Japan Census 2015: Decline Less than Projected


Headlines were recently made recently as Japan finally experienced a long predicted official decline in population. This is widely expected to be the beginning of a long decline in population, which the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research has projected will drop Japan’s population from its present 127 million to 43 million by 2100 (Chart).  read more »

What Happens When Walmart Dumps You


The first knock on Walmart was that it gutted the mom-and-pop businesses of small-town America. So what happens to those towns when Walmart decides to leave?

What is the future of American retail? The keys might be found not only in the highly contested affluent urban areas but also in the countryside, which is often looked down upon and ignored in discussion of retail trends.  read more »

Suburban Sustainablity


There’s a philosophical debate about what is “sustainable.” The two dominant camps tend to advocate on behalf of either the hyper efficient dense city or bucolic rural self sufficiency. Personally, I’m not a fan of either.  read more »

What Price Urban Density?

San Francisco neighborhood.jpg

We regularly hear the argument that living in a compact city is more affordable than living in one that is more spread out. But what does the data actually show about the cost of housing in compact cities, and the cost of transport in these dense places? The relationship between those two expenses and the compactness of a city could tell us much about which kinds of places are most affordable, since those two costs together dominate household budgets.  read more »

Your City Is Not the Next Silicon Valley


“No man needs sympathy because he has to work, because he has a burden to carry,” began Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. president from 1901 to 1910. “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”  read more »

Why Jersey City is the New Brooklyn


For hundreds of years, New York City has been viewed by Americans and foreigners alike as the default capital of the United States. Though not the official political capital city, New York, New York has been commonly viewed, and certainly among its own residents, as the de facto center for American culture, music, sports, food, and art.

Although far more people migrate out of the New York area than come, it remains a primary destination for those who—in the words of Frank Sinatra—want to be a part of it.  read more »

America’s Most Urban States


To the untrained eye, looking at a map of metropolitan America can lead one to the conclusion that at least half the nation’s land area is covered by urbanization. This is illustrated by Figure 1 below, which is a Census Bureau map of metropolitan areas as defined in 2013. These areas cover approximately 1.675 million square miles, which represents 47 percent of the US land area.  read more »

California Valued for Cash, Not Candidates


California may be the country’s most important and influential state for technology, culture and lifestyle, but has become something of a cipher in terms of providing national political leaders. Not one California politician entered the 2016 presidential race in either party and, looking over the landscape, it’s difficult to see even a potential contender emerging over the coming decade.  read more »


The Great Vancouver Exodus: Why I’m Almost Ready to Leave the City


It was one of those Sundays in early January when you wake up to bright, stark sunlight streaming through your blinds.

My fellow Vancouverites might know the one. It’s been grey and dreary for months. You open your curtains to a brave new world and see, with sudden, startling clarity, all of the dust that had gathered in the cracks of your life while you had been hibernating through the long winter.  read more »

Now They Get It: Health, Class, and Economic Restructuring


In the past few months, many commentators have responded to a recent study that shows increasing death rates among middle-aged white Americans. Some have suggested that the increase is the consequence of material poverty resulting from economic restructuring and the neoliberal agenda over the last several decades.  read more »