Urban Issues

After Coronavirus We Need to Rethink Densely Populated Cities

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For the better part of this millennium, the nation’s urban planning punditry has predicted that the future lay with its densest, largest, and most cosmopolitan cities. Yet even before the onslaught of COVID-19, demographic and economic forces were pointing in the exact opposite direction, as our biggest cities—New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—all lost population in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.   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 »

A Few Certainties About Covid-19

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There is plenty that we do not know about the coronavirus. But let us take stock of the things that we do know for sure, and of some other things that we will soon know.

Real-world Exponentiality

By now, a child understands exponential growth. If you start with one apple on March 1st and double every three days, you will have a thousand apples on March 31st and a million on April 30th.  read more »

Subjects:

The End of New York

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For over two centuries, New York has been the predominant urban center in North America. It remains the primary locale for the arts, culture, finance, and media, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. It has also served as the incubator of the many Americas—including Jewish, Italian, African American, Irish, and, increasingly, Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian cultures—and nurtured their contributions to the arts, business, and intellectual life.  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 »

Home Sweet Home

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The recent challenges from the coronavirus force us to shelter at home and think of our home in whole new ways. Traditionally, when a buyer looks for a house to purchase, they are usually thinking about practical and financial criteria, like the square footage cost of the investment, how much house can they afford, are there large enough rooms for grand entertaining, and does the home have the latest and most stylish counter tops and appliances. The style of the house and whether the right public school is nearby is usually a major priority.  read more »

Subjects:

The Coming Age of Dispersion

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As of this writing, the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain. But one possible consequence is an acceleration of the end of the megacity era. In its place, we may now be witnessing the outlines of a new, and necessary, dispersion of population, not only in the wide open spaces of North America and Australia, but even in the megacities of the developing world.  read more »

Coronavirus Regional Economic Impacts and Policy Responses

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Most regions were beginning to see an acceleration in economic growth during January and February 2020. The 20-state Heartland was poised to see a notable improvement in economic performance that will now be tested due to public health measures implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The additional $200 billion in purchases of grain, industrial supplies and manufactured products over the next two years that China agreed to in the Phase I trade deal will benefit the Heartland greater than any other region of the nation.  read more »

Coronavirus and the future of living and working in America

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By late spring, the most severe impacts from the coronavirus may be fading, but its impact on how we live and work will not go away. Indeed, many of the most relevant trends — including the rise of dispersed work and living arrangements — were already emerging even before the pandemic emerged.  read more »

Grass Roots

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A couple of weeks ago I was visiting friends and the conversation turned to the ever more visible dilemmas in the neighborhood. We focused on two specific problems: the continuing expansion of the homeless population, and the record number of vacant storefronts.  read more »