Economics

The Midwest Is Booming—Just Not Where You Think

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The Midwest is booming, but not where you might think. Kansas City, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Grand Rapids, and Des Moines are the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest—lapping bigger hubs like Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and even Chicago that are still suffering from stagnant economies and slow or even negative population growth.  read more »

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop.  read more »

Neat, Plausible, and Wrong

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The Antiplanner is frequently reminded of H.L. Mencken’s statement that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem: neat, plausible, and wrong.” Millennials, for example, blame baby boomers for ruining the world. Most of the mistakes that baby boomers made were in adopting simple and plausible but wrong solutions to complex problems.  read more »

Eyes From the Street – The Neighbourhood Fabric That Matters

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In the 50 plus years since Jane Jacobs coined the phrase “eyes on the street”, most planners have taken it as an article of faith. After all, some argue, it is common sense. But as we found out when looking at complex, self-organising systems such as cities, common sense is woefully inadequate to explain, let alone predict, outcomes.  read more »

Shovel Ready

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Many years ago I remember a television commentator saying more Americans have outhouses than computer connections. This was in the early days of dial up modems. He seemed to suggest that household computers were little more than Japanese video games, which was actually true at the time. Well, thirty years have passed and this afternoon I received a package for one of my neighbors. Evidently he ordered a shovel on the interwebs.  read more »

Future Hubs of Africa and Asia

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On UN projections between 2015 and 2050, the world population will grow by nearly 2.38 billion people, from 7.35 billion to 9.73 billion. Although this 32% growth is a big increase, it marks a slowdown from the 66% growth rate recorded in the preceding 35 years (1980-2015). Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) have come down all over the world and are expected to continue falling.  read more »

Nashville’s Hopeless Rail Transit Proposal

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Nashville is the 36th largest metropolitan area in the nation, having long since passed historic Tennessee leader Memphis. Nashville was the 10th fastest growing major metropolitan area in 2017. At the current growth rate Nashville will reach 2 million residents by the 2020 census and seems likely to pass slower growing San Jose soon after.  read more »

Boomers: Meet the Plurals

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America is fascinated by the skill, pluck, and personal composure of the students from Parkland, Florida who survived the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. Their initial quick success in getting the recalcitrant Florida legislature to make some modest changes to one of America’s loosest set of gun laws brought a ray of hope to a nation depressed by the inability of its civic institutions to accomplish just about anything.  read more »

The High Speed Rail 2018 Business Plan – A Classic Model Of Deception

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The California High Speed Rail Authority has released its 2018 Business Plan. It portends to finally reveal the true cost for construction of Phase I of the project. The new cost estimate is at a base of $77.3 billion to a possible $98.1 billion dollars. Completion of Phase I is now projected for year 2032. Please remember the old promise to the voters was the project would be running by 2020 and the cost to California voters would be $10 billion (the rest of the $32 billions needed to build Phase I would come from Federal and private sources).  read more »

Deconstructing “Yimbyism”

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California’s housing crisis has emboldened grandstanding Sacramento politicians who measure their own “success” by the number of bills they can pass with their own names attached.

We now have Scott Wiener’s SB827, a bill which would use “mass transit” (defined as four buses an hour during rush hour) to eliminate local governments’ ability to zone single-family housing and to replace locally crafted General Plans with increased density levels dictated by Sacramento politicians.  read more »