Demographics

Auckland: “A Vancouver of the South Pacific; Beautiful, but Utterly Unaffordable”

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New Zealand’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford reasserted the coalition government’s intention to abolish Auckland’s urban growth boundary at a recent environmental summit. Environmental Defense Society (EDS) CEO Gary Taylor expressed concern about eliminating “rural-urban boundaries” (urban growth boundaries, or UGBs) altogether, an Labour Party election promise.  read more »

Northern Cities Need to Ramp It Up on Attraction

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The Economist just ran a nice article on “the flourishing Midwest.” Milwaukee in particular gets singled out for some favorable coverage, so congratulations to them.

Many Midwest cities have been doing well. Even the ones with poor headline numbers like Cleveland are seeing areas of strength when you look at a finer grained level. Some of the declines Midwest locations are experiencing are a result of the overhang of previous decline. Change and restructuring is happening in many places.  read more »

The Great Re-homing: Why People Are Moving Back To Their Hometowns To Start Small Businesses

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I have my gas station diet down pat. Coffee, water, bananas, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and the occasional peanut butter cup indulgence. Ok, sometimes I also eat beef jerky. You have to learn these things when you spend 10,000 miles on the road talking to small business owners for a podcast.  read more »

Guangzhou, South and Central China and the Yellow River by Train

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The prelude to my round trip by train across the Gobi Desert from Lanzhou (Gansu) to Urumqi (Xinjiang) was a trip from Hong Kong to Lanzhou. This article includes photos from that trip, and some from previous trips, as noted on the figures. The travel highlight was a 10.5 hour and 2,700 kilometer (1,700 mile) train trip from Guangzhou to Lanzhou, through southern and central China, then turning west along the Yellow River.  read more »

Restoring Localism

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Americans are increasingly prisoners of ideology, and our society is paying the price. We are divided along partisan lines to an extent that some are calling it a “soft civil war.” In the end, this benefits only ideological warriors and their funders.  read more »

The Boom in Urban Housing Prices is Holding Back Economic Growth

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Last year the New York Times ran a story on Ms. Sheila James, a 62-year-old woman who commutes two hours and 50 minutes each way between her home in Stockton, California, and her $81,000-a-year government job in San Francisco.   read more »

The Battle for Houston

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Over the last half-century, Houston has developed an alternative model of urbanism. As the New Urbanist punditry mounts an assault on both suburban growth and single-family homes, Houston has embraced a light regulatory approach that reflects market forces more than ideology. But last year’s Hurricane Harvey floods severely tested the Houston model.  read more »

America’s Rising Startup Communities

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Ian Hathaway at the Center for American Entrepreneurship recently took at look at startup financing to see whether tech was dispersing or concentrating. He found that first financings remain heavily concentrated in the top five markets:  read more »

What Happened After the Last HQ2 Competition

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When I traveled to Oklahoma City for the first time a few years ago I was shocked to discover that in the civic narrative of the city’s transformation – it’s origin story if you will – the triggering event for change was losing a competition for a United Airlines maintenance facility in 1991 to Indianapolis.  read more »

How We Lit The Fuse On The Population Bomb

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We’ve been here before – concerns about our capacity to house a large population are not new. But lately, hostility to rapid rates of population growth is gaining traction. There have been calls for a population inquiry and former PM Hon Tony Abbott has called for immigration (and hence population growth) to be slashed. He joins a chorus of other voices, from business to community groups. Voters are pushing back against growth and political leaders are feeling the pressure.  read more »