The Myth of the Back-to-the-City Migration

Appearing in: Wall Street Journal Pundits, planners and urban visionaries—citing everything from changing demographics, soaring energy prices, the rise of the so-called “creative class,” and the need to battle global warming—have been predicting for years that America’s love affair with the suburbs will soon be over. Their voices have grown louder since the onset of […]

Omaha, Nebraska

Why the Great Plains are Great Once Again

Appearing in: Newsweek On a drizzly, warm June night, the bars, galleries, and restaurants along Broadway are packed with young revelers. Traffic moves slowly, as drivers look for parking. The bar at the Donaldson, a boutique hotel, is so packed with stylish patrons that I can’t get a drink. My friend, a local, and I […]

The Changing Demographics of America

Appearing in: Smithsonian Online Estimates of the United states population at the middle of the 21st century vary, from the U.N.’s 404 million to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 422 to 458 million. To develop a snapshot of the nation at 2050, particularly its astonishing diversity and youthfulness, I use the nice round number of 400 […]

The G-20’s New Balance of Power

Appearing in: The Daily Beast As world leaders gather in Canada this weekend, the nations with the most influence won’t be the high-tech mavens. Joel Kotkin on why traditional industries still matter in the post-information age. Are we entering the post-information age? For much of the last quarter century, conventional wisdom from some of the […]

Millennial Surprise

Appearing in: Forbes.com The boomer’s long domination of American politics, culture and economics will one day come to an end. A new generation–the so-called millennials–will be shaping the outlines of our society, but the shape of their coming reign could prove more complex than many have imagined. Conventional wisdom, particularly among boomer “progressives,” paints millennials–those […]

The Downside of Brit-Bashing

Appearing in: The Daily Beast Obama may be spanking BP’s brass today. But the other crisis—Europe’s economic mess—reminds us why it’s important that the U.S. and U.K. stick together. The controversy over the BP spill threatens to drive US-UK relations to a historic low point. When recently in London, several people worried that the President […]

L.A.’s Economy Is Not Dead Yet

Appearing in: Forbes.com “This is the city,” ran the famous introduction to the popular crime drama Dragnet. “Los Angeles, Calif. I work here.” Of course, unlike Det. Sgt. Joe Friday, who spoke those words every episode, I am not a cop, but Los Angeles has been my home for over 35 years. To Sgt. Friday, […]

oil industry

Energy’s Other Side

Appearing in: Forbes.com The BP oil spill disaster likely spells the slowing down, or even curtailing, of offshore oil drilling for the foreseeable future. You can take California, Florida and much of the east coast off the energy-drilling map for years, perhaps decades. But if the oil, gas and coal industries are widely detested on […]

The Future Of America’s Working Class

Appearing in: Forbes.com Watford, England, sits at the end of a spur on the London tube’s Metropolitan line, a somewhat dreary city of some 80,000 rising amid the pleasant green Hertfordshire countryside. Although not utterly destitute like parts of south or east London, its shabby High Street reflects a now-diminished British dream of class mobility. […]

The Broken Ladder: The Threat to Upward Mobility in the Global City

In the 21st Century – the first in which the majority of people will live in cities – this unique link between urbanism and upward mobility will become ever more critical.