The Three Faces Of The Democratic Party Are Coming To A Head


In the wake of President Trump’s first official State of the Union speech, and the positive momentum in the economy, the putative “party of the people” now faces a much under addressed internal crisis. United against Trump, the factions which dominate the party increasingly operate at cross purposes.  read more »


Revisiting the "Big Theory" on American Urban Development


I like to think I've come a long way since the start of this blog nearly six years ago. There are some early things I've written that have become the focal point of my work today, things I tried to tackle but were better left alone, and things I initiated and warrant a deeper look. This post certainly fits in that third category.  read more »

Ground Transportation Gaps


A theme de rigour at transportation conferences these days is Americans’ reduced affinity for driving. It is a pervasive premise: that young people and urbanites only want “to get from point A to point B.”

Such claims ring true in numerous dense urban settings where transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Lyft and Uber, as well as bikesharing and carsharing are all flourishing. Car-free living is on the rise.  read more »


Handicapping Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters


Amazon is choosing a city for their second headquarters. The retail behemoth released its “short list” of the 20 cities on January 18.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, well-known tweeter Iowahawk (@iowahawkblog aka Austin’s David Burge) has enumerated the pros and cons of each location. He swagged the odds for each city.  read more »

Indianapolis Gets Another Amazon HQ2 Win


After just writing about how cities like Indianapolis, Columbus, and Raleigh had already won the HQ2 competition just by making the first cut, the New York Times adds further evidence in the form of a lengthy profile on Indianapolis.  read more »

A Year Into Trump's Peasant Rebellion


A year into office, Donald Trump remains something of an unlikely figure: a self-promoting and well-heeled demagogue who leads a bedraggled coalition of piratical capitalists, southerners, and people from the has-been or never were towns of Middle America. His fiercest opponents largely come from the apex of our society: the tech oligarchy, a rabidly hostile press and the cultural and academic hegemons.  read more »


The Screwed Millennial Generation Gets Smart


It’s been seven years since I wrote about “the screwed generation.” The story told has since become familiar: Millennials, then largely in their twenties, faced a future of limited economic opportunity, lower incomes, and too few permanent, high-paying jobs; of soaring college debt and structural insecurity (PDF).  read more »

Where the World’s Tallest Buildings are Concentrated


Over the past two decades, an unprecedented number of tall buildings have been constructed around the world. The world of skyscrapers began to change rapidly in 1998, with the completion of the Petronas Towers, twin towers in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). These 482 meter (1,483 foot) structures ended the quarter century reign of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower---442 meters, 1,451 feet) in Chicago.  read more »

U.S. Infrastructure: Not About To Collapse


A recent report from the RAND Corporation looks at America’s infrastructure and concludes that “not everything is broken.” In fact, what is broken, more than the infrastructure itself, is “our approach to funding and financing public works.” This is largely because governments by-pass market signals and rely on “often complicated and multilayered governance arrangements and competing public goals and preferences” to make decisions about w  read more »

Hamtramck: Scale and Institutional Frameworks


I recently published an article that explored some of the ways regulations make it difficult for small businesses to get off the ground and function. Among the examples I used from around the country was Bank Suey in Hamtramck, Michigan. My story was subsequently reposted on various other sites which the owner, Alissa Shelton, read and objected to. She felt I hadn’t accurately described her experience as a business owner and that I didn’t present her town in the right light.  read more »