Small Cities

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 »

The Dos and Dont's of Civic Branding

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A Manhattan Institute paper that I wrote earlier this year and presented in Akron is on the dos and don’ts of civic branding and is now available online. It’s part of our Urban Policy 2018 book as well. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

Subjects:

Is the Fever Breaking? Ground Zero Youngstown

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Two years ago, I described the Youngstown area as “crossover ground zero” for Donald Trump and the politics of resentment in working-class and rust belt communities. In local rallies during the 2016 campaign and since he took office, Trump has repeatedly promised an economic renaissance and immigration reform. These issues resonated with local voters.  read more »

Urban Divergence in Ohio

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One trend we’ve seen in many domains is the bifurcation of society into two tiers, the successful and unsuccessful. One way we see this divergence playing out is between cities in the same state. This NBC article looks at divergence in Ohio between Dayton and Columbus.  read more »

“Middle America” in America’s Urban Century

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In the late 1990s and the early Aughts, when the last Gen Xers and the first Millennials were launching into their adult lives, “Urban America” was a very different place. On many fronts, the choices young ambitious graduates had were fast becoming limitless, save on one key front: the cities where they could reasonably want to live.  read more »