The Evolving Urban Form: Beijing


China's capital, Beijing, has long been one of the world's largest urban areas. Some reports placed its population at over 1 million in 1800, which would have made Beijing the largest urban area  in the world at that time. Later in the nineteenth century, Beijing dropped below 1 million population, as London, Paris and later New York rose to prominence. As late as 1953, Beijing had a population of fewer than 3 million. Since then the city’s population has  increased more than six times (Figure 1).  read more »

Austin’s Not That Weird


Don’t let the cupcake stands fool you. For years, locals pressed the need to Keep Austin Weird. Besides spawning lazy clichés (Keep Austin Wired, Keep Austin Moving, Keep Austin on Every List of Best Places to Live), the Keep Austin Weird movement overlooks the obvious: the city’s not that weird.

Weird for Texas? Sure. Austin is like a rebellious preacher’s kid. It’s cool, popular, breaks all the rules, and doesn’t go to church very much. Family members from elsewhere visit from time to time, but everyone wonders if they’re all part of the same family.  read more »

Suburbanized Core Cities


The suburbs of major metropolitan areas captured the overwhelming majority of population growth between 2000 and 2010, actually increasing their share of growth, as has been previously reported. However, it is often not understood that much of the recent central city (Note 1) growth has actually been suburban in nature, rather than core densification. In fact, historical core cities (Note 2) vary substantially.  read more »

Inside The Sinosphere


Avis Tang, a cool, well-dressed software company executive, lives on the glossy frontier of China’s global expansion. From his perch amid tower blocks of Tianfu Software Park on the outskirts of the Sichuan capital of Chengdu, the 48-year-old graduate of Taiwan’s National Institute of the Arts directs a team of Chinese software engineers who are developing computer games  for his Beijing company, Perfect World Network Technology, for  the  Asian and world market.  read more »

From China’s Interior, A Step Back in Time, A Photo Essay


In the China of the 21th century, the one where all is about reckless growth, competition and the inevitable slide down into vicious consumerism of colossal proportions, there is still a big portion of it that has not caught up with the craze and preserves its most traditional qualities almost untouched.  read more »


Biggest Boomer Towns


The boomer generation, spawned (literally) in the aftermath of the Second World War, will continue to shape the American landscape well into the 21st Century. They may be getting older, but these folks are still maintaining their power. Those born in the first ten years of the boomer generation  — between 1945 and 1955 — number 36 million, and they will continue to influence communities and real estate markets across the country, especially as they contemplate life after kids and retirement.  read more »

Queensland’s Future: Diverse and Dispersed


I was recently asked to outline my thoughts on how the Queensland urban landscape might look 40 to 50 years from now.  Go on, you can laugh.  I did too.  It’s hard enough to forecast the next 12 months, let alone two generations away, but I’ve given it a go, of sorts, so here it is:  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Los Angeles


Los Angeles has grown more than any major metropolitan region in the high income world except for Tokyo since the beginning of the twentieth century, and also since 1950.  In 1900, the city (municipality, see Note) of Los Angeles had little over 100,000 people and ranked 36th in population in the nation behind Allegheny, Pennsylvania (which has since merged with Pittsburgh) and St. Joseph Missouri (which has since lost more than one quarter of its population).  read more »

The Shifting Geography of Black America


Black population changes in various cities have been one of the few pieces of the latest Census to receive significant media coverage.  The New York Times, for example, noted that many blacks have returned to the South nationally and particularly from New York City.  The overall narrative has been one of a “reverse Great Migration.”  But while many northern cities did see anemic growth or even losses in black population, and many southern cities saw their black population surge, the real story actually extends well beyond the notion of a monolithic return to the South.  read more »

A Detailed Look at Workforce Skill Shortages


As the United States continues to fight its way out of the Great Recession, more attention has been directed to the question of why is has taken so long for workers to find re-employment. In economist parlance, this is primarily a question of “structural unemployment.” This describes the type of unemployment that results from a mismatch of worker skills and the skills demanded by employers.  read more »