Europe

Pulling the Plug on HS2 (London-Birmingham High Speed Rail)?

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High speed rail may be proposed as a climate change panacea here and elsewhere, but the results on the ground are less than promising. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced this week that the California high speed rail project would be scaled back to the route between Bakersfield and Merced, in the San Joaquin Valley (which the state has enough money for). In his “state of the state” speech the Governor said “…let’s be real. The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.”  read more »

Emmanuel Newsom?

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A youthful and handsome appearance, the blessings of the autocrats and clerics of our times, and a fawning media — all these belonged to French President Emmanuel Macron just a year ago. He was praised as everything from the “new leader of the Free World” to Europe’s Reagan.

Today Macron’s presidency is adrift, paralyzed by grassroots opposition to his policies — mostly from the middle and working classes — and a popularity rating about half of that suffered by Donald Trump. Is this the fate that awaits our new governor, Gavin Newsom?  read more »

The First Shots in the Climate Wars

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In launching their now successful protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s gas hike, the French gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) have revived their country’s reputation for rebelling against monarchial rule. It may well foreshadow a bitter, albeit largely avoidable, battle over how to address the issue of climate change.  read more »

The Other Side of the Superstar Effect

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A couple of folks had interesting counterpoints to the superstar effect. Neil Strickland gave me permission to post the following email he sent:  read more »

Lurching To A New Weimar

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America seems to be heading inexorably toward a Weimar moment, a slide toward political polarization from which it could be increasingly difficult to return. Weimar — that brief, brilliant and tragic German republic of the 1920s — was replaced by Hitler’s murderous regime in 1933.  read more »

Inputs vs. Outputs

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An article in CityLab purports to show “why public transit works better outside the U.S.” However, it never actually demonstrates that public transit does work better in other countries; it merely shows that governments have attempted to make it work better.  read more »

America Keeps Winning Regardless Of Who Is President

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Ever since the election of Donald Trump, many of our leading academic voices, like Paul Krugman, predicted everything from a stock market crash to a global recession. Slow growth, mainstream economists like Larry Summers, argued, was in the cards no matter who is in charge. That was then. Now the United States stands as by far the most dynamic high-income economy in the world.  read more »

The Triumph Of Trumpism Will Outlast Trump

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Given the endless scandals swarming around him, Donald Trump’s presidency may prove, to quote Thomas Hobbes, to be “nasty, brutish and short.” But even if Trump ends up out of office sooner than planned, we will continue to live in a world shaped by him for years to come.  read more »

European Commission Exaggerates Urbanization

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Urban planners long have been concerned about “urban sprawl,” despite never having settled on a term that excludes any urbanization, even the densest in the world. But the European Commission (EC) has taken exaggerating about urban sprawl to a new level.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Lisbon

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Lisbon, Portugal’s capital is located on the wide estuary of the Tagus River, with a bridge modeled after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge connecting the core city to the suburbs to the south. Lisbon also resembles San Francisco in being picturesque, with the urbanization mixed with the complex geography of the coastal waters, dominated by hills.  read more »