Small Cities

Shovel Ready

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Many years ago I remember a television commentator saying more Americans have outhouses than computer connections. This was in the early days of dial up modems. He seemed to suggest that household computers were little more than Japanese video games, which was actually true at the time. Well, thirty years have passed and this afternoon I received a package for one of my neighbors. Evidently he ordered a shovel on the interwebs.  read more »

What the Census Numbers Tell Us

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The most recent Census population estimates revealed something that the mainstream media would prefer to ignore—the slowing population growth of big cities, including New York. The New York Times, for example, trumpeted Gotham’s historically high population yet failed to mention that the city’s growth is not only dramatically slowing but also, in the case of Brooklyn, declining for the first time since 2006.  read more »

Moving Away From The Major Metropolitan Areas: The 2017 Estimates

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The new 2017 US Census Bureau metropolitan area population estimates have been published. They show a significant increase in domestic migration away from the largest cities (the major metropolitan areas, with more than 1,000,000 population) toward the metropolitan areas with from 500,000 to 1,000,000 population. The data also shows an acceleration of suburban versus core county population growth within the major metropolitan areas themselves. The data is summarized in the table at the bottom of the article.  read more »

Where Small Town America Is Thriving

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Big city America has long demonstrated a distaste for its smaller cousins. This sentiment has, if anything, intensified with the election of President Donald Trump, whose improbable victory was made possible by strong support in small cities and towns across the country.  read more »

Hamtramck: Scale and Institutional Frameworks

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I recently published an article that explored some of the ways regulations make it difficult for small businesses to get off the ground and function. Among the examples I used from around the country was Bank Suey in Hamtramck, Michigan. My story was subsequently reposted on various other sites which the owner, Alissa Shelton, read and objected to. She felt I hadn’t accurately described her experience as a business owner and that I didn’t present her town in the right light.  read more »

Why Small, Struggling Cities Don’t Need “Talent”

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I recently recorded a podcast with my colleague Steve Eide in which he argued against the idea that attracting high talented people into government is what was needed for smaller, post-industrial cities.  read more »

Subjects:

Trouble in Trump County, USA

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By rights, Scott County, a rural Indiana community of 24,000, should be flourishing. It’s in a pro-business state. It’s part of the large, successful 1.2 million-person Louisville, Kentucky, metro area that’s been growing total jobs (75,300, or 12.9 percent) and manufacturing positions (19,600, or 31.6 percent) in the last five years. Scott County is an easy half-hour commute from downtown Louisville.  read more »

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

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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 »

The Best Small and Medium-Size Cities For Jobs 2017

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Much of the U.S. media tends to see smaller cities as backwaters, inevitably left behind as the “best and brightest” head to the country’s mega-regions. The new economy, insists the Washington Post, favors large cities for start-ups and new businesses. Richard Florida has posited the emergence of a “winner take all urbanism” that tends to favor the richest cities, such as New York and San Francisco.  read more »

America the Cheap

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America is a price dominant culture, and we need to take responsibility for that when we complain about bad customer service, poor infrastructure, etc. Certainly American business and political leadership could be better, but they aren’t the ones who decided to shop at Wal-Mart instead of the local store (favoring short term financial gain over long term community loss). Nor are they the ones who force us to vote for politicians promising something for nothing.  read more »