China’s Heartland Capital: Chengdu, Sichuan

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On May 12, 2008, Chinese architect Stepp Lin was focusing intensely on his professional licensing exam in a testing center in central Chengdu when suddenly he felt someone bumping his desk. By the time he looked up to see what it was, most of the other exam takers were frantically fleeing for the exit. It turns out that what he was feeling were the tremors of what was to be the most devastating earthquake to hit China in recent memory.  read more »

Reducing Traffic Congestion and Improving Travel Options in Los Angeles

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While traffic congestion plagues many cities, Los Angeles stands apart. The Texas Transportation Institute tracks congestion statistics for U.S. metropolitan areas on an annual basis, and Los Angeles routinely ranks first for both total and per-capita congestion delays. Considering the value of wasted time and fuel, TTI estimates the annual cost of traffic congestion in greater Los Angeles at close to $10 billion.  read more »

Housing: Density & Desire

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Density — the number of units per acre on a proposed site plan — is at the heart of the developer’s mantra: More density, more profit. Meanwhile, environmentalists and many planners preach high density as the promise for a better future. The compression of families is an attempt to curb sprawl and reduce transportation energy consumption. For these reasons, many Green programs demand a minimum density to qualify for certification.  read more »

Will Anyone Stand Up for American Industry?

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“Esau for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” - Hebrews 12:16-17

Built from 1933-1936, the Bay Bridge linking San Francisco to Oakland was an engineering marvel of its day. A complex series of multiple spans, when it opened – six months ahead of the more famous Golden Gate Bridge – it was both the longest suspended bridge deck in the world and the longest cantilever bridge in the world. The western suspension bridge section, technically two bridges in one, had to settle for being only the second and third longest suspension bridges in the world.  read more »

The Limits Of Politics

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Reversing the general course of history, economics or demography is never easy, despite even the most dogged efforts of the best-connected political operatives working today.

Since the 2006 elections – and even more so after 2008 – blue-state politicians have enjoyed a monopoly of power unprecedented in recent history. Hardcore blue staters control virtually every major Congressional committee, as well as the House Speakership and the White House. Yet they still have proved incapable of reversing the demographic and economic decline in the nation's most "progressive" cities and states.  read more »

Urbanity Drives Gay Rights Victory in Washington

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If anyone were to doubt that there really are two Washingtons, that the Seattle metropolitan core (and its playgrounds) are another world from most rural to small city Washington (especially east of the Cascade crest), a look at the maps for the vote on Referendum 71 last November should be persuasive. These are not subtle, marginal differences, but indisputable polarization in what political and cultural researchers may call the modernist-traditional divide.  read more »

Why New York City Needs a New Economic Strategy

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When Michael Bloomberg stood on the steps of City Hall last week to be sworn in for a third term as New York City's mayor, he spoke in upbeat terms about the challenges ahead. The situation, however, is far more difficult than he portrays it. American financial power has shifted from New York to Washington, while global clout moves toward Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Even if the local economy rebounds, the traditional media industries that employ many of Bloomberg's influential constituents likely will continue to decline.  read more »

Obama's Elite Power Base

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Looking back at President Obama’s first year in office, this much is clear: Obama first enraged the right wing by seeming to veer far left, then turned off the left by seeming to abandon them. Even as Fox News fundamentalists rail against “socialism,” self-styled progressives like Naomi Klein scream about a “blown” opportunity to lead the nation from the swamp of darkest capitalism.

Both right- and left-wing critics fail to consider the fundamental nature of the Obama regime. This presidency represents not a traditional ideology but a new politics that mirrors the rise of a new, and potentially hegemonic class, one for which Obama is a near-perfect representative.  read more »

The Football Franchise Hustle: Financing the NFL

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The economics of professional football bring more than a few words to mind: scam, hoax, boondoggle, rip-off, racket, con, scheme, fix, subsidy, loophole, ruse, handout, set up, monopoly, and — well, why not — Jimmy Hoffa who, according to urban legend, was interred in the end zone in Giants Stadium.

An insider trading scheme dressed up as a professional sport, pro football finance incorporates everything fishy in the worlds of municipal finance, urban planning, government subsidies, cable television, and, even sometimes, sports.  read more »

New Geography Top Stories of 2009

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As we bring to a close our first full calendar year at NewGeography.com, we thought readers may be interested in which articles out of more than 350 published enjoyed the widest readership. It’s been a solid year of growth for the site; visits to the site over the past six months have more than tripled over last year and subscribers have increased by a factor of six. The list of popular articles is based both on.readership online and via RSS.  read more »