For seven decades urban planners have been seeking to force higher urban population densities through urban containment policies. The object is to combat "urban sprawl," which is the theological (or ideological) term applied to the organic phenomenon of urban expansion. This has come at considerable cost, as house prices have materially increased relative to incomes, which is to be expected from urban containment strategies that ration land (and thus raise its price, all things being equal). read more »
The New York Times ran a Timothy Egan editorial on California on March 6. The essay entitled Jerry Brown's Revenge was reverential towards our venerable Governor. It did, however, fall short of declaring Brown a miracle worker, as the Rolling Stone did last August. These and other articles are part of an adoring press's celebratory spasm occasioned by the facts that California has a budget surplus and has had a run of strong job growth. read more »
Third-generation venture capitalist Tim Draper believes he has a solution for California's problems that will make the Silicon Valley safe for its wealthy: secession. In a recent interview, Draper suggested that California be divided into six states, including one dominated by the Valley and its urban annex, San Francisco. read more »
Is New York City ready to contest in high-tech against Silicon Valley? Fuggedaboutit.
Gotham is so far behind in every conceivable measurement — from engineering prowess to employment and venture funding — that even the idea is somewhat ludicrous.
While Madison Alley has marketed the city’s tech prowess before, going back to when owners of lower Manhattan real estate promoted “Silicon Alley,” the action has been elsewhere. read more »
In an upcoming study I am working on with Chapman University’s Center for Demographics and Policy, we show that San Francisco and Houston are North America’s “emerging” global cities. They are also rival representative champions and exemplars of two models of civic development. San Francisco is the world’s technology capital; focused on the highest levels of the economic food chain; paragon of the new, intangible economy; and promoter environmental values and compact development. Houston is the closest thing to American laissez-faire; unabashed embracer of the old economy of tangible stuff, including unfashionable, but highly profitable, industries like oil, chemicals, and shipping. read more »
Much has been written, often with considerable glee, about the worsening divide in the Republican Party between its corporate and Tea Party wings. Yet Democrats may soon face their own schism as a result of the growing power in the party of high-tech business interests. read more »
Its image further enhanced by the recent IPO of Twitter, Silicon Valley now stands in many minds as the cutting edge of the American future. Some, on both right and left, believe that the Valley's geeks should reform the nation, and the government, in their image. read more »
Silicon Valley has been well recognized as the nation’s hub of technology, having easily surpassed both Southern California and Massachusetts, but it’s now Seattle that may emerge as its greatest rival. Home to tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon, Seattle has attracted creative and entrepreneurial talent, which has been the foundation to its low unemployment rate of 5.9% and continuous economic growth. read more »
Despite some hype and a few regional exceptions, the construction of office towers and suburban office parks has not made a significant resurgence in the current recovery. After a century in which office space expanded nationally with every uptick in the economy, we may have reached something close to “peak office” in most markets. read more »
The San Francisco area’s recently adopted Plan Bay Area may set a new standard for urban planning excess. Plan Bay Area, which covers nearly all of the San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Vallejo and Napa metropolitan areas, was recently adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). read more »