Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Los Angeles Is What New York Wants to Be When It Grows Up

If New York City is your adolescent self, then Los Angeles is what you aspire to.

Theme: Urban hierarchies

Subject Article: "How the Steady Stream of Creative Talent Moving From N.Y. to L.A. Became a Flood."

Other Links: 1. "Ed Soja 1940 - 2015."

Postscript: I'm wondering aloud if Los Angeles or someplace else could supplant New York City as the best talent refinery in the United States (if not the world). NYC could be enjoying the momentum of mesofacts. Or, NYC might be unassailable, as per the rank-size rule. I suspect the latter is true. See NYLON. Regardless, the bigger map is one of life cycles and the expanding scale of geography. Instead of leaving Manhattan for a Connecticut suburb, one migrates to Los Angeles.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lock-Out From Prosperity

California is a fortress of gentrification.

Theme: Geography of gentrification

Subject Article: "The Lock-in Effect of California's Proposition 13."

Other Links: 1. "The Geography of 'Displacement.'"
2. "When Moving Matters: Residential and Economic Mobility Trends in America, 1880-2010."
3. "For Millennials, Buying an Unaffordable Home Isn’t Always a Bad Idea."
4. "So You’re Moving To Portland."

Postscript: Article is Oregon-centric, but does a nice job of discussing interstate and intra-state migration in disaggregated terms. Using rates, California does a poor job of attracting new residents. However, the state does a "good" job of retaining them. Both trends can thank Prop 13. I'd love to know the percent of in-state movers who are renters.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sociolinguistics and the Geography of Innovation

The decline of the Southern drawl maps the diffusion of knowledge production in the United States.

Theme: Geography of economic development

Subject Article: "As a Southern community changes, an accent fades: Southern accents are declining in North Carolina. What does that tell us about social dynamics?"

Other Links: 1. "Altered States: A Perspective on 75 Years of State Income Growth."
2. "Debunking Texas Exceptionalism: De-Regulation Will Not Save Us."
3. "Fortresses of Globalization and Wilmington, Delaware."

Postscript: From "Interact with a wider circle and your ideas will take flight":

Decades ago, the University of Chicago sociologist Ron Burt showed that what matters about a social network, whether face-to-face or virtual, is neither its size nor the prominence of its contacts but the extent to which it provides exposure to people and ideas you do not already know.

The diminishing Southern accent is an indicator of a wider circle of ideas, which spurs innovation. Migration, not proximity nor density nor tolerance, foments creativity.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Goldilocks and the Geography of Innovation

A sweet spot in the Technology Readiness Level attracts private industry.

Theme: Economic geography of innovation

Subject Article: "Uber Would Like to Buy Your Robotics Department."

Other Links: 1. "Richard Florida, Roger Martin and David Wolfe on getting innovation right."
2. "Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley."
3. "From Metal to Minds: Economic Restructuring in the Rust Belt."
4. "Boston Versus Silicon Valley: Advantage Beantown."
5. "Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Artificial Intelligence in U.S."
6. "The Valley of Death."

Postscript: In "Engine or Infrastructure? The University Role in Economic Development" (1999), Richard Florida writes:

It is quite clear that Silicon Valley or the Cambridge/Boston regions are not the only places with excellent universities working in areas of potential commercial importance.  One way to begin to structure the problem is to think of the relationship between the university and the economy as composing a simple two-dimensional system, in which the university transmits a signal, which the regional economic environment must absorb.  Increasing the volume of the signal need not result in effective transmission or absorption if the region's transmitters, so to speak, are not turned on or are functioning ineffectively.  In short,the university appears to be a necessary but insufficient condition for regional technological and economic development.  To borrow a phrase from the work of my CMU colleague, Wesley Cohen and Daniel Levinthal (1990) what appears to matter here--and what is to often neglected in policy circles--is what we might call  "regional absorptive capacity,” the ability of a region to absorb the science, innovation, and technologies which universities generate.  Another way of saying this is that regions need to capture the "spillovers" of the technologies and innovations they generate.

I'll start by saying that there is a lot in Florida's paper that resonates with my own research into the matter. Also, the above quoted passage can adequately explain why tech transfer did not flower in Pittsburgh. I've learned that the flowering of tech transfer is rather beside the point. What happens at the university along the NASA scale from Levels 4-7 is, indeed, driving regional economic development.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

How Defining a Metropolitan Statistical Area Promotes Poverty

A metro only exists for those who can afford to commute.

Theme: Geography of poverty

Subject Article: "Mass. economy booms, but the effect is uneven: The town of Acton and the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan are only 30 miles apart, but one is booming while the other languishes in high unemployment and poverty."

Other Links: 1. "About Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas."

Postscript: As an amenity young adult urbanists adore, transit is divorced from employment. Considering "transit deserts" in Toronto:

To the authors of a new study out of the City Institute at York University, these facts expose “transit inequity” in Toronto: the people most dependent on transit, who pay a higher portion of their income to ride it, also get the worst service. The report, titled Switching Tracks, suggests ways the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area can achieve greater “transit justice.”

Among its main contentions is that, historically, major transit projects exacerbate social inequality. “The majority of infrastructure investments in the modern city have privileged the rich,” said Roger Keil, a co-author of the report. This is not only because wealthier citizens tend to wield more political clout, but because conventional planning wisdom dictates that major rapid transit lines should connect areas that are already thriving: dense residential zones, booming commercial areas, and transportation hubs.

Not only do transit projects help concentrate poverty, they are used to attract and retain millennials (e.g. Atlanta). Transit planners bear some responsibility for the growing inequality divide, as seen in the case of Boston. Jobs go unfilled in Acton while the unemployment line in Mattapan grows longer. Instead of tackling this issue, the question asked is "When Are You Getting Late-Night Subway Service?"

Monday, November 02, 2015

Higher Education Is Dying

Wage convergence is hitting many industries, including higher education as well as oil and gas.

Theme: Economic restructuring

Subject Article: "Don’t Be So Sure the Economy Will Return to Normal."

Other Links: 1. "Oil and gas execs say companies still recruiting to keep up with talent lost in layoffs."

Postscript: The oil bust is more about supply than demand. However, don't be so sure the energy economy will return to normal:

The idea that supplies of fossil fuels will grow ever tighter as demand increases, pushing prices inexorably higher, has been put on ice, perhaps forever. The lesson of the past decade is that so long as the right technology, capital and legal frameworks are in place, oil and gas will flow. If the world is to shift away from fossil fuels, therefore, governments will need to take deliberate policy actions to make that happen.

On the heels of a supply revolution (technologically driven by US industry) may come a demand revolution, driven by demographic decline and the second half of the chessboard for the second machine age.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Geography of 'Displacement'

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Theme: Migration and economic development

Subject Article: "An Antidote for the Unjust City: Planning to Stay."

Other Links: 1. "Economist Raj Chetty’s Proposals on Inequality Draw Interest on Both Sides of the Political Aisle."

Postscript: From "‘Migrants’ or ‘refugees’? It’s the wrong question. Here’s how to help the people fleeing to Europe.":

Focusing on whether to call the people entering Europe “migrants” or “refugees“ is itself part of the problem. It reinforces the idea that people on the move can be divided neatly into one of two categories: migrant or refugee. Human beings in the real world defy such simplistic categorization. They move for a wide range of reasons that fall somewhere between the extremes of purely voluntary and unquestionably forced.

Even to claim that migrants (or refugees) are "fleeing" is a simplistic categorization. The term "displacement" also deserves the same careful consideration.