The Great Exception: San Francisco’s SoMa Neighborhood

iStock_000006506200XSmall.jpg

In recent months, one has not been able to open a newspaper without being reminded of the havoc that is being wreaked on the U.S. economy. The subprime mortgage debacle coupled with skyrocketing energy prices have caused many middle class Americans to lose confidence in taking out home loans and putting a screeching halt to consumer spending.  read more »

Subjects:

New York’s Next Fiscal Crisis

iStock_000005512088XSmall.jpg

Mayor Bloomberg needs to prepare the city for the crash of the Wall Street gravy train.  read more »

Thoughts on the Future of Seattle: A Vision of 2040 for Pugetopolis

iStock_000003558124XSmall.jpg

I have been attacked as a defender of ‘sprawl’ although I consider myself a man of the left, with a political-economy philosophy that is ‘social democratic – far to the left of the contemporary Democratic party. I view global warming as very serious, but consider continuing global warfare over resources, land and religion, and increasing national and global economic and political inequality as even more critical.  read more »

Questioning Conventional Wisdom: Should Poor Folks Stay Put?

iStock_000006136024XSmall.jpg

There is reason to think again about the now-current idea of dispersing the population of poor folks in the Skid Row district of downtown Los Angeles and similar precincts in other cities across the U.S.

There’s cause to pause over notions such as mixing “affordable housing” that’s priced in the range of working-class or poor folks alongside spiffy market-rate units.  read more »

The Entrenchment of Urban Poverty

iStock_000005861228XSmall.jpg

How high urban housing costs and income inequality have exacerbated urban poverty

A few years ago, on a drive from New York to Washington, I turned off I-95 in Baltimore to see H.L. Mencken’s home. Abandoned row houses lined the street, some boarded up with plywood, others simply gutted. Signs offering fast cash for houses and a number to call for unwanted cars outnumbered pedestrians. It was a landscape of rot and neglect with few signs of renewal and investment.  read more »

Dayton, Ohio: The Rise, Fall and Stagnation of a Former Industrial Juggernaut

iStock_000001121826XSmall.jpg

What Dayton can tell cities about staying competitive in the global economy  read more »

Long Island Express: The Surprisingly Short Commutes of Suburban New Yorkers

iStock_000002300633XSmall.jpg

One of the most enduring urban myths suggests that most jobs are in the core of metropolitan areas, making commuting from the far suburbs more difficult. Thus, as fuel prices have increased, many have expected that people will begin moving from farther out in the suburbs to locations closer to the cores. Indeed, in some countries, such as Australia, much of the urban planning regime of the last decade has been based upon the assumption that urban areas must not be constrained because the residents on the fringe won’t be able to get to work.  read more »

Sacramento 2020

iStock_000005245970XSmall.jpg

Even in the best of times, Sacramento tends to be a prisoner to low self-esteem. The region's population and economic growth have been humming along nicely for the past decade, drawing ever more educated workers from overpriced coastal counties, but the region's leaders have often seemed defensive about their flourishing town.  read more »

Sacramento: A City on the Verge?

iStock_000001616856XSmall.jpg

Sacramento is a city on the verge. Over the last 20 years, I have watched it emerge from a "cow town" lassitude. This has been viewed as a well earned epithet by newcomers from either coast and a fond trademark to many long time Sacramento traditionalists. Although there was evidence of hyperbole in both camps, the city's lack of cultural and intellectual activities, its dependence on an economy driven by agricultural and state government has contributed to creating an often torpid local environment.  read more »

In Praise of Manufacturing & Industrial Zones

iStock_000004364647XSmall.jpg

My father made the huge piece of art that sits proudly on display at the entrance of the Daley Center Plaza in Chicago. Pablo Picasso designed this particular sculpture—or conceived it…or bent it with artistic vision…or however you want to put it.

But my father made it.

I’ve believed that since I was a small child. It’s a belief based mostly in filial pride, but there is some truth to it. Picasso, as I understand it, ordered the material for his untitled sculpture from the steel mill where my father worked at the time.  read more »