Where Do You Live?

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I recently moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where I live in the town of West Warwick. I’ve been learning the place more and soaking in New England culture (and seafood). This area has a Rust Belt type profile: declining population, post-industrial economic landscape, high unemployment, etc. So I’ve been trying to get a handle on conditions and think a bit about what the opportunities are.  read more »

Cooling Off: Why Creative California Could Look to Western New York

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Sometimes the stakes are bogus, sometimes the fast lane hits a fork.
Sometimes southern California wants to be western New York
–Lyrics from Dar Williams’ song “Sometimes California Wants to Be Western New York”.

For long, making cultures and making people have been deemed outmoded. It is largely a knowledge economy. And since knowledge has been diverging into “spiky locales” known to be hotbeds of innovation, consider it a double whammy, as most of the relevant geographies are on the coast. The middle of the country is thus irrelevant if you care to survive. It is a man with a pitchfork in a sea of MacBook’s and iLife’s.  read more »

Flocking Elsewhere: The Downtown Growth Story

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The United States Census Bureau has released a report (Patterns of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Population Change: 2000 to 2010.) on metropolitan area growth between 2000 and 2010. The Census Bureau's the news release highlighted population growth in downtown areas, which it defines as within two miles of the city hall of the largest municipality in each metropolitan area.  read more »

Baseball Vs Basemall: Goodbye to the Games of Summer

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Even if the best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey did draw more fans than the Olympics (both sports involve “play parties” and metallic neckwear), the nominal American summer game is baseball. But that celebration of agrarian mythology and fields of dreams has descended to the level of a cable infomercial: white noise blended with car sales promotions, insurance deals, and breakfast cereals.  read more »

Subjects:

Housing: How Capitalism and Planning Can Co-Habit

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Did Britain’s New Labour party conspire against land development? Is it responsible for outdated, “socialist” land planning policies?

The British Conservative Party’s favourite think tank, Policy Exchange, would have us think so. Its latest report aims to demonstrate that the British planning system is socialist rather than capitalist. Why Aren’t We Building Enough Attractive Homes? - Myths, misunderstandings and solutions, by Alex Morton takes on the British planning system that dates from the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act.  read more »

Here's Why People Don't Think We're in a Recovery

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The most recent jobs report was again below consensus.  With fewer than 100,000 new jobs, unemployment fell only because people continue to leave the labor force in huge numbers.  People are discouraged, and many don't believe we are in a recovery.  Why would they think that we aren't in a recovery?  After all, GDP is above its pre-recession high, and we hear all the time about how many jobs have been created over the past couple of years.  read more »

The Hollow Boom Of Brooklyn: Behind Veneer Of Gentrification, Life Gets Worse For Many

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After a decade of increasingly celebrated gentrification, many believe Brooklyn — the native borough of both my parents — finally has risen from the shadows that were cast when it became part of New York City over a century ago.  Brooklyn has gotten “its groove back” as a “post-industrial hotspot,” the well-informed conservative writer Kay Hymowitz writes, a perception that is echoed regularly by elements of a Manhattan media that for decades would not have sullied their fingers wr  read more »

A Look at Commuting Using the Latest Census Data

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Continuing my exploration of the 2011 data from the American Community Survey, I want to look now at some aspects of commuting.

Public Transit

Public transit commuting remains overwhelmingly dominated by New York City, with a metro commute mode share for transit of 31.1%. There are an estimated 2,686,406 transit commuters in New York City. All other large metro areas (1M+ population) put together add up to 3,530,932 transit commuters. New York City metro accounts for 39% of all transit commuters in the United States.  read more »

The Road Less Understood

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The Economist confuses ends (objectives) and means in its current number examining the peaking of per capita automobile use in the West in two articles ("The http://www.economist.com/node/21563327" and "Seeing the Back of the Car").  read more »

America’s Last Politically Contested Territory: The Suburbs

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Within the handful of swing states, the presidential election will come down to a handful of swing counties: namely the suburban voters who reside in about the last contested places in American politics.

Even in solid-red states, big cities tilt overwhelmingly toward President Obama and the Democrats, and even in solid-blue ones, the countryside tends to be solidly Republican.  read more »