Urumqi: World’s Remotest Large City (The Evolving Urban Form)

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Urumqi (alternate spelling “Wulumuqi”) is the most remote large city in the world from a seacoast. Urumqi is approximately 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) from the Bay of Bengal, in the Indian Ocean, just south of Dhaka, Bangladesh (Image 1). It is farther from Beijing, China’s national capital than to India’s national capital, Delhi.  read more »

The Hollowing-Out of the California Dream

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Progressives praise California as the harbinger of the political future, the home of a new, enlightened, multicultural America. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has identified California Senator Kamala Harris as the party leader on issues of immigration and race.  read more »

Whatever Happened to Civility in America?

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The “us vs. them” tone of American politics, most visibly emanating from the White House, but infecting all the country’s political rhetoric, has now spread to daily life. The polarization leads some to question the country’s ability to keep its democratic traditions and hold together as one nation.  read more »

The Buffalo Billion Reconsidered

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You may recall my City Journal feature on Buffalo from 2015. This was written about the time New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion program – a pledge to spend $1 billion in state funds to bring back the city economically – was in the earlier stages of development.  read more »

Millennials Reinvent Localism in Their Search for Community

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It’s common knowledge that millennials long for "community." What’s less understood is the concrete expression of that longing in cities and suburbs across America, especially now that the older tier of millennials between ages 28 and 34 are buying homes, starting companies, running for office, and throwing around their consumer weight.  read more »

Democrats Are Helping Trump to Win Re-Election

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Donald Trump and the Republican Party, increasingly his subsidiary, should be headed to a reckoning of historic proportions. But, despite his own often unforced errors, Trump may have found an unwitting ally far more impactful than Vladimir Putin: the Democratic Party.  read more »

Little Experiments on the Cheap

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Part of my ongoing plan to create a more resilient and adaptable life includes finding alternative ways to satisfy daily needs with simple affordable work-arounds. I want electric lights at night and I want to charge my cell phone and small devices even if the power goes out in a storm. This little $80 portable foldable solar panel does the trick. I placed my wallet next to the folded panels for scale. The package is the size of a book.  read more »

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

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Urban planners predicted that Millennials would prefer renting apartments in dense cities over owning homes in low-density suburbs. So they told regional governments to restrict low-density development and promote high-density housing instead. Now, Millennials are 18 percent less likely to own homes than their parents did when their parents were young: in 1990, 45 percent of 25-34-year-olds owned their own homes; by 2015, it was just 37 percent.  read more »

EU Auditor High-Speed Rail Criticisms: Lessons for North America and Australia

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The European Court of Auditors issued a report in late June critical of Europe’s development of high-speed rail. The European Court of Auditors is described on its website as: “the EU's independent external auditor, the European Court of Auditors looks after the interests of EU taxpayers.  read more »

A Corporate Wealth Tax: Making the Oligarchs Pay

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It may be en vogue among a certain group to express concern about the influence of Russian oligarchs within our political system, but perhaps we should all be a bit more concerned about the home-grown variety, the Silicon Valley and tech billionaires. Given their huge wealth, influence and control over information, we need to start having serious discussions about how best to deal with their impact on our democracy, which they increasingly seem to want to co-opt with their money and power.  read more »