Utah Up, Chicago Down: Why Mitt Romney Should Embrace His Mormonism


In his run for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney downplayed his Mormonism—referring only to “faith” or “shared values”—in the face of small-minded members of the Christian right and the occasional cackle from the Eastern cultural avant-garde.  read more »

America's Baby Bust: How The Great Recession Has Jeopardized Our Demographic Health


At the turn of the century, America’s biggest advantage was its relatively vibrant demographics. In sharp contrast with its major competitors — the E.U., Russia, China, Japan — the United States had maintained a far higher birthrate and rate of population growth.  read more »

Cities of Aspiration


Drew Klacik’s recent post on how he ended up in Indianapolis got me thinking about the unique status of what I’d describe as “cities of aspiration.” Pretty much all cities seem to be reasonably good at attracting people in the following cases:  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Istanbul


Istanbul is unique in straddling two continents. The historical city was concentrated on the European side of the Bosporus, the wide, more than 20 mile long strait linking the Sea of Marmara (Mediterranean Sea) in the south to the Black Sea in the north. Nearly all of the historic city was located on a peninsula to the south of the Golden Horn, an inlet off the Bosporus. By 1990, the urban area had expanded to occupy large areas on both sides of the Bosporus.  read more »

Sex (Or Not) And the Japanese Single

Shinjuku, Tokyo nightlife.jpg

Back in June 2011, British prime minister David Cameron backed proposals tackling the sexualisation of British children, in a bid to dilute the culture of sex that has swept western nations. The rhetoric goes that the ‘oversexualisation’ of society, as represented in everything from ‘lads mags’ to advertising boards promoting shampoo, has fuelled a surplus of sexual desire that is thought to have contributed to the rise of teenage pregnancy and rape cases in the UK.  read more »


The U.S. Cities Getting Smarter The Fastest


It’s a commonplace among pundits and economic developers that smart people flock to “smart” places like sparrows to Capistrano. Reflecting the conventional wisdom, The New York Times recently opined that “college graduates gravitate to places with many other college graduates and the atmosphere that creates.”  read more »

Evolving Urban Form: Dhaka


A few weeks ago, we suggested that Hong Kong was the "smart growth" ideal, for having the highest urban population density in the high income world. But, if you expand the universe to the poorer, developing countries, Hong Kong barely holds a candle to Dhaka. Dhaka's 14.6 million people live in just 125 square miles (325 square kilometers). At more than 115,000 people per square mile (Figure 1), or 45,000 per square kilometer (Figure 2), the capital of Bangladesh is nearly 75 percent more dense than Hong Kong.  read more »

Characteristics of the Self-Employed


With EMSI’s new data categories, we can now more closely parse data on the major classes of workers in the labor market. This is a significant shift in how we present employment data, and one of the valuable applications is being able to track and analyze self-employed workers — those whose primary job, their chief source of income, is working on their own.  read more »

America's Future Is Taking Shape In The Suburbs


For nearly a generation, pundits, academics and journalists have written off suburbia. They predict that the future lies in the cities, with more Americans living in smaller spaces such as the micro-apartments of 300 square feet or less that New York and San Francisco are considering changing their building laws to allow.  read more »

Density is Not the Issue: The Urban Scaling Research


The "urban scaling" research of Geoffrey West, Luis Bettencourt, Jose Lobo, Deborah Strumsky, Dirk Helbing and Christian Kuhnert on cities has attracted considerable attention (references below). They have provided strong quantitative evidence, based upon voluminous econometric analysis that cities tend to become more efficient as they grow in population.  read more »