Blogs

"It's Like Christmas in here": Tourists Propping up the U.S. Luxury Market

One interesting thing about the luxury economy today in the U.S. is how much of it is being driven by tourists and non-residents. Another salient point: how the very wealthy have been largely immune to the current downturn.  read more »

Portland and L.A: Not Exactly Long-Lost Brothers

One of these cities is the perennial Cinderella to urban planners; the other the ugly sister who always crashes the party. One is the well-planned "City of Roses" (no, not Pasadena), a bastion of mass-transit and controlled development along the Columbia River while its gargantuan sister to the south eschews all such enlightened principles.

That's the gist at least from this paean to Portland in the LA Times today about what the city could learn from its lithe Northern cousin.  read more »

Chicago Condo Market Inertia

New home sales went down by a whopping 73 percent in the Windy City during the first six months of this year. But developers, anticipating high demand - especially for the condo market - have committed to keep building them. From the article in Crain's Chicago:

"Developers are building at a record pace, with 9,528 units scheduled to be finished by the end of next year, Appraisal Research says. Nearly 33% of those remain unsold, a high percentage but slightly better than the first quarter's 35%."

Income Chasm Growing in Massachusetts

Mirroring a national trend, the income gap is increasing in the Bay State. From the Boston Globe article:

"The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades, according to a new study by the University of Massachusetts. Only those earning the highest incomes benefited from gains in technology, productivity, and globalization, while middle-class earnings stagnated and incomes for poor families plunged 15 percent."

Public Opinion Favoring a new New Deal?

According to this report by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner research, the American public is restive for "bold change." One of the key findings of the report is that: "Voters are looking for dramatic action. Just 35 percent of voters say we can solve America’s problems with minor changes, while nearly two-thirds believe it will take 'major changes' to bring about solutions." And these respondents look more favorably upon the political legacy of FDR, rather than Reagan, to affect that change.  read more »

New York's loss is Chicago's Gain?

The Chicago Tribune reported recently on the state of the finance industry in the Chicago area. Reports indicate smaller, more nimble finance companies in Chicago are tapping an exodus of traders, bankers and investment managers:  read more »

Black Migration out of California

This recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle discusses how politicians in the city are trying to stem the flight of blacks from the city - who now only make up 6.5 percent of the city's population (it was 13.4 percent in 1970).  read more »

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Chicago Students' Greatest Fear: Getting Shot

With 36 Chicago Public School children murdered in the last 12 months, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that getting shot has become the number one fear of children in the city's violent neighborhoods.

The fear seems most pervasive among fifth to eighth graders.

Impending Doom for the Heartland?

The Financial Times recently made note of the biggest drop in commodity prices in 28 years. This, of course, is a fall from record highs and some analysts are continuing bullish forecasts. The Reuters/Jeffries CRB index has continued its decline the past few days  read more »

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Homeless IT Worker in San Francisco

Yesterday, an article appeared in the SF Chronicle by C.W. Nevius about an Internet salesman who lives in a tent in Golden Gate Park because housing costs are too high. He works by day at a cafe and pitches his tent at night getting up before dawn when the police do raids to evict illegal campers.  read more »