Urban Core Jurisdictions: Similar in Label Only

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The fortunes of U.S. core cities (municipalities) have varied greatly in the period of automobile domination that accelerated strongly at the end of World War II. This is illustrated by examining trends between the three categories of "historical core municipalities" (Figure 1).  read more »

Ukraine Watch: Kiev in the Media Center Spotlight

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This spring I traveled from St. Petersburg to Kiev, by way of southern Russian and eastern Ukraine. The newspapers were filled with reports of American policymakers gushing over how mobs in Kiev deserved the inalienable rights of freedom fighters and self-determination. Mobs of Russian mercenaries in Eastern Ukraine, who set up automobile tire and sandbag roadblocks, were condemned for threatening world peace.  read more »

Are States an Anachronism?

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Obviously states aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but a number of folks have suggested that state’s aren’t just obsolete, they are downright pernicious in their effects on local economies.

One principal exponent of this point of view is Richard Longworth, who has written about it extensively in his book “Caught in the Middle” and elsewhere. Here’s what he has to say on the topic:  read more »

Tambora vs. Krakatoa: Which was Worse?

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An April 27 Wall Street Journal book review by Simon Winchester descends into a petty squabble about whether the volcanic eruptions on Mount Tambora (1815) and Krakatoa (1883), both located in Indonesia, was more significant.  read more »

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Stop Favoring Investors, Speculators over Middle Class

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I, like most members of the middle class, particularly in California, just paid a tax bill that seemed less like my fair share than a shakedown by the Mafia. Increasingly, for people who run small businesses or earn a decent income, the tax bite is becoming ever more like in Europe, with total bills in high-tax states like ours reaching upward of 40 percent. It’s like paying the bill for a big dinner without eating the food – we get hammered like Swedes but without the free education, health care and other benefits of a more conventional welfare state.  read more »

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Special Report: America's Emerging Housing Crisis

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This is the executive summary from a new report, America’s Emerging Housing Crisis, published by National Community Renaissance, and authored by Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox. Download the report and the supplement report below.

From the earliest settlement of the country, Americans have looked at their homes and apartments as critical elements of their own aspirations for a better life. In good times, when construction is strong, the opportunities for better, more spacious and congenial housing—whether for buyers or renters—tends to increase. But in harsher conditions, when there has been less new construction, people have been forced to accept overcrowded, overpriced and less desirable accommodations.  read more »

Florida: How Fine Art Became Local

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Fine art resides not only in the cosmopolitan cities. It lived, as we saw in the recent movie “The Monument Men”, in the many villages of Europe. Right now, we are seeing it living on the periphery of Orlando, Florida.  read more »

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The Hyping of “Big Data”

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Worship at the altar of what is labelled big data is rampant in both corporate and large not-for-profit settings. And while there is some general sense that big data arrives at warp-speed and involves huge datasets from very diverse sources and methodologies, there is no consensus and little discussion of what comprises meaningful and valid “big” datasets.  read more »

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The Evolving Urban Form: Philadelphia

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Philadelphia was America's first large city and served as the nation's capital for all but nine months between the inauguration of George Washington is the first president in 1789 and the capital transferred to Washington, DC in 1800.

Before the early 1900s, the United States Census Bureau had not developed a metropolitan area (labor market area) concept. However, the website peakbagger.com has attempted to define earlier metropolitan areas based on concepts similar to those used today. In the case of Philadelphia, this is important, because it was somewhat unique in having virtually adjacent, highly populated suburbs that make comparisons of municipal populations (the only population data available) misleading.  read more »

The New Brooklyn: Girls Vs Ebbets Field?

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So much spit has flown on the topic of gentrification in New York City that it seemed at best superfluous and at worst suspicious for New York Times chief film critic A.O. Scott to say anything at all about the subject. But Scott couldn’t resist. In "Whose Brooklyn Is It, Anyway?" last month, Scott stuck a toehold into the debate sparked by film director Spike Lee, whose 7-minute rant against gentrification recently went viral.  read more »

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