There is general agreement that smaller units of government are more responsive and accountable to their electorates. However, proponents of larger governments often claim that this advantage also creates higher spending and tax levels. On this basis, bigger-is-better proponents often suggest consolidating local governments to save money. Such calls have increased in recent years, with the unprecedented fiscal difficulties faced by governments from the federal to local level. read more »
This is the introduction to a new report on the future of the American Great Plains released today by Texas Tech University (TTU). The report was authored by Joel Kotkin; Delore Zimmerman, Mark Schill, and Matthew Leiphon of Praxis Strategy Group; and Kevin Mulligan of TTU. Visit TTU's page to download the full report, read the online version, or to check out the interactive online atlas of the region containing economic, demographic, and geographic data.
For much of the past century, the vast expanse known as the Great Plains has been largely written off as a bit player on the American stage. As the nation has urbanized, and turned increasingly into a service and technology-based economy, the semi-arid area between the Mississippi Valley and the Rockies has been described as little more than a mistaken misadventure best left undone. read more »
"Privileged people don't march and protest; their world is safe and clean and governed by laws designed to keep them happy...." Michael Brock in John Grisham's The Street Lawyer (Doubleday, 1998).
"There can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms…” Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.62, via Wikipedia.com read more »
High land prices have all but killed the Australian housing industry.
Lower housing starts has led to lower GST revenues (house construction attracts full GST) and lower stamp duty receipts are crippling state budgets and cruelling the chances of low and middle income earners to get a start in the housing market.
What has caused this slump in housing starts? Land prices. read more »
Professor Shlomo Angel's new book, Planet of Cities, seems likely to command a place on the authoritative bookshelf of urbanization between Tertius Chandler's Four Thousand Years of Urban Growthand Sir Peter Hall's Cities and Civilization and The Containment of Urban England. Chandler produced the definitive volume of gross population figures for urban areas (cities) over millennia. Angel, takes the subject much further, describing detail how urban areas have grown over the last two centuries, both in population and continuous urban land area. The book focuses principally on population growth, urban spatial expanse, and density. read more »
I’ve said before that I don’t think Chicago is well positioned to become some type of dominant tech hub, but should only seek to get its “fair share” of tech. However, as the third largest city in America, Chicago’s fair share on tech is still pretty darn big. If you look at what’s been happening in the city the last couple of years, I think you’d have to have to say it’s something real. Built in Chicago lists 1145 companies in its inventory, and that’s definitely something. read more »
For decades, Americans have chosen to live in suburbs rather than in cities. Suburban growth has outpaced urban growth, and many big cities have even lost population. But in recent years, some experts have said it’s time for cities to make a comeback. Why? read more »
The preferred story for California's economy runs like this:
In the beginning there was prosperity. It started with gold. Then, agriculture thrived in California's climate. Movies and entertainment came along in the early 20th Century. In the 1930s there was migration from the Dust Bowl. California became an industrial powerhouse in World War II. Defense, aerospace, the world's best higher education system, theme parks, entertainment, and tech combined to drive California's post-war expansion. read more »
Among those for whom Paris is not their favorite European city, Barcelona often fills the void. Barcelona is the capital of Spain's Catalonia region. Catalonia has been in the news in recent weeks because of the rising a settlement for independence from Spain, or at a minimum, considerably expanded autonomy. In part, the discontent is driven by a concern about the extent to which more affluent Catalonia subsidizes the rest of Spain. Another driving factor is the interest in separating Catalonian language and culture from that of Spain. read more »
EMSI recently developed a methodology for calculating expected wages for occupations by region. The analysis is aimed at helping us better understand what regional earnings should be given the performance of a set of standardized occupations that are ubiquitous, stable, and diverse across the US economy. It’s a bit like the consumer price index, just for occupations.