America’s New Brainpower Cities

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

Brainpower rankings usually identify the usual suspects: college towns like Boston, Washington, D.C.,  and the San Francisco Bay area. And to be sure, these places generally have the highest per capita education levels. However, it’s worthwhile to look at the metro areas that are gaining college graduates most rapidly; this is an indicator of momentum that is […]

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Don’t Make Big-City Mayors Regional Rulers

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

Given the quality of leadership in Washington, it’s not surprising that many pundits are shifting focus to locally based solutions to pressing problems. This increasingly includes many progressives, who historically have embraced an ever-more expansive federal government. In many ways, this constitutes an extraordinarily positive development. Political decentralization is built into the very framework of […]

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Concentrated Wealth or Democracy, but Not Both

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

In many uncomfortable ways, American politics now resemble those that arose late in the Roman Republic. As wealth and land ownership concentrated in few hands, a state built on the discipline of soldiers who tended their own farms became ever more dominated by fractious oligarchs. As property consolidated into huge slave-owning estates, more citizens became landless […]

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Era of the Migrant Moguls

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

Southern California, once the center of one of the world’s most vibrant business communities, has seen its economic leadership become largely rudderless. Business interests have been losing power for decades, as organized labor, ethnic politicians, green activists, intrusive planners, crony developers and local NIMBYs have slowly supplanted the leaders of major corporations and industries, whose […]

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Taking the Main Street Off-ramp

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

To some, the $19 billion paid by Facebook for the Silicon Valley start-up What’s App represents the ultimate confirmation of the capitalist dream. After all, these riches are going first and foremost to plucky engineers whose goals are simply to make life better for the public. Got a problem with that? Yes, actually. Sure, people […]

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Energy Running Out of California

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

The recent decision by Occidental Petroleum to move its headquarters to Houston from Los Angeles, where it was founded over a half-century ago, confirms the futility and delusion embodied in California’s ultragreen energy policies. By embracing solar and wind as preferred sources of generating power, the state promotes an ever-widening gap between its declining middle- […]

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Bubble Trouble in Silicon Valley

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

Third-generation venture capitalist Tim Draper believes he has a solution for California’s problems that will make the Silicon Valley safe for its wealthy: secession. In a recent interview, Draper suggested that California be divided into six states, including one dominated by the Valley and its urban annex, San Francisco. By jettisoning California’s deeply troubled components […]

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The U.S. Middle Class Is Turning Proletarian

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

The biggest issue facing the American economy, and our political system, is the gradual descent of the middle class into proletarian status. This process, which has been going on intermittently since the 1970s, has worsened considerably over the past five years, and threatens to turn this century into one marked by downward mobility. The decline […]

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Southern California has Aging Issues

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

Back in the 1960s, and for well into the 1980s, California stood at the cutting edge of youth culture, the place where trends started and young people clustered. “The California teen, a white, middle-class version of the American dream” raised in a world of “suburbs, cars, and beaches,” notes historian Kirse Granat May, literally shaped the […]

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Possible Sign of Trouble for Los Angeles

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

A quarter century ago, the Los Angeles-Orange County area seemed on the verge of joining the first tier of global cities. As late as 2009, the veteran journalist James Flanigan could pen a quasiserious book, “Smile Southern California: You’re the Center of the Universe,” which maintained that L.A.’s port, diversity and creativity made it the […]

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