Diagnosing New Inflation Symptoms

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It's been more than three years since the Great Recession began, and it's no longer debatable that the federal spending in its wake did not provoke inflation. Years of forecasts by fiscal conservatives about the result of government expenditures have proved to be wrong. After three fiscal stimulus packages, core inflation — which excludes the volatile prices of oil and commodities— remains very much in check. The core rate is the most reliable guide to future inflation, and it has not trended upward.

Headline inflation, however, the rate that does include these two, has increased. Is the recent uptick in gas and food prices a game-changer on inflation?  read more »

The Recipe for Unlivable Cities in New Zealand


The Auckland Council’s great vision is to make Auckland one of the world’s most livable cities. Yet the outcome of its currently proposed plans will be a city which is second best for most Aucklanders.

Some 60% to 80% of residents of New World cities state a clear preference for a single family home with its own backyard. In Victoria state, where Melbourne is located, 70% of the population, for example, preferred a single family home according to one government study. There have been similar findings from US based groups like the National Association of Realtors.  read more »

Asia’s New Landless Peasants?


Landless people have long sparked instability in Asia. From the days of the Qin dynasty (3rd century B.C.), through the huge Taiping rebellion in the mid-19th century, to the successful Communist revolutions in China and Vietnam and a nearly successful insurrection in Malaysia during the mid-20th, the property-less have historically risen against those in power.  read more »

Condo Culture: How Florida Became Floridastan

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Welcome to Griftopia. The Florida housing industry needs a karmic rebalancing. Our recent roar of building new structures is echoed today by the squeaks and pops of a different type of construction industry. Invasive testing – the architectural equivalent of a biopsy – seems to be on the rise. Saws, hammers, and cranes can be heard through the quiet suburban developments and subdivisions around Florida, as shingles and stucco are cut off in small patches to reveal serious problems within.  read more »

Chicago: Out of the Loop


The “global city” is one of the dominant themes related to  urban success today.  In this model, cities serve both as huge agglomerations of top specialized talent and also as “control nodes” of the global economy serving as key sites for the production of financial and producer services demanded by the new globalized economy. In her seminal book on the subject, Saskia Sassen noted New York, London, and Tokyo as the paradigmatic examples of the global city.  read more »

Natural Gas Vehicles Floor It in Long Beach

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The Alternate Clean Transportation Expo held in Long Beach earlier this month was a spectacular display of engineering ingenuity by Natural Gas Vehicle providers. The event's theme was that America’s self sufficiency in natural gas has decoupled our energy resources from petroleum prices. But the consensus among the gathered engineers and scientists was to look beyond the current prices of petroleum alone, and consider that domestic self sufficiency includes keeping jobs at home.  read more »

Where Do the Children Play?


Are compact cities healthy cities? One argument for compact cities is that they are good for our health.  The New Zealand Public Health Advisory Committee in 2008, for example, cited four principles for healthy urban planning based on the density of development: urban regeneration, compact growth, focused decentralisation, and linear concentration.  The aim is less time in cars and more use of active transport.  read more »

World Urbanization Update: Delhi 2nd in a World of Smaller Urbanization


Perhaps the most surprising development in urban areas over the past year was the ascendancy of Delhi to rank second in the world in population, following only Tokyo – Yokohama. Based upon the new United Nations population estimate, the 7th annual edition of Demographia World Urban Areas places Delhi's population at 22.6 million.  read more »

Is The Information Industry Reviving Economies?


For nearly a generation, the information sector, which comprises everything from media and data processing to internet-related businesses, has been ballyhooed as a key driver for both national and regional economic growth. In the 1990s economist Michael Mandell predicted cutting-edge industries like high-tech would create 2.8 million new jobs over 10 years.  This turned out to be something of a pipe dream.  read more »

Can the Winnipeg Model Save Detroit?


Detroit, not only in the US but across the globe, has become the poster child for urban decay.  The city lost 25% of its population between 2000-2010, and over half its population since 1950.  Over 90,000 houses stand empty, and many neighborhoods have been completely abandoned.   read more »