Illinois: State Of Embarrassment


Most critics of Barack Obama’s desultory performance the past three years trace it to his supposedly leftist ideology, lack of experience and even his personality quirks. But it would perhaps be more useful to look at the geography — of Chicago and the state of Illinois — that nurtured his career and shaped his approach to politics. Like with George W. Bush and Texas, this is a case where you can’t separate the man from the place.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Quanzhou


Quanzhou? Quanzhou (pronounced "CHWEN-JOE"), despite its urban population that is approaching 5 million this urban area is so unfamiliar to Westerners and the rest of the world as to require an introduction. Quanzhou is a prefecture ("shi") in China's Fujian province. Fujian is just to the north of Guangdong, home of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong's former province (before the British) and just to the south of Zhejiang, the large rich province at the south flank of the Yangtze Delta (which abuts Shanghai). Quanzhou is also adjacent to Xiamen, one of the original special economic zones established by the legendary reformer Deng Xiao Ping.  read more »

Is Suburbia Doomed? Not So Fast.


This past weekend the New York Times devoted two big op-eds to the decline of the suburb. In one, new urban theorist Chris Leinberger said that Americans were increasingly abandoning “fringe suburbs” for dense, transit-oriented urban areas.  read more »

Will You Still House Me When I'm 64?


In the song by the Beatles, the worry was about being fed and needed at 64. Things have changed. If the Beatles wrote those lyrics today, the worry instead might be about housing.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Delhi


It has been a time of ups and downs for Delhi, which has emerged as the largest urban area (area of continuous urban development) in India. By a quirk in the Census of India definitions, an urban area (urban agglomeration) may not cross a state or territorial boundary. As a result, Delhi continues to be the second largest urban area in India according to the Census of India.  read more »

Good Morning, Vietnam


While many experts are pronouncing the demise of the American era and the rise of China, other East Asian nations complicate the picture. As America continues to participate and extend its influence in the dynamic Asian market, there may be no more suitable ally than its old antagonist, Vietnam.  read more »

Urbanizing India: The 2011 Census Shows Slowing Growth


Provisional results from the 2011 census of India show a diminishing population, the lowest since independence in 1947. From 2001 to 2007, India's population grew 17.6%, compared to a 20% to 25% growth rate in previous periods since the 1951 census. Even so, India is expected to virtually catch up with China in population by 2020, with United Nations forecasts showing a less than 1 million advantage for China. By 2025, the UN forecasts that India will lead China by more than 50 million people.  read more »

The New World Order: A Report on the World's Emerging Spheres of Influence


This is the introduction to a new report, "The New World Order" authored by Joel Kotkin in partnership with the Legatum Institute. Read the full report and view the maps at the project website.

The fall of the Soviet Union nearly a quarter of a century ago forced geographers and policy makes to rip up their maps. No longer divided into “west” and “east”, the world order lost many of its longtime certainties.  read more »

California’s Jobs Engine Broke Down Well Before the Financial Crisis


Everybody knows that California’s economy has struggled mightily since the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. The state’s current unemployment rate, 12.1 percent, is a full 3 percentage points above the national rate. Liberal pundits and politicians tend to blame this dismal performance entirely on the Great Recession; as Jerry Brown put it while campaigning (successfully) for governor last year, “I’ve seen recessions. They come, they go. California always comes back.”  read more »

Women Ascendent: Where Females Are Rising The Fastest


You can find the future of the world’s women not in Scandinavia or the U.S., but among the entrepreneurs who line the streets of Mumbai, Manila and Sao Paulo. Selling everything from mangoes to home-made blouses, these women, usually considered the very bottom of their home country’s employment barrel, represent the cutting-edge of progress for women in the 21st century.  read more »