More Londoners Turning to Cars

In an article by Edward Thicknesse, City A.M. reports that car use is rising in London, home of one of the high-income world’s best urban transit systems. Excerpts follow:

“New figures from Close Brothers Motor Finance, shared exclusively with City A.M., show that over a fifth of Londoners – 21 per cent – are now more likely to buy a car sooner than they had previously planned.”

“Seán Kemple, managing director of Close Brothers Motor Finance, told City A.M. that Londoners were now turning their back on Tube and bus travel.”

“With people urged to avoid public transport as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the UK has seen a resurgence in private car use over the last 12 months.”

Read the entire article at: Exclusive: Covid-19 drives Londoners behind the wheel sooner than planned.

Feudal Future Podcast — The Future of Africa's Middle Class

On today's episode of Feudal Future hosts Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky are joined by Bheki Mahlobo, Research Assistant at the Centre For Risk Analysis and Hugo Kruger, structural engineer and specialist in African economics.

[2:44] By 2050, 40% of the world’s population will be living in Africa

[6:59] Pros and Cons of Africa’s diversity

[12:45] Chinese model vs Democratic model

[33:00] Does Africa have a model for the future?

This show is presented by the Chapman Center for Demographics and Policy, which focuses on research and analysis of global, national and regional demographic trends and explores policies that might produce favorable demographic results over time.

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More podcast episodes & show notes at

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Learn more about the Feudal Future podcast.

Join the Beyond Feudalism Facebook group.

Read the Beyond Feudalism report.
Learn about Joel's book, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism.

Housing Affordability in the Major Russian Metropolitan Areas, 3rd Quarter 2020

The Institute for Urban Economics presents the research on Housing Affordability in the major Russian metro area (as of the 3rd quarter 2020).

Despite economic distress and incomes drop housing prices displayed a strong positive trend in 16 out of 17 major metro markets in Russia.

Actually in the pandemic crisis housing markets are getting more influenced by the overall financial situation as well as by fundamental economic factors.

The price growth was encouraged among other reasons by the state program on the provision of subsidies for the mortgage interest rates accompanied by decline of savings yields.

Read/download the report here

Compare Electricity Rates by State

Compare energy costs in your area with a tool from SaveOnEnergy®. Energy rates vary depending on where you live. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tracks electricity prices by state. The most recent reports from the EIA show the average residential electricity rate in the U.S. is 12.80 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).

SaveOnEnergy® provides customers with competitive energy plans from top providers, focusing specifically on the Texas deregulated energy market. They've developed a comparison tool that is updated monthly on electricity rates by state:

The Way You Move: Author Joel Kotkin on Migration Trends and the Future of CIties

Joel Kotkin joins Spencer Levy on The Weekly Take to discuss current migration trends and the future of cities.

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The Death of the American City

Why More Americans Should Leave Home and Move to Other States

The Future of Remote Work and What it Means for Houston

This week I want to focus on a single CSM story, because it's the most insightful I've seen on what post-pandemic work might look like: Remote work is here to stay – and it’s changing our lives. There are so many great nuggets, insights, and excerpts in it, which I'll follow with what I think it all means for Houston:

“What the pandemic made blazingly obvious,” says a Manhattan entertainment lawyer, “is that there is no need for a physical office.” Only a complete lack of imagination, he says, kept the realization from dawning sooner. “Before the pandemic, we wouldn’t have taken the question [of going virtual] seriously. It wouldn’t have seemed possible.” ...

Wrote one top manager in an email posted by economist Tyler Cowen: “Speaking from personal experience as a white-collar Exec, the productivity gains for our highest value workers has been immense. The typical time-sucks and distractions of in-office work have been eliminated.... Mental focus on productive efforts is near constant. Perhaps most importantly, work travel is not happening.” ...

“Even before the pandemic,” he says, “big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago were losing population to suburbs, lower-cost metro areas, and less expensive states in what Zillow called ‘a great reshuffling.’”

The market research firm Forrester predicts a 60-30-10 split among organizations: post-pandemic, 60% will be hybrid, 30% will be all-in-the-office, and 10% will be all-remote. ...

If the expert consensus proves right, Americans won’t go back, either.

“As life at work [when remote] will be less social, people will have to get more of their socializing from elsewhere. So people will choose where they live more based on family, friends, leisure activities, and non-work social connections. Churches, clubs, and shared interest socializing will increase in importance. People will also pick where to live more based on climate, price, and views. Beach towns will boom, and the largest cities will lose.”

Might the center of gravity shift at least somewhat from the office to the neighborhood – back, in a sense, to something closer to a pre-industrial model? What might it mean for our culture if the human contact that offices used to provide is replaced by closer-to-home human connections? And how might that affect the health of local communities and even levels of societal trust? ...

Here Mr. Kotkin quotes Lenin: “There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.”

Read the rest of this piece at Houston Strategies.

Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.

Housing Affordability Stinks!

Walk the World, hosted by Martin North, discusses the latest Demographia report on housing affordability. Why are prices relative to incomes so high?

Watch the video:

Regulation of Electric Power in Texas

Politicians, pundits, and the public at large have voiced deep concern that electricity was tragically unavailable to many Texans during the recent period of extreme cold. Claims that lax ERCOT planning caused the problem are exaggerated. “Grid independence” from federal regulation is manageable. The problem lies in the supervisory structure that regulates the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) - Texas’ Public Utility Commission (PUC), a three-member panel appointed by the state legislature, and our elected officials, ultimate guardians of the public interest.

To start, claims that ERCOT’s planning process is undisciplined are misleading. Published documents (December 2020, January 2021) evidence well-structured scenario planning of capacity, demand, and reserve margin, including grid requirements and fuel types. True, evolving events brought conditions not premised in these studies but laxness is an unwarranted criticism.

The next layer of electric power management: Oversight of ERCOT by the PUC. Here, critical commentary by knowledgeable observers is valid. To begin with, independent management of Texas’ power grid – that is, independent of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) – rests on reasonable logic, not merely the fabled secessionist tendencies of Texans.

Read the rest of this piece at Houston Strategies.

Jim Crump is an energy and chemical industry leader with a depth of industry experience gained with Shell, Accenture Consulting, DuPont, and ExxonMobil, who focuses on energy transition and sustainability.

Another Hit for Lousiville's Boondoggle Bridges

For years I’ve been writing about how the project to build two new bridge across the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky was an enormous boondoggle.

Years after they opened, the bad financial news continues to roll in. WDRB-TV in Louisville recently reported on a new revenue study conducted by the state of Kentucky in advance of refinancing its bonds.

The study found that due to COVID disruptions, the projected rise of remote work, and other factors, toll revenue is estimated to be $373 million less that previously projected over the next 30 years. This is a 6% decline.

Spread over three decades, this is a manageable amount, but it’s money that’s going to have to come out of the transportation budgets of the states of Indiana and Kentucky. Kentucky used traditional bonding for the project whereas Indiana used a public-private partnership. But Indiana’s P3 structure is a so-called “availability payments” model, which means the private vendor gets their money no matter what. Unlike with the Indiana Toll Road deal, the state of Indiana has all the revenue risk on this project.

Read the rest of this piece at Heartland Intelligence.

Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker and writer on a mission to help America’s cities and people thrive and find real success in the 21st century. He focuses on urban, economic development and infrastructure policy in the greater American Midwest. He also regularly contributes to and is cited by national and global media outlets, and his work has appeared in many publications, including the The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The Case for Suburban Renewal

As COVID-19’s lasting impacts on where we prefer to live and work become more and more apparent, the importance of suburban and regional renewal becomes more and more important.

With that in mind, The Suburban Alliance has released a 2021 call for action on suburban renewal, summarised in a 3½ minute social media video. It contains some compelling figures on where our capital works priorities have been in the past, and makes the case for ‘flattening the curve” so that high growth but economically disadvantaged suburbs receive at least equal attention to privileged inner city areas in the future.

Click or tap to watch the video below:

The Suburban Alliance is a not-for-profit collaboration of people and businesses who believe that opportunities for greater suburban quality of life, business opportunity and economic expansion could get more attention and support than they currently do. Visit website: