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California Bad to its Bones

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Any serious student of California knows that the state’s emergence in the past century reflected a triumph of engineering. From the water systems, the dredged harbors, the power stations and the freeway system, California overcame geographical limits of water, power and its often-unmanageable coastline to create a beacon of growth and opportunity. That was then, […]

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Battle of the Upstarts: Houston vs. San Francisco Bay

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

“Human happiness,” the Greek historian Herodotus once observed, “does not abide long in one place.” In its 240 years or so of existence, the United States has experienced similar ebbs and flows, with Boston replaced as the nation’s commercial capital first by Philadelphia and then by New York. The 19th century saw the rise of […]

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Why Suburbia Irks Some Conservatives

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

For generations, politicians of both parties – dating back at least to Republican Herbert Hoover and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt – generally supported the notion of suburban growth and the expansion of homeownership. “A nation of homeowners,” Franklin Roosevelt believed, “of people who own a real share in their land, is unconquerable.” Support for suburban growth, […]

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Southern California Becoming Less Family-Friendly

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

The British Talmudic scholar Abraham Cohen noted that, throughout history, children were thought of as “a precious loan from God to be guarded with loving and fateful care.” Yet, increasingly and, particularly, here in Southern California, we are rejecting this loan, and abandoning our role as parents. This, of course, is a process seen around […]

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Class Issues, Not Race, Will Likely Seal the Next Election

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and along the U.S.-Mexico border may seem to suggest that race has returned as the signature issue in American politics. We can see this already in the pages of mainstream media, with increased calls for reparations for African-Americans, and expanded amnesties for the undocumented. Increasingly, any opposition to Obama’s policies is […]

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L.A. Hanging on as a Top Global City

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

For more than a century, Southern Californians have dreamed of their region becoming host to a great global city. At the turn of the 20th century Henry Huntington, who built much of the area’s first mass-transit system, proclaimed that “Los Angeles is destined to become the most important city in the world.” Of course, builders […]

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Democrats Risk Blue-Collar Rebellion

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

If California is to change course and again become a place of opportunity, the impetus is likely to come not from the perennially shrinking Republican Party but from working-class and middle-class Democrats. This group, long quiescent, has emerged most notably in opposition to the state’s anti-global warming cap-and-trade policies, which will force up energy prices. […]

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To Fight Inequality, Blue States Need To Shift Focus To Blue-Collar Jobs

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

In the coming election, we will hear much, particularly from progressives, about inequality, poverty and racism. We already can see this in the pages of mainstream media, with increased calls for reparations for African-Americans, legalizing undocumented immigrants and a higher minimum wage. There’s no question that minorities’ economic wellbeing has deteriorated since the economy cratered […]

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Don’t Be So Dense About Housing

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Southern California faces a crisis of confidence. A region that once imagined itself as a new model of urbanity – what the early 20th century minister and writer Dana Bartlett called “the better city” – is increasingly being told that, to succeed, it must abandon its old model and become something more akin to dense Eastern […]

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Growth, Not Redistribution the Cure for Income Inequality

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Ever since the publication this spring of Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the 21st Century,” conservatives and much of the business press, such as the Financial Times, have been on a jihad to discredit the author and his findings about increased income inequality in Western societies. Some have even equated growing attacks on inequality with anti-Semitism, with at least […]

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