Demographics

Cities are Changing, But Urban Living Remains Optional

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Starting with the first oil crisis in 1973, it’s become de rigueur for the press to accompany every spike in energy prices with a spate of stories explaining how the higher costs will inevitably lead to the revival of the long declining industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest. But don’t count on a boom in Baltimore or Cleveland anytime soon.  read more »

Millennials: Key to Post-ethnic America?

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One of the most widely observed, yet least understood, attributes about the emerging Millennial generation is their ethnic and cultural heterogeneity. While they represent the most ethnically varied cohort in American history—far more than any previous U.S. generation—few social commentators actually agree on what this remarkable demographic detail really portends. Will Millennials usher in a new post-ethnic America—or simply reconfigure some different version of identity politics?  read more »

Millennial Values, Involvement, and Social Capital

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“American history carefully examined,” argued political scientist Robert Putnam in his notable book Bowling Alone, “is a story of ups and downs in civic engagement . . . a story of collapse and of renewal.” According to Putnam, the passage of the civic-minded World War II generation from American society has led to deterioration in social capital.  read more »

Home is Where the Wi-Fi is: Millennials and a Sense of Community

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The modern day forums for which people are able to express themselves and ‘stay connected’ include the much talked about websites Facebook, MySpace, Youtube, among many others. It seems like not a day goes by where there is not another article discussing the revolutionary merits these websites have on changing the socio-cultural landscape.  read more »

Millennials: A Quick Overview

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Perhaps nothing will shape the future of the country more than the emergence of the so-called Millennial generation. They have already put their stamp on the election, as Carl Cannon suggests in his insightful article in Reader’s Digest, becoming a key driver for Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential run.  read more »

Response to A Return to 'Avalon'

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It’s interesting that the authors of an article about the youngest generation (Generation Y or Millennials) title their piece “A Return to 'Avalon,'” a cultural reference that people born between 1982 and 2003 surely know nothing about. “Avalon” is a movie from 1990 directed by Barry Levinson (born in 1942) which takes place at the turn of the last century. I’m not sure whom the authors are writing for, but I’ve never seen “Avalon” and had to look up the plot on IMDB -- and I’m almost 40 years old!  read more »

A Return to 'Avalon'

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By Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais

In his autobiographical film, “Avalon,” Barry Levinson captured what he believed to be the impact of America’s suburban exodus on his large and fractious family. He suggested that the weakening of the ties that bound his previously close-knit family was due to its dispersal to the suburbs rather than the social upheavals of the 1960s that he captured so well in the other two films in his Baltimore trilogy – “Diner” and “Liberty Heights.”  read more »

Election Geography

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For the past eight years our politics has been riven by the red versus blue state narrative. While the popular media cast red versus blue as a culture war rooted in the ‘60s, subsequent research shows our divisions have much to do with geography. As Obama and McCain distance themselves from partisan stereotypes, many hope the upcoming election will break this pattern, but recent primary results should give us pause. (We should note that explaining overall election results is different than explaining geographic patterns.  read more »

Suburbs Thriving, Cities Stagnating in Keystone State

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The headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer said it all, “Philadelphia’s population shrinking, though region’s is growing.” This in the midst of what is purported to be a condominium boom in its thriving center city.

But facts are facts: Philadelphia’s population has dropped 4.5 percent. This ranks it first among the top-25 U.S. cities in population loss from 2000-2007. This data causes you to pause and rethink the real impact of major public investments in the city spurred on by a governor who is the city’s former two-term mayor.  read more »

Moving from the Cities to the Suburbs... and Beyond

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The current concern over soaring gas prices has raised serious questions about the sustainability of what we commonly consider “the American dream”. Some urban boosters and environmentalists seem positively giddy about the prospects that suburbanites, reeling under the impact of high-energy prices, will soon be forced to give up their cars  read more »