Is Perestroika Coming In California?

bigstock-Jerry-Brown-27098351.jpg

When Jerry Brown was elected governor for a third time in 2010, there was widespread hope that he would repair the state’s crumbling and dysfunctional political edifice. But instead of becoming a Californian Mikhail Gorbachev, he has turned out to be something more resembling Konstantin Chernenko or Yuri Andropov, an aged hegemon desperately trying to save a dying system.  read more »

From California to Canberra, the Real Class War

bigstock-Australia-s-Parliament-House-b-16446572.jpg

Just under a year before she crawled over Kevin Rudd to claim the Prime Minister’s office, Julia Gillard visited the United States in her then capacity as Australia’s Education Minister. Her stay in Los Angeles took in the Technical and Trades College, where she brushed up on the teaching of “green skills,” a subject close to her heart.  read more »

America's Two Economies

bigstock-Finding-A-Job-Employment-1988292.jpg

Surely you’ve seen it in your own neck of the woods: great contrasts between prosperity and wealth on the one hand, and hardship and despair on the other. I have certainly seen it in every place I have been over the last four years.  read more »

How To Build a Culture of Bike Safety

bike lane, segregated, Vancouver.jpg

As I've settled into life in Florida, I've found myself for the first time using a bicycle as a form of transportation instead of as a form of leisure activity. And, as an urban designer involved in a team that designs bicycle and pedestrian master plans, I've become increasingly aware of the factors that make urban bike use a feasible — or not so feasible — choice.  read more »

Subjects:

Facebook’s False Promise: STEM's Quieter Side Of Tech Offers More Upside For America

bigstock-Computer-support-engineer-Iso-30901142.jpg

Facebook‘s botched IPO reflects not only the weakness of the stock market, but a systemic misunderstanding of where the true value of technology lies. A website that, due to superior funding and media hype, allows people to do what they were already doing — connecting on the Internet — does not inherently drive broad economic growth, even if it mints a few high-profile billionaires.  read more »

The Atlanta Transportation Tax: Too Much for Too Little

atlanta-transit-tax.JPG

On July 31, voters in a 10 counties of the 28 county Atlanta metropolitan area will vote on whether to raise the sales tax by one cent for $8 billion in transit and highway projects over 10 years. The measure is highly tilted towards transit spending. Sadly, this would do virtually nothing to reduce Atlanta's traffic or its travel times.  read more »

It Can Happen Here: The Screwed Generation in Europe and America

bigstock-Unemployed-Woman-5876023.jpg

In Madrid you see them on the streets, jobless, aimless, often bearing college degrees but working as cabbies, baristas, street performers, or—more often—not at all. In Spain as in Greece, nearly half of the adults under 25 don’t work.

Call them the screwed generation, the victims of expansive welfare states and the massive structural debt charged by their parents. In virtually every developed country, and increasingly in developing ones, they include not only the usual victims, the undereducated and recent immigrants, but also the college-educated.  read more »

Vermont: The Cost of Joining the Gentry Class

Vermont State House Garden.jpg

There’s nothing particularly modern about traditional rural gentrification. The English roots of successful upper-middle-class urbanites retiring to newly acquired country estates with large houses and small livestock flocks are 18th century or older. Perhaps its earliest American example is Alexander Hamilton’s flight from below-Wall-Street-New York City to the Haarlem that was then the farm country of northern Manhattan Island.  read more »

Subjects:

Latin America’s Demographic Divergence

bigstock-Central-America-to-USA-Countr-6842144.jpg

Increasingly, the debate over plummeting world birth rates is shifting to the developing world. This includes Latin America where on the whole rates are dropping quickly from 5.98 children per woman in 1960 to 2.20 children per woman in 2010.  read more »

Subjects:

China's Top Growth Centers

hefei-cover.jpg

Hefei, the capital of historically poor Anhui province emerged as China's top growth center among major metropolitan areas over the past 10 years. Metropolitan areas from the interior, the Yangtze Delta and the central and northern coast were the fastest growing, displacing Guangdong's Pearl River Delta, long the growth center for the country.   (Figure 1).

China's Trends in Context: China's growth rate has fallen substantially and the United Nations has projected that the nation will experience population decline starting between 2030 and 2035.  read more »