Are Chinese Ready to Rent?


In 2010 “House price” ranked third on the list of the top 10 most popular phrases used by Chinese netizens. It came to no one's surprise. In most Chinese cities housing prices have increased significantly over the past decade, with an especially sharp rise over the past three years.  read more »

California’s Demographic Dilemma: A Class And Culture Clash


The newly released Census reports reveal that California faces a profound gap between the cities where people are moving to and the cities that hold all the political power. It is a tale that divides the state between its coastal metropolitan regions that dominate the state’s politics — particularly the San Francisco Bay Area, but also Los Angeles — and its still-growing, largely powerless interior regions.  read more »

New Jersey: Still Suburbanizing


The state of New Jersey virtually defines suburbanization in the United States.  New Jersey is not home to the core of any major metropolitan area but, major portions of the nation's largest metropolitan area (New York) and the fifth largest metropolitan area (Philadelphia) are in the state (See map). These two metropolitan areas comprise 17 of the state's 21 counties. Another county (Warren) is in the Allentown, Pennsylvania metropolitan area, while Atlantic (Atlantic City), Cumberland and Cape May are single-county metropolitan areas.  read more »

The Protean Future Of American Cities


The ongoing Census reveals the continuing evolution of America’s cities from small urban cores to dispersed, multi-polar regions that includes the city’s surrounding areas and suburbs. This is not exactly what most urban pundits, and journalists covering cities, would like to see, but the reality is there for anyone who reads the numbers.  read more »

What India Hands to the World; henna on hands.JPG

Yoga. Mantras. Bollywood. Henna tattoos. Once unique to India, each of these has now become commonplace in households across the globe. As a first generation East Indian American, I've had an opportunity to contrast the world my parents experienced with the one I inhabit. When my parents first settled here in the 1980s Indian cultural influences were not this prominent, but the increases in America and around the globe have been dramatic.  read more »


High Speed Rail: The Dream Scheme Scenario

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Ever since Jay Gould, Leland Stanford, and Cornelius Vanderbilt acquired their first legislatures, railroads have been best understood as political networks, rather than as transportation lines. The Obama administration is hyping high-speed rail (HSR) with a $53 billion proposal not because the president is a trainspotter or because he collects back copies of the Official Guide of the Railways (like I do).  read more »

From the Great Moderation to the Great Stagnation


For much of the past decade, I was a proponent of the thesis that that the American economy had entered a “great moderation,” where expansions lasted longer and recessions were fewer, shorter and milder. Productivity had seemingly reached a permanently high plateau; inflation seemed tamed. The spreading of financial risk, across institutions and around the world, seemed to have reduced the odds of a crisis.  read more »

Is Nashville the Next Boomtown of the New South?


I traveled to Nashville for the first time in 2007, spending most of my time in the downtown area. I posted my impressions here, noting the high growth and high ambition level as well as the fantastic freeways, but also the generally unimpressive development and built environment.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: The Valley of Mexico


The last 60 years of urban growth in the Mexico City area should dispel any belief that suburban dispersion is principally an American phenomenon or even limited to the high income world. Over the last 60 years, all of the population growth in what is now called the Valley of Mexico metropolitan area and urban area has occurred outside the urban core (See Map).  read more »

Can Common Sense, and maybe Mickey, Save Orlando’s Transit Mess?


The week’s debate about high-speed rail has once again polarized our populace, inflamed irrationality, and sent everyone back to their familiar corners.  Little constructive debate is possible when major newspapers are flailing the governor for rejecting money and the seemingly global revolutionary fervor is gripping local citizens who rallied in protest Wednesday night around downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola.  None of this will do any good for the service workers trying to get to their jobs in the theme parks or for downtown cube dwellers streaming to scattered office parks.  read more »