Geography

Edge Cities in China: Suzhou

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Nearly three decades ago, journalist and educator Joel Garreau coined a new term, “Edge cities,” to describe the rise of commercial centers outside the downtowns (central business districts or CBDs) largely of the United States (Note 1).  read more »

Welcome to Park Forest

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Recently a follower sent me an interesting e-mail. He said he recently re-read The Organization Man by William Whyte, originally published in 1956. The suburban Chicago village of Park Forest, IL, about 30 miles directly south of the Loop, figured prominently in the book, as an example of the kind of Levittown-style suburban development that was taking America by storm at the time. In checking in about Park Forest today, he found that yesterday’s model of white middle class and middle management homogeneity is now a black-majority community.  read more »

Ten Years After Lehman Collapsed, We’re Still Screwed

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The collapse of Lehman Brothers 10 years ago today began the financial crisis that crippled and even killed for some the American dream as we had known it. Donald Trump might be starting to change that, at least for Americans who aren’t determined to remain in our bluest and priciest cities.  read more »

“Middle America” in America’s Urban Century

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In the late 1990s and the early Aughts, when the last Gen Xers and the first Millennials were launching into their adult lives, “Urban America” was a very different place. On many fronts, the choices young ambitious graduates had were fast becoming limitless, save on one key front: the cities where they could reasonably want to live.  read more »

A Generation Plans An Exodus From California

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California is the great role model for America, particularly if you read the Eastern press. Yet few boosters have yet to confront the fact that the state is continuing to hemorrhage people at a higher rate, with particular losses among the family-formation age demographic critical to California’s future.  read more »

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

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I was recently invited to give a talk at a housing conference down in Los Angeles. Once again my fellow speakers engaged in the usual arguments. Aging Baby Boomers asserted that we need to keep building more 1957 style suburban homes on the edge of the metroplex because that’s what people want and can afford, particularly once they marry and have children. Then a group of Millennials sang their sad song of high prices and a lack of options in the places they really want to live.  read more »

Ethnic Flight

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For the first decades of mass suburbanization, the movement from urban cores often has been referred to as “white flight” (Note 1). But now major metropolitan area living patterns indicate something much different, what might be called “ethnic flight.” The four largest racial and ethnic groups (called “ethnicities” in this article) are overwhelmingly concentrated outside the urban core, in the suburbs and Exurbs. These four largest ethnicities are White Only Not Hispanic, African American Only, Asian Only and Hispanics (Note 2).  read more »

Another Look at Venture Capital Concentrations

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Noah Smith at Bloomberg has a new column where he provides another look at the geographic distribution of venture capital investing. Below is his chart of VC deals by market in 2017.  read more »

The Unbearable Sameness of Cities

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The person who sent me Orianna Schwindt’s New York magazine piece on the “unbearable sameness of cities” asked if I had written it under a pen name. Indeed, she hits so many of my themes about American cities:  read more »

Auckland: “A Vancouver of the South Pacific; Beautiful, but Utterly Unaffordable”

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New Zealand’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development Phil Twyford reasserted the coalition government’s intention to abolish Auckland’s urban growth boundary at a recent environmental summit. Environmental Defense Society (EDS) CEO Gary Taylor expressed concern about eliminating “rural-urban boundaries” (urban growth boundaries, or UGBs) altogether, an Labour Party election promise.  read more »