Geography

Guangzhou, South and Central China and the Yellow River by Train

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The prelude to my round trip by train across the Gobi Desert from Lanzhou (Gansu) to Urumqi (Xinjiang) was a trip from Hong Kong to Lanzhou. This article includes photos from that trip, and some from previous trips, as noted on the figures. The travel highlight was a 10.5 hour and 2,700 kilometer (1,700 mile) train trip from Guangzhou to Lanzhou, through southern and central China, then turning west along the Yellow River.  read more »

Restoring Localism

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Americans are increasingly prisoners of ideology, and our society is paying the price. We are divided along partisan lines to an extent that some are calling it a “soft civil war.” In the end, this benefits only ideological warriors and their funders.  read more »

The Boom in Urban Housing Prices is Holding Back Economic Growth

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Last year the New York Times ran a story on Ms. Sheila James, a 62-year-old woman who commutes two hours and 50 minutes each way between her home in Stockton, California, and her $81,000-a-year government job in San Francisco.   read more »

The Battle for Houston

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Over the last half-century, Houston has developed an alternative model of urbanism. As the New Urbanist punditry mounts an assault on both suburban growth and single-family homes, Houston has embraced a light regulatory approach that reflects market forces more than ideology. But last year’s Hurricane Harvey floods severely tested the Houston model.  read more »

America’s Rising Startup Communities

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Ian Hathaway at the Center for American Entrepreneurship recently took at look at startup financing to see whether tech was dispersing or concentrating. He found that first financings remain heavily concentrated in the top five markets:  read more »

What Happened After the Last HQ2 Competition

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When I traveled to Oklahoma City for the first time a few years ago I was shocked to discover that in the civic narrative of the city’s transformation – it’s origin story if you will – the triggering event for change was losing a competition for a United Airlines maintenance facility in 1991 to Indianapolis.  read more »

How We Lit The Fuse On The Population Bomb

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We’ve been here before – concerns about our capacity to house a large population are not new. But lately, hostility to rapid rates of population growth is gaining traction. There have been calls for a population inquiry and former PM Hon Tony Abbott has called for immigration (and hence population growth) to be slashed. He joins a chorus of other voices, from business to community groups. Voters are pushing back against growth and political leaders are feeling the pressure.  read more »

Partners in Transit: Agencies team up with Lyft, Uber

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Many public transit agencies are struggling to sustain lightly-used routes as passenger traffic dips in response to relatively cheap automobile fill-ups, a rise in work-from-home lifestyles, and the growing popularity of transportation network companies (TNCs), such as Lyft and Uber. The brunt of the decline has been sharpest in small and mid-size communities, where some bus services are infrequent, follow meandering routes, and stop running after peak hours.  read more »

Midwest Cities Are Not on the Radar for Migrants

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The Midwest is simply not in the picture when it comes to migration nationally. Even its best performing regions are often migration losers with the rest of the country.

Columbus, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul all have growing populations, and basically healthy economies. Yet all of them are have net migration losses with the country when you look only at migration from out of state.  read more »

If New Zealand is to crack the problems of unaffordable housing, government here must look seriously at how the better parts of

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This seems about the worst possible month to be suggesting that anybody should try to emulate anything going on in America. The place seems to be going mad in ways no longer funny to laugh at from very far away.

So it’s a bit of a shame that the best lessons on infrastructure financing and affordable housing come from a few places in the United States that have really figured things out. If the exact same lessons had come from Canada, or the UK, or Estonia, Infrastructure New Zealand would have an easier time marketing its latest report.  read more »