Not Just Bikes: Where We’ve Been Living This Whole Time (New Video)

I had a similar experience the first time I saw a value-per-acre map from Urban3. After conducting an analysis of a city’s revenue and expenses, Urban3 creates 3-D maps that show which parts of the city are financially productive and which are a net revenue loss. Time and again, Urban3 has found that neighborhoods built according to a traditional development pattern financially outperform those built along a suburban development pattern. From Eugene and Indianapolis to Kansas City and Fayetteville and beyond, the pattern is the same. In fact, in many places, poor neighborhoods built according to that traditional pattern end up subsidizing the more affluent, suburban-style neighborhoods. Consider the example above from Lafayette, Louisiana. Green equals profit and red equals loss. The higher the block goes, the larger the amount of profit or loss.

What I love about Urban3’s visualizations is that they make the financial effect of our development choices so clear while bypassing our common assumptions and misconceptions. 

Me: “What the hell is that?“
Urban3: “It’s where we’ve been living this whole time.”

Urban3 + NJB: The Ultimate Mash-up?

The folks at Urban3 combine keen analysis with powerful visual storytelling. They are master communicators. Imagine my delight when I learned that another of my favorite storytellers, Jason Slaughter of Not Just Bikes, was releasing a new video featuring Urban3.

You know Not Just Bikes, right? Based in the Netherlands, this wildly popular YouTube channel—530,000 subscribers and growing!—talks about some of the things that make the Netherlands such a great place to live (hint: it’s not just the bikes). Since November 2020, Not Just Bikes has been producing a series based on the work of Strong Towns. (Check out the playlist here.) This latest installment explains why the ROI on the auto-oriented suburban development pattern falls short, who is subsidizing whom in North American cities, and what can be done to make communities more financially solvent.

After you watch the video, we encourage you to share it with friends, family, and colleagues so they can see where they’ve been living, too. Together, we can make that place stronger and more financially resilient.

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