On the Outside, Looking In

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The urban political base that was the foundation of African-American politics since the Civil Rights Movement is slowly eroding. Because of large-scale demographic trends at work in our metro areas, black political influence is in decline. Unless blacks become more inclusive (or intersectional) in our political approach, or better at building coalitions, we risk having our political concerns relegated to the margins, by virtue of where we live.  read more »

Still Set to Depopulate, Japan Raises Long Term Population Projection

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Japan is well known for its huge expected population loss, likely to be the greatest in the world for a major nation by the end of the century. However, things do not look as bleak as they did just five years ago.  read more »

Subjects:

Why the Greens Lost, and Trump Won

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When President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accords, embraced coal, and stacked his administration from people from fossil-fuel producing states, the environmental movement reacted with near-apocalyptic fear and fury. They would have been better off beginning to understand precisely why the country has become so indifferent to their cause, as evidenced by the victory not only of Trump but of unsympathetic Republicans at every level of government.  read more »

Transit’s Precipitous Decline

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Transit ridership in the first quarter of 2017 was 3.1 percent less than the same quarter in 2016, according the American Public Transportation Association’s latest ridership report. The association released the report without a press release, instead issuing a release complaining about the House Appropriations bill reducing funding for transit.  read more »

Capitalism Did Not Win the Cold War

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When the Soviet Union collapsed 26 years ago, it was generally agreed that the West had won the Cold War. This was affirmed by the prosperity and possibilities awaiting citizens of Western countries, as opposed to the political and economic stagnation experienced by those in Communist states.  read more »

Subjects:

Deep Ellum

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I recently wrote about the need to embrace reality when it comes to land use regulation, culture, politics, and economics. My interpretation can seem a bit… dark. It’s not my intention to discourage people looking to make a positive difference in their communities. I’ve just seen how things tend to play out and the process doesn’t exactly favor mom and pop operations that are juggling day jobs, raising kids, and working on limited budgets.  read more »

The ‘Not Good’, Bad & Ugly of Mapping

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Today, useful demographic, real estate, and economic information is instantly accessed from your bedroom laptop. A few decades ago you would have to make a trip to city hall and wait for someone to go through hundreds of files.

Information (data) is only as good as the source, hand entered from someone - subject to human error. Yet in reality, after 3 decades of use, mapping software --- used by virtually every city and county agency --- is actually getting worse not better.  read more »

Diners and the Decline of Shared Social Institutions

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Grub Street posted another installment in the decline of the New York diner genre.

I’ve made the point before that many of these old line institutions are going out of business because their product simply isn’t very good. I’m a fan of diner food, but I’ve never had a good meal in a Manhattan diner.  read more »

Should Transit Fares Cover Operating Costs?

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Maryland has long had a state law requiring transit systems to collect enough fares to cover at least 35 percent of their operating costs. While it is admirable to set a target, this particular target is disheartening for two reasons.  read more »

High-Flying California Charts Its Own Path -- Is A Cliff Ahead?

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As its economy bounced back from the Great Recession, California emerged as a progressive role model, with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman arguing that the state’s “success” was proof of the superiority of a high tax, high regulation economy.  read more »