The Future of Cities: Housing Unaffordability – How We Got There and What To Do About It

Until 1970, owner-occupied housing was broadly affordable in the U.S.A., at a price-to-income ratio of 2.6. The higher ratios today are evidence that supply has not kept up with demand.

The Future of Cities: California’s Inland Empire

It’s always been a mug’s fame to bet against New York City, which was counted out only to quickly bounce back after 9/11 and again in 2008 after the financial system nearly collapsed.

The Future of Cities: The Evolution of New York City Politics

It’s always been a mug’s fame to bet against New York City, which was counted out only to quickly bounce back after 9/11 and again in 2008 after the financial system nearly collapsed.

The Depopulation Bomb

Today, the spectre haunting the global order is not communism, as Marx predicted, but seemingly relentless demographic decline. We can already see its consequences in everything from the fight over pensions in France to the persistent labour shortages across almost all the high-income world. In the future, a lack of human labour is also likely to accelerate a shift towards automation, reshaping economic and political conflict for decades to come.

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The Future of Cities: The Texas Triangle

The metropolitan areas that form the “Texas Triangle” —Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio— are emerging as distinctive models of 21st century urbanism.

Race and State

The upcoming ruling by the US Supreme Court on racial preferences is certain to ignite yet another divisive debate about whether or not a person’s ethnic heritage should determine their treatment by the state and major institutions. Read more

The Future of Cities: Indianapolis

Indianapolis was an unlikely candidate to emerge as a midwestern demographic and economic leader. It is an artificially created city, chosen by fiat as a centrally located capital for Indiana.

Ex-Urbia

“Town and country must be married and out of this joyous union will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilization.”
— Ebenezer Howard, 1898”

All cities must evolve over time. Those that fail to do so end up, at best, like Venice, Vienna, or Florence: lifestyle and tourist hubs. Read more

Energy Colonialism Will Worsen the Urban-Rural Divide

In his drive to conquer China, Mao Zedong and his most famous general, Lin Biao, stoked “a peasant revolution” that eventually overwhelmed the cities. In those days, most Chinese toiled on the land, a vast manpower reservoir for the Communist insurgency. Today, in a world where a majority lives in urban settlements, such a strategy would be doomed to failure.

The small percentage of rural and small-town residents in most advanced countries — generally under 20 percent — lack the numbers to overwhelm the rest of society. Political and economic elites feel free to ignore the countryside, but they may find they do so at their peril. Although now a mere slice of the population, rural areas remain critical suppliers of food, fiber (like cotton), and energy to the rest of the economy.

Residents in agricultural areas have good reason to feel put upon. Their industries are often targeted by regulators and disdained by the metropolitan cognoscenti. They may not be hiding in the caves of Yan’an, but farming communities from the Netherlands to North America are rebelling against extreme government regulations, such as banning or restricting critical fertilizers or the enforced culling of herds. Meat and dairy producers are assaulted in a hysterical article in the New York Times that predicts imminent “mass extinction” caused by humans and suggests that to keep the planet from “frying” we will need to reduce meat and dairy consumption in short order.

This is occurring at a time — following decades of remarkable boosts in agricultural productivity — when food insecurity and high prices are again plaguing even wealthy countries but particularly the poorer countries in Africa. This shortfall has worsened, in part due to the Russia–Ukraine conflict, which has reduced the reliability of food exports from the Ukrainian bread basket, making Western production more critical.

Regardless, the inhabitants of the periphery — the vast area from the metropolitan fringe to the deepest countryside — and the farming that flourishes there will face an extraordinarily well-funded green movement that is now depicting “industrial farming” as one of the principal villains in their ever-expanding climate melodrama. Although greens may support the notion of small farmers using artisanal methods, and the wealthy certainly can afford the much higher food prices, niche farming cannot support most farming communities or provide ordinary consumers with reasonably priced groceries.

The regulatory tsunami reflects attitudes in the media, the academy, and the bureaucracy that generally disparage the periphery, too often regarded as depopulating, depressed places without a future. Rural residents are seen as primitives, driven by “rural rage.” They tend to be more skeptical about climate-change policies and a promised “just transition,” which only makes them even more deplorable.

Read the rest of this piece at National Review.


Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo: Drenaline via Wikimedia under CC 3.0 License.

The Future of Cities: Recalibrating Expectations: Lessons From Youngstown, Ohio

As Youngstown, Ohio lost its industrial base, it faced long-term effects from disinvestment and globalization – and a need for economic renewal. What lessons did the city learn, and can they be applied elsewhere?