Among the most pervasive, and arguably pernicious, notions of the past decade has been that the “creative class” of the skilled, educated and hip would remake and revive American cities. The idea, packaged and peddled by consultant Richard Florida, had been that unlike spending public money to court Wall Street fat cats, corporate executives or other traditional elites, paying to appeal to the creative would truly trickle down, generating a widespread urban revival. read more »
Since the housing crash of 2007, the decline of the Sun Belt and dispersed, low-density cities has been trumpeted by the national media and by pundits who believe America’s future lies in compact, crowded, mostly coastal and northern, cities. read more »
Southern California, just a few decades ago the fastest-growing region in the high-income world, is hitting a demographic tipping point. With a decade or more of domestic out-migration and a sharp fall in immigration, the region is morphing from a destination that attracts dreamers and builders into a place increasingly dominated by those born or bred here.
To some demographers, this transition from a magnet for migrants to a more native-born population represents something of a boon. As for migrants, one USC demographer wrote that California acts like "a gold pan that sifts through aspiring talent and keeps the best." read more »
California used to consider itself the leading state and the bellwether for the entire country. Now that the entrepreneurial initiative has mostly switched to Texas and other such places, and Texas’s infrastructure has pulled ahead of California’s in its quality (I lived in Texas in the 1970s, and it was not so then!), California is, at the very least, still thought of as a bellwether for the whole country, if perhaps a dystopian one. But there is a state that even Californians look to for popular cultural leadership, visit frequently, and admire. read more »
Greg Hinz at Crain's Chicago Business congratulates Chicago for its nation-leading population growth. Heinz also notes that the far suburbs also gained population strongly, but there had been losses in the areas between the two. He asks: "the question now is whether the area can prosper with a thriving core but sinking neighborhoods and inner-ring suburbs around it." read more »
"Memento Mori" – "Remember your mortality" – was whispered into the ears of Roman generals as they celebrated their great military triumphs. Someone should be whispering something similar in the ear of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been quick to celebrate his tax and budget "triumph" and to denounce as "declinists" those who threaten to rain on the gubernatorial parade. read more »
A remarkable, but mostly unnoticed, 2012 study found a powerful correlation between a community’s civic health and its economic well being. The analysis by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and its partners found that the density of non-profits whose purpose was to encourage their members’ participation within the community correlated strongly with the ability of a locality to withstand the effects of the Great Recession. read more »
Readers of this forum have probably heard rumors of gentrification in post-Katrina New Orleans. Residential shifts playing out in the Crescent City share many commonalities with those elsewhere, but also bear some distinctions and paradoxes. I offer these observations from the so-called Williamsburg of the South, a neighborhood called Bywater.
Gentrification arrived rather early to New Orleans, a generation before the term was coined. Writers and artists settled in the French Quarter in the 1920s and 1930s, drawn by the appeal of its expatriated Mediterranean atmosphere, not to mention its cheap rent, good food, and abundant alcohol despite Prohibition. read more »
In the wake of the 2012 presidential election, some political commentators have written political obituaries of the "red" or conservative-leaning states, envisioning a brave new world dominated by fashionably blue bastions in the Northeast or California. But political fortunes are notoriously fickle, while economic trends tend to be more enduring.
These trends point to a U.S. economic future dominated by four growth corridors that are generally less dense, more affordable, and markedly more conservative and pro-business: the Great Plains, the Intermountain West, the Third Coast (spanning the Gulf states from Texas to Florida), and the Southeastern industrial belt.
For the past century, California, particularly Southern California, nurtured and invented the suburban dream. The sun-drenched single-family house, often with a pool, on a tree-lined street was an image lovingly projected by television and the movies. read more »