Recent announcements of state budget surpluses have led to the popping of corks across the deepest-blue parts of America, particularly here in California. In some cases, the purported fiscal recovery has been enshrined by an emerging hagiography about Jerry Brown's steadfastness in the face of budget debacles. read more »
The recent general election in Malaysia left behind a bitter legacy of political divisions, threats of lawsuits, growing demonstrations, and arrests under the Sedition Act. In a larger sense, however, it was another sign that the race-based political order in Malaysia, and to a certain extent in neighboring Singapore, is breaking down.
Ever since Malaysia won independence in 1957 it has been governed by a coalition – the National Front or Barisan Nasional (BN) - made up of as many as a dozen parties, representing the ethnic and racial makeup of this multicultural country. read more »
Around the world planners are seeking to increase urban densities, at least in part because of the belief that this will materially reduce automobile use and encourage people to give up their cars and switch to transit, or walk or cycle (Note 1). Yet research indicates only a marginal connection between higher densities and reduced car use. read more »
Pete Saunders recently described how, after being built in part with eastern money, West Coast outposts like San Francisco and Los Angeles never relinquished their East Coast connections. This created bi-coastal connectivity that continues to play dividends for both coast at the expense of relatively disconnected “flyover country.” read more »
It was widely reported that the Great Recession and subsequent economic malaise changed the geography of America. Suburbs, particularly in the Sun Belt, were becoming the “new slums” as people flocked back to dense core cities. read more »
One hundred and fifty years after twin defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg destroyed the South’s quest for independence, the region is again on the rise. People and jobs are flowing there, and Northerners are perplexed by the resurgence of America’s home of the ignorant, the obese, the prejudiced and exploited, the religious and the undereducated. read more »
We are entering a domain where looms a lost decade of income, growth and opportunity – and maybe it's time to address that fact. read more »
Rhine-Ruhr, or Essen-Düsseldorf, is among the world's least recognized larger urban areas (Figure 1). Germany does not designate urban areas according to the international standard, and for that reason the Rhine-Ruhr does not appear on the United Nations list of largest urban areas. Yet, in reality this contiguous urban area is Germany's largest urban area, a position as it has held since at least the end of World War II. The Rhine-Ruhr is the third largest urban area in Western Europe, trailing only Paris and London. read more »
Nobody who has paid attention to what's happened to solar panels over the last several decades can help but be impressed. Prices declined an astonishing 75 percent from 2008 to 2012. In the United States, solar capacity has quintupled since 2008, and grown by more than 50 times since 2000, according to US Energy Information Administration data. In 1977, solar panels cost $77 per watt. read more »
The startup scene today, and by ‘scene’ I’m sweeping a fairly catholic brush over a large swath of people – observers, critics, investors, entrepreneurs, ‘want’repreneurs, academics, techies, and the like – seems to be riven into two camps.
On one side stand those who believe that entrepreneurs have stopped chasing and solving Big Problems – capital B, capital P: clean energy, poverty, famine, climate change, you name it. I needn’t replay their song here; they’ve argued their cases far more eloquently elsewhere. read more »