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.

Political, Economic Power Grow More Concentrated

By Joel KotkinJanuary 06 2014

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

Generally speaking, we associate the quest for central government control to be very much a product of the extremes of left and right. But increasingly, the lobby for ever-greater concentration of power – both economically and politically – comes not from the fringes, but from established centers of both parties and media power.

Recently, for example, an article by Francis Fukuyama, a conservative-leaning intellectual, called for greater consolidation of federal power, most particularly, the Executive Branch. Ironically, Fukuyama's call for greater central power follows a line most often adopted by “progressive” Democrats, who seek to use federal power to enforce their views on a host of environmental, economic and social issues even on reluctant parts of the country.

Neither Party Dealing with More-Rigid Class Structure

By Joel KotkinDecember 30 2013

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

President Obama’s most-recent pivot toward the issue of “inequality” and saving the middle class might be seen as something of an attempt to change the subject after the health care reform disaster. As the Washington Post’s reliably liberal Greg Sargent explains, this latest bit of foot work back to the “old standby” issues provides “a template for the upcoming elections, one that allows Dems to shift from the grinding war of attrition over Obamacare that Republicans want to the bigger economic themes Dems believe give them the upper hand.”

What is a City For?

By Joel KotkinDecember 30 2013

The attached report is derived from a speech given last spring in Singapore at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The notion here is to lay out a new, more humanistic urban future, not one shaped primarily by large developers, speculators and transient global workers. Singapore was a particularly difficult case to look at since it has no room to spread out, something we still have in much of the rest of the world. Yet the city has been very innovative in the development of open space, and its public housing agency, the Housing Development Board, has worked hard to accommodate the needs of families.

The Metro Areas With The Most Economic Momentum Going Into 2014

By Joel KotkinDecember 26 2013

Appearing in: 
Forbes

America’s economy may be picking up steam, but it remains a story of parts, with the various regions of the country performing in often radically divergent ways.

The Blue-Collar Heroes of the Inland Empire

By Joel KotkinDecember 23 2013

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield (nee Jacob Cohen), whose signature complaint was that he “can't get no respect,” would have fit right in, in the Inland Empire. The vast expanse east of greater Los Angeles has long been castigated as a sprawling, environmental trash heap by planners and pundits, and its largely blue-collar denizens denigrated by some coast-dwellers, including in Orange County, who fret about “909s” – a reference to the IE's area code – crowding their beaches.

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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