Urban Issues

California Disconnect: Don’t Get Out the Vote for Congress, State Legislature

iStock_000006385807XSmall.jpg

Have you heard about the current election season in Los Angeles?

Sure, we’ve all gotten word about the presidential campaign. But how much have you heard about races for the U.S. Congress or State Legislature?

The member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents my neighborhood is up for re-election, along with his 434 colleagues. So is the fellow who represents me in the California State Assembly—and his 79 colleagues.  read more »

Neither fish nor fowl: Emerging urban enclaves in inner-ring suburbia

fallschurchrt7.jpg

By Peter Smirniotopoulos

As I was walking my dog the other morning I was struck by the fact that the City of Falls Church, Virginia, the quaintly bucolic suburban “village” to which our family moved in mid-2001, was no longer suburban. It isn’t a city in the proper sense, like Washington, DC or even Alexandria, Virginia, but it is reflective of the trend towards quasi-urban places in the close-in rings – the original turn-of-the-century and pre-Levittown suburbs – enveloping our city cores.  read more »

Why Omaha?

iStock_000004232156XSmall.jpg

I lived in or near cities for 30 years because that’s where the jobs are. I left southwestern Pennsylvania in 1977 as the closing of coal mines and steel mills wrecked the local economy. It cost almost $1,000 per semester to attend the state college, many times that for the state university. There were no opportunities for a young person. I moved to California where residents received free tuition at state universities. I earned 2 college degrees in California and advanced my career from Prudential Insurance through the Federal Reserve Bank and to the Pacific Stock Exchange.  read more »

Restless Americans: Migration and Population Change, 2000-2007

iStock_000006816473XSmall.jpg

Americans may be less mobile than in the past, but millions since 2000 have continued to be on the move, reshaping the landscape and economy of the nation. Three maps will be briefly discussed: one of population change by county, 2000-2007, one of net internal migration by county, and one of net immigration from abroad. We will then focus on the “extremes”, unusually large levels or intensities of net internal migration and of immigration.

Overall population growth  read more »

Florida: The Music Has Stopped

iStock_000001193144XSmall.jpg

And those without chairs will be standing for an awfully long time

By Richard Reep

Florida real estate, which boasts a notorious tradition that dates back to Ponce de Leon’s search for the Fountain of Youth in 1513, has recently exceeded even its own flaky reputation. Quality of life here will suffer in the near term. In the long term, Florida’s economy will recover its viability, but in a new form.  read more »

The Toronto Megacity: Destroying Community at Great Cost

iStock_000004975400XSmall.jpg

Regional governance is all the rage in some circles in America. But the Canadian experience demonstrates it might not have all the benefits advertised. More than a decade ago, the Ontario government forced six municipalities to amalgamate into the megacity of Toronto. This was not done by the residents of the six jurisdictions. Separate referenda in each of the municipalities (North York, East York, York, Etobicote, Scarborough and the former city of Toronto) all indicated strong disapproval.  read more »

Canada’s High Tech Leaders

iStock_000005642551XSmall.jpg

If you ask most Americans, or Canadians, for that matter, where Canadian high tech is concentrated, they will point you to the great metropolitan centers of Toronto and Montreal. But in reality the real centers of tech growth in Canada are concentrated elsewhere.  read more »

Canada’s Immigration Dilemma

iStock_000006561576XSmall.jpg

The subject of immigration in Canada presents a great dilemma for many Canadians. Like other countries of the western world, Canadians do not have enough children of their own to maintain the population at its present level. At the same time, the overall population, which is around 33 million, is getting older. Baby boomers are looking at retirement. Many calculate the amount of income they will need in order to maintain a decent standard of living. Their calculations include government pensions.  read more »

Old Manhattan Had a Farm

iStock_000002480157XSmall.jpg

Old Manhattan had a farm
Ee-yi ee-yi O

As a child of the early Sixties, I fondly remember the days when colossal albeit stupid technological projects were fashionable. I remember in particular a cartoon that showed a subway running from the U.S. to China right through the center of the earth. Of course, this brings to mind Thoreau’s quip that, while the telegraph might connect Maine to Texas, would Maine and Texas have anything to say to each other? But the very point of the trans-core subway was its pointlessness. If titanic, useless engineering projects like the Hoover Dam are impressive, then how much more impressive are titanic, useless engineering projects!  read more »

Villaraigosa’s Housing Proposal: Billions of Dollars and Too Little Sense

iStock_000000134236XSmall.jpg

The matter of whether private companies should be required to include so-called affordable housing units in residential developments is worthy of debate. Perhaps any developer who takes public funding ought to be subject to such requirements. A developer who doesn’t take public money is a different story.  read more »