Small Cities

Domestic Migration to Dispersion Accelerates (Even before COVID)

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In what could turn out to be a “dry run” for the post-COVID19 era, net domestic migration has strongly shifted away from the larger metropolitan areas, to smaller areas. This “sea-change” has occurred since 2015, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates. Domestic migration is reported by the Census Bureau when a resident or household moves from one US county to another (No migration below the county level is reported in Census Bureau population estimates).  read more »

Who Will Prosper After the Plague?

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The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to widen even further the growing class divides now found in virtually every major country. By disrupting smaller grassroots businesses while expanding the power of technologies used in the enforcement of government edicts, the virus could further empower both the tech oligarchs and the “expert” class leading the national response to the crisis.  read more »

The Coronavirus is Changing the Future of Home, Work, and Life

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The COVID-19 pandemic will be shaping how we live, work and learn about the world long after the last lockdown ends and toilet paper hoarding is done, accelerating shifts that were already underway including the dispersion of population out of the nation’s densest urban areas and the long-standing trend away from mass transit and office concentration towards flatter and often home-based employment.   read more »

Coronavirus, Labor, and an Aging World

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In the last few months, we have gradually realized the dire nature of this global pandemic, and our response has been? Nothing short of the creation of a new world: hopefully not on the ruins of the last. The novel coronavirus is showing us the downside of accelerated mobility, excessive attention to short-term gains, and structural inequities in the micro and macro geographies of our planetary existence.  read more »

Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield Lead San Francisco Metro in Growth

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In a March 26 article, The New York Times headlined: "Even before coronavirus, America's population was growing at slowest rate since 1919." Experts suggested that, with the coronavirus and falling immigration rates, the country could see a population decline next year.

Lurking behind this overall assessment was even bigger news for Californians. Improbably, the much smaller Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield metropolitan areas are now growing faster than the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas, as well as the San Diego metropolitan area.  read more »

Spontaneity: The Missing Ingredient in Disney Parks

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Feelings of frustration, exhaustion, and being overwhelmed may be some of the last words Disney “imagineers” – people who are part of the “creative engine that designs and builds all the Walt Disney Company theme parks” – want to hear when guests visit their various theme parks around the world. Sadly, these words describe my recent trip to Orlando and it turns out that many other families regularly feel the same way.  read more »

The Battle of Oak Grove

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“People Come and Go. I Plan for the Land.”

Our initial efforts to save Oak Grove from densification were pretty naïve. First, we thought we could persuade the Clackamas County planners that densification was a bad idea. We invited the lead planner to walk the neighborhood with some of us, a walk that ended with a visit in Jeanne Johnson’s home.  read more »

The Next Economy: Following the Trail of U.S. Job Growth

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A decade ago, in the wake of the Great Recession, Lee County, Florida was dubbed “the foreclosure capital of the country” by the national media, the poster child for all that had gone wrong with the American economy.  read more »

Make America Affordable Again

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked for comments on eliminating regulatory barriers to affordable housing. This is my response.  read more »

Be Careful When Citing Jane Jacobs: Her Conclusions Don’t Always Hold

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As a professor who teaches about cities and the urban form, I very much appreciate the sidewalk ballets and street-corner societies that have historically existed in our nation’s urban centers. These features of the built-environment have long been powerful factors in the formation of both social capital, community, and a place’s identity.  read more »