Light Rail in the Sun Belt is a Poor Fit

By Joel Kotkin and...October 13 2015

Appearing in: 
Houston Chronicle

There is an effective lobby for building light rail, including in cities such as Houston. But why build light rail? To reduce car use? To improve mobility for low-income citizens? This certainly seems a worthwhile objective, with the thousands of core-city, low-income residents whose transit service cannot get them to most jobs in a reasonable period of time.

ut rather than accept the flackery that accompanies these projects, maybe we should focus on effectiveness, judged by ridership, and the impact of such expensive projects on the transportation of the transit-dependent.

The Cities Americans Are Thronging To And Fleeing

By Joel Kotkin and...October 13 2015

Appearing in: 
Forbes

Cities get ranked in numerous ways — by income, hipness, tech-savviness and livability — but there may be nothing more revealing about the shifting fortunes of our largest metropolitan areas than patterns of domestic migration.

Bright lights and culture may attract some, but people generally move to places with greater economic opportunity and a reasonable cost of living, particularly affordable housing.

It's Becoming Springtime for Dictators

By Joel KotkinOctober 05 2015

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

In a rare burst of independence and self-interest, the California Legislature, led by largely Latino and Inland Democrats, last month defeated Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempt to cut gasoline use in the state by 50 percent by 2030. These political leaders, backed by the leftovers of the once-powerful oil industry, scored points by suggesting that this goal would lead inevitably to much higher fuel prices and even state-imposed gas rationing.

The Energy Election

By Joel KotkinOctober 05 2015

Appearing in: 
Real Clear Politics

Blessed by Pope Francis, the drive to wipe out fossil fuels, notes activist Bill McKibben, now has “the wind in its sails.” Setting aside the bizarre alliance of the Roman Catholic Church with secularists such as McKibben, who favor severe limits of family size as an environmental imperative, this is a

China’s Planned City Bubble Is About to Pop—and Even You’ll Feel It

By Joel Kotkin and...September 25 2015

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

Seven years after the last housing debacle devastated the world economy, we may be on the verge of another, albeit different, bubble. If the last real estate collapse was created due to insanely easy lending policies aimed at the middle and working classes, the current one has its roots largely in a regime of cheap money married to policies of planners who believe that they can shape the urban future from above.

China Catches Cold: What That Means For The Rest Of Us

By Joel KotkinSeptember 24 2015

Appearing in: 
Forbes

For the last century, one enduring cliché has been that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. But now the big power with the sniffles is China.

China’s rise has been the most profound development of the past half century, turning a moribund, rural country into a highly urbanized economic superpower. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, and markets around the world reshaped. China alone accounted for a whopping 24.1% of global economic growth from 2003 to 2013. according to the IMF.

Becoming America the Not-So-Beautiful

By Joel KotkinSeptember 21 2015

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

“They don’t know history, but they are making it. But what are they making?”

– Victor Serge, “The Conquered City,” 1932

In contrast to the physical sciences, and even other social sciences, the study of history is, by nature, subjective. There is no real mathematical formula to assess the past. It is more an art, or artifice, than a science.

Wave of Migrants Will Give Europe an Extreme Makeover

By Joel KotkinSeptember 14 2015

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

The massive, ongoing surge of migrants and refugees into Europe has brought up horrendous scenes of deprivation, along with heartwarming instances of generosity. It has also engendered cruel remembrances of the continent’s darkest hours. But viewed over the long term, this crisis may well be the prelude to changes that could dissipate, and even overturn, some of the world’s most-storied and productive cultures.

Neither Olympics Nor NFL Will Rescue Los Angeles

By Joel KotkinSeptember 14 2015

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

We all tend to have fond memories of our greatest moments, and for Los Angeles, the 1984 Olympics has served as a high point in the city’s ascendency. The fact that those Summer Games were brilliantly run, required relatively little city expenditure and turned a profit confirmed all those things we Angelenos loved about our city – its flexibility and pragmatism and the power of its civic culture.

The Comeback Of The Great Lakes States

By Joel KotkinSeptember 14 2015

Appearing in: 
Forbes

For generations the broad swath of America along the Great Lakes has been regarded as something of a backwater. Educated workers and sophisticated industries have tended to gather in the Northeast and on the West Coast, bringing with them strong economic growth.

As Rivals Stumble, America Steps Up

By Joel KotkinSeptember 14 2015

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

As its former rivals in Asia and Europe slip into torpor and even decline, America, almost despite itself, is recovering its perch as the world’s bastion and predominant power. This is all the more remarkable given that our government is headed by someone who largely rejects traditional ideas about American exceptionalism, preferring to “lead from behind.”

Economic Progress is More Effective Than Protests

By Joel KotkinAugust 30 2015

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

The election of Barack Obama promised to inaugurate the dawn of a post-racial America. Instead we seem to be stepping ever deeper into a racial quagmire. The past two month saw the violent commemoration of the Ferguson protests, “the celebration” of the 50th anniversary of the Watts riots, new police shootings in places as distant as Cincinnati and Fort Worth, and renewed disorder, tied to a police-related shooting, in St. Louis last week.

Tech Oligarchs Tightening Their Grip on Democrats

By Joel KotkinAugust 30 2015

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

The current state of the Republican Party may seem like a demolition derby, but there’s an equally fascinating, if less well-understood, conflict within the Democratic Party. In this case, the disruptive force is largely Silicon Valley, a natural oligarchy that now funds a party teetering toward populism and even socialism.

An Improbable And Fragile Comeback: New Orleans 10 Years After Katrina

By Joel KotkinAugust 26 2015

Appearing in: 
Forbes

In the fall of 2005, many saw in postdiluvial New Orleans another example of failed urbanization, a formerly great city that was broken beyond repair.Yet 10 years after a catastrophe that drove hundreds of thousands of its citizens away, the metro area has made an impressive comeback.

Obama, the Left Downsizing the American Dream

By Joel KotkinAugust 19 2015

Appearing in: 
Orange County Register

Barack Obama has always wanted to be a transformational president, and in this, at least, he has been true to his word. The question is what kind of America is being created, and what future does it offer the next generation.

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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