Saturday, March 08, 2003

Urban Issues Watch from the NY Times:

The nation's urban centers remained strong magnets for people commuting to their jobs in the 1990s despite substantial economic growth in the suburbs, according to Census Bureau data released today. From New York City to Los Angeles, the number of workers who commuted from the suburbs to counties at the center of metropolitan areas continued to eclipse the number of workers who traveled from central counties, where the big cities are, to the suburbs. ''The central county still dominates the direction of commuting in most of metropolitan America,'' says Robert Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech. ''The center holds.''

ANOTHER feature of the Libeskind plan that is almost sure to change is the 1,776-foot tower, though the architect said last week that he "would not give up" that height. Besides the symbolic value, 1,776 feet would be almost exactly the altitude of the broadcast mast on the north tower of the trade center. But will the broadcasters come? "We would love to be on that tower," said Edward Grebow, president of the Metropolitan Television Alliance, composed of 11 New York area stations. "The problem is the timing." The broadcasters are planning a 2,000-foot tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, in Bayonne, N.J. ... "We're going to build a 2,000-foot tower in Bayonne," Mr. Grebow said. "That will dwarf the Libeskind tower at the trade center, which, believe us, is not what we want but where we are being forced to go."

A defining characteristic of New York City is its economic diversity, the juxtaposition of people of disparate circumstances in limited space. The gap between top and bottom is greater in New York than in most cities in the country, and people at the extremes often live closer together. In the 1990's the disparity in many neighborhoods became more pronounced, census data show. As the economy boomed, income inequality grew. And as the population swelled and real estate prices soared and crime waned, the affluent pushed deeper into neighborhoods they had once shunned.

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