California’s Green Jihad

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Ideas matter, particularly when colored by religious fanaticism, wreaking havoc even in the most favored of places. Take, for instance, Iran, a country blessed with a rich heritage and enormous physical and human resources, but which, thanks to its theocratic regime, is largely an economic basket case and rogue state.  read more »

Orlando’s Sunrail: Blank Checks Induced by Washington

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We are supposedly living in an age of austerity, but many federal programs are leading many states into overspending and potential fiscal insolvency.  Transit spending is a case in point, as is indicated by the proposed Orlando Sunrail commuter rail project.  read more »

UN Celebrates Seven Billion People a Year Too Early

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The UN has decided to announce that on October 31, 2011 the Earth’s human population will pass the seven billion mark, up from the six billion that was designated on December 5, 1998. The United Nations Population Division Agency is the main organization that estimates global population. Every two years, their report attempts to piece together surprisingly fragmentary national census data and demographic surveys to arrive at a global estimate. As a geographer, I have long been interested in these reports, and in all aspects of population change and distribution on the earth.  read more »

Inside Sydney's Central Business District: the Retail Core

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World famous for its beautiful harbour setting, Sydney’s Central Business District is undergoing a resurgence. As the hub of Australia’s finance sector, it stumbled during the global crisis. Office vacancies jumped from 5.7 per cent in early 2008 to 8.8 per cent in mid 2009, despite stable supply. Ultimately, though, Sydney was spared the worst, owing to its rise as a staging post for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, which averted the havoc of Europe and North America. Recovery is now underway, if slowly.  read more »

Listing the Best Places Lists: Perception Versus Reality

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Often best places lists reflect as much on what’s being measured, and who is being measured as on the inherent advantages of any locale.  Some cities that have grown rapidly in jobs, for example, often do not do as well if the indicator has more to do with perceived “quality” of employment.  read more »

Orlando: Uncle Sam Meets Mickey Mouse

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Hawks and doves disagree on whether World War II ended the Great Depression.  Depending on which species of bird squawks louder, military spending may be the only way out of our current financial malaise.  In many ways it is already happening, although it is a surreptitious and quiet influence felt mostly in the high-tech economic sector.  Defense growth in one of the most unlikely places – Orlando, Florida – has already begun to diversify the region’s income stream, create a new urban c  read more »

The Katrina Effect: Renaissance On The Mississippi

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In this most insipid of recoveries, perhaps the most hopeful story comes from New Orleans. Today, its comeback story could serve as a model of regional recovery for other parts of the country — and even the world.

You could call it the Katrina effect. A lovely city, rich in history, all too comfortable with its fading elegance and marred by huge pockets of third-world style poverty, suffers a catastrophic natural disaster; in the end the disaster turns into an opportunity for the area’s salvation.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Jakarta (Jabotabek)

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There is probably no large urban area in the world that better illustrates the continuing dispersion of urban population and declining urban population density than Jakarta. Recently released 2010 census data indicates over the past decade that 84 percent of the metropolitan area (Jabotabek) population growth occurred in the suburbs (Note 1). This continues a trend which saw more than 75 percent of growth in the suburbs between 1971 and 2000 (Figure 1).  read more »

Recover, Rebuild: Christchurch New Zealand After the Earthquake

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Lincoln University in New Zealand did a great job of assembling some leaders in the principles and practice of disaster recovery for its Resilient Futures workshop recently in support of recovery in Christchurch after the February earthquake.  And in keeping with one of the themes – the importance of quality and timely communications – the papers and summary are already posted on the web.  read more »

Subjects:

Goodbye, New York State Residents are Rushing for the Exits

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For more than 15 years, New York State has led the country in domestic outmigration: for every American who comes to New York, roughly two depart for other states. This outmigration slowed briefly following the onset of the Great Recession. But a new Marist poll released last week suggests that the rate is likely to increase: 36 percent of New Yorkers under 30 are planning to leave over the next five years.  read more »