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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
The long presence of military installations extending back approximately a century has led to the designation of San Antonio as Military City USA. The military continues to be one of the city’s major employers. The area’s six military bases — Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, Brooks City-Base, Camp Bullis, and Camp Stanley — together represent one of the largest active and retired military populations in the country. A 2011 study found that the Department of Defense (DoD) had a $27.7 billion impact on the city’s economy; supported 189,148 jobs in the city; granted $4 billion in contracts locally; and provided support for 55,000 DoD retirees in the community. read more »
Creative friction – unchaperoned and unprescribed – is Houston’s secret sauce.
At a time when Americans’ confidence in all major U.S. institutions – minus the military and small business – has sunk below the historic average, and only about 20 percent of Americans say they spend time with their neighbors, one would expect pessimism to be universal. But come to the concrete sprawl just north of the Gulf and you’ll find a different vibe, one that other cities would do well to emulate. read more »
The future of American cities can be summed up in five letters: Texas. The metropolitan areas of the Lone Star state are developing rapidly. These cities are offering residents a broad array of choices — from high density communities to those where the population is spread out — and a wealth of opportunities. read more »