Geography

Economic Civil War

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Our national divide is usually cast in terms of ideology, race, climate, and gender. But it might be more accurate to see our national conflict as regional and riven by economic function. The schism is between two ways of making a living, one based in the incorporeal world of media and digital transactions, the other in the tangible world of making, growing, and using real things.  read more »

A Path to Pandemic Relief in the 'Burbs'

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A shift in residential demand to suburban and exurban locations is nearly a year old in the pandemic.

It’s said to stem from households’ desire for more private space (as well as school and crime concerns), combined with greater flexibility to work from home. But public spaces are also an attribute of distance from the city center. Unlike most urban respites, parklands in the ‘burbs tend to have enough elbow room during most times of the year.  read more »

For Product Narratives, Nowhere Beats Flyover Country

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In every pursuit these days, “the narrative” seems to be the thing. Tell a story that checks enough of the right boxes in the zeitgeist, the thinking goes, and you can get citizens, taxpayers and consumers to “buy” what you want them to buy.

This is a reality that’s being used against Flyover Country – but one that also provides us with opportunities to flip the script.  read more »

The Case for American Optimism

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Now that Trump has been edged out of office, Joe Biden may emerge as the harbinger of a brighter, better blue future or as a version of Konstantin Chernenko, the aged timeserver who ran the Soviet Union in its dying days. To succeed, he will have to confront massive pessimism about America’s direction, with some 80 percent thinking the country is out of control. The Atlantic last year compared the U.S. to a “failed state,” while The Week predicts “dark days ahead.”  read more »

Can California Stop Big Tech from Decamping to Cheaper Places?

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For the past half-century, California has dominated America’s tech industry. From the development of precision farming to the incubation of aircraft, space, semiconductors and computer systems, this state has emerged time and again at the cutting edge of future industries.  read more »

Xi'an: Ancient and Modern: The Evolving Urban Form

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Xi’an (pronunciation) is located in central China, on the Wei River, a tributary of the flood-prone Yellow River (Huang He). Xi’an is at the bottom of the “Ordos Loop” (see Surprising Ordos: The Evolving Urban Form), which is formed by the Yellow River’s sharp northward turn upstream at Lanzhou, toward Inner Mongolia (Nei Mongol).  read more »

Are Great Lakes a Big Economic Advantage?

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Denizens of the Great Lakes watershed long have looked at those five vast, deep, shimmering pools not only as an unmatched economic and cultural resource but also as the ultimate trump card.  read more »

'The Hamptons' is a One-Industry Place

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A “resort” community where there is no central commercial resort can still be a one-industry economy. In the case of the South Fork of Long Island (aka “Hamptons”), the one trick is luxury housing. There’s an extensive commercial/labor ecosystem to support it.  read more »

The Trans-Andean Highway: Most Incredible Mountain Pass in the World?

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The Andes are the longest mountain range in the world, stretching 4,300 miles (7,000 kilometers) from near Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, not far from the isthmus of Panama that connects South American to North America to Tierra del Fuego, near the Straits of Magellan, less than 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) from the Antarctic Peninsula. By comparison, the Andes stretch almost half again the distance of the Rocky Mountains and more than 2.5 times that of the Himalayas.  read more »

Subjects:

After Election, We'll Still Be 'Forgotten Man'

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Regardless of your politics, you have to agree that Donald Trump remembered the “forgotten man” and woman. Yet that particular class of American still seems forgotten, frankly – or deliberately overlooked. And that doesn’t bode well for Flyover Country no matter what happened in the election.  read more »