Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

2010 Urbanophile Year in Review

Happy New Year everybody. As we embark on a new new year, I want to take a look back at the year that was here at the Urbanophile in 2010.

Last year was another huge year here at Urbanophile HQ. We added more readers in 2010 than we did in 2009, which is great. I was also privileged to be able to include more posts from other writers. Part of what I’m trying to do here is stimulate new thinking and serious conversation, so I want to bring as broad a range of serious ideas as I can to the table. And having been fortunate enough to build the Urbanophile into the major national platform that it is today, I want to be able to use that to bring attention to and showcase other thinkers, and particularly new names you may not yet know. I’m extremely grateful to those who have helped me along, particularly when I was just starting out, and I want to pay it forward as much as I can.

My ambition continues to be nothing less than to be America’s premier place for serious, in depth, non-partisan, and non-dogmatic discussion of our urban present and futures. And to provide insight and analysis that is available no where else. Thank you all so much for reading. I truly appreciate the encouragement you’ve given, the comments you’ve left, and so much more. Without all of you, I would have given this up long ago.

Here are some highlights from last year:

I wrote about Portland both in a blog post on my own site, and in an op-ed in the Portland Oregonian.
Jarrett Walker asks us to consider “Learning, Again, from Las Vegas
And I shared a framework for thinking about transit ridership development.

I looked at some of the downsides of city-county consolidation.
And Peter Christensen looks at why transit used to be profitable, but isn’t now

I compared “brain drain” to “steel drain”.
Megan Cottrell says to be careful not to fall in the poverty trap
And I discuss various aspects of the concept of the city as a platform

I investigate some of the parameters around a federal policy for cities.
The need for both top down and bottom up leadership.
Chuck Banas looks at sprawl in its purest form in Buffalo.
Ryan Avent explores the urban economy.

A look at Carmel, Indiana, which I label the next American suburb.
I also dig into Brookings new geography of urban America as unveiled in their State of Metropolitan America report.
Richard Herman encourages Cleveland to turn to immigrants for revitalization.

I talk about why it is worth fighting to save Buffalo.
I was able to feature an excerpt from Richard Florida’s new book, the Great Reset.
And I did a major photo spread on the neighborhoods of Cincinnati.

I talk about the structural advantages of Chicago and how those should be used as the basis for economic strategy, and particular how the city needs to focus on building “Professional Services 2.0”
I discuss why Columbus, Indiana is the best performing industrial city in the state. Hint: it’s not just the architecture.
Over at New Geography, I discuss LeBron James leaving Cleveland.

I talk about a new international style in architecture.
I also talk about why, though privatization can be good, parking meters are the wrong choice.

I explain why there’s no such thing as green industry.
I talk about the power of brand Detroit.

I take on NJ Governor Chris Christie’s cancellation of the ARC tunnel project.
I show how Chicago’s economic competitiveness is eroding, particularly in contrast to New York.
And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution carries an updated version of a piece I originally wrote for New Geography, “Is It Game Over for Atlanta?

Ben Schulman talks about Pittsburgh and the magic of failure.
Richard Longworth asks if global cities can work
And I show that in fact people are not especially fleeing shrinking cities – quite the opposite in fact.

Looking again at college degree density.
A discussion of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s culture.
And a look at Silicon Valley’s enduring advantage

There’s lots more like this if you are interested. All of my archived articles are linked in the left sidebar of my site. Almost every day people land on the blog and end up spending an hour or two reading through old posts, so there’s lot of good stuff in there to check out.

Thank you all again for staying with me and I look forward to another year ahead. I’d like to also thank all those who linked to me, featured my writing, used me as a source, or booked me to speak at their event. In particular, I’d like to thank Joel Kotkin and the team at New Geography, where I have been a regular contributor.

Best wishes for a prosperous 2011 to you all!


5 Responses to “2010 Urbanophile Year in Review”

  1. Everett says:

    Here’s hoping for another great year! Keep up the good work.

  2. Chris Barnett says:

    I find your pieces uniformly thought-provoking, Aaron, as evidenced by frequent comments.

    The non-partisan, non-screechy, non-preachy pragmatic discussions on The Urbanophile are among the most worthwhile things I read online. Disagreement here is generally civil and and well-reasoned, and that also is to your credit.

    Keep up the good work; your growing reputation is well-deserved. Best wishes for a happy and successful new year!

  3. Wad says:

    Happy New Year, Aaron.

    I second what Chris Barnett has said. Urbanophile provides informative, enlightening topics and the commenters help enhance the discussion.

    This is one of the sites I look forward to reading every day for both articles and comments. There are too few sites on the ‘net that have this quality.

  4. Georgia says:

    Thanks for this list; a great way for me to catch-up on your thoughtful posts.

  5. Thanks for the kind words – and your contributions. I appreciate them.

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

About the Urbanophile


Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

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