East Coast, West Coast – What about Our Coast?

Most Americans take it as an article of faith that there’s a strong connection and relationship between the major cities of the East and West coasts.  Indeed, there may be 3,000 miles separating New York from Los Angeles, or San Francisco from Washington, but psychologically the cities each seem to be more connected to each other than, say, Dallas to New York or Atlanta to San Francisco.  Of course, in the minds of the coastal crowd, the rest of the nation has become “flyover” country.  That wasn’t always the case.  How exactly did that happen?  read more »


Leaving Portlandia

There have been two universal reactions to my announcement that I was going to move from Portland to the Midwest: surprise and disbelief. But I also found a number of people who, if given a few moments to find clear and honest footing in the conversation, could see through the self-absorbed mental fog that covers the city in equal measure to the grey rain clouds and tells its inhabitants every day that Portland is the most amazing possible place in this country to live.  read more »

Another Congressional Cut for High Speed Rail

July 15: Today there was another indication that the newly constituted House of Representatives understands the “litmus test” imperative of zeroing out high speed rail appropriations, in light of potentially required cuts in essential programs like Medicare, Social Security and others. $1 billion was switched to Midwest flood relief in an approval today of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for the 2012 budget.  read more »

Telecommuting and Satellite Cities

Smaller satellite cities throughout the Midwest may have an advantage that they have yet to realize: strong bases for telecommuters. Cities such as Iowa City, IA; Albert Lea, MN; and Hastings, NE have this advantage, where over four percent of the city’s population works from home according to American Community Survey’s information from 2009. The average rates for larger metros tended to be in the mid 3% range. Here are a few Midwestern cities that were of note:  read more »

The Great Plains: An Old Frontier May Hold The Secret to Recovery

Could the next zone of opportunity exist in the middle of the country? Census unemployment figures seem to signify this notion, especially in the Great Plains.

State-wise, November 2010 unemployment rates were lowest in North Dakota at 3.6%; South Dakota at 4.6%; Nebraska at 4.9%; Kansas at 6.5%; and Iowa at 6.8%. Compare these numbers to the ever-growing Sunbelt states where unemployment is at its most dismal with Arizona at 9.6%, California at 12.4%, and Nevada at a depressing 14%.  read more »

NGVideo: East St. Louis (Part III)

Part III in the video series on East St. Louis explores ideas put forward for (re)development of the city, including cultural tourism based on the city's African American heritage and use of vacant land for farming to create a local food source for the St. Louis metropolitan area.  read more »

Recession Job Losses and Recovery in Midwest Cities

The Windy Citizen pointed me at coverage of metro area job losses in the recession. Here is how the 12 cities I principally cover in this blog stacked up, sorted in descending order of percentage losses:  read more »

NCR Leaves Dayton for Atlanta

There was terrible news for Dayton this week as the city's last Fortune 500 company, NCR, founded locally in 1884, announced it was moving its headquarters to Atlanta. The Dayton Daily News is the place for complete coverage.

This is bad news not just for Dayton, but for the state of Ohio and the entire Midwest. Firstly, it illustrates the plight of the smaller cities of the Midwest  read more »

NGVideo: East St. Louis (Part II)

The second part in the series on East St. Louis gives views of downtown today, shows how its history can be seen in the city, and explains why the city could still be a good place for new development.  read more »

NGVideo: East St. Louis (Part I)

The first in a series of videos about the economic, political, and cultural history and future of East St. Louis, Illinois.  read more »