Housing

China's Urban Crisis

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China stands as the primary exhibit of twenty-first-century urbanism. At a time when elite cities in the West barely manage to grow in population, Chinese cities have emerged out of virtually nothing, as hundreds of millions of people have moved from farm to city.  read more »

What Is Social Justice?

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Perhaps no issue more motivates progressive activists than social justice. Good intentions may motivate the social justice warriors, albeit sometimes sprinkled with a dollop of self-hatred. But good intentions do not necessarily produce good results. Indeed, often the policies favored by progressive idealists hinder the economic and social progress of the very people they seek to rescue.  read more »

Obstacle Course

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I was in Atlanta last month and was encouraged to poke around by the people who invited me. For my entire life the greater Atlanta metroplex has grown in population, geographic size, economic importance, and cultural relevance. As the locals like to remind everyone, Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport in North America. Half the people I went to school with in New Jersey in the 70s and 80s migrated to places like Atlanta for all the usual reasons.  read more »

The New Shame of Our Cities

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A metropolitan economy, if it is working well, is constantly transforming many poor people into middle-class people, many illiterates into skilled people, many greenhorns into competent citizens. . . . Cities don’t lure the middle class. They create it.
—Jane Jacobs  read more »

Europe’s Overlooked Suburbs: Key to EU Election?

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In the run-up to the elections for the European Parliament, The Economist magazine suggests that the old political divisions no longer apply (“Between somewhere and anywhere: The politics of suburbia in Europe,” May 11, 2019). As the chaos of a British Parliament is unable to meet its self-defined Brexit deadline, The Economist observes that “Culture wars have taken hold of European politics and eclipsed the old left-versus-right distinction,” suggesting that the traditional majority social democrats and Christian democrats could find themselves outnumbered after the election:  read more »

Densification Efforts Like SB50 Are The Wrong Fix To California’s Housing Problem

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For decades California’s regulatory and tax policies have undermined our middle class, driving millions out of this most favored state. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in a drive that seeks to destroy the single-family neighborhoods preferred by the state’s middle-income households.  read more »

The Once-Lucky Country

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Few places on earth are better suited for middle-class prosperity than Australia. From early in its history, when it was a refuge for British convicts, the vast, resource-rich country has provided an ideal environment for upward mobility, from the pioneering ranches of the nineteenth century to the middle-class suburbs of the late twentieth. Journalist Donald Horne described Australia in 1964 as “a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.”  read more »

Our Suicidal Elites

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The French nobility, observed Tocqueville in The Ancien Regime and The Revolution, supported many of the writers whose essays and observations ended up threatening “their own rights and even their existence.” Today we see much the same farce repeated, as the world’s richest people line up behind causes that, in the end, could relieve them of their fortunes, if not their heads.  read more »

Denver’s Subsidized Housing Scheme Gets It Wrong On Affordability

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Thanks to an urban-growth boundary, Denver has a housing affordability problem. Apartment rents have increased by 65 percent in the last decade, while the nationwide cost of living in that time rose by just 18 percent and rents nationwide increased by an average of 28 percent.  read more »

Clippers Offer A Better Model For SoCal Than The Lakers

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This year’s basketball season, with the collapse of the Lakers and the surprising rise of the Clippers, poses a metaphor for the region. On the one hand, there’s the Laker obsession with the “star system” and impressing outsiders, notably on the East Coast. The Clipper model, reflecting a culture of hard work and teamwork, relies not only on celebrity but the raising of often obscure people into prominence.  read more »