Middle Class

The Katrina Effect: Renaissance On The Mississippi

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In this most insipid of recoveries, perhaps the most hopeful story comes from New Orleans. Today, its comeback story could serve as a model of regional recovery for other parts of the country — and even the world.

You could call it the Katrina effect. A lovely city, rich in history, all too comfortable with its fading elegance and marred by huge pockets of third-world style poverty, suffers a catastrophic natural disaster; in the end the disaster turns into an opportunity for the area’s salvation.  read more »

Goodbye, New York State Residents are Rushing for the Exits

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For more than 15 years, New York State has led the country in domestic outmigration: for every American who comes to New York, roughly two depart for other states. This outmigration slowed briefly following the onset of the Great Recession. But a new Marist poll released last week suggests that the rate is likely to increase: 36 percent of New Yorkers under 30 are planning to leave over the next five years.  read more »

Asia’s New Landless Peasants?

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Landless people have long sparked instability in Asia. From the days of the Qin dynasty (3rd century B.C.), through the huge Taiping rebellion in the mid-19th century, to the successful Communist revolutions in China and Vietnam and a nearly successful insurrection in Malaysia during the mid-20th, the property-less have historically risen against those in power.  read more »

Chicago: Out of the Loop

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The “global city” is one of the dominant themes related to  urban success today.  In this model, cities serve both as huge agglomerations of top specialized talent and also as “control nodes” of the global economy serving as key sites for the production of financial and producer services demanded by the new globalized economy. In her seminal book on the subject, Saskia Sassen noted New York, London, and Tokyo as the paradigmatic examples of the global city.  read more »

Are We Unraveling?

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Is the fabric of society unraveling? That’s been a fear expressed throughout our history, and sometimes it has even been true (the Civil War comes to mind ). But our divisions have always healed over time. I would go so far as to say that nothing defines America more than its ability to absorb minority views, cultures, practices and peoples (a two-way street of acculturation by which outsiders are absorbed while the mainstream expands).   read more »

Manufacturing Stages A Comeback

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This year’s survey of the best cities for jobs contains one particularly promising piece of news: the revival of the country’s long distressed industrial sector and those regions most dependent on it. Manufacturing has grown consistently over the past 21 months, and now, for the first time in years, according to data mined by Pepperdine University’s Michael Shires, manufacturing regions are beginning to move up on our list of best cities for jobs.  read more »

Life and Death in the Labor Market

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The Wall Street Journal recently listed the Top 10 Dying Industries, via research firm IBISWorld. Some industries didn’t just see temporary decline during the recession – some won’t recover and will slowly (or quickly) disappear. IBISWorld’s data format is a little different than ours, and its categories are somewhat obscure, but we thought it would be interesting to pull together a similar table with the associated job data.  read more »

Getting Married Naked

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One of my girlfriends just invited me to attend her wedding ceremony next month. In our short conversation, I learned that she and her husband have already moved into their brand new, three-bedroom condo (we barely have any detached houses, called villas, in China), purchased a new car, and will have three separate wedding ceremonies: in the groom’s hometown, the bride’s hometown, and the city where they currently live. Based on this description, you are probably picturing a couple in their late 30s who must hold high-paying respectable jobs.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Mumbai

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The continuing dispersion of international metropolitan areas is illustrated by recently released 2011 Census of India preliminary data for the Mumbai "larger" metropolitan area. The historical core, the "island" district of Mumbai (Inner Mumbai) lost population between 2001 and 2011, while all growth was in suburban areas outside the historic core.  read more »

The Problem With Megacities

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The triumphalism surrounding the slums and megacities frankly disturbs me. It is, of course, right to celebrate the amazing resilience of residents living in these cities’ massive slums. But many of the megacity boosters miss a more important point: that the proliferation of these sorts of communities may not be desirable or even necessary.  read more »