UK Moves to Reform Planning Disaster


This piece originally appeared at Macrobusiness.

The United Kingdom (UK) housing system is arguably the worst in the world because of a myriad of policies that work to severely restrict supply, pump demand, and make renting a highly undesirable substitute for home ownership. These policies have led to the UK housing market experiencing:  read more »

Are 20th Century Models Relevant to 21st Century Urbanization?


Analysis of the state of the world’s cities 2010/2011 by UN-Habitat focused on the narrowing urban divide, with 227 million people moving out of slum conditions over the preceding decade.  While acknowledging uncertainty over cause and effect, the report notes that:  read more »

Private Investors Shun Brazil High Speed Rail Bid


In April of 2011 the California High Speed Rail Authority held a meeting of potential investors and vendors interested in participating in the proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail project. Project sponsors have insisted they could gain substantial private investment for the project. The Authority indicated that the meeting drew 2000 attendees at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which supporters indicated was proof of the interest of private investors in the project.  read more »

The Demise Of The Luxury City


The Republican victory in New York City’s ninth congressional district Sept. 13 — in a special election to replace disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner — shocked the nation.  But more important, it also could have signaled the end of the idea, propagated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, of New York’s future as a “luxury product.”  read more »

What Boomers Are Choosing


In 1989, a man came to my office and introduced himself as the vice president of development for the Del Webb Corporation.  He retained my firm to prepare a master plan for their first active-adult community outside of their typical desert southwest market. 

This led me to an exploration of what made a successful active adult community.  I learned they required unique and distinct considerations quite different from those used in more conventional master planned communities.  During the information gathering process, I toured each of the Sun City projects, interviewing staff and visiting residents to understand the qualities and features which attracted buyers and provided the lifestyle sought by retirees.   read more »

The Texas Story Is Real


Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the Republican presidential nomination race bragging about the job creation record of Texas during his term as his primary pitch to a nation starved for jobs. This triggered a flurry of debate on whether or not Texas is really all Perry claims for it. But while there is certainly nuance in numbers, and Texas doesn't win on every single measure, on the whole it seems indisputable that Texas did very, very well during the 2000s.  read more »


Why the Eurozone Will Come Apart

EU Flags.jpg

Europe has been in the news a lot lately. One day it has a plan to, temporarily at least, deal with the debt problems of delinquent members, and markets climb. The next day there is a glitch and markets fall. What is going on here? Why are markets so spooky?

We’re witnessing what are almost surely the dying gasps of the European Union (EU) as we know it. By that, I mean the number of countries in the Euro’s common currency zone will decline. The markets are spooked, because how it happens will have huge economic consequences.  read more »


Being Dense About Dwellings: Check the Numbers!


Recently I suggested that in New Zealand we are heading into the perfect housing storm. Now we have news that house prices and rentals are on the climb again, although stocks remain tight, as an annual inflation rate of 5.3% hits a 21 year high.  The economists are suggesting this is good news, although it means interest rates may have to be pushed up sooner than expected.  read more »

Declining Birthrates, Expanded Bureaucracy: Is U.S. Going European?


To President Barack Obama and many other Democrats, Europe continues to exercise something of a fatal attraction.  The “European dream” embraced by these politicians — as well as by many pundits, academics and policy analysts — usually consists of an America governed by an expanded bureaucracy, connected by high-speed trains and following a tough green energy policy.

One hopes that the current crisis gripping the E.U. will give even the most devoted Europhiles pause about the wisdom of such mimicry. Yet the deadliest European disease the U.S. must avoid is that of persistent demographic decline.  read more »

The Crisis of the "Gentry Presidency"


The Obama administration’s belated attempt to address the looming employment crisis — after three years focused largely on reviving Wall Street, redoing health care and creating a “green” economy — reflects not only ineptitude but a deeper crisis of what is best understood as the “gentry presidency.”

Unlike previous Democratic presidents, including John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama’s base primarily lies not with the working and middle classes, who would have demanded effective job action, but with the rising power of the post-industrial castes  read more »