Featured Story

Doing What Actually Works

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-4-27-36-pm.jpg

Last year I engaged in a failed attempt to renovate and expand an old house in an 1890’s era neighborhood in Ohio. It ended badly. So I thought I’d do a follow up on what actually does work given the legal parameters and cultural context.  read more »

More Stories

Are America’s Cities Doomed to Go Bankrupt?

Downtown_Lafayette,_Louisiana.jpg

I’m a fan of Strong Towns and share their thesis that the biggest sustainability problem with much of suburbia is its financial sustainability.

recent article there about Lafayette, Louisiana has been making the rounds. That city’s public works director made some estimates of infrastructure maintenance costs and which parts of the city turned a “profit” from taxes and which were losses. Here’s their profit and loss map.  read more »

Loyal Opposition Versus Resistance to Trump

Trump_protest_San_Diego_-_May_26,_2016.jpg

Perhaps nothing has made modern progressivism look sillier than the often hysterical reaction to the election of Donald Trump. This has spanned everything from street protests, claims of Russian electoral manipulation and even reports of sudden weight gain and loss of sexual interest. Rather than become more introspective in the face of defeat, the bulk of left-leaning media and their intellectual allies have embraced the notion — even before the new president proposes anything — of following what UC Berkeley public policy professor and former U.S.  read more »

Subjects:

Detroit’s New Streetlights Show Service Rebuilding in Action

detroit-streetlights-nyt-1024x683.jpg

I’ve been arguing that one thing struggling post-industrial cities need to do is take care of their own business, doing things like addressing legacy liabilities and rebuilding of core public services.

Last week I write about Buffalo doing just this by completely re-writing its zoning code and creating a new land use map of the city to bring its planning ordinances up to date for the 21st century.  read more »

Them that’s got shall have. Them that’s not shall lose.

screen-shot-2016-08-26-at-11-31-30-pm.jpg

My family lived in this building when I was a kid in the 1970’s. This was the door to our old apartment. It’s in a nondescript part of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. There are a million places just like this all over the Southland. These beige stucco boxes are the workhorses of semi-affordable market rate housing in California. The place hasn’t changed in forty years other than the on-going deferred maintenance.  read more »

The Irony That Could Trip Up Trump's Quest To Make The U.S. Economy 'Great Again'

Donald_Trump_skidmore_0.jpg

Perhaps no president in recent history has more pressure on him to perform economic miracles than Donald Trump. As someone who ran on the promise that he could fix the economy -- and largely won because of it -- Trump faces two severe challenges, one that is largely perceptual and another more critical one that is very real.

To start, Trump must cope with the widespread idea, accepted by much of the media, that we are experiencing something of an “Obama boom.”  read more »

World Automotive Sales Setting New Records

Chang'an_avenue_in_Beijing.jpg

The world has come a long way since 1929, when 80 percent of the world’s car registrations were in the United States, which also manufactured 90 percent of the vehicles. Now China produces the most cars and its annual sales rank top in the world. China overtook the United States in vehicle sales during the Great Recession. But it’s not like Americans are no longer buying cars; the US broke its own record last year.  read more »

Globalization's Winner-Take-All Economy

Downtown_cincinnati_2010_kdh.jpg

“If you are a very talented person, you have a choice: You either go to New York or you go to Silicon Valley.”

This statement by Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder and venture capitalist, unsurprisingly caused a stir, given that he made it in Chicago. Simon Kuper had made a similar observation in the Financial Times when he described how young Dutch up-and-comers had their sights set on London, not Amsterdam. “Many ambitious Dutch people no longer want to join the Dutch elite,” Kuper wrote. “They want to join the global elite.”  read more »

Working-Class Nostalgia

rust-belt.jpg

The first time I presented a paper at an academic conference, I was accused of being nostalgic. My mistake, as my fellow academic pointed out, was that in my bid to find some value in working-class occupational cultures I was guilty of backward looking romanticism. It wasn’t meant to be constructive criticism, but over the years I’ve developed a longstanding interest in the idea of nostalgia which is often attached to working-class life.  read more »

Advertisement