The Collapse of Chicago Media

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When the satirical humor weekly The Onion announced it was moving its editorial staff from New York to Chicago it was considered quite a coup by boosters of the Windy City. Yet the hoopla surrounding revealed more about Chicago’s decline as a media center than any significant uptick. This includes news of a staff rebellion at the Onion in which writers attempted to scotch the move, with some ultimately deciding not to come. The strong celebration of a relatively small relocation in the grand scheme of things also shows a city looking hard for good media news where there has been so much bad recently.  read more »

The Beijing Bicycle: A Requiem

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Just because China has 500 million bikes on the road or tucked away in sheds or courtyards does not mean the two-wheeler has a bright future there, especially in its largest cities.

Such is the growing indifference to the bike in China that no one seems to mind that the national model is manufactured in Taiwan (or under license on the mainland). With a single gear and heavy steel frame, the Giant is ideal for long rides on flat city streets. At a cost of US $180, it is the bike bargain of the world. Nevertheless, the dream for younger Chinese is a Honda scooter.  read more »

Will Servants' Quarters Come Back, Too?

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As the Great Recession enters its fourth summer, America continues to separate into the multiple economic strands that characterized an earlier day. Our cities, built mostly since the 1930s, poorly accommodate this lack of unity, and will require radical revision if our class divisions continue to deepen.

Back in the era of the streetcar suburbs, at the turn of the 20th century, we also experienced a tiered, multiple economy. The post-Victorian prosperous middle class had carved itself new residential beltways around inner core cities – the so-called “suburbs”. The look  read more »

Thunder On The Great Plains: A Written-Off Region Enjoys Revival

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They may not win their first championship against Miami’s evil empire, but the Oklahoma City Thunder have helped to put a spotlight on what may well be the most surprising success story of 21st century America: the revival of the Great Plains. Once widely dismissed as the ultimate in flyover country, the Plains states have outperformed the national average for the past decade by virtually every key measure of vitality — from population, income and GDP growth to unemployment — and show no sign of slowing down.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Tokyo

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Tokyo is the ultimate in urbanization, being nearly one-half larger than any other urban area in the world. Further, Tokyo has retained its position as the largest urban area in the world for longer than any period since London's approximately 100 year run from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. During the 1920s, New York became the largest, but was displaced by Tokyo in 1955.  read more »

Historic Heritage of the Rust Belt

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I’ve been spending a lot of time in Ravenna recently. No, not the town in Italy with its early Christian buildings and glittering mosaics. I mean Ravenna, Ohio, a small industrial city of some 12,000 people near Akron.   read more »

Millennials’ Home Ownership Dreams Delayed, Not Abandoned

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Eighty percent of Americans buy their first house between the ages of 18-34. While the Millennial Generation’s (born 1982-2003) delayed entry into all aspects of young adulthood has sometimes been characterized as a “failure to launch,” the generation’s  preference for single tract, suburban housing should become the fuel to ignite the nation’s next housing boom as Millennials  fully occupy this crucial age bracket over the next few years.  read more »

Cities, Cars, People: Is Changing Car Use a Function of New Urbanism?

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One cornerstone for urban designers and planners seeking to transform the polycentric or suburban city of the 20th Century into something resembling the high density city of the 19th was a cross-city comparison by Newman and Kenworthy and successors.  read more »

No, It's the Deniers who Are Wrong

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Dennis Meyers is the Principal Economist at California’s Department of Finance. He has recently published two parts of what is promised to be a four-part series titled The Declinists are Wrong. He intends to convince us of “the fundamental strength of the Golden State’s dynamic and vibrant economy.”

I was going to wait until the entire series was complete before commenting, but part one and part two are so poorly argued that I feel compelled to respond now.  read more »

Enterprising States 2012: Beating the New Normal and Policies that Produce

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The following is an exerpt form a new report, Enterprising States, released this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation and written by Praxis Strategy Group and Joel Kotkin. Visit this site to download the full pdf version of the report, or check the interactive map to see how your state ranks in economic performance and in the five policy areas studied in the report.  read more »