Thursday, August 20, 2009

Glaeser's Final HSR Attack - For Now

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

Edward Glaeser published the fourth and final entry in his anti-HSR series at the New York Times' Economix Blog. Glaeser suggests he will come back to the topic before long, to address the criticism of his flawed use of a Dallas-Houston HSR line (which, although being planned by Texas is not one of the current federal HSR corridors). In this entry, Glaeser chose to attack the argument that HSR would help spur greater urban density and limit sprawl:

A third possible benefit of rail is environmental. Can high-speed rail bring people closer to city centers and thereby reduce carbon emissions?

My work with Matthew Kahn on the greenness of cities suggests that each household that moves from Houston suburbs to the central city reduces carbon emissions and creates $164 of global-warming-related benefits each year. Each household that switches from suburb to city in Dallas creates $133 of benefits annually. Those benefits represent both reduced electricity usage (associated with smaller urban homes) and reduced driving.

But there is little evidence documenting that rail has strong positive effects on land use.


Glaeser, however, doesn't actually explain this supposed lack of evidence. His examples, MARTA in Atlanta and BART here in California, are limited. Glaeser says BART has had some positive effect on density, but "the effects are still modest." What Glaeser doesn't understand is that the Bay Area has a series of anti-density zoning rules in the most dense and favorable areas near BART stations - as anyone who's witnessed the battles in Berkeley over downtown development can tell you. Without those restrictions we might well have seen much more TOD along the BART corridor.

Of greater absurdity is Glaeser's lame attempt to argue that HSR wouldn't cause urban growth by looking at Eastern cities, making claims that are unsupported by the evidence:

Philadelphia is the more natural beneficiary of high-speed rail access to Manhattan; there are already people who live in Philadelphia and commute to New York. Yet even in this most propitious setting, the coming of Acela seems to have had little impact on the population decline of Philadelphia or growth of Wilmington. Perhaps the absence of any trend break in population growth around 2000 just reflects the incremental nature of the Acela investment, but there is little here to bring confidence that rail lines revitalize cities.


Ryan Avent continues his thorough demolition of Glaeser's arguments, including a refutation of the above nonsense:

Meanwhile, the blithe use of population change in Philadelphia as a proxy for economic benefit is a little silly. For one thing, it would seem to ignore actual trends. Since 2000, the rate of population decline in the city of Philadelphia has sharply diminished.

From 2000 to 2001, the city's population declined by 15,000. From 2003 to 2004, by contrast, population fell by just over 7,000. And from 2007 to 2008, Philadelphia lost a mere 1,200 people.

Just using Glaeser's fly-by-night statistical methods, it seems as though the introduction of the Acela has in fact materially slowed population decline in Philadelphia. And obviously there are other variables which show that Philadelphia has enjoyed a serious economic rebound over the last decade.

The rest of Avent's post is worth reading in its entirety. Avent closes with a point that is worth remembering for the inevitable moments when we see Glaeser's work repeated:

Glaeser seems to believe that in coming decades congestion costs will cease rising; otherwise he'd build future increases into his model. He seems to think that the addition of over 100 million new Americans need not lead to any new infrastructure investment; otherwise he'd compare the economic benefits and life-cycle emissions of rail investments to alternative investment plans.

I think those beliefs are daft and indefensible. And four posts into his high-speed rail series, Glaeser hasn't given any of us reason to think that his analysis is worth taking seriously.


And that is the core problem with Glaeser's approach. He didn't consider the alternative costs, including the cost of doing nothing. He did not assess the benefits of the jobs HSR will create, or the role of the trains in creating new transportation patterns that can enable new kinds of economic growth over many decades. Glaeser's posts consistently and arbitrarily used a set of factors that gave readers a limited and incomplete sense of how HSR will actually play out in context. It would be nice if the NYT would give space to someone like Ryan Avent who can explain the benefits of HSR with respect to the evidence. Apparently that's too much to ask.

38 comments:

BruceMcF said...

Glaeser's series is a piece on the economic benefit of a hypothetical Express HSR line between a hypothetical version of Houston and Dallas, neither of which are growing in his version, under a hypothetical HSR policy where its Express HSR or nothing.

There also appears to be hypothetical large and easily tapped undiscovered oil fields lurking somewhere around the fringes of his analysis, though it would seem to be some of that un-CO2 emitting kind of petroleum.

I applaud Ryan Avent's tenacity.

NIONIMBYS said...

A NYC brain has no concept of life here in Cali..they move here and still act/want to live back there!
Aclea is nothing compared to what will be built here..So this oil/wall street mouth really has no meaning here any more than the BABIES in PA/Menlo

Anonymous said...

yeah, okay... it is clear enough now that the glaeser analysis is sloppy to say the least... now for a topic worthy of rumination: filling schedule gaps with short locals (and "emerging HSR"):

one of the aspects of the CHSR project i find most fertile for thoughts about future transport possibilities is the local routes that become possible with HSR infrastructure installation and upgrades...for example:

extending caltrain locals beyond gilroy to eventually salinas and watsonville/monterey...
extending metrolink territory with commuter spurs...

airport express HSR locals (e.g. SFO local would stop at TBT,millbrae(SFO),peninsula city, SJ, gilroy; palmdale/ontario airport locals could stop at most stops south of bakersfield)...

and of course! potential service patterns for the infamous "altamont overlay". i personally imagine 2 lines, one oakland-pleasanton-fresno-LAUS- with local stops all the way to fresno, then straight to LAUS; and another from san jose-pleasanton-sac, all local stops.

it seems to me one of the least heralded benefits of the HSR project is the relatively low cost of adding spur/emerging/local lines within the upgraded network.

also, thank you all for consistently enjoyable discussion that keeps me reloading many times a day...

Peter said...

Slightly off topic, but the Midwest HSR association has a good rundown of common anti-HSR talking points: http://www.midwesthsr.org/fact/index.html

I like how the point out what we've all know for a long time: "Most of the “research” and quotes online and in the media can be linked to just three conservative groups: The Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation and the Heritage Foundation, which receive funding from the likes of Chevron and Exxon Mobil."

Alon Levy said...

What Glaeser doesn't understand is that the Bay Area has a series of anti-density zoning rules in the most dense and favorable areas near BART stations - as anyone who's witnessed the battles in Berkeley over downtown development can tell you. Without those restrictions we might well have seen much more TOD along the BART corridor.

This is true in Texas, as well. Even Houston, supposedly a city without zoning, has laws mandating cul-de-sac development, minimum lot sizes, and setbacks, and encouraging developers to sell houses with deeds for single-family housing only.

Rafael said...

A little point of order -

you may have seen comments under the handle "Vince", perhaps others, that at first glance look as if they refer to HSR. On closer examination, they are just quotes culled from other people's comments, combined with links to other sites completely unrelated to HSR. Getting readers to follow those unpaid advertisements appears to be the whole point, a nefarious practice called "blogspamming".

I'm not sure if Vince is a real person or a fancy spambot, but blogspamming will not be tolerated on this blog. I know it when I see it and delete it without warning. I've just had to do so yet again.

For the record, neither Robert nor I are making a buck off this blog nor are we looking to. It's a discussion forum for all things related to California HSR, a public service if you will. We don't want anyone else piggybacking their blatantly commercial activity onto this blog.

Sam said...

This is true in Texas, as well. Even Houston, supposedly a city without zoning, has laws mandating cul-de-sac development, minimum lot sizes, and setbacks, and encouraging developers to sell houses with deeds for single-family housing only.

While this is true, it is also true that Houston has allowed much more dense development to begin within the loop, and seems to be allowing even more around new and planned LRT stations. I would equate Houston's acceptance of large-scale TOD as more closely resembling the DC Maryland suburbs rather than any BART suburbs.

Rafael said...

@ Sam -

good to hear that state with the most oil is nevertheless beginning to anticipate a future in which the stuff will be seriously expensive.

Many US cities - including most of those in California - grew much larger only after WW2, when cars and free-standing houses with white picket fences in suburbia became affordable for the middle class. Urban planning was soon centered on the notion of getting everywhere by car, thanks to dirt-cheap gasoline.

By contrast, most European and Japanese cities predate the automobile. Faced with the staggering cost of rebuilding a ruined continent and low domestic oil reserves, urban planners there set about revitalizing bombed-out cities by investing in public transportation, rather than building lots of new greenfield cities. To finance rebuilding, they agreed to become the battleground for WW3, if it should ever come to that: NATO's unofficial definition of a tactical nuke was one that exploded over Germany.

Europe and Japan also have high taxes on gasoline (petrol) and diesel to discourage importing more oil than absolutely necessary. Even the UK and Norway, who do have significant - though rapidly declining - domestic oil resources, implement this policy. A fringe benefit of high fuel taxes is that they curb sprawl and keep local public transportation viable.

HSR is a different beast. While it does encourage some TOD, the effect hasn't been huge in Europe, Japan or the East Coast of the US. It's a welcome effect, but long-distance commuting is and will remain a secondary application for HSR. The primary purpose is to eliminate short-hop flights and long drives.

TOD will only take off in a big way if and when gasoline and diesel become seriously expensive, either deliberately (tax hikes) or naturally (rising oil prices). When - not if - either scenario occurs, local restrictions on high-rise construction near train stations and bus depots will be jettisoned.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Regarding the comments Rafael notes, I find that they try to post comments on older entries. Comments on all posts older than 3 days are moderated, so I usually catch and delete those. If some have snuck through on newer posts, I apologize.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Ryan Avent gets his facts completely wrong. The rate of population decline in Philadelphia has INCREASED since Acela service began. This reverses the trend of slowing decline over the previous 3 decades.

Population Change in Philadelphia:

1970-1980: -13.4%
1980-1990: -6.1%
1990-2000: -4.3%
2000-2008: -4.6%

The slow rate of loss since 2006 is a result of the housing bubble collapse. Domestic migration from central cities to suburbs slowed across the country. It has nothing to do with the Acela.

Avent's posts are an endless stream of false claims of fact and specious arguments.

Anonymous said...

High-Speed Rail Isn't a Jobs Program

President Obama says high-speed rail will create thousands of jobs. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) goes even further, claiming high-speed trains will create 185,000 jobs. Reason Foundation's Sam Staley writes, "Ultimately, high-speed rail’s impacts on American travel patterns and employment productivity are going to be negligible, and the actual job creation potential for high speed rail is much more modest than proponents admit...For transportation investments to have a meaningful economic impact, they will need to cost-effectively improve America’s ability to move goods, services, and people from one place to another. High-speed rail doesn’t do that."

http://reason.org/news/show/high-speed-rail-fails-as-a-job

Anonymous said...

A fringe benefit of high fuel taxes is that they curb sprawl and keep local public transportation viable.

Europe has been sprawling for decades, just like the U.S. Almost all the population growth has been in suburbs, just like in the U.S. Central city populations have mostly declined or remained flat, just as in the U.S. Use of trains and buses has been flat for decades, while driving has skyrocketed. In recent years, the rate of growth of car ownership in Europe has exceeded that in the U.S. The U.S. market for cars is close to saturation, and Europeans are catching up. For a number of reasons, Europe will probably never become quite as sprawled as the U.S., but it is clearly following the same trend. The car is the overwhelmingly dominant mode of transportation on both continents.

Sam said...

Anon - one, you're mixing actual census data with census projections. Apples and oranges. At least Avent is comparing apples to apples. Housing vacancy rates and new construction permits would probably be a better way of measuring Philadelphia's health anyway (Avent mentions that population growth/decline is a poor barometer of a city's health in the piece).

YesonHSR said...

More non stop false facts and slanted views from the oil owner founded Reason foundation and Cato.
notice they never say anything about how much a freeway lane or interchange costs...

AndyDuncan said...

@anonymous High-Speed Rail Isn't a Jobs Program

Ugh, I was wondering when that Reason article was going to come up.

Calculating the average salary of those working on the design and construction phase of the project and then saying "These jobs are going to cost us x amount per job" is the most useless exercise I can think of. What the heck does that prove?

The article assumes that the only jobs HSR creates are those involved in the actual construction and those directly employed by the rail operator.

Thats like saying the only economic impact of building roads and freeways is from the employment of the people we hire to pave them.

That's just willfully ignorant dribble.

I wish I could expect better from the Reason Foundation.

Alon Levy said...

Use of trains and buses has been flat for decades, while driving has skyrocketed. In recent years, the rate of growth of car ownership in Europe has exceeded that in the U.S.

This is incorrect. Paris significantly increased its rail ridership following the opening of the RER; even the stagnant London Underground's ridership is the highest it's ever been.

As for car ownership rates, the US has many more cars per capita than any other country. It has 765 vehicles per 1,000 people, compared with 566 in Italy, 546 in Germany, 543 in Japan, 491 in France, and 426 in Britain.

Of course, this data comes from reputable sources such as Wikipedia, rather than the oil industry lobbyists at Reason (check their funding - Exxon will scream at you from their page). And we can't have that in the conversation, can we?

Rafael said...

@ Robert Cruickshank -

blogspamming is impossible to prevent altogether. The best you and I can do is delete such comments as and when we see them. I think the readership understands that, so I see no need to apologize.

"Vince" is a particularly annoying spammer/spambot because the comments are in popping up in threads that are very much active.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 10:43am -

I didn't mean to imply that high fuel taxes have been 100% effective at curbing the natural tendency toward sprawl that exists in Europe as well. People like the idea of living in free-standing houses.

It's just that without high fuel taxes, sprawl would be far worse, comparable to that in many parts of the US. Some countries, e.g. Denmark and Holland, also impose very high fees for the initial registration of cars to deter their ownership.

Rafael said...

@ Alon Levy -

the 426/1000 number for the UK disguises the fact that tax laws there favor compensation packages that include a company car. It probably refers just to cars owned by private citizens. The UK is actually a bigger marker for new cars than most, eclipsing even Germany in some years.

Alon Levy said...

Rafael, the data includes company cars. You can find the relevant table here - as of 2001, the UK had 431 vehicles per 1,000 people, including the roughly 9% of cars that were company cars.

Bianca said...

Sort of off-topic, but there's a big write-up on HSR in the latest issue of FORTUNE.

China is spending $50billion on HSR just this year.

They are so going to eat our lunch.

Anonymous said...

Alon Levy,

This is incorrect. Paris significantly increased its rail ridership following the opening of the RER; even the stagnant London Underground's ridership is the highest it's ever been.

It is not incorrect. I wrote "Europe," not "Paris" or "London." In individual cities and towns, ridership may rise and fall over short periods of time. The overall trend of rail travel in Europe has been flat for decades, while driving has skyrocketed. Almost all the growth in travel in Europe since the 1950s has been car travel and air travel.

As for car ownership rates, the US has many more cars per capita than any other country.

As I said, in recent years, the rate of growth of car ownership in Europe has exceeded that in the U.S. The U.S. rate is probably close to the saturation point. Europe is catching up. The growth trend has been very similar in the two continents since about the mid-1950s.

Devil's Advocate said...

I'm generally favorable to investing in HSR, where it is economically feasible, but I would tend to agree that the presence of HSR will not have a large impact on suburban sprawl. If I lived in Fremont or Concord or Livermore, for example, certainly suburbs, would I be encouraged to live in San Francisco or San Jose by the presence of an HSR station? I doubt it very much. Most people will not use the HSR on a daily basis, but only occasionally to go to LA or the CV. In other words people will use it with the same frequency as they take a trip to the CV or LA. The occasional trip on the HSR will not constitute an incentive big enough to move closer to a station, at least not for 99% of the people. If the goal is to decrease sprawl, then transit systems like BART or Caltrain would probably do better, since those are systems that people tend to use on a daily basis.
The reasons why European cities are more densely populated and less sprawling than the US has nothing to do with HSR. As a matter of fact European high density predates any HSR line.
The reason why EU cities are densely packed as to do with the inconvenience and the cost of car use. Gasoline is very expensive, and city centers were designed centuries ago, therefore without the amenities that render car use convenient (like easy parking and wide streets). These circumstances (high cost and inconvenience of car use) have created the need for people to live as close as possible to their place of work or to a transit station to minimize car use.
The same circumstances are not present in America. Gasoline is inexpensive (at least for now) and cities were designed more recently and therefore with all the amenities for easy car use (plenty of parking and wide streets, access freeways). Government policy has done the rest: density restrictions, tax subsidy to encourage big houses, etc.
I think that one should look at HSR not as a means to change land use, but rather as a means to encourage the transitioning of travel from air/auto (i.e. more polluting) to rail (i.e. less polluting and more efficient). If sprawling is a problem (and I believe it is), then government policies which subsidize car use must change, and that means introducing a carbon tax, introducing user tolls for roads, stop subsidizing large house constructions through tax breaks, and removing high density zoning restrictions.
I don't see why we should look at HSR to solve all problems that it clearly cannot solve. HSR is simply an infrastructure project that intends to replace some of future freeway or airport expansion

Alon Levy said...

40 years aren't a short period of time, Anon. They're a trend: Paris chose to invest money in rail and got booming rail ridership, New York chose to invest money in highways and got stagnant rail ridership. Given the political will, it's possible to virtually abolish the car in the modern city; Hong Kong, which did so with the most vehemence, has 76 vehicles per capita. It so happens that every country has spent public money on roads and car infrastructure, but those that spent less and devoted more resources to mass transit have urban layouts that aren't remotely similar to those of the US Sunbelt.

Anonymous said...

40 years aren't a short period of time, Anon. They're a trend: Paris chose to invest money in rail and got booming rail ridership, New York chose to invest money in highways and got stagnant rail ridership.

The city of Paris still has a very high population density and can therefore support extensive rail transit. For the time being. Its population has been in decline for decades, just like most European central cities. The population of the city of Paris has fallen by about one-third since the 1920s. Virtually all population growth in the Paris metropolitan area over the past few decades, as in Europe and the U.S. in general, has been in suburbs and exurbs that are not remotely dense enough for rail transit to provide an effective substitute for cars. Hence the flat-lining of rail travel and the skyrocketing of car travel.

Given the political will, it's possible to virtually abolish the car in the modern city; Hong Kong, which did so with the most vehemence, has 76 vehicles per capita.

Hong Kong is a densely-populated mountainous coastal city surrounded on three sides by water and by the city of Guangdong to the north. Unlike most cities in the United States and Europe, it doesn't have any room to sprawl. Hence the very low number of cars.

Andre Peretti said...

In France, car ownership is the negative reflection of the quality of public transit. The Paris region, which is the wealthiest, has a car ownership well below the national average. It has constantly declined as transit improved. We have the highest car ownership in sparsely populated regions where transit is very inadequate and a car is a necessity for every adult.
Now, for those who doubt HSR will take cars off the highways, our strike-prone unions offer us an undeniable proof. Just try to drive from Lyon to Paris when the SNCF is on strike and just one in three trains is running. And don't try the airport: you won't even get into the parking lot. Then you realise how miserable life can be without trains. Is that what the likes of Randal O'Toole want for America?

Alon Levy said...

Anon, you're wrong about both Paris and Hong Kong.

The inner suburbs of Paris, where the fastest population growth is, are denser than any major US city except New York, and are served by the RER, which grew from zero ridership in the 1960s to 1 billion riders per year today; your comment about flatlining rail ridership is full of shit.

In Hong Kong, high density is not just geography, but also policy. Only 20% of the territory's land area is urbanized; the rest is protected as parks or natural preserves. More importantly, in Singapore, which has no comparable land use restrictions, urban development has sprawled over almost the entire island, so that urban density is lower than in Seoul and Taipei. Nonetheless, due to Singapore's regulations discouraging car use, the city has 107 privately owned cars per 1,000 people, compared with 194 in Taipei and 207 in Seoul.

Alon Levy said...

Andre, the likes of Randall O'Toole don't want congestion like in France. They're highway and oil lobbyists; they want government to build more and more highways, providing the capacity that trains do in many countries. If induced demand makes new highways necessary, then all the better - that means more money for the companies footing the bill for Reason Foundation and paying Cox's lobbying fees.

Rafael said...

@ Andre Peretti -

"[...] strike-prone unions [...]"

As long as passenger rail requires subsidies, it will be hard to break established monopolies of public sector workers. France is notorious in that regard, but there have been crippling rail strikes in Germany, Spain etc. as well.

In California, BART employees just decided to call off a threatened strike once it became clear its customers would not support union demands in the current economic climate.

With any luck, HSR will have multiple operators to curb the risk of strikes. However, the state of California may be sorely tempted to award a "temporary" monopoly contract to Caltrans Divisioon of Rail (i.e. Amtrak California), expecting that surpluses on the new system will cross-subsidize the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor and potential Coast Daylight operations.

Anonymous said...

Alon Levy,

Anon, you're wrong about both Paris and Hong Kong.

No, I'm not wrong about either.

The inner suburbs of Paris, where the fastest population growth is, are denser than any major US city except New York, and are served by the RER, which grew from zero ridership in the 1960s to 1 billion riders per year today; your comment about flatlining rail ridership is full of shit.

You clearly don't know what you're talking about. The city of Paris is losing population, and virtually all of the growth in the metro area is occurring in the OUTER suburbs, where density is lowest. The inner suburbs are somewhat dense because they are home to most of Paris's hideous high-rise public housing projects, where low-income families, mostly immigrants from France's former colonies, fester in crime-ridden slums. Beyond the inner-suburb slums, density falls rapidly, and isn't remotely high enough to support extensive rail transit. Almost all travel is done by car. The RER in the suburbs serves mainly as commuter rail, taking workers between the suburbs and the city. It isn't remotely extensive enough to substitute for more than a tiny fraction of total car trips.

your comment about flatlining rail ridership is full of shit

No, you're full of shit. In 1950, cars provided only slightly more travel in Europe than rail, a few hundred billion passenger-km per year. By 2000, rail travel had barely increased at all, while driving had skyrocketed to about 3,500 billion passenger-km per year. And it continues to grow rapidly.

In Hong Kong, high density is not just geography, but also policy. Only 20% of the territory's land area is urbanized; the rest is protected as parks or natural preserves.

The parks and preserves are mostly hilly or mountainous terrain that would be difficult to develop. Hong Kong is dense primarily because geographic barriers prevent it from growing outwards. It has virtually no relevance to general land-use and transportation policy in the United States and Europe.

More importantly, in Singapore, which has no comparable land use restrictions, urban development has sprawled over almost the entire island, so that urban density is lower than in Seoul and Taipei.

An even more ludicrous comparison than Hong Kong. Singapore is a tiny island nation. The "entire island" is only 274 square miles, but is home to almost 5 million people, making it the second most densley-populated country in the world. Like Hong Kong, Singapore cannot sprawl because it doesn't have any more land.

Anonymous said...

Additional information about postwar development in the Paris region:

"during much of the mid-20th century, as Paris was losing population, the ring of suburbs immediately around it was gaining. However, since the early 1970s even these inner suburbs have started to decline in population and density as the outer suburbs and exurbs have boomed. Between 1962 and 1990, as the city of Paris slipped steadily in population from 2.79 million to 2.15 million, the inner suburbs first gained in population, overtaking the population of the city and reaching just over 3 million by 1975, but then declined again, slipping back to 2.94 million by 1990. During the same period, the outer suburbs witnessed an accelerating growth rising from 1.66 million to 2.62 million. Beyond that an "exterior zone," including the rest of the large Parisian region, the Ile-de-France, with its comprehensively planned new towns, exurban developments and still-rural areas, grew from 1.2 million to 2.9 million. By 1999 the Ile-de-France had nearly 10 million people, meaning the city of Paris accounted for fewer than a quarter of all Parisians. ... the outer Parisian suburbs and exurbs, with their low-density subdivisions of single-family houses, shopping centers, industrial parks, and freeways, function and look increasingly like those of the United States."

-- Robert Bruegmann, Sprawl: A Compact History

Alon Levy said...

Anon, look at this link. It has a table of growth rates in the 8 departments comprising the Paris region. The top-3 growing include 2 inner suburban ones and 1 outer suburban one. Even Paris proper is growing now, though it's tied with one outer suburban department for slowest growth.

And Seoul has a smaller land area than Singapore, and its population is 10 million. Even urban area density is higher than in Singapore. The same is true of Taipei. They're not geographically constrained, but they're still compact. If you want another example of an unconstrained city with high density and high car ownership, consider Sao Paulo, with 11 million people at a density of 7,776/km^2, 7.9 million cars, and unbreathable air.

Anonymous said...

Alon Levy,

The population growth in the city of Paris and its inner suburbs since 1999 has come entirely from international immigration, primarily poor immigrants from Africa joining their families who already live in these departments. It has nothing to do with domestic migration, which continues to overwhelmingly favor the outer suburbs and exurbs over the city and inner suburbs. Immigration from Africa grew substantially starting in the late 1990s, when France relaxed its restrictions on immigration for purposes of family reunification.

Bianca said...

Anonymous 6:20 said: The population growth in the city of Paris and its inner suburbs since 1999 has come entirely from international immigration, primarily poor immigrants from Africa joining their families who already live in these departments.

And? Do immigrants not count as people?

Can you point to a cite for this assertion?

Anonymous said...

Alon Levy,

I have no idea what relevance you think Seoul or Sao Paolo have, either. You seem to think that if you can manage to find a single counterexample, it will somehow invalidate the fact that sprawl is the overwhelmingly dominant form of urban development in the wealthy democracies.

It won't. Not that Seoul or Sao Paolo are credible counterexamples anyway. Brazil is still a poor country, and South Korea is still poorer than almost all western European nations. More importantly, it has only very recently become even this rich. Sprawl is a decades-long
political and social process, and Seoul has only just started that process.

Anonymous said...

And?

Try reading the sentence immediately following the one you quoted.

Bianca said...

So you post anonymously, don't provide a citation when asked for one, and acknowledge that you are cherry-picking your facts.

Population growth is made up of people, and it doesn't matter whether they are French citizens or immigrants.

You weren't making a very good case for your assertion to start with, and you aren't making your case any stronger.

Anonymous said...

Bianca,

You've completely missed the point about why the source of the population growth matters, but you're really not worth bothering with further.