Middle Class

Restoring The California Dream, Not Nailing Its Coffin

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Virtually everyone, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, is aware of the severity of California’s housing crisis. The bad news is that most proposals floating in Sacramento are likely to do very little to address our housing shortage.

Newsom has promised to have 3.5 million homes built over the next seven years to solve the problem. That is, conservatively stated, more than 2.6 million that would be built at the current rate of construction.  read more »

The Hardening of Chicago's Inequality

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Last week I was fortunate to be a part of a fantastic symposium, called Policies to Promote Inclusive Urban Growth. It was held in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University, and the event also served as the public release of a report which I worked on, Beyond Gentrification: Towards More Equitable Urban Growth, published by the Center for Opportunity Urbanism (If you get a chance I encourage you to check out the video of the event, found at the first link above). The report took a look at recent development activity and their impacts in three very different cities: Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.  read more »

Beyond Beer, Bread and Bicycles: The Industrial Return To the City

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In San Francisco, the former site of the Hunters Point shipyard is now being developed with over 10,000 units of housing, 2.6 million square feet of office and R&D space, and about a half million square feet of retail. The project will also include about 75,000 square feet of maker space, or less than 1% of the total building area, most of which will probably go to artisanal firms making food, fashion and furnishing, things like beer, bread and bicycles, sold to the upscale consumers of the region.  read more »

Party of the People? Or the Oligarchs?

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The Trump uprising, with a renegade capitalist serving as the tribune of the forgotten working class, appears headed toward an inevitable denouement. Trump’s intemperance, jingoism and lack of political skills have undermined the GOP’s ability to reach beyond its base in the South, the exurbs and parts of middle America.  read more »

Gentrification in Dallas

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The Dallas-Fort Worth area has experienced stunning growth, however Dallas remains one of the most economically and segregated cities in America. Through eye-opening data and pointed solutions, Cullum Clark argues that Dallas can become a national leader in reviving upward mobility in his essay, "Gentrification in Dallas".  read more »

Chicago: A Tale of Two Very Different Cities

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A new report by the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, Beyond Gentrification: Towards More Equitable Growth, explores how unbalanced urban growth has exacerbated class divisions, particularly in the urban centers of our largest's metropolitan areas. To read or download the full report click here.  read more »

The Bifurcated City

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After drifting toward decrepitude since the 1970s, many core cities have experienced real, often bracing, turnarounds. Yet concern is growing that the revitalization of parts of these cities has unevenly benefited some residents at the expense of others. The crucial, and often ignored, question remains whether the policies that have helped spark urban revivals have improved conditions for the greatest number of residents.  read more »

Emmanuel Newsom?

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A youthful and handsome appearance, the blessings of the autocrats and clerics of our times, and a fawning media — all these belonged to French President Emmanuel Macron just a year ago. He was praised as everything from the “new leader of the Free World” to Europe’s Reagan.

Today Macron’s presidency is adrift, paralyzed by grassroots opposition to his policies — mostly from the middle and working classes — and a popularity rating about half of that suffered by Donald Trump. Is this the fate that awaits our new governor, Gavin Newsom?  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 First Shots in the Climate Wars

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In launching their now successful protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s gas hike, the French gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) have revived their country’s reputation for rebelling against monarchial rule. It may well foreshadow a bitter, albeit largely avoidable, battle over how to address the issue of climate change.  read more »