California Feudalism: The Squeeze on the Middle Class

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Is the California Dream Unraveling? Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky explore how California is headed towards an increasingly feudal future in their latest report, "California Feudalism: The Squeeze on the Middle Class." Click the link below to read the full study.  read more »

Middle East Cities Should Look Forward—and Back

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The Middle East may well be the birthplace of cities, and maybe capitalism itself, but for the most part, it continues to lag in developing a modern, workable urbanism. Yes, the region has produced high-tech hubs (e.g., Tel Aviv) and postmodern cities (e.g., Dubai), which can be regarded as rising international business centers, but it’s also home to megacities afflicted by mismanagement, poor planning, and some of the world’s highest unemployment rates.  read more »

Length of Residential Tenure: Metropolitan Areas, Urban Cores, Suburbs & Exurbs

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America is becoming less mobile than in the past, but there are some major metropolitan areas --- and areas within them --- that have fewer people move in and out than others. US households tend to live longer in their present residences where population growth has been more modest. The data also indicates that across all major metropolitan areas, households tend to have lived longer in suburbs and exurbs than in the urban core.  read more »

California Ranks #1 In Sending Dollars Abroad For Energy

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The USA is now a net exporter of crude oil, with crude oil exports exceeding imports. This oil boom is beneficial to 49 states, but not to California. The American shale boom has important security implications as well, as America is now less dependent on crude oil from the turbulent Middle East, again, except for California.

Even more impressive is the fact that the U.S. has now overtaken Saudi Arabia in recoverable oil reserves.  read more »

The Dos and Dont's of Civic Branding

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A Manhattan Institute paper that I wrote earlier this year and presented in Akron is on the dos and don’ts of civic branding and is now available online. It’s part of our Urban Policy 2018 book as well. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

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California Becoming More Feudal, With Ultra-Rich Lording Over Declining Middle Class

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In the imaginations of its boosters, and for many outside the state, California is often seen as the role model for the future. But, sadly, California is also moving backward toward a more feudal society.

Feudalism was about the concentration of wealth and power in a relative handful of people. Historically, California created fortunes for a few, but remained a society with enormous opportunity for outsiders, whether from other states or countries.  read more »

Methodist Urbanism: Ocean Grove

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Here’s the ubiquitous American landscape with a dash of central New Jersey local color. It’s not the rain and dark skies that make it look so bleak. No amount of sunshine can brighten this much asphalt, synthetic stucco, and vinyl siding. There’s no point in complaining about any of it. It exists and will continue to do so for the duration. Shrug.  read more »

How Many Really Commute by Transit?

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According to the 2017 American Community Survey, about 7.6 million Americans, or 5.3 percent of commuters, take transit to work. However, the actual question on the survey asks, how do you “usually get to work last week.” If someone took transit three days and drove two, then transit gets checked. So how many really use transit on any given day?  read more »

Job Dispersion Eases Growth In Australian Cities

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American cities have long been known for their dispersion of employment, moving from mono-centricity, to polycentricity (and edge cities) to, ultimately, dispersion. This transition was documented by Bumsoo Lee of the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and Peter Gordon of the University of Southern California (USC) using 2000 Census data (Figure 1).  read more »

Curated Diversity in Chicago

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I came across a very intriguing premise several months ago that's stuck with me ever since. I think I've had a subconscious acknowledgement of it for some time, perhaps years, but it was only when reading an interview in the Atlantic with New York Times investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones about school segregation that the notion clicked.  read more »

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