Declining Birthrates Key to Europe's Decline

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The labor demonstrators, now an almost-daily occurrence in Madrid and other economically-devastated southern European cities, lambast austerity and budget cuts as the primary  cause for their current national crisis. But longer-term, the biggest threat to the European Union has less to do with government policy than what is–or is not–happening in the bedroom.  read more »

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From Connection to Dispersal: Urbanisation in the 21st Century

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Commentators have long studied connections between cities and how these influence their development. The city is the natural focus of trade-based theories of growth. Exporting a surplus, based on local resources and specialisation was – and is – considered the way to city wealth.  read more »

Here Come the Plurals!

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This month America’s destiny as a pluralistic democracy took a new and unprecedented turn. First, early in May, USA Today asked Americans what name they thought would be appropriate for the country’s newest generation now moving into grade school classrooms with its unique behavior and perspectives. Plurals is the name suggested by communications research and consulting firm, Frank N.  read more »

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Top Manufacturing Sectors For 2011

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There has been lots of data indicating that domestic manufacturing is regaining some vigor after years of wasting away. Brookings’ Martin Neil Baily and Bruce Katz, writing in the Washington Post, noted:

Manufacturing employment, output and exports are headed in the right direction: In April, the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs was up 489,000 from the January 2010 low of 11.5 million. The Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index has shown 33 consecutive months of expansion.

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Midcentury Modern

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Midcentury modern tours now are taking place in cities all over the country. Renewed interest in this era capitalizes on the millennials’ interest in design from a time that seems almost impossibly optimistic compared to today’s zeitgeist. Most cities around the country boast a healthy building stock from this postwar period, nicknamed “the suburbs,” although these are ritually condemned – and designated for annihilation – by academics, urban land speculators and the urban clerisy.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Shenzhen

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No urban area in history has become so large so quickly than Shenzhen (Note 1). A little more than a fishing village in 1979, by the 2010 census Shenzhen registered 10.4 million inhabitants. It is easily the youngest urban area to have become one of the world's 26 megacities (Figure 1). Most other megacities were the largest urban areas in their nations for centuries (such as London and Paris) and a few for more than a millennium (such as Istanbul and Beijing).  read more »

Seattle Is Leading An American Manufacturing Revival - Top Manufacturing Growth Regions

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In this still tepid recovery, the biggest feel-good story has been the resurgence of American manufacturing. As industrial production has fallen in Europe and growth has slowed in China, U.S. factories have continued an expansion that has stretched on for over 33 months. In April, manufacturing growth was the strongest in 10 months.  read more »

Populate or Perish?

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Many global population projections point to the current world population of roughly seven billion people peaking at around nine to ten billion in 2050, after which numbers will slowly decline. In the midst of this growth, Australia’s current population of 23 million is predicted to rise to around 30 or 35 million in the same period. This low growth outlook has been called ‘big Australia.’ We are kidding ourselves, aren’t we?  read more »

How “Public” Is the Public Sector?

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You may have heard the old joke about the convenience store with a neon sign blaring, “Open 24 Hours”. A customer stops in one morning for coffee, and confronts the store’s owner, “Your sign says ‘Open 24 Hours’, but I stopped by last night at midnight for a pack of smokes and you were closed.” The owner replies, “Oh, we’re open 24 hours…just not in a row.”  read more »

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CNU20: New Urbanism's Young Adult Angst

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Possibly the most earnest folks in the real estate development industry assembled for the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Congress of the New Urbanism in West Palm Beach, Florida this month. Among the excellent accomplishments of CNU20 attendees: a credible car/pedestrian strategy, some fine looking new communities, and perhaps best of all, a body of hard-won knowledge about town-making for citizen education.  read more »