Monday, August 26, 2013

Exporting Higher Education and Global Innovation Networks

Japan suffering from too much social capital at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Social capital and globalization.

Subject Article: "Japan’s Education Minister Aims to Foster Global Talents."

Other Links: 1. "Inbreeding Homophily."
2. "The Strength of Weak Ties: A Network Theory Revisited."
3. "Networking Regionalised Innovative Labour Markets."

Postscript: I'm getting onto firmer ground with the link between less social capital (weak ties) and globalization. Economic globalization avoids places with too much social capital. This flips the conventional narrative of globalization ravaging the Rust Belt as told by Richard Longworth in his excellent book, "Caught in the Middle."  Counter-intuitively, distressed urban neighborhoods and struggling countries such as Japan need to open to globalization by opening up social networks and weakening ties.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Great Creative Class Migration

The great 20th-century rupture in American migration patterns at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic epochs and iconic migrations.

Subject Article: "Chicago newspaper sparked the 'Great Migration.'"

Other Articles: 1. "Where the Brains Are."
2. "What Workers Lose By Staying Put."
3. "The New Geography of Jobs."
4. "Scott Martelle's new book, 'Detroit: A Biography.'"
5. "U.S. Manufacturing: Output vs. Jobs Since 1975."
6. "Why the Smartest People in the Midwest All Move To Chicago."
7. "Multiplier Effects: Connecting the Innovation and Opportunity Agendas."

Postscript: I struggled to get this post out. I float a few half-baked ideas and the jury is still out regarding the coherence of thought. My confession aired, might this shift in educational attainment of migrants explain the decline in geographic mobility?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fleeing Greater Density for Lower Taxes

In praise of New York City brain drain at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Geography of the Talent Economy.

Subject Article: "How Can We Be So Dense? As in LA, Anti-Sprawl Policies Threaten America's Future."

Other Links: 1. "10 Cities That Could Become The "New" New York."
2. "Monday Map: Migration of Personal Income."
3. "The United States of 2012."

Postscript: The Stamen map of the U.S. in 2012 yields a useful economic geography. New York City is an "exporter". Retirement destinations are "money sinks". You don't move to Tampa to give your career a boost. You move there from NYC to cash out of the economy. Lastly, we have quiet places with no churn. No one moves in. No one leaves. This is where poverty resides, in the cul-de-sacs of globalization. I would add talent production centers such as Pittsburgh which feed the talent refineries like New York City with raw talent. Every city or county is one of these four types.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gentrification Is Not About Race and Class, but Fear of Outsiders

Modelling gentrification in terms of migration instead of race and class at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Return migration and gentrification.

Subject Article: "Los Angeles Neighborhood Tries to Change, but Avoid the Pitfalls."

Other Links: 1. "Rich man, poor man, angry man."
2. "As the Neck develops and placemakers set an agenda, will the black community be included or neglected again?"
3. "Gentrification of the City."
4. "Mobility Paradox."
5. "Gentrifier? Who, Me? Interrogating the Gentrifier in the Mirror."
6. "Displacing Poverty."
7. "The Hipster Must Die."
8. "From the Cotton Belt to the Black Belt: Economic Mobility and the Burden of Southern History."
9. "The Great American Arrival City: Los Angeles, CA."
10. "People Develop, Not Places."

Postscript: Twitter tracking the subject article about Boyle Heights ("Los Angeles Neighborhood"), another journalist chimed in with a 2008 story about gentrification of the neighborhood:

David Contreras sits alone in his rockabilly clothing shop in Boyle Heights. At first, he explains, he wanted an "atomic age" theme for his store, with Cadillac fins mounted on walls, stars on the ceiling -- sort of like a glamorous 1950s department store.

But he figured that would scare people away in the working-class neighborhood he grew up in before moving away to New York and then Silver Lake. So he went with a tiki-bar look instead, thinking it would be warmer and humbler. Some people still freak out when they walk in, he said, raising his clenched hands and contorting his face as if to impersonate a doomed woman on a vintage horror movie poster. People still stumble into his store, wondering where Frank's TV repair shop went.

"Everyone thinks we're gentrifying, but we don't want to gentrify. We just want to be a cool place for people to hang out," said Contreras, 49. "We're like the Neiman Marcus of Boyle Heights! Everyone likes glamour. What's wrong with that?"

Yep, Hispanic domestic return migration. Talk about demographic convergence. Talk about ironic gentrification.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rabenmutter: Germany Waging the War for Talent Without Women

Working mothers key to managing demographic decline at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Demographic decline and ironic labor force growth.

Subject Article: "Germany Fights Population Drop."

Other Links: 1. "Is the German insult 'Raven mothers' holding back women at work?"
2. "Ireland, Miracles, and Women."
3. "A Tale of Two Rust-Belt Cities."
4. "Recovery And Outmigration."

Postscript: Changing cultural attitudes is hard to do. Pittsburgh struggled with same raven mother problem as Germany. The necessary shift takes time, a lot of time. Decades. Journalists suffer from the same malaise. Stock mesofacts die hard. The embrace of the revitalized Pittsburgh narrative is recent, within the last few years. The investigation into the turnaround doesn't dig very deep, maybe back to the 1980s. However, the break with convention started in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After World War II, Pittsburgh pivoted away from manufacturing as its raison d'etre. Detroit didn't. The divergent fortunes may be only 10-years old. The reason for the split, on the other hand, dates back half of a century.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Urban Frontier Mythology

Pittsburgh is as good as New York City, if not better, at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic convergence of innovation.

Subject Article: "Is New York Only for the Successful?"

Other Links: 1. "Lena Dunham Wants Brooklyn to Be More Like Chattanooga."
2. "America's Urban Frontier."
3. "Diamond in the rust."
4. "Not Dead Yet: The Infill of Cleveland's Urban Core."
5. "Falling crime: Where have all the burglars gone?"
6. "New York, Once a Lure, Is Slowly Losing the Creative Set."

Postscript: "What [Detroit, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh] may lack in security and public services, they make up for with the opportunity to crash with a bunch of friends in a $500-a-month house and pursue creative work of the sort that takes time to be recognized and financed." Really? In that regard, one gives up nothing to move from New York to Pittsburgh and gains everything. There is no reason to stick it out in overpriced Brooklyn.

Monday, August 12, 2013

That New York City Magic

New York City struggling more than Detroit at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Quality of talent migration over quantity.

Subject Article: "Bloomberg Warns the Next Mayor Could Follow Detroit Into Bankruptcy."

Other Links: 1. "Michael Bloomberg’s Zero-Sum Worldview."
2. "Lena Dunham Wants Brooklyn to Be More Like Chattanooga."
3. "Sorry Tampa, But You’ve Forced Me To Write Something Nice About Lena Dunham."
4. "Why New Yorkers Are Moving to Philly and What It Means for Our City."
5. "The United States of 2012: Where Does the Money Go?"

Postscript: Mayor Bloomberg spins quite a yarn about New York City's demographic boon. As long as the population keeps growing, city finances will be just fine. That thinking, kicking the fiscal can down the road, is the root of the Rust Belt city problem. Given global demographic convergence, any mayor can't depend on population growth to foot the bill.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Lena Dunham Wants Brooklyn to Be More Like Chattanooga

The Sirens call of Chattanooga seduces Lena Dunham at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic convergence of innovation.

Subject Article: "Lena Dunham Teaches Us Why A Comptroller Matters."

Other Links: 1. "Rust Belt Population Fetish."
2. "Find a New City."
3. "San Antonio And Innovation Convergence."
4. "How the Recession Made Me a Gentrifier in My Home Town."
5. "About Chattanooga."
6. "About the Gig City."
7. "Public Library begins new path for technology and digital initiatives."

Postscript: Yes, Chattanooga is much cheaper than Brooklyn or San Jose. In the grand scheme of things, I doubt that impacts talent migration. Big fish, small pond does. Even if Lena Dunham could figure out how to make Brooklyn more affordable, the next Patti Smith would still prefer Chattanooga. Simply put, there's better opportunity.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Trust in Cities

Too much social capital is killing Detroit at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Social capital and urban economic development.

Subject Article: "Paradise lost: Britain’s new towns illustrate the value of cheap land and good infrastructure."

Other Links: 1. "China's Golden Cities."
2. "Rulers of the territory: Andy Beckett finds out how modern America was built with lengths of metal chain in Andro Linklater's Measuring America."
3. "My own private metropolis."

Postscript: A common goal for just about any community development effort is to build up social capital. Thus, churn is bad:

Surveying one of the dozen-plus estate agents clustered near Walthamstow's tube station, local Labour MP Stella Creasy views prices with incredulity: "Here's a first floor, one-bed flat, £1,000 a month. Start doing the maths. You're going to have to start earning £2,000-plus a month to have any kind of a debt-free month."

Creasy says her casework increasingly includes housing-related problems, with some families spending up to 70% of their income on rent, before bills: "I see a lot of people struggling, which is putting their kids at risk if they can't stay in the area. They can't stay at school, which makes it really unstable for them. You can see the pattern of factors."

The MP worries that the inevitable "churn" will harm Walthamstow on a fundamental level: "The mistake people make about London is that they think it's about people from different backgrounds not being able to get on. Actually, it's about people passing through. It takes time to build up relationships. When you've got pressures that push people to move on, or live in ways that mean they're just subsisting, that damages it."

Our normative evaluation of social capital is based upon xenophobia, our fear of migrants. Who belongs here? Who has a legitimate stake in the community? Amassing social capital is a problem, not a solution.