Being Dense About Dwellings: Check the Numbers!

rainbow-springs.jpg

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?

baby-flag.jpg

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"

obama-progress.jpg

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 »

The Evolving Urban Form: Milan

cox-milan-lead.jpg

Italy's population growth has been stagnating in recent decades, but has turned around during the last decade, with the annual growth rate increasing 16 times (from 0.04 percent to 0.69 percent). According to United Nations data, Italy added more international migrants in the 2000s (3.8.5 million) than it added people in any ten year period since 1960. Some of the strongest growth has been in the Milan metropolitan region, which has begun to grow again after years of stagnation.  read more »

The Ambiguous Triumph of the “Urban Age”

chicago-suburbs.jpg

In its State of the Population report in 2007, the United Nations Population Fund made this ringing declaration:  “In 2008, the world reaches an invisible but momentous milestone: For the first time in history, more than half its human population, 3.3 billion people, will be living in urban areas.”  read more »

Waging a Green Jihad on Suburban Homes

australia-apartments.jpg

It seems rarely a month passes without some new assault on the lifestyle and housing choice preferred by the overwhelming majority of Australians: the detached suburban home. Denigrated by a careless media as ”McMansions” or attacked as some archaic form of reckless housing choice which is suddenly “no longer appropriate” (according to some planning or environmental fatwa), the detached home is under a constant assault of falsely laid allegation and intellectual derision.  read more »

Beyond Words: A 9/11 Remembrance

Floating Lanterns, 9-11-2010, NYC.jpg

On September 7, 2001, a Friday, the communications staff of New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gathered to plan for the week ahead. I had joined the Giuliani administration the previous April as a speechwriter, one of three on the mayor’s staff.

The biggest event on the schedule was the primary election on Tuesday, September 11, when New Yorkers would choose each party’s nominee to succeed Giuliani. The mayor would be casting his own ballot at Public School 66 on East 88th Street at 7 a.m., followed by a fairly routine round of staff meetings.  read more »

Ground Zero Tolerance: With No Politician Willing to Take Charge, the 9/11 Recovery has Dragged on Far Too Long

groundzero.jpg

This piece originally appeared in the Village Voice.

A decade into its unhappy and unexpectedly long life, Ground Zero has undergone its annual if short-lived transformation from New York politicos' red-headed stepchild to belle of the ball, at least until September 12.  read more »

A Fly in the Econometrics? Exaggerating Urbanization

cox-fly-lead.jpg

I was surprised to read in Science Digest that the increase in the urban land from 2000 to 2030 could be as much as 590,000 square miles (1.53 million square kilometers), which Science Digest went on to say would house an increase in the urban population of 1.47 billion people.  read more »

The Die-Hard Recession Heads Off The Charts

Recession-a long alley.jpg

"By 1970, the governments of the wealthy countries began to take it for granted that they had truly discovered the secret of cornucopia. Politicians of left and right alike believed that modern economic policy was able to keep economies expanding very fast -- and endlessly. That left only the congenial question of dividing up the new wealth that was being steadily generated."

Those words, from a Washington Post editorial more than twenty-five years ago, echoed the beliefs not only of  read more »