California’s Global Warming High-Speed Train

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The California High-Speed Rail Authority promises to “achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in construction” and is committed to operate the system on “100% renewable energy” by contracting for “400 to 600 megawatts of renewable power”. These promises may please environmentalists, but they cannot be kept.  read more »

Amazon Eats Up Whole Foods as the New Masters of the Universe Plunder America

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“We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” —Justice Louis Brandeis

With his $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has made clear his determination to dominate every facet of mass retailing, likely at the cost of massive layoffs in the $800 billion supermarket sector.  read more »

Is America Now Second-Rate?

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President Donald Trump’s recent renunciation of the Paris climate change accords has spurred “the international community” to pronounce America’s sudden exit from global leadership. Now you read in the media aspirations to look instead to Europe, Canada, or even China, to dominate the world. Some American intellectuals, viewing Trump, even wish we had lost our struggle for independence.  read more »

The Grenfell High-Rise Fire: A Litany of Failures?

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At this writing, the London (Kensington) Grenfell high-rise fire has taken a confirmed 58 lives, with an unknown number missing and many more sent to hospitals. The 24 story low income housing tower block caught fire on Wednesday, June 14. It was virtually all consumed, as shown in the photograph above.  read more »

Connecticut's Future is Suburban, Not Urban

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Connecticut is now grappling with a fiscal and economic crisis that, according to some leading Democrats, has been caused by ineffective urban policy. In late May, Hartford-based insurer Aetna confirmed long-discussed rumors that it will be moving its headquarters from Connecticut. General Electric announced plans to move from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston in January 2016.  read more »

The Superstar Gap

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The biggest challenge facing many cities in transitioning to the knowledge economy is a shortage of “A” talent, especially true superstars.

All “talent” isn’t created equal. Crude measures such as the percentage of a region with college degrees, or even graduate degrees, don’t fully capture this. It is disproporationately the top performers, the “A” players and superstars that make things happen.  read more »

Dispersed Cities: Starting the 3rd Decade

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Cities (urban areas or settlements) have been around for millennia. Over that time, cities have changed in form and function. But the way that people move around the city has materially changed only twice. Walking was predominant until less than 200 years ago, then came mass transit, the automobile and now autonomous cars and some substitution for driving by online technology.  read more »

Where Manufacturing Is Thriving In The U.S.

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Throughout the dismal presidential campaign, the plight of America’s manufacturing sector played a central role. Yet despite all the concerns raised about factory jobs leaving the country, all but 18 of the country’s 70 largest metropolitan regions have seen an uptick in industrial employment since 2011.  read more »

California’s Descent to Socialism

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California is widely celebrated as the fount of technical, cultural and political innovation. Now we seem primed to outdo even ourselves, creating a new kind of socialism that, in the end, more resembles feudalism than social democracy.  read more »

How Does Housing Stock Affect Urban Revitalization?

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The second of Pete Saunders’ nine reasons why Detroit failed is “poor housing stock,” particularly its overweighting towards small, early postwar cottages. Here’s a sample:  read more »