Geography

Where the World’s Tallest Buildings are Concentrated

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Over the past two decades, an unprecedented number of tall buildings have been constructed around the world. The world of skyscrapers began to change rapidly in 1998, with the completion of the Petronas Towers, twin towers in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). These 482 meter (1,483 foot) structures ended the quarter century reign of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower---442 meters, 1,451 feet) in Chicago.  read more »

Hamtramck: Scale and Institutional Frameworks

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I recently published an article that explored some of the ways regulations make it difficult for small businesses to get off the ground and function. Among the examples I used from around the country was Bank Suey in Hamtramck, Michigan. My story was subsequently reposted on various other sites which the owner, Alissa Shelton, read and objected to. She felt I hadn’t accurately described her experience as a business owner and that I didn’t present her town in the right light.  read more »

The Cities Where African-Americans Are Doing The Best Economically 2018

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The 2007 housing crisis was particularly tough on African-Americans, as well as Hispanics, extinguishing much of their already miniscule wealth. Industrial layoffs, particularly in the Midwest, made things worse.

However the rising economic tide of the past few years has started to lift more boats.  read more »

What’s Red, Blue, and Broke All Over? America.

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Beneath the sex scandals, moronic tweets, ridiculous characters, and massive incompetence that dominate Washington in this mean period of our history lie more fundamental geopolitical realities. Increasingly it is economics—how people make money—rather than culture that drives the country into perpetual conflict.  read more »

The Migration of Millions: 2017 State Population Estimates

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Texas added the most new residents of any state over the past year according to the July 1, 2017 estimates of the United States Census Bureau. Texas grew by 400,000 residents (Figure 1). Florida added 328,000 residents more than one third more than California. Four states grew between 100,000 to 125,000, led by Washington, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona. Colorado and Tennessee round out the top 10. The ten states adding the most new residents include five from the South census region and five from the West census region.  read more »

The New Retail: Gird Your Loins

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I was at a friend’s house when she got a delivery of groceries. The boxes arrived at her door from one of the many new services that allow customers to shop online. Fresh fruit, veggies, meat, wine, eggs, cheese, milk, Christmas wreathes, and fresh cut flowers. She just pushed a few buttons and voila!  read more »

The Future of America’s Suburbs Looks Infinite

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Just a decade ago, in the midst of the financial crisis, suburbia’s future seemed perilous, with experts claiming that many suburban tracks were about to become “the next slums.” The head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development proclaimed that “sprawl” was now doomed, and people were “headed back to the city.”  read more »

Orange County’s Low Hanging Fruit

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There are things that we can do as a society to work through our big structural difficulties at an institutional level. And there are other things that can be done independently at the household level by individuals. I don’t have the technical skills, political skills, social skills, credentials, patience, or desire to engage the large scale systems. To be honest, I don’t think most people do. But there are all sorts of things that ordinary people can and should do on their own that can make a huge difference on the ground at room temperature.  read more »

Anaheim Transit: Suck It Up

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When I was a kid back in 1971 I lived in Anaheim, California where my mom was a waitress at a local amusement park. Exploring Orange County as an adult recently it all felt more or less the same as I remembered – only more so. The primary adjective has always been beige. The last vestiges of orange groves that still lingered in my youth are long gone, but the tidy neighborhoods of modest tract homes, strip malls, and motels are all still there behind the shiny new stuff.  read more »

Where America's Highest Earners Live

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The mainstream media commonly assumes that affluent Americans like to cluster in the dense cores of cities. This impression has been heightened by some eye-catching recent announcements by big companies of plans to move their headquarters from the ‘burbs to big cities, like General Electric to Boston and McDonald’s to Chicago.  read more »