Small Cities

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 »

The Unbearable Sameness of Cities

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The person who sent me Orianna Schwindt’s New York magazine piece on the “unbearable sameness of cities” asked if I had written it under a pen name. Indeed, she hits so many of my themes about American cities:  read more »

Northern Cities Need to Ramp It Up on Attraction

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The Economist just ran a nice article on “the flourishing Midwest.” Milwaukee in particular gets singled out for some favorable coverage, so congratulations to them.

Many Midwest cities have been doing well. Even the ones with poor headline numbers like Cleveland are seeing areas of strength when you look at a finer grained level. Some of the declines Midwest locations are experiencing are a result of the overhang of previous decline. Change and restructuring is happening in many places.  read more »

The Great Re-homing: Why People Are Moving Back To Their Hometowns To Start Small Businesses

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I have my gas station diet down pat. Coffee, water, bananas, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and the occasional peanut butter cup indulgence. Ok, sometimes I also eat beef jerky. You have to learn these things when you spend 10,000 miles on the road talking to small business owners for a podcast.  read more »