Journalists in older cities like New York, Boston or San Francisco may see the role of rail transit as critical to a functioning modern city. In reality, rail transit has been a financial and policy failure outside of a handful of cities. read more »
If you haven’t seen The Big Short, the movie version of Michael Lewis’s fascinating book about the explosion of the housing bubble, you should see it for the entertainment value alone. The film tells an important story with humor, relative accuracy and strong acting. It is so good that it has been nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. But the film largely ignores the experiences of the homeowners who signed notes and mortgages that backed the securities and derivatives that the film describes. A decade later, millions of working-class homeowners are still suffering from results of the greed and recklessness so well documented by the movie. read more »
Headlines were recently made recently as Japan finally experienced a long predicted official decline in population. This is widely expected to be the beginning of a long decline in population, which the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research has projected will drop Japan’s population from its present 127 million to 43 million by 2100 (Chart). read more »
The first knock on Walmart was that it gutted the mom-and-pop businesses of small-town America. So what happens to those towns when Walmart decides to leave?
What is the future of American retail? The keys might be found not only in the highly contested affluent urban areas but also in the countryside, which is often looked down upon and ignored in discussion of retail trends. read more »
There’s a philosophical debate about what is “sustainable.” The two dominant camps tend to advocate on behalf of either the hyper efficient dense city or bucolic rural self sufficiency. Personally, I’m not a fan of either. read more »
We regularly hear the argument that living in a compact city is more affordable than living in one that is more spread out. But what does the data actually show about the cost of housing in compact cities, and the cost of transport in these dense places? The relationship between those two expenses and the compactness of a city could tell us much about which kinds of places are most affordable, since those two costs together dominate household budgets. read more »
“No man needs sympathy because he has to work, because he has a burden to carry,” began Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. president from 1901 to 1910. “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” read more »
For hundreds of years, New York City has been viewed by Americans and foreigners alike as the default capital of the United States. Though not the official political capital city, New York, New York has been commonly viewed, and certainly among its own residents, as the de facto center for American culture, music, sports, food, and art.
Although far more people migrate out of the New York area than come, it remains a primary destination for those who—in the words of Frank Sinatra—want to be a part of it. read more »
To the untrained eye, looking at a map of metropolitan America can lead one to the conclusion that at least half the nation’s land area is covered by urbanization. This is illustrated by Figure 1 below, which is a Census Bureau map of metropolitan areas as defined in 2013. These areas cover approximately 1.675 million square miles, which represents 47 percent of the US land area. read more »
California may be the country’s most important and influential state for technology, culture and lifestyle, but has become something of a cipher in terms of providing national political leaders. Not one California politician entered the 2016 presidential race in either party and, looking over the landscape, it’s difficult to see even a potential contender emerging over the coming decade. read more »