Small Cities

Why Are Some People in the Rust Belt So Resistant to Change?

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Aaron Renn wrote a great piece over at his Urbanophile blog entitled The Challenge of Change. In it, he discusses some of the negative reaction that he got to his recent post on Kokomo, Indiana and its Mayor Greg Goodnight’s efforts to reinvent the city using what Renn describes as “the model of the working-class/creative-class, blue-collar/white-collar synthesis that many believe we need today.”  read more »

What Can We Do For America's Most Challenged Cities?

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My latest Manhattan Institute study was just released, discussing the particular difficulties facing America’s most distressed cities. Post-industrial metro areas with less than one million people that have experience significant decline are in a different category than other places.  read more »

The Captain Hindsight Award

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A reader recently made a comment I took seriously:

I am certainly not here to try and refute much of what you have brought to light, only to suggest that your comments are not in the least bit constructive on the whole. That is why I have decided to pin you with the prestigious “Captain Hindsight” award.

This post is my response.  read more »

Small-Town America Measures Up to Have Big-Time Potential for Economic Growth

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As American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, Main Street America - and its small towns - is a central component to understanding the economic forces at work across the United States. Dotting the U.S. map – in the Heartland and beyond – are 531 small towns, better known as micropolitan statistical areas, which comprise of one or more counties with at least one city with more than 10,000 but less than 50,000 in population.  read more »

Blaming Workers Again

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Working-class people often get blamed for their troubles. They should have planned better, been less demanding, or just been smarter. Those are just some of the judgments that surfaced again in the weeks after General Motors’ announcement late in November that it would close five plants in the U.S. and Canada, leaving thousands of workers without jobs.  read more »

Reinventing the Rust Belt in Kokomo

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I’ve written about Kokomo, Indiana before and also posted a podcast with its mayor. It’s a small manufacturing city in Indiana, far from glamorous and with its own set of challenges, that has been seeking to reinvent itself for the 21st century. My latest City Journal article is a look at Kokomo and what it’s been up to.  read more »

2018 Standard of Living Index

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The Center for Urban Opportunity (COU) has developed a measure (the “COU Standard of Living Index”) that estimates the purchasing power of real average pay in metropolitan areas compared to that of the average employee who moves to a new residence. We have found that the places that return the most for median pay are varied.  read more »

Tulsa, Oklahoma Will Pay You $10,000 to Move There

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Tulsa is joining the parade of places that are providing economic development incentives to people who are willing to relocate there. I previously mentioned Vermont’s program and also that of a Cincinnati suburb.  read more »

Monrovia, Indiana, Idyll or Elegy?

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Frederick Wiseman turned his documentary filmmaking lens to the Midwest in his new work Monrovia, Indiana. My review of the film is now online at City Journal. Here is an excerpt:

"Wiseman spent ten weeks filming in this small Indiana town of about 1,500 people, creating a fair and insightful portrait of a section of the rural Midwest. He shows us quotidian aspects of life in Monrovia that are likely exotic to a typical big-city documentary-film audience: corn and hog farming, locals holding court at the town diner, a mattress-sale fundraiser for the local school, a farm-equipment auction, a Lion’s Club board meeting, and more.  read more »

Economics Blunt A Blue Wave In 2018 Elections, But Danger Signs Mount For GOP

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All politics is local, Tip O’Neill observed, and despite the national battle between Donald Trump and the Democratic “resistance,” the mid-term elections in rural states and the Midwest showed this dictum still holds.  read more »