Geography

Low-Density Fire Buffer

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Someone in Bend must be reading this blog, or at least thinking along the same lines. In 2017, after the Wine Country fires had burned homes in Santa Rose, the Antiplanner noted that the problem was the homes were too dense and needed a buffer of low-density homes around them. I made the same point after the Camp Fire burned homes in Paradise.

Now Deschutes County is zoning a buffer between Bend and the national forest for low-density housing.  read more »

The Tech Economy’s Untold Story

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The decisions by Amazon and Google to expand into the New York area have led some pundits to claim that the nation’s high-tech economic future will be shaped in dense urban areas.  read more »

Pittsburgh & Rochester: Best 2018 International Housing Affordability

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Pittsburgh and Rochester have the best housing affordability among 91 major markets (metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population) in eight nations. Both have a median house price that is 2.6 times the median household income, a measure called the Median Multiple. This is the conclusion of the 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, which rates housing markets based on estimates from the 3rd quarter of 2018.  read more »

The Labor Market Is Changing: Is Your Company Ready?

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Ever since the economy began to bounce back, with unemployment at an all-time low, the familiar refrain from pundits has been that growth, particularly of the higher wage variety, would head to the tech-oriented elite cities along the coasts. Yet, today, despite the headlines about Amazon’s expansions in New York and Washington, D.C., the real story is the aggressive growth taking place on a changing stage, both in terms of geography and changing labor demands.  read more »

The Democrats Finally Won the Suburbs. Now Will They Destroy Them?

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The Democratic Party’s triumphal romp through suburbia was the big story of the midterms.

In 2016 the suburbs, home to the majority of American voters, voted 50 to 45 for Donald Trump; this year, 52 percent went Democratic.  read more »

Amazon, Google, Apple and the Late Capitalism Blues

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We think of the movements of high-tech firms as illustrative of totally new phenomena but it resonates as well with earlier industrial history. The “gilded age” of America, when industries expanded rapidly, produced a growing appetite for labor. Automation in production also expanded output and revenue, but also a growing need for workers.  read more »

Can High-Speed Rail Make Housing Affordable?

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UCLA management professor Jerry Nickerson thinks he has found a solution to California’s housing affordability problems: high-speed rail. Based on years of data, he has concluded that some Japanese who work in Tokyo and other expensive cities make long commutes on high-speed trains to more affordable cities elsewhere in the country.  read more »

Suburbs and Exurbs Dominate Mid-Decade Millennial Growth

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America’s suburbs and exurbs continue to dominate population growth among post-college Millennials, those aged 25 to 34 in the 53 major metropolitan areas. This is indicated by data in the just released 2013/2017 American Community Survey (ACS), which provides a mid-decade snapshot of US demography. With its middle sample year of 2015, the 2013/2017 ACS is most representative of the middle of the decade between the 2010 and 2020 censuses (Note 1).  read more »

Centennial at Tejon Ranch

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I was included in an e-mail thread last week about a 19,000 unit master planned community on the far edge of Los Angeles County. There’s an on-going debate about whether this is part of California’s housing solution or part of the problem. Centennial is one of three proposed residential developments at Tejon Ranch. It hugs the border of Kern County thirty miles outside of Bakersfield and three mountain ranges from LA proper. After a couple of decades of negotiations it was finally approved by the authorities.  read more »

The New "Micro-Mode" of Travel: E-Scooters

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From public forums to mobility conferences to office watercoolers, dockless electric scooters (“e-scooters”) are a hot topic these days. Travelers are turning to e-scooters to shave precious time off their commutes and experience urban environments in fun new ways. City officials, meanwhile, are asking difficult questions about their safety and impacts on sidewalk use and transit.  read more »