Oregon's Sad Focus on 'Happiness'

By Joel KotkinFebruary 24 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

Oregon is a beautiful place, and, for many of the state's well-heeled residents, including many refugees from equally beautiful but overpriced California, economic growth not only is unimportant but is even a negative. Rather than create opportunity, the real issue, according to Gov. John Kitzhaber, is making sure the state ranks high on “the happiness index.” Forget sweating the hard stuff, and cozy up with a hot soy latte.

Post-Nagin, New Orleans Is On Way To Becoming A Model City

By Joel KotkinFebruary 21 2014

Appearing in: 
Forbes

Last week’s conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on 20 charges of bribery and fraud marks the end of a tumultuous era in the city’s history, and perhaps also the beginning of a new era in American urban politics. Perhaps most remarkable was the almost total lack of protest in New Orleans over the downfall of Nagin, who had relied heavily on polarizing racial politics in his last five years in office.

Sustaining Prosperity: A Long Term Vision for the New Orleans Region

By Joel KotkinFebruary 21 2014

Appearing in: 
Greater New Orleans, Inc.

This is the executive summary from a new report Sustaining Prosperity: A Long Term Vision for the New Orleans Region, authored by Joel Kotkin for Greater New Orleans, Inc. Download the full report from GNO, Inc. here: gnoinc.org/sustainingprosperity

The recovery of greater New Orleans represents one of the great urban achievements of our era. After decades of slow economic, political and social decline, hurricane Katrina seemed a kind of coup de grâce, smothering the last embers of the region’s vitality.

Southern California has Aging Issues

By Joel KotkinFebruary 21 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

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 national image of youth, from the Beach Boys and Barbie to Gidget.

The U.S. Middle Class Is Turning Proletarian

By Joel KotkinFebruary 16 2014

Appearing in: 
Forbes

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 has less to do with the power of the “one percent” per se than with the drying up of opportunity amid what is seen on Wall Street and in the White House as a sustained recovery. Despite President Obama’s rhetorical devotion to reducing inequality, it has widened significantly under his watch.

Possible Sign of Trouble for Los Angeles

By Joel KotkinFebruary 11 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

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 natural center of the 21st century.

How a Few Monster Tech Firms are Taking Over Everything from Media to Space Travel and What it Means for the Rest of Us

By Joel KotkinFebruary 09 2014

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

The iconic view of tech companies almost invariably stress their roots in people’s garages, plucky individual entrepreneurs ready to challenge all comers. Yet increasingly the leading tech firms – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and especially Google – have morphed into vast tech conglomerates, with hands in ever more numerous, and sometimes not obvious, fields of endeavor.

America's Future Cities: Where The Youth Population Is Booming

By Joel KotkinFebruary 06 2014

Appearing in: 
Forbes

To identify economic hot spots in the making, we often look for where immigrants, young people or entrepreneurs are clustering. But perhaps nothing is a better indicator than those who truly make up generation next — America’s children.

America's Glass Half-empty, or Half-full?

By Joel KotkinFebruary 03 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

The stock market is high, real estate prices have resurged, even the unemployment rate is dropping, yet Americans still feel pretty down about the future. A survey released in January by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research had 54 percent of respondents expecting American life to go downhill over the coming decades. In a December survey, 23 percent of respondents said things will improve over time.

The Divisions In The One Percent And The Class Warfare That Will Shape Election 2014

By Joel KotkinJanuary 31 2014

Appearing in: 
Forbes

There’s general agreement that inequality will be the big issue of this election year. But to understand how this will play out you have to go well beyond the simplistic “one percent” against everyone else mantra that has to date defined discussion of inequality.

Blue-Collar Hot Spots: The Cities Creating The Most High-Paying Working-Class Jobs

By Joel KotkinJanuary 30 2014

Appearing in: 
Forbes

It’s a common notion nowadays that American blue-collar workers are doomed to live out their lives on the low-paid margins of the economy.

Selfies Replace Focus on Big Picture

By Joel KotkinJanuary 27 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

California's economy may be on the mend, but prospects for continued growth are severely constrained by the increasing obsolescence of the state's basic infrastructure. Once an unquestioned leader in constructing new roads, water systems, power generation and building our human capital, California is relentlessly slipping behind other states, including some with much lower tax and regulatory burdens.

The indications of California's incipient senility can be found in a host of reports, including a recent one from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave the state a “C” grade.

California's Potholed Road to Recovery

By Joel KotkinJanuary 27 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

California's economy may be on the mend, but prospects for continued growth are severely constrained by the increasing obsolescence of the state's basic infrastructure. Once an unquestioned leader in constructing new roads, water systems, power generation and building our human capital, California is relentlessly slipping behind other states, including some with much lower tax and regulatory burdens.

The indications of California's incipient senility can be found in a host of reports, including a recent one from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave the state a “C” grade.

Build It, Even Though They Won't Come

By Joel KotkinJanuary 14 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

The recent decision by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman to reject as “fatally flawed” the densification plans for downtown Hollywood could shake the foundations of California's “smart growth” planning clerisy. By dismissing Los Angeles' Hollywood plan, the judge also assaulted the logic behind plans throughout the region to construct substantial high-rise development in “transit-oriented developments” adjacent to rail stations.

How Silicon Valley Could Destabilize The Democratic Party

By Joel KotkinJanuary 09 2014

Appearing in: 
Forbes

Much has been written, often with considerable glee, about the worsening divide in the Republican Party between its corporate and Tea Party wings. Yet Democrats may soon face their own schism as a result of the growing power in the party of high-tech business interests.

Joel on Reason.tv

Watch the full sized video at Reason.com.


Watch Joel in this feature on the role of central planning in Los Angeles. View large version.

Interview on Smartplanet.com

"Greenurbia is the suburbs of the future. The suburbs of the 1950s were bedroom communities for people who commuted into the city. Today, there’s much more employment in the suburbs, and the big change is the number of people working full-time or part-time at home. Having people commute from one computer screen to another doesn’t make sense."

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Praise for The Next Hundred Million

Kotkin has a striking ability to envision how global forces will shape daily family life, and his conclusions can be thought-provoking as well as counterintuitive. It's amazing there isn't more public discussion about the enormous changes ahead, and reassuring to have this talented thinker on the case. — Jennifer Ludden, NPR national desk correspondent

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