the cost of the subway system’s badly needed overhaul. Capturing revenues from transit-oriented development on MTA-owned lots could help. So the agency is eyeing projects in suburban communities outside of Manhattan, with the hopes that the prospect of economic development will prod smaller towns to plot their futures near its train stations.

Janno Lieber, the MTA’s chief development officer, outlined what he saw as the benefits of the Harrison project. Walkable downtowns can attract new residents and investment to suburban communities, he said, and they allow for compact growth without sprawling amounts of parking. “We want to continue to grow the base for mass-transit commuting,” he said. “It’s good for the environment, and for having a sustainable pattern of development, to have housing and mixed use develop in tandem and close by mass transit.”

Compared to, say, Hudson Yards, Harrison’s 3.28-acre project is a modest one: three four-story buildings, lined with pedestrian promenades connecting Halstead Avenue to the MetroNorth station. The bottom floors will be retail, and the planned parking garage—which nearly doubles the existing number of spots—will include space for car-share vehicles like ZipCar, bicycle parking, and electric vehicle charging stations. The developer has said publicly that it’ll conserve water and energy during construction and utilize sustainable materials and designs. It’s expected to be completed in two phases, by 2021 and 2022.

Unusually, MTA didn’t receive any money in exchange for its valuable plot of parking. Instead, AvalonBay agreed to construct the parking garage, which would have cost the agency $45 million. The idea is that with the new development, riders will come: Metro-North expects to see between 160 and 175 new daily customers, as well as additional recurring revenue from visitors and $100,000 in new annual revenue from the parking spaces. The project is also expected to drive up land value—one house across the street from a slightly bigger TOD project near the Long Island Rail Road station in Wyandanch, Long Island, has broken the town’s residential selling records.

For over 30 years, Belmont said the community has demanded a project of this kind. “We’ve been looking forward for it to start,” he said. “Now everybody asks, ‘When is it going to finish?’”

Right now, more than half of suburban Metro-North commuters drive to the station and park, a May presentation to the MTA board stated. Getting more riders to live within walking distance by encouraging TOD is “the best means to accommodate future suburban growth,” Lieber and Robert Paley, the MTA’s head of transit-oriented development, said in that presentation. Going forward, the agency has targeted at least eight parking lots in Westchester and Long Island with potential for development; in some, talks are already underway.

But there are hurdles. For one, the MTA doesn’t control much of the land around its commuter rail stations, Lieber said; most lots where construction would occur are municipally owned. That leaves the agency in a position where it can encourage projects, but not directly facilitate them. And not all towns are willing to give up parking spots for luxury apartment units. Harrison—which pushed to rezone a central business district with primarily one- and two-story residences into a transit-oriented, four-story mixed-use district—is unique in that sense.

But Lieber is hopeful that others will follow Harrison’s lead. “Communities are recognizing that if we don’t do a little multi-family development, we don’t get young people,” he said. “And we don’t get our seniors a place when they want to get out of the house, but want to stay in their community. So this finds a really meaningful niche in the life-cycle planning for these communities.”

Transit agencies in Europe and Asia are much more likely use development as a revenue tool much more commonly than their U.S. counterparts. David King, a professor at Arizona State University who has studied transit-oriented development, said that this is largely due to the fragmented (and car-centric) nature of land and transit planning, capital investment and operation in the United States. For example, as a state-regulated public authority, with a variety of funding pots for capital and operating costs, the MTA has to comply with home rule for a housing project.

This stands in contrast to agencies outside the U.S. that have been given more room and resources from their respective governments to work experimentally. For example, the Hong Kong MTR essentially owns and can sell development rights along its routes. The agency thus functions as a high-value property portfolio across the city, and takes in billions of dollars in profit from these properties each year. Transport for London can capture rising land-values on new condos and offices near emerging stations to help fund new projects, such as Crossrail. And Paris is redeveloping land around its transit stations to help pay for 125 miles of new Metro lines in its populated suburbs.

Such TOD projects are becoming more attractive in the U.S., thanks to limited federal dollars for public transit, a national housing shortage, and the urgent need to reduce vehicle emissions. King cited a California bill passed last October that will give BART the authority to build thousands of new units. He welcomed the Harrison project as a step forward: “It’s good for the MTA to get into the development business like this.” Still, the agency needs to do more to truly define “transit-oriented.” Even though the development replaces old parking lots, the Harrison project is still saturated with vehicle spots, and could do little to get people out of cars. “This is a TOD in name; we’ll see if it is in practice,” King said.

Mitchell Moss, the director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management at NYU Wagner, says that the majority of suburban TOD happening nationwide is along light rail, in places like Mesa, Arizona, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Crystal City outside Washington D.C., the future home of Amazon’s HQ2, was a result of Metro expansion in the 1970s, he said, while Boston’s MBTA has been actively expanding its footprint further into the suburbs. This kind of rail-themed TOD will become inevitable in the greater New York City area. “The downtown of these suburbs is so needing of capital investment,” he said. “They desperately need it for their property tax base.”

And the MTA would appear to have room to grow: The agency claims valuable real estate at stations like Mount Kisco, Southampton, and Bridgehampton, as well as the four new East Bronx Metro-North stations that will run directly into Penn Station. “There are many areas where you could build development, that would be consistent with the existing property, as well as consistent with the need for revenue,” said Moss. (More recently, the Metro-North has pursued retail opportunities at several locations.)

Going forward, TOD projects like this could be easier to get off the ground internally, Lieber said. The MTA board’s approval of a recent “transformation” plan for the entire agency, which was mandated by Albany after the New York City subway system fell into a state of emergency in the summer of 2017, will consolidate the capital planning and real estate divisions into one larger department. That will prioritize the planning required to take on more TOD projects, Lieber said.

Even internal critics of MTA see capturing TOD as the future of the agency. Veronica Vanterpool, a planning consultant and transit advocate (and the sole MTA board member to vote against the 37-page transformation plan), believes that doing otherwise would leave money on the table. During her time as executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vanterpool and her colleagues pushed for TOD projects region-wide, as well as their inclusion of affordable housing there. The Harrison project is notably light on that front: As part of a settlement of a 2009 housing discrimination lawsuit that targeted 31 Westchester County communities, it will only have seven affordable units, out of 143.

It’s a start, and it’s better than a big parking lot. But to make a real different for both the agency’s bottom line and for the communities is serves, Vanterpool argues, MTA will have to push the envelope a little more. “There’s a real role here [for MTA] to play,” she said. “I think that the MTA should be more assertive in saying, ‘This is what’s coming down the pike.’”  

1 hour 15 minutes ago

This is the first post in a four-part series on the economic performance of America’s cities. Today, we cover population and job growth.

When it comes to the economic status of cities, there is no shortage of conflicting messages—and conflicting facts. On the one hand, we hear about the dominance of superstar cities and tech hubs in the  competition for talented workers, high-end knowledge jobs, and high-tech startups. On the other hand, Sunbelt cities continue to lead in the growth of population and jobs in general.

The reality is that most studies that purport to talk about cities are really talking about the performance of broader metropolitan areas, which are made of up core or principal cities and their surrounding suburbs and exurbs. Looking at cities by themselves is important and useful for several reasons.

For one, there is lots of talk these days about urban revitalization, the comeback of cities, and urban gentrification. But all of this is likely very uneven across U.S. cities, shaped by the same winner-take-all pattern that we see for metro areas. Some cities have bounced back and are experiencing growth in population and jobs, and in key dimensions of talent like college graduates and the creative class. But others continue to struggle and lose ground, whether to other cities or their own suburbs.

While cities are parts—large parts—of metro regions, it is not necessarily the case that they closely follow the performance of their metros. Some cities may perform much better, others worse. This series dives into an aspect of contemporary urbanism that has been under-examined, the economic performance of America’s largest cities.

To get at this, I worked with a team of researchers to analyze the economic performance of American’s 50 largest core or principal cities over the five-year period of 2012 to 2017. Economist Todd Gabe crunched the numbers, using the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey to chart cities’ performance on factors including population growth, employment growth, growth in college grads, and the creative class, as well as how they stack up on economic inequality, housing affordability, and other indicators of what I call the “new urban crisis.”

To provide context, we do a rough comparison of these 50 cities to America’s 53 large metros (with more than 1 million people). We exclude two metros, Charlotte and Grand Rapids, Michigan, because they experienced significant boundary changes that would have affected their results; that leaves a comparison group of 51. It is important to note that eight of the 50 largest cities do not belong to any of the 53 large metros, and also that not all of these metros have cities that number among the 50 largest. Our city-to-metro comparisons are for illustrative purposes only.

Karen King, my colleague at the University of Toronto School of Cities, helped analyze the data and make the comparisons, and my CityLab colleague David Montgomery mapped it.

Population growth

Today, we start with the basics of population and job growth. The second post in the series will look at college graduates; the third will examine the growth of the creative class in cities; and the fourth will cover inequality and the new urban crisis.

Data show a sharp divergence between America’s fast- and slow-growing cities. The chart above shows the 10 fastest- and slowest-growing on the metric of population.

The overall, broad trend conforms to the popular image of a growing Sunbelt and declining “Frost Belt” of cold-weather cities. However, the most rapidly growing large cities are not sprawling, unregulated Sunbelt ones (such as Houston), but two relatively expensive tech hubs, anchored by leading research universities—Seattle and Austin. Denver, Washington, D.C., and Raleigh also make the top 10. Miami comes fourth, and Fort Worth, Charlotte, Mesa, Arizona, and Omaha round out the list.

Nashville, which ranks first among metros with 15.7 percent growth, scrapes only 24th on the cities list, with 6.9 percent growth. Dallas comes seventh for metros (11.3 percent growth), but 15th  for cities (8.1 percent growth). Houston ranks eighth for metros but 23rd for cities; Las Vegas, tenth for metros and 16th for cities. Two Midwest metros, Columbus and Indianapolis, but not those cities proper rank among the top 10 for population growth.

Leading tech hubs and superstar cities actually appear far down the growing-cities list. Boston is 21st and and San Francisco 22nd, both with around 7 percent growth. L.A. is 34th, with 3.7 percent growth; New York, 35th, with 3.4 percent growth.

When it comes to slow-growing cities (the right side of the chart), Detroit, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Memphis have lost population; Chicago has barely held constant. Southern and Western cities round out this group: Long Beach, California, Albuquerque, Virginia Beach, Wichita, and El Paso.

There is more overlap between declining cities and declining metros. Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Memphis show up on both lists. The slow-growing cities of St. Louis, Buffalo, and Cleveland also show up on the list of the 10 slowest-growing metros.

Job and employment growth

The picture changes somewhat for employment growth—and conforms even better to the narrative of an ascendant Sunbelt. The chart below shows the change in cities’ employed population from 2012 to 2017. The fastest-growing cities are growing 10 times faster than the slowest-growing ones.

Miami tops the left-hand list, followed by Atlanta, Fort Worth, Denver, and Mesa. The tech hubs of Austin and Raleigh make the top 10. Charlotte is eighth, and the rapidly growing music and tech hot spot of Nashville is ninth. Oakland comes tenth—a product of is accelerated gentrification as a relatively affordable node in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seven of the top ten cities on employment growth overlap with the top 10 for population growth: The new additions are Atlanta, Nashville, and Oakland.

There is significant overlap between this fastest-growing list and metros with the fastest job growth. Five places rank in the top 10 on both: Atlanta, Nashville, Austin, Raleigh, and Denver. (Charlotte would, too, if we did not exclude it because of changes to its metro boundaries.) A number of Sunbelt cities appear further down the fastest-growing cities list: Las Vegas at 12th; Dallas at 20th; Houston at 40th.

Again, superstar cities and leading tech hubs appear very low here. New York is 36th, with 9.1 percent growth. (Detroit actually does better, ranking 28th with 13.7 percent growth.) L.A. is 26th with 14 percent growth; Boston is 23rd (15 percent), and San Francisco is 15th (17 percent).

The slowest-growing cities for jobs (above right) are a mixed bag, with some interesting contrasts. Milwaukee is the only canonical Rust Belt city to make the list, in ninth place. Memphis is second and Baltimore, which is often lumped in with the Rust Belt but is on the East Coast’s Acela Corridor, is tenth.

Tulsa tops the slow list—what’s interesting about that is that nearby Oklahoma City is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities in terms of population. Likewise, Arlington, Texas, has the fourth-slowest job growth; compare this to nearby Fort Worth, with the third-best job growth. Indianapolis, typically thought of alongside Columbus as a success story, actually numbers among the 10 slowest cities on job growth, as do Tucson and Virginia Beach in the Sunbelt.

There is little overlap between slow-growing cities and slow-growing metros, with only Milwaukee showing up in both. The metros include Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Buffalo, Cleveland, Louisville, St. Louis, and Rochester.

Seven cities rank among the top 10 on both population and job growth: Austin, Miami, Denver, Raleigh, Charlotte, Fort Worth, and Mesa. Of these, perhaps the biggest surprise is Miami, which comes first in employment and fourth in population growth. Austin is second in population, sixth in employment. Fort Worth is third in both categories. Conversely, six cities rank in the bottom groups for both: Milwaukee, Baltimore, Memphis, Albuquerque, Virginia Beach, and Wichita.

Our next post will look at a key dimension of talent in cities: college graduates.



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