California Wages War On Single-Family Homes


In recent years, homeowners have been made to feel a bit like villains rather than the victims of hard times, Wall Street shenanigans and inept regulators. Instead of being praised for braving the elements, suburban homeowners have been made to feel responsible for everything from the Great Recession to obesity to global warming.  read more »

Citizen Bloomberg - How Our New York Mayor has Given Us the Business


This piece originally appeared in the Village Voice.

After a charmed first decade in politics, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is mired in his first sustained losing streak.

His third term has been shaky, marked by the Snowpocalypse, the snowballing CityTime scandal, the backlash to Cathie Black and "government by cocktail party," and the rejection by Governor Andrew Cuomo of his plan to change how public-school teachers are hired and fired. With just a couple more years left in office, Bloomberg is starting to look every one of his 70 years.

Soon, he'll be just another billionaire.  read more »

Why America’s Young And Restless Will Abandon Cities For Suburbs


For well over a decade urban boosters have heralded the shift among young Americans from suburban living and toward dense cities. As one Wall Street Journal report suggests, young people will abandon their parents’ McMansions for urban settings, bringing about the high-density city revival so fervently prayed for by urban developers, architects and planners.  read more »

Are Millennials the Solution to the Nation’s Housing Crisis?


During his Twitter-fed Town Hall, President Obama admitted that the housing market has proven one of the “most stubborn” pieces of the economic recovery puzzle to try and fix.  The President --- as well the Congress and the building industry --- should  consider a new path to a solution for housing by tapping the potential of the very generation whose votes brought Barack Obama into the White House in the first place.     read more »

America’s Burgeoning Class War Could Spell Opportunity For GOP


Last week’s disappointing job reports, with unemployment rising above 9%, only reinforced an emerging reality that few politicians, in either party, are ready to address. American society is becoming feudalized, with increasingly impregnable walls between the classes. This is ironic for a nation largely defined by its opportunity for upward mobility and fluid class structure.  read more »

The Costs of Smart Growth Revisited: A 40 Year Perspective


"Soaring" land and house prices "certainly represent the biggest single failure" of smart growth, which has contributed to an increase in prices that is unprecedented in history. This  finding could well have been from our new The Housing Crash and Smart Growth, but this observation was made by one of the world's leading urbanologists, Sir Peter Hall, in a classic work 40 years ago.  read more »

Living and Working in the 1099 Economy


We used to call it “Free Agent Nation.”  Now, it seems like the new term of art will be “The 1099 Economy.”   While the names may change, they all point to a phenomenon of rising importance: the growing number of Americans who don’t have a “regular job” but instead work on individual contracts with employers or customers.   These folks don’t get the traditional W-2 paystub at the end of the year; they report their taxes with the IRS form 1099.  read more »

Drones on the Prairie


When the Base Realignment and Closure Commission was drawing up its list of military installations to close back in 2005, consultants assured the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, that its Air Force base would be spared. Days before the list was made public, though, word leaked out that Grand Forks was on the chopping block, after all.  read more »

Can Florida Escape the Horse Latitudes?


When it comes to the winds of change, Florida remains in the horse latitudes.  This zone of the Atlantic around 30 degrees latitude was so named by ship captains because their ships, becalmed in the water, seemed to move faster when they lightened their load by throwing off a few horses.  Florida’s governor Rick Scott, who campaigned on a promise to create 700,000 jobs in this state, appears to have adopted the same tactic by throwing overboard the Department of Community Affairs, the state agency that regulated real estate development.  Other bureaucracies may be next in line  read more »

What To Look For In The Next President

Watching the President.jpg

As the 2012 election approaches, America is in a state of malaise. Massive debt, unfettered spending, economic decline and partisan divide have served to undermine the great American narrative that is predicated on optimism and a “can do” attitude.

As I assess the candidates for President, I will be looking for the one who most fully understands why we need to resurrect the compelling narrative for America. The compelling narrative has four basic components:  read more »