Switzerland: Why EU Immigrants Were Headed Off at the Pass

Swiss Alps.jpg

The only time the Swiss make US headlines, other than with the occasional Olympic biathlon medal, is when a majority of the voters exercise their franchise by voting down minarets or, as happened this month, banning free immigration from the European Union.

As the most democratic country on earth — major political questions are submitted to a popular vote — Switzerland allows what are called popular initiatives on any issue that can muster 100,000 signatures on a petition. It’s the only country in Europe that operates like "The Gong Show".  read more »

Subjects:

'Lone Eagle' Cities: Where The Most People Work From Home

home-office-on-back-deck.jpg

In an era of high unemployment and limited opportunity, more Americans are taking matters into their own hands and going to work for themselves out of their homes.  read more »

What America’s Fastest-Growing Economies Have in Common

mining-image.jpg

Midland and Odessa in West Texas. Pascagoula, a port town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Fargo and Bismarck, the two largest cities in North Dakota. These were among the USA’s 10 fastest-growing metro economies in 2013, as ranked by growth in real gross metropolitan product (GMP), and they have a few things in common.  read more »

We Had To Destroy the City In Order to Save It

la-density.jpg

As housing prices and rents soar out of control in tightly regulated cities like San Francisco and New York, many people have called for a significant loosening of zoning rules to permit greater densification. Many policies contribute to unaffordable housing, including rent control, historic districts, eminent domain abuse, and building codes, but zoning puts an absolute cap on dwelling units per acre thus is generally part of any solution to the supply problem.  read more »

Oregon's Sad Focus on 'Happiness'

john-kitzhaber.jpg

Oregon is a beautiful place, and, for many of the state's well-heeled residents, including many refugees from equally beautiful but overpriced California, economic growth not only is unimportant but is even a negative. Rather than create opportunity, the real issue, according to Gov. John Kitzhaber, is making sure the state ranks high on “the happiness index.” Forget sweating the hard stuff, and cozy up with a hot soy latte.  read more »

Subjects:

The Sea of Japan: Wading Into the Name-Game Waters

Sea of Japan.jpg

Call it 'Nomenclature Nationalism', or 'The Tyranny of Also Known As'. The Virginia state legislature ventured into unfamiliar foreign policy waters earlier this month when it passed a law that requires school text book publishers to add six little words in reference to the body of water usually known as the Sea of Japan: “also known as the East Sea”. New York and New Jersey have now also placed the item on their state agendas. The moves reflect a trend: Geographic nomenclature is becoming a frontline in nationalism, particularly in Asia.  read more »

Subjects:

Where New Yorkers are Moving

holland-tunnel.jpg

The American Community Survey has released domestic migration data that was collected over a five year period (2007 to 2011).  There is newer domestic migration data available, such as is annually provided by the Census Bureau's population estimates program, but not in the detail that the latest data provides.  read more »

Post-Nagin, New Orleans Is On Way To Becoming A Model City

Orleans.bourbon.arp.750pix.jpg

Last week’s conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on 20 charges of bribery and fraud marks the end of a tumultuous era in the city’s history, and perhaps also the beginning of a new era in American urban politics. Perhaps most remarkable was the almost total lack of protest in New Orleans over the downfall of Nagin, who had relied heavily on polarizing racial politics in his last five years in office.  read more »

Sustaining Prosperity: A Long Term Vision for the New Orleans Region

sustaining-prosperity-coverimage.jpg

This is the executive summary from a new report Sustaining Prosperity: A Long Term Vision for the New Orleans Region, authored by Joel Kotkin for Greater New Orleans, Inc. Download the full report from GNO, Inc. here: gnoinc.org/sustainingprosperity

The recovery of greater New Orleans represents one of the great urban achievements of our era. After decades of slow economic, political and social decline, hurricane Katrina seemed a kind of coup de grâce, smothering the last embers of the region’s vitality.  read more »

Southern California has Aging Issues

california-guy.jpg

Back in the 1960s, and for well into the 1980s, California stood at the cutting edge of youth culture, the place where trends started and young people clustered. “The California teen, a white, middle-class version of the American dream” raised in a world of “suburbs, cars, and beaches,” notes historian Kirse Granat May, literally shaped the national image of youth, from the Beach Boys and Barbie to Gidget.  read more »