The California economy's surface strength hides looming weakness

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If you listen to California’s many boosters, things have never been so good. And, to be sure, since 2011, the state appears to have gained its economic footing, and outperformed many of its rivals.  read more »

Seattle Booms in Latest Census City-Level Estimates

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Seattle tops the growth charts among the top 25 cities in the Census Bureau’s latest release of 2016 city and town population estimates.

Seattle, a land-locked (no annexation) city in the Pacific Northwest with a limited history of high density, managed to add 20,847 people last year, a growth rate of over 3% – tops among the 25 largest cities.  read more »

The Best Small and Medium-Size Cities For Jobs 2017

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Much of the U.S. media tends to see smaller cities as backwaters, inevitably left behind as the “best and brightest” head to the country’s mega-regions. The new economy, insists the Washington Post, favors large cities for start-ups and new businesses. Richard Florida has posited the emergence of a “winner take all urbanism” that tends to favor the richest cities, such as New York and San Francisco.  read more »

Rebuilding America's Infrastructure

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President Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure plan during his campaign. Spending more money on infrastructure is something that has broad support among people of all political persuasions.

But as the case of Louisville’s $2.4 billion bridge debacle shows, not all infrastructure spending is good spending.  read more »

Rail in Legacy Cities vs. Federal Funds to Poorer Markets

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Someone asked me to reconcile my recent paper on rail funding with my stance on Cal-Train electrification that the feds should prioritize funding towards poorer cities. Very good question because there is an apparent conflict there.  read more »

Cincinnati Streetcars’ “Catastrophic Failures”

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The Cincinnati streetcar–now known as the Cincinnati Bell Connector since Cincinnati Bell paid $3.4 million for naming rights–is barely six months old, and already is having problems. Four streetcars broke down in one day a few months ago.  read more »

What Trump has wrought

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Just a few short months ago, we seemed on the brink of a new political era. Donald Trump improbably was headed to the White House, while the Democratic Party, at near historic lows in statehouse power and without control of either house of Congress, seemed to be facing a lengthy period in political purgatory.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Budapest

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The Budapest area has lost population overall since 1980, having fallen from 3.03 million to 2.99 million in 2016, according to Hungarian Central Statistical Office data as reported by citypopulation.de (Graphic 1). This 1.3 percent loss is smaller than the national population loss over the same period of 8.2 percent. Moreover, during the last five years, the Budapest area is estimated to have gained 1.7 percent, even as Hungary lost 1.1 percent.  read more »

MaX Lanes: A Next Generation Strategy for Affordable Proximity

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This is the introduction to a new report written by Tory Gattis of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. Download the full report here.

The core urban challenge of our time is ‘affordable proximity’: how can ever larger numbers of people live and interact economically with each other while keeping the cost of living – especially housing – affordable? In decentralized, post-WW2 Sunbelt cities built around the car, commuter rail solutions don’t work and an alternative is needed, especially as we see autonomous vehicles on the horizon.  read more »

America's Heartland is Critical to Our Future

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The results of the 2016 presidential election have been ascribed -- by the winner’s critics -- to racism, hysteria, stupidity, or nostalgia. But what the results most reflected was a looming economic divide. Essentially, Donald Trump won in the parts of the country that grow most of the food, drill for oil and gas, and produce palpable things. The places that went for Hillary Clinton are where intangibles such as media, software, and financial transactions drive the economy.  read more »