Demographics

Dirty Jobs, Essential Workers, and the Infrastructure Bills

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Current negotiations over the second infrastructure bill may remind a lot of people of Mike Rowe’s oddly popular series Dirty Jobs. Which makes sense. Watching a man stumble around inside a sewage tank as he gags loudly and directs us toward closeups of turds, rancid grease balls, and darkly bubbling sewage can clarify a lot about infrastructure negotiations.  read more »

The Cost of Moving Up to Home Ownership

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The long-standing aspiration for home ownership has intensified during the pandemic and with the popularity of remote work. For many, it is no longer necessary to live conveniently close to work, as more and more employees are able to reduce the number of commuting days. This new hybrid model has spurred an increase in demand for housing with more space, both within the house and in the yard.  read more »

Quinn Chapel Story

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Anyone who’s watched the changes in Chicago’s Near South Side community over the last 30 years can tell you, it’s undergone a complete transformation in a generation’s time. Many observers might look at the Near South Side and think it went from nothing to something over that period. Not true. It was always a community of constant change. My father was one person who anticipated the next transformation and fought valiantly for it to be more inclusive.  read more »

Blue Collar Babies: Why America's Working Class Needs Affordable Child Care

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In Netflix’s must-see new series, Maid, Alex (Margaret Qualley) flees a violent boyfriend with her two-year-old in tow, only to discover the gordian knot of being an impoverished, unhoused, single mom. Affordable child care is at the knot’s center. Alex must have a pay stub to qualify for subsidized housing, but first she must have child care to earn that paycheck. While she scrubs wealthy people’s floors, Alex depends on babysitting from her mentally unstable mother (played by Qualley’s real-life mom, Andie McDowell).  read more »

No Shortage of Housing Problems But Who Decides?

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The housing and care accommodations older persons occupy often have problems making it difficult for them to age successfully—that is, to enjoy healthy, independent, active, and happy lives.

At least, that is the conclusion of professionals and family members who profess concern for their wellbeing.

They identify the following groups of old whose quality of life is at risk because of where they live:  read more »

Building on Jacobs: The City Emergent; Beyond Streets and Buildings

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Almost all theories of the city are largely qualitative, developed primarily from focused studies on specific cities or groups of cities supplemented by narratives, anecdotes, and intuition.” Geoffrey West, Scale, 2017

This recent quote recalls Jane Jacobs’s seminal book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)  read more »

Higher Urban Densities Associated with the Worst Housing Affordability

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There is an expectation in some quarters that densification of existing urban areas will lead to improved housing affordability. This argument is used to justify densification policies around the world.  read more »

Flyover Companies are Teaching Immigrants the Language of Success

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Cambria and Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafes are among smaller companies in Flyover Country that have joined some of our largest corporate citizens, including Walmart and Target, in recognizing a truth that is becoming increasingly important to our economy: The more that legal immigrants can be assimilated by learning English, the more valuable they will be as employees – and the more fulfilled as Americans.  read more »

Joe Biden's Class War

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Joe Biden may present himself as a ‘working-class hero’, a claim reiterated recently in the leftist American Prospect, but increasingly America’s workers are showing signs not of common cause but disquiet.  read more »

The New Face of Autocracy

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A former Facebook employee hailed by the media as a whistleblower testified this week on Capitol Hill about the social media giant's algorithm, and how it harms children and democracy.  read more »