Planning

Smart Cities and Finance

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I’ve been asked to contribute to a book about smart cities and finance. I looked over the long list of tentative chapter titles provided by the publisher and it’s clearly meant to be an optimistic pragmatic problem solver. There’s an expectation that everything that ails our cities and towns can be fixed with the right combination of technology and creative accounting.  read more »

Economic Civil War

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Our national divide is usually cast in terms of ideology, race, climate, and gender. But it might be more accurate to see our national conflict as regional and riven by economic function. The schism is between two ways of making a living, one based in the incorporeal world of media and digital transactions, the other in the tangible world of making, growing, and using real things.  read more »

Now That the Suburbs Are No Longer Evil, When Will They Get More Functional?

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Nothing like an Urban Riot (and a Pandemic) to cause renewed flight to the suburbs. This recalls when I was starting out in 1968, shortly after the riots in Detroit that caused one of the strongest explosions of suburban growth this nation has ever seen. Suburbs are now more diverse, but they are still far from the egalitarian ideal they could envision.  read more »

Woke Politics Are a Disaster for Minorities

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Bill Clinton may have been lionized as the “first black President,” and Barack Obama actually was half African, but no politician in American history owes more to African-American leadership and voters than Joe Biden. His campaign never smoldered, much less caught fire, until he was embraced by South Carolina’s heavily black Democratic electorate.  read more »

Can We Save the Planet, Live Comfortably, and Have Children Too?

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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about what Zillow calls “the great re-shuffling,” as more people head out of major metropolitan areas to work, often remotely, in less dense, even rural areas.  read more »

The Tinsleys

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There’s a model pioneer era farm next to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana that fascinates me. The farm buildings were originally constructed in the town of Willow Creek forty miles away beginning in 1889. The structures were carefully moved to the museum grounds and opened to the public on its centenary in 1989.  read more »

Subjects:

The Age of Suburbia

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“Mr. Covid has been the best city and regional planner Australia has ever had. The suburbs will shine, and regions will grow. Maybe we should forget about big city infrastructure projects for a while and spend it on our future resilient communities where people look out for each other.”  read more »

China Rediscovers Rural Life (Cue Applause)

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Another period of singing the virtues of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) direction seems upon us, at least when it comes to steering an economy.  Just as after the Great Recession of 2008-9, China’s rebound from the Coronavirus Covid-19 has led the world. Of course, the official statistics always bear scrutiny, and public debt levels probably lend a false note to stimulus measures. But a 4.9% growth rate in third-quarter GDP looked great.  read more »

New Zealand Adopts Texas MUDs

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New Zealand home prices are among the highest in the world relative to incomes and rents, with the capital city of Auckland having a median home price of $830k and a house price to income median multiple of 8.6 – in contrast to Houston’s far more affordable 3.6 - as documented in the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. These prices have been growing at one of the fastest rates in the OCED: 266% since 1991.  read more »

Latest Data Shows Pre-Pandemic Suburban/Exurban Population Gains

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The latest complete American Community Survey (ACS) data, analyzed by the Demographia City Sector Model, indicates that population growth in the nation’s 53 major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 residents) continues to be, even before the pandemic, overwhelmingly suburban and exurban.  read more »