Prescription for an Ailing California

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Only a fool, or perhaps a politician or media pundit, would say California is not in trouble, despite some modest recent improvements in employment and a decline in migration out of the state. Yet the patient, if still very sick, is curable, if the right medicine is taken, followed by the proper change in lifestyle regimen.  read more »

Detroit Future City

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Recently the Detroit Works Project released their long awaited strategic plan for the city. This is the one led by Toni Griffin that produced a lot of public controversy because of suggestions it would result in the planned shrinkage or decommissioning (or even forced residential relocations) in sparsely populated neighborhoods.  read more »

World's Most Affluent Metropolitan Areas: 2012

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Late in 2012, the Brookings Institution published its annual Global Metro Monitor (by Emilia Istrate and Carey Anne Nadeau), which estimates economic data for the 300 world metropolitan areas with the largest gross domestic product (GDP). The Global Metro Monitor also provides estimates of the GDP per capita for each of the qualifying metropolitan areas.  read more »

State Components of Population Change: 2010-2012

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What have the last two years of modest recovery meant to the growth and redistribution of population among the states? New data on the components of change for states are now available.  In March county level data will permit a more detailed portrait.

For states I present four maps, overall population change, change from natural increase, immigration (net international migration) and internal migration between states.

Population Change  read more »

Why Republicans Need the Cities

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Republicans took an all around shellacking in the 2012 elections. Part of the reason is that Democrats dominated the cities. President Obama won 69% of the big city vote, according to a New York Times exit poll analysis. Some of this is perhaps on account of the racial makeup of the cities, as blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Yet it’s clear that, even among the upscale white urbanist crowd, Republican policies and candidates are finding few takers.  read more »

Subjects:

Demographic and Economic Challenges: The 9th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey

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The just released 9th Annual Demographia Housing Affordability Survey (pdf) indicates that housing affordability has deteriorated modestly in the last year. A number of major metropolitan areas remain severely unaffordable.

Highlights: Metropolitan Areas

Among the 337 Metropolitan markets analyzed, Hong Kong remained the most unaffordable, with a median multiple (median house price divided by pre-tax median household income) of 13.5, up nearly a full point from last year's 12.6.  read more »

California's Politics of Farce

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Karl Marx wrote, "History repeats ... first as tragedy, then as farce." Nothing better describes how California, with its unmatched natural and human riches, has begun to morph into what the premier California historian Kevin Starr has called "a failed state" – a term more usually applied to African kleptocracies than a place as blessed as the Golden State.  read more »

The New Power Class Who Will Profit From Obama’s Second Term

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When President Obama takes the oath of office for the second time, he will also usher in a new era in American power politics. Whereas the old left-wing definition of “who rules” focused on large corporations, banks, energy companies and agribusinesses, the Obama-era power structure represents a major transformation.  read more »

Subjects:

Will Driverless Cars Help us Drive Less?

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The war on automobiles is real. Backed by a legion of city officials, environmentalists, and new urbanists, the argument to mitigate vehicle usage has so far been an easy sell – at least in planning circles. Their assumptions echo concerns about the trajectory American cities – the downfall of rural life and open space to name a few.  The problem is the trifecta of pollution, congestion, and urban sprawl. Out with cars, they propose – people could ride high-speed transit instead of sitting in traffic.  read more »

Rust Belt Cities: Invest in Odysseus, Not Barney Fife

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Given its legacy of shrinking, the Rust Belt has issues. The issues arose naturally, and relate to the fact things leave, or that so much has left. Particularly, when things leave, the mind—both the individual and the collective city mind—can get protective and restrictive. Neediness arises. The smell of desperation ensues like a pall that can tend to hang over cities, influencing decision making on all levels.

Enter “brain drain”, or that term coined to refer to the outmigration of an area’s educated citizens, particularly it’s young.  read more »