As Goes The Suburbs, So Goes The Nation?

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The sound-bite version of American politics tends to come from our dominant media centers on the coasts, while the right-wing counter-culture snarls back from the smaller cities and towns of the heartland. Yet the real future of America, including that of its politics, lies in a place with little voice in the political debates — suburbia (which includes the more far-flung exurbs).  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Madrid

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Madrid is the capital of Spain, as well as its largest built-up urban area, with an estimated 6.4 million population in 2018. Madrid’s urban area plus economically connected rural and small town areas make up the metropolitan area, which has nearly 7,000,000 residents. The area has an urban population density of 4,700 per square kilometer (12,200 per square mile), ranking it third among the European Union’s built-up urban areas over 1,000,000 population.  read more »

Growth In America Is Tilting To Smaller Cities

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We are often told that America’s future lies in our big cities. That may no longer be entirely true. Some of the strongest job creation and population growth is now occurring in cities of 1 million people or less.  read more »

Do Big Cities Make Us Dumber?

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You may remember Geoffrey West from his TED Talk about the scaling laws of cities that got a lot of press a while back. He has now turned his research findings into a book. Famed physicist Freeman Dyson just reviewed it for the New York Review of Books. His review includes this curious section about genetic drift I found interesting.  read more »

Finance Flies West, and South

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The recently announced departure of New York City-based Alliance Bernstein for Nashville, taking more than 1,000 jobs with it, suggests a potential loosening of New York’s iron grip on the financial-services industry.  read more »

The Urban Frontier Cabin

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The current conundrum for many people is simple. You might want to live in one of the expensive bubbles of economic and cultural vibrancy in order to access good paying jobs and upward mobility. But the cost of property and rent are insane. You could live in a radically less expensive part of the country where homes and rent are mercifully low, but not everyone longs for a tract home on the edge of Houston. I’ve argued for years that there are all sorts of cost effective towns and cities in the Midwest that are far better than many people assume.  read more »

Larger Metropolitan Areas Dominated by Suburban & Exurban Population

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Since 2014, the City Sector Model has been used to portray population trends by functional area within the 53 major metropolitan areas (major metropolitan areas). The current edition classifies small areas (zip code tabulation areas) by demographic factors into five categories (Figure 1). The first two are urban core (central business district and inner ring), while the last three are suburban or exurban.  read more »

Slouching Towards Luxury

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An article about the resurgence of independent bookstores has been making the rounds.

"Between 2009 and 2015, more than 570 independent bookstores opened in the U.S., bringing the total to more than 2,200; that’s about a 35 percent jump after more than a decade of decline. The surprise recovery may hold lessons for other small retailers. Stores like Anderson’s are helping Harvard Business School professor Ryan Raffaelli solve an economic mystery. “I often say, these are stories of hope,” Raffaelli laughed."

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Subjects:

Birthplace of Capitalism

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Today it is commonly believed that advanced business is a European or even American invention, while the Middle East is a place of eternal non-economic conflict. Yet in reality, the first enterprises and banks evolved in Iraq and Syria, many millennia ago. For most of human history, the bazaars of Aleppo, Baghdad, and Hormuz have been among the most outstanding, and prosperous, centres of global commerce.  read more »

The Best Cities For Jobs 2018: Dallas And Austin Lead The Surging South

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Among America’s largest metropolitan areas, the economic leaders come in two flavors: Southern-fried and West Coast organic. The first group flourishes across a broad range of industries, fed by strong domestic in-migration and a friendly business climate. The other is driven largely by technology and high-end business services clustered around expensive but highly desirable urban areas.  read more »