A Geographer Who Navigated the Globe

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Many people ask, “What do geographers do?” I would suggest that Marvin Creamer’s life story is all you need to know about the practical application of geography, even though most of us will never be stuck in a horizonless Indian Ocean on a “sea of glass”, or try to navigate the ferocious Drake’s Passage. Ancient mariners may have been able to sail long distances without instruments, but it is difficult, tricky, and can be extremely hazardous. Only one person, New Jersey’s Marvin Creamer, has ever attempted to circumnavigate the globe this way.  read more »

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Florida: When Your Best (Place) Just Ain't Good Enough

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Real estate broker Coldwell Banker handles corporate relocations for a large portion of our middle class. It recently released a survey of Suburbanite Best Places to Live. While it's easy to dismiss as a sales tool for their realtors, the survey provides a fascinating glimpse of middle class, suburban preferences, influenced by our current economy. Coldwell Banker’s top honors go to Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.  read more »

Even After the Housing Bust, Americans Still Love the Suburbs

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For decades, Americans have chosen to live in suburbs rather than in cities. Suburban growth has outpaced urban growth, and many big cities have even lost population. But in recent years, some experts have said it’s time for cities to make a comeback. Why?  read more »

The Rise of Post-Familialism: Humanity's Future?

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This piece is the introduction to a new report on post-familialism from Civil Service College in Singapore, Chapman University, and Fieldstead and Company and authored by Joel Kotkin.

For most of human history, the family — defined by parents, children and extended kin — has stood as the central unit of society. In Europe, Asia, Africa and, later, the Americas and Oceania, people lived, and frequently worked, as family units.  read more »

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How California Lost its Mojo

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The preferred story for California's economy runs like this:

In the beginning there was prosperity.  It started with gold.  Then, agriculture thrived in California's climate.  Movies and entertainment came along in the early 20th Century.  In the 1930s there was migration from the Dust Bowl.  California became an industrial powerhouse in World War II.  Defense, aerospace, the world's best higher education system, theme parks, entertainment, and tech combined to drive California's post-war expansion.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Barcelona

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Among those for whom Paris is not their favorite European city, Barcelona often fills the void. Barcelona is the capital of Spain's Catalonia region. Catalonia has been in the news in recent weeks because of the rising a settlement for independence from Spain, or at a minimum, considerably expanded autonomy. In part, the discontent is driven by a concern about the extent to which more affluent Catalonia subsidizes the rest of Spain. Another driving factor is the interest in separating Catalonian language and culture from that of Spain.  read more »

The Braking Of The BRICs

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For over a decade, conventional wisdom has held that the future of the world economy rests on the rise of the so-called BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China (and, in some cases, with the addition of an ‘S’ for South Africa).  read more »

As Partisan Rancor Rises, States That Back a Loser Will Be Punished

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Never mind the big-tent debate talk from both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about how their respective politics will benefit all Americans. There’s a broader, ugly truth that as the last traces of purple fade from the electoral map, whoever wins will have little reason to take care of much of the country that rejected them.  read more »

Top Cities for Engineers Based on Actual vs. Expected Wages

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EMSI recently developed a methodology for calculating expected wages for occupations by region. The analysis is aimed at helping us better understand what regional earnings should be given the performance of a set of standardized occupations that are ubiquitous, stable, and diverse across the US economy. It’s a bit like the consumer price index, just for occupations.

Read more about that here.  read more »

Where Do You Live?

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I recently moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where I live in the town of West Warwick. I’ve been learning the place more and soaking in New England culture (and seafood). This area has a Rust Belt type profile: declining population, post-industrial economic landscape, high unemployment, etc. So I’ve been trying to get a handle on conditions and think a bit about what the opportunities are.  read more »