Spotlight on Infrastructure After Harvey


The recent tragic events in Houston and across the Gulf Coast once again demonstrated the woeful inadequacy of our infrastructure. Hopefully, some good will come of Hurricane Harvey. Hopefully, it will jump-start the long-awaited Trump initiative on infrastructure, which may be the one issue that could unite this country.  read more »

Post-Work Won’t Work


Proposals to institute a basic income are increasingly popular, especially in Silicon Valley. Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght make their case for it in Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy. A basic income—an annual, unconditional cash grant to every adult, regardless of need, and without a work requirement to obtain it—would be non-taxable and total about 25 percent of GDP.  read more »

The Great Transit Rip-Off


Over the past decade, there has been a growing fixation among planners and developers alike for a return to the last century’s monocentric cities served by large-scale train systems. And, to be sure, in a handful of older urban regions, mass transit continues to play an important — and even vital — role in getting commuters to downtown jobs. Overall, a remarkable 40 percent of all transit commuting in the United States takes place in the New York metropolitan area — and just six municipalities make up 55 percent of all transit commuting destinations.  read more »

A Different Kind of Border Wall


To slow mass migration, stop the illicit capital flight from poor to rich countries.

An asset manager called ____ Capital recently sent out this email seeking referrals:  read more »

A New Way Forward on Trade and Immigration


President Donald Trump’s policy agenda may seem somewhat incoherent, but his underlying approach — developed, in large part, by now-departed chief strategist Steve Bannon — can be best summarized in one word: nationalism. This covers a range of issues from immigration and trade to cultural and ethnic identity, and generally the ones with the most polarizing impact on our political system.  read more »

A Roadmap to Job-Creating Transportation Infrastructure: Doing the Right Things Right


There is broad public concern about the status of transportation infrastructure in the United States. On election night the future President said, "We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals." This report (“A Roadmap to Job-Creating Transportation Infrastructure: Doing the Right Things Right”) examines the condition of the nation’s infrastructure and makes recommendations to improve federal efforts in supporting ground transport.  read more »

Smaller American Cities Need to Focus on Private Sector Job Growth Downtown


I’m back from a short break. While I was away my debut contribution to City Lab was published. In it I argue that the next frontier for smaller cities (meaning metros in the 1-3 million raise) in their downtown development efforts needs to be a focus on growing private sector jobs.  read more »

Reconciling the three Democratic parties


With President Donald Trump’s Dr. Demento impersonation undermining his own party, the road should be open for Democrats to sweep the next election cycle. And, for the first time since their horrific defeat of 2016, not only nationally but also in the states, the Democrats are slowly waking up to the reality that they need to go beyond the ritual Trump-bashing.  read more »


State Governments Are Oppressive, Too


Historically, the battle over the size and scale of government has been focused largely on “states’ rights.” This federalist notion also has been associated with many shameful things, such as slavery, Jim Crow laws and other abuses of personal freedom.  read more »

Postcards From the Zombie Apocalypse


I’m regularly accused of being a doomer whenever I point out the obvious – that many aspects of how we’ve organized our affairs over the last several decades aren’t meant to last. So they won’t. The end of Jiffy Lube and Lean Cuisine isn’t The End. Civilization will carry on without them, I assure you. But when it’s suggested that our current set of arrangements won’t last forever people immediately imagine Mad Max, as if no other alternative exists. Things are going to change. They always have and they always will.  read more »