Urban Issues

How Silicon Valley’s Oligarchs Are Learning to Stop Worrying and Love Trump

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The oligarchs’ ball at Trump Tower revealed one not-so-well-kept secret about the tech moguls: They are more like the new president than they are like you or me.

In what devolved into something of a love fest, Trump embraced the tech elite for their “incredible innovation” and pledged to help them achieve their goals—one of which, of course, is to become even richer. And for all their proud talk about “disruption,” they also know that they will have to accommodate, to some extent, our newly elected disrupter in chief for at least the next four years.  read more »

Advancing the Texan City-Building Model

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Reading the recent report “The Texas Way of Urbanism” promptly reminded me of my status – twice a migrant; from small town to big city (Athens) and from big city to another country. These moves were propelled by a singular motivation: seeking opportunity to better my lot. I knew next to nothing about the cities I moved to: their shape and history, their culture, their social divisions and even language were absent from my viewfinder. All that mattered was the chance for a new start.  read more »

Sydney Lurches to Housing Affordability Disaster

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Now and again Australia erupts in controversy about housing affordability. Each time it follows the same course. Some new statistic or media story confirms that prices are out of control. A senior politician is prompted to call for deregulation and more supply, and is backed-up by the property industry. Then come progressive policy wonks saying no, the issue is high investor demand stimulated by tax concessions. Next emerge the welfare lobby, calling for tax reform as well as more social housing and “inclusionary zoning”.  read more »

The End of Eyes on the Street

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Jane Jacobs talked about the “sidewalk ballet” of her neighborhood and the importance of eyes on the street. But her conception of that, one where shopkeepers policed the sidewalks in front of their stores and kept an eye out for neighborhood kids, is far away from what we have today.

My latest post looking at this is over at City Journal and is called “The End of Eyes on the Street“:  read more »

The Future of Racial Politics

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From its inception, the American experiment has been dogged by racial issues. Sadly, this was even truer this year. Eight years after electing the first African-American president, not only are race relations getting worse, according to surveys, but the electorate remains as ethnically divided as in any time of recent history.     read more »

Agglomeration in Los Angeles

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The Economy of Cities

Cities have been called “engines of growth”.  What does that mean?

Fly over a major city and what do you see? Not well defined centers and sub-centers. More likely, an amazing complexity. We argue that what is actually down there, but hard to actually see, is a large number of superimposed and spatially realized supply chains.  read more »

World’s Most Affluent Areas: Dominated by Low Population Densities

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The Brookings Institution is again out with data on the world’s most affluent metropolitan areas. The GDP data is in Redefining Global Citieswhich contains a treasure trove of data.  read more »

Babes In Trumpland: The Coming Rise Of The Heartland Cities

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Contrary to the media notion that Donald Trump's surprising electoral victory represented merely the actions of unwashed “deplorables," his winning margin was the outcome of rational thinking in those parts of the country whose economies revolve around the production of tangible goods.

And their economies stand to gather more steam in the years ahead.  read more »

How the Left and Right Can Learn to Love Localism: The Constitutional Cure for polarization

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The ever worsening polarization of American politics—demonstrated and accentuated by the Trump victory—is now an undeniable fact of our daily life. Yet rather than allowing the guilty national parties to continue indulging political brinkmanship, we should embrace a  strong, constitutional solution to accommodating our growing divide: a return to local control.  read more »

A Summary of the Analysis and Motivators of Growth in the Austin - San Antonio Corridor

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This essay is part of a new report from the Center for Opportunity Urbanism titled "The Texas Way of Urbanism". Download the entire report here.

A new economic corridor is emerging in the center of Texas. Hays and Comal Counties are part of the Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas respectively. But they are not merely suburbs capturing overflow from larger cities. They are becoming part and parcel of an emerging 80-mile long economic corridor between San Antonio and Austin, along the I-35. In the process, this region centered around San Marcos and Hays County, is emerging as a hub in its own right.  read more »