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April 28, 2008

Richard Florida

Cities and Suburbs

Felix Salmon reports on the real estate panel at the Milken Institute's Global Conference, highlighting this interchange between Sam Zell Chairman and CEO of the Tribune Company and Bobby Turner of Canyon Capital Advisors.

Turner, channeling the likes of Ryan Avent and Richard Florida, said that consumer prefences are going to move away from the suburban lifestyle as transportation costs soar. Zell agreed, pointing to enormous growth of housing in what he called "24/7 cities", putting a lot of that growth down to the societal deferral of marriage. But as cities become ever more expensive and the suburbs become ever cheaper, he was asked, won't corporations move out to the suburbs? No. Motorola rented 200,000 square feet of office space in downtown Chicago last year, he said, even as they have over half a million vacant square feet not far away in McHenry county. If the employees are moving to the cities, then the companies are going to have to follow suit.

Yep, they sure are.

April 26, 2008


This edition of Closer Than We Think on mega-regions of 1975 was published in 1961 - the same year Jean Gottman published his classic, Megalopolis. The text reads:

Tomorrow's map will be vastly different from today's. Great patches over much of it will indicate the super-metropolis cities which are already evolving out of our once-separated urban centers.

The "regional cities" of tomorrow will be nearly continuous complexes of homes, business centers, factories, shops and service places. Some will be strip or rim cities; some will be star-shaped or finger-shaped; others will be in concentric arcs or parallels; still others will be "satellite towns" around a nucleus core. They will be saved from traffic self-suffocation by high-speed transportation - perhaps monorails that provide luxurious nonstop service between the inner centers of the supercities, as well as links between the super-metropolises themselves.

Via Paleo-Future, pointer from Chris Briem.

David Schleicher, Climenko Fellow at Law Harvard Law School, has an intriguing new paper "Why is There No Partisan Competition in City Council Elections? The Role of Election Law," coming in the Journal of Law and Politics. His basic argument is that there is "nothing natural about the lack of partisan competition in elections in American cities. Instead, the lack of competition is likely the result of a system of anticompetitive election laws that make it difficult for the local major party that is the minority to differentiate itself from its national parent. When combined with substantial residential segregation by political party and a first-past-the-post system that creates serious barriers to entry for third-party entrants, the result is uncompetitive and unrepresentative local elections."

The complete paper is here.

April 24, 2008

Aleem : Urban Digs

Rising from the Sands

From next week's Economist:

A great piece on the rise of the Middle East economies including an interesting story with some background on the City of Dubai.

Having been to Dubai a few times, I can tell you that the story out there is compelling.  This one city is home to a quarter of our planet's construction cranes, they are spending massively to diversify their economy into industries such as IT, bio, media and manufacturing as oil reserves shrink.  Separately, Dubai has allocated a massive $15 billion dollars for public infrastructure alone over the next five years.

But is this sustainable?  Even though many Middle East cities are flourishing attracting talent and harnessing technological assets, can these places be models for the other big "T" that being, tolerance?   What do you think?

Aleem Kanji

Richard Florida

CO2 Map


Source: Purdue University's Vulcan Project.

A list of the top emitting counties after the jump.

Continue reading "CO2 Map" »

Richard Florida

Political Geography


This superb graphic by Amanda Cox of the NY Times (via Andrew Sullivan).

More interesting primary maps and graphics here and here.

April 23, 2008

than the thousands upon thousands of words I've read today about Pennsylvania and the Democratic primary.


The graphic is from the Iowa Electronic Markets, and reflect "real-money futures markets where contract payoffs will be determined by the outcomes of the 2008 U. S. National Conventions."

Richard Florida

Global Marshall Plan

Gordon Brown calls for one:

And when today cynics dismiss as and impossible dream or naïve idealism proposals to create the institutions of a truly global society let us remind them that people used to think black civil rights a distant dream, the end of the cold war an impossible hope, the ending of apartheid in our generation the work of dreamers, debt relief for the poorest countries an unrealisable idea ... And so let us have confidence we can discover anew in ourselves the values we share in common,  ... and let us have confidence we can create a global covenant across nations to make peace and prosperity real in our generation.

The rest is here.

April 22, 2008

An innovative analysis by Eric Cadora highlights "million-dollar blocks" -- individual city blocks where more than one million dollars per block per year are spent to incarcerate individuals from that block.  Some blocks cost over five million dollars per year...A million dollars, coincidentally, is roughly what it would cost to pay for one patrol officer, twenty-four hours a day, every day for one year.

Via Tyler Cowen, here. Does it even surprise you?

Richard Florida

The Consigliere

The Financial Times profiles Geoff Beattie, the force behind the Thompson-Reuters merger.

As president of Woodbridge, the family investment company, Mr Beattie, 48, is often described as the consigliere or éminence grise of the family. It is a sign of the rarity of such roles in Anglo-Saxon capitalism that there seems to be no English equivalent.

Other family conglomerates accrue advisers who “slowly but surely emasculate the family”, Mr Beattie says. But Woodbridge acts as the sole conduit between the family, its assets and a tight circle of loyal lawyers and bankers. In 50 years only two people have held the role. Mr Beattie took over in 1998 from John Tory, a lawyer who spent 20 years advising Roy Thomson and another 20 counselling his son, Kenneth. According to Mr Beattie, who began his career in Torys law firm, continuity has shaped a long-term approach that has become a family hallmark. Without the responsibilities of operating executives, “it allows us the time, and gives us the responsibility, to be far-sighted”.

It is a model other businesses should study, Prof [Roger] Martin says. “There is a view, especially in the US, that the widely held, publicly traded corporation with no major shareholder is the natural order in the world. It isn’t. It is a recent phenomenon.”

Beattie is also a key force, along with Roger Martin, behind the Martin Prosperity Institute.