Monday, September 30, 2013

Manufacturing Migration: Who Will Move for Low-Skill, Low-Pay Jobs?

Rebirth of American manufacturing faces a migration crisis at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: The shift from least educated to most educated in who migrates.

Subject Article: "A Wave of Sewing Jobs as Orders Pile Up at U.S. Factories."

Other Links: 1. "Displacing Poverty."
2. "Who is afraid of the brain drain? Human capital flight and growth in developing countries."
3. "Federal Largesse: Not by Pork Barrel Politics Alone."
4. "The Great Creative Class Migration."
5. "Mobility Matters: Understanding the New Geography of Jobs."
6. "The Glass-Floor Problem."

Postscript: Even if manufacturing could produce a substantial number of new jobs (highly unlikely), no one will move to fill those positions. One would hope that the openings would occur in regions hit hard by unemployment. What is the economic geography of reshoring? Where do these companies need to locate?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Whole Foods Is the Lewis and Clark of Gentrification

The machinations behind the myth of Whole Foods as gentrifier at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Geography of fear and migration.

Subject Article: "Hip-ification."

Other Links: 1. "Can You Tell an Up-and-Coming Neighborhood by Its ‘Emergent Energy’?"
2. "Brian Williams Mocks NYT Over-Coverage of Brooklyn."
3. "A Walker in the City."
4. "Movie Review: Mean Streets."
5. "Can the Whole Foods Effect Be Repeated?"
6."Talent Migration As Leading Indicator."
7. "Thomas J. Holmes on Wal-Mart's location strategy."
8. "Whole Foods targets low-income market in Chicago’s mean streets."
9. "Editorial: East Liberty advances / A long-distressed area continues to bounce back."
10. "Not Dead Yet: The Infill of Cleveland's Urban Core."
11. "The Brain Gain: The Rise of San Antonio’s Talent Economy."
12."Urban Islands of Poverty and Bowling With Strangers."

Postscript: Concerning migration and economic development, the focus is on negative factors that push people out or away. Conventional wisdom holds that if you fix those problems (i.e. uncool with a lack of talent, tolerance, and technology), then they will come. More importantly, the young and restless won't leave. More people stay than leave. Those who do move, only go a short distance. People are risk averse. For those who do roll the dice, they put up with a bunch of negative factors to make a go of it in Big City. Sure, high rents push plenty of people out of New York City. But it doesn't deter talent from coming. For those with ambition to burn, the Big Apple is on the map. Pittsburgh isn't.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Global Dublin Killing Rural Ireland

Globalization blesses Dublin at the expense of rural Ireland at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: How globalization impacts urbanization and migration.

Subject Article: "Rural Ireland feels the pinch as Dublin bounces back to life."

Other Links: 1. "One Irish person emigrates every six minutes."

Postscript: Big study of Irish emigration released today by the University College Cork. Quote of note:

Sparsely populated rural areas have been disproportionately affected, with 25 per cent of households losing a member to emigration. In commuter belt areas, where residents would be more likely have negative equity mortgages and young children, less than 11 per cent of households had experienced emigration.

Rural areas are also most likely to feel that emigration has impacted negatively on their community, with householders describing a loss of “vibrancy” associated with younger residents, lack of support for older community members, decimation of local sports teams and clubs, and reduced spending in the local economy.

The rush of the rural to emigrate evokes "Arrival City" by Doug Saunders. However, the Irish pattern is more than a little ironic and perhaps indicative of something altogether new.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lasting Expansion of Domestic Demand and Labor Supply Is Broken: Yes, Ireland Really Is Dying

Ireland doing the fail, pulling a Pittsburgh at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: "Dying" places and geographic stereotypes.

Subject Article: "Irish Demographic Dividend Reversal."

Other Links: 1. "Ireland Is Dying."
2. "Detroit Postmortem."
3. "Struggling, San Jose Tests a Way to Cut Benefits."
4. "Rust Belt of Silicon Valley: San Jose Is Dying."
5. "A Return to Downtown Birmingham."
6. "The convergence of the twain."
7. "How Mexican Brain Drain Saved Mexico."

Postscript: To slap the label of "dying" on a city such as Portland (Oregon) or Boston is ironic. It's ironic because of preconceived notions and subjective geographies, not rigorous analysis. Our perceptions of place influence economic development outcomes:

Helmreich is a great advocate for the Bronx, which he says could be the next Brooklyn—a target, or perhaps a beneficiary, of gentrification. We walked along Grand Avenue near 180th Street, a cheerful neighborhood of small, squared-off row houses, each with a gated driveway and a neatly kept garden. Many of the houses were flying Puerto Rican flags; more Puerto Ricans live in the Bronx than in any other borough. We passed a shady green park. “Is this a war zone?” Helmreich asked. “Is that a disgusting park in the slums? When people get it into their heads that the Bronx isn’t as dangerous as they think it is, everything’s going to change.”

You go where you know. For now, most people don't know the Bronx. The same used to be true of Brooklyn. Our mental maps shape migration patterns. Whether or not a place is really dying is rather beside the point.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How Mexican Brain Drain Saved Mexico

How Mexico became a magnate for foreign born talent at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Brain drain and economic development.

Subject Article: "For Migrants, New Land of Opportunity Is Mexico."

Other Links: 1. "Pittsburgh, and the Magic of Failure."
2. "Your Casual Acquaintances on Twitter Are Better Than Your Close Friends on Facebook."
3. "Inbreeding Homophily."
4. "The Roots of Rust Belt Chic."

Postscript: I've reached the finish line with the idea that the exodus from Pittsburgh during 1980s could fuel an economic boom in Southwestern PA a few decades later. Mexico is rapidly developing today because of the talent exports of yesterday. The looming question was figuring out how that would happen. Turns out, Robert Putnam has social capital backwards. The weak ties make the world go round and open up a community to economic globalization.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mobile or Stuck? Two Sides of New York City Gentrification

Gentrification and captive female labor at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Relationship between geographic mobility and prosperity.

Subject Article: "In New York, Having a Job, or 2, Doesn’t Mean Having a Home."

Other Links: 1. "Susan Hanson, Ph.D. Faculty Biography at Clark University."
2. "Geography: A Big Factor In Women`s Job Choices."
3. "Priced out of New York."
4. "Hipster Demography and Gentrification."

Postscript: I find the intersection of gender and geography to have much more explanatory power than the intersection of race and geography. A suburban neighborhood might be well off, statistically speaking. But the isolation and poverty of homemakers are very real. Geographers such as Susan Hanson studying gender have much more to teach us about gentrification and other urban problems than those academics focused on race.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Good News: Globalization Crushing Family Farms

The costs of fetishizing the local at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Geographic stereotypes.

Subject Article: "Japan's Rice Farmers See Trade Deal As Threat To Tradition."

Other Links: 1. "25 Years Of Aid For Farm Aid."
2. "The Yoeman."
3. "José Bové vs. McDonald's: The Making of a National Hero in the French Anti-Globalization Movement."
4. "Dissimilar Climate, Similar Cuisine."
5. "World History of Food: Rice and Staple Food."

Postscript: This post is my retort to the overdramatization of cultural imperialism and homogenization at the hands of globalization. Benjamin Barber with the ill-defined concern:

The new technology's software is perhaps even more globalizing than its hardware. The information arm of international commerce's sprawling body reaches out and touches distinct nations and parochial cultures, and gives them a common face chiseled in Hollywood, on Madison Avenue, and in Silicon Valley. Throughout the 1980s one of the most-watched television programs in South Africa was The Cosby Show. The demise of apartheid was already in production. Exhibitors at the 1991 Cannes film festival expressed growing anxiety over the "homogenization" and "Americanization" of the global film industry when, for the third year running, American films dominated the awards ceremonies. America has dominated the world's popular culture for much longer, and much more decisively. In November of 1991 Switzerland's once insular culture boasted best-seller lists featuring Terminator 2 as the No. 1 movie, Scarlett as the No. 1 book, and Prince's Diamonds and Pearls as the No. 1 record album. No wonder the Japanese are buying Hollywood film studios even faster than Americans are buying Japanese television sets. This kind of software supremacy may in the long term be far more important than hardware superiority, because culture has become more potent than armaments. What is the power of the Pentagon compared with Disneyland? Can the Sixth Fleet keep up with CNN? McDonald's in Moscow and Coke in China will do more to create a global culture than military colonization ever could. It is less the goods than the brand names that do the work, for they convey life-style images that alter perception and challenge behavior. They make up the seductive software of McWorld's common (at times much too common) soul.

"The seductive software of McWorld's common soul." It was a big change, seeing anger and violence shift from embassies and other state geographies to McDonalds and Starbucks. Didn't occur to me at the time of reading Barber's book (back in the late 1990s) that this was garden variety xenophobia.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Want to Kill Innovation? Fight Brain Drain

Massachusetts pondering the embrace of brain drain at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: How brain drain drives innovation.

Subject Article: "Big shift: Governor Patrick now supports making noncompete agreements unenforceable in Massachusetts."

Other Links: 1. "Historical Migration of the Young, Single, and College Educated: 1965 to 2000."
2. "Boston Is Dying."
3. "Zero-Sum Creative Class."
4. "Interview with Richard Hodgson."
5. "True Innovation."
6. "The Benefits of Talent Mobility."
7. "Innovation at the intersection."
8. "Webcast: San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro's 2013 State of the City Address."

Postscript: Some recent research to support the notion of fostering brain drain:

In a new paper co-authored with Emily Beam and Dean Yang, we report on several years of experiments that try to facilitate more international migration from the Philippines. The Philippines is well-known around the world for its efforts in bilateral facilitation of migration. The government has signed a number of bilateral migration arrangements with different countries, which, coupled with a well-regulated private recruiting industry, has resulted in an annual deployment of about 2 million Filipinos to practically every country in the world.

The Philippines has devised a way to benefit from the export of talent. The interests of community and individual are aligned. Massachusetts is heading in this policy direction.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Northern New England Is Dying

Parochial policies killing Northern New England at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Regional talent management policy.

Subject Article: "Maine is getting older and is feeling the squeeze."

Other Links: 1. "Public opinion analysis shows big gap between experts and the public on need to cut Medicare spending."
2. "Charlie Sheen Is Winning."
3. "Urbanophile Aaron Renn knows how to move Indianapolis forward."
4. "Economist says Maine needs to import young, productive workers."
5. "Expecting the Best Yields Results in Massachusetts."
6. "Boston Is Dying."

Postscript: The National Review Online posted about the same article concerning demographic aging:

As a result, in many states, officials are looking to attract younger people. In New Hampshire and Vermont, the Democrats who control the governor’s mansions believe that more government spending for state universities in particular will do the trick. I doubt it. More spending, often means more taxes, which isn’t a good way to keep people. What you need to attract and keep people is jobs.

In Maine, Republican governor Paul LePage’s solution is to lower its tax burden and create a “business-friendly” state. That’s more likely to work. You may remember that one of the main findings in the Mercatus Center’s “Freedom in the Fifty States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom” was that people followed jobs and jobs followed freedom (in particular economic freedom).

Jobs follow freedom. People follow jobs. Ergo, people follow freedom. Why do New Hampshire and Vermont hate freedom? Penetrating analysis.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Portland 2.0: Weaving Myths of Urban Nationalism

Producer city Portland versus consumer city Portland at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Fall of the Creative Class.

Subject Article: "Fast Company's Founding Editor On How Portland Can Become Great: At TechfestNW, Alan Webber asks: How do you overthrow a successful city?"

Other Links: 1. "TechFestNW."
2. "Regional Competitiveness and Quality of Life: The Case of Portland and Stuttgart."
3. "Field Of Dreams Portland."
4. "Rust Belt of Silicon Valley: San Jose Is Dying."
5. "Beyond the High Street: Why our city centres really matter."
6. "Portlandia – Put A Bird On It."

Postscript: Of late, I've noticed the urban amenities model of economic development taking a lot of hits. As a way to understand the tension between the consumer and producer city, I'm following the debate about a streetcar proposal in San Antonio. The streetcar is representative of the consumer city. It's a cool amenity that makes the urban core more attractive to residents and consumers. College graduates wouldn't leave a place with a streetcar, would they? In theory, a streetcar could also serve a producer city. But such projects aren't usually framed that way. Put a bird on the boondoggle.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rust Belt of Silicon Valley: San Jose Is Dying

Silicon Valley decline at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Convergence of Innovation Economy.

Subject Article: "Danny Rimer: What U.S. startups can learn from Europe."

Other Links: 1. "Silicon Prairie News."
2. "Silicon Roundabout."
4. "Facebook and Google Are Gentrifying San Francisco Neighborhoods."
5. "San Francisco split by Silicon Valley's wealth."
6. "Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area."

Postscript: Danny Rimer suggests that the Rust Belt part of Silicon Valley concerns manufacturing, a Bay Area Mon Valley. I'm more interested in the rethinking of San Francisco producer city instead of a consumer city. I think we're seeing the end of the push for urban amenities in the core as an economic development strategy.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Dissimilar Climate, Similar Cuisine

How culinary traditions are tied to people, not places at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: People develop, not places.

Subject Article: "Geography and similarity of regional cuisines in China."

Other Links: 1. "Talent Retention And Displacement."
2. "Tacografia."
3. "Do You Know These Regional Pizza Styles?"
4. "Restaurant Review: Deliciousness Squared at Gem City Pizza."
5. "Trolio's Book Expands History of Brier Hill, Birth of Its Pizza."
6. "Go Back To Ohio."

Postscript: Never thought of this until now, we terroritorialize knowledge. Like recipes, innovation grows out of local terrain. Workforce development and incubators are of this mindset. Places develop, not people. Bizarre.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Facebook and Google Are Gentrifying San Francisco Neighborhoods

What, not who, is responsible for gentrification in San Francisco at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Globalization and new geographic patterns of gentrification.

Subject Article: "Mapping Silicon Valley’s Gentrification Problem Through Corporate Shuttle Routes."

Other Links: 1. "Why Today's Start-Ups Are Choosing Urban Lofts Over Suburban Office Parks."
2. "Rust-Belt Cities Exhibit Reverse Gentrification, Says Cleveland Fed Researcher."
3. "Portland Is Dying."
4. "Why Isn’t Silicon Valley in San Francisco?"
5. "The End Of Density."

Postscript: The times they are a changing:

The workers that used to live in residential suburbs while commuting to work in the city are now living in the city, while the largest technology companies are based in the suburbs and increasingly draw their labor supply from dense urban neighborhoods.

How does industry clustering impact gentrification?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

London Hosts the Olympics: How Success for People Is a Failure of Place

Place outcomes trump people outcomes at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: People develop, not places.

Subject Article: "Population churn and its impact on socio-economic convergence in the five London 2012 host boroughs."

Other Links: 1. "The ‘escalator region’ hypothesis and the regional cities of England: a research agenda."
2. "People Develop, Not Places."

Postscript: I'm still working my way through this paper, "Global Neighborhoods: New Pathways to Diversity and Separation." The main point is relevant to this post. Conventional concepts don't mesh well with new migration patterns. Gentrification is one such outdated concept with its historical narrative of white flight and government mandated sprawl, as if economic globalization wouldn't make one lick of a difference.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

New York City’s Next Williamsburg: Fishtown

The Talent Economy between NYC and Philadelphia at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Talent churn and economic development.

Subject Article: "Leaving Town: Metro New York hemorrhaged $49 billion during the 2000s as residents sought opportunity elsewhere."

Other Links: 1. "City as Suburb."
2. "Boston Is Dying."
3. "INTERVIEW: Keeping the Focus on People, Not Places, With Jim Russell."
4. "New York as a Gigantic Refinery of the Nation’s Human Capital."
5. "Lena Dunham Wants Brooklyn to Be More Like Chattanooga."
6. "Why New Yorkers Are Moving to Philly and What It Means for Our City."
7. "Gentrification Is Not About Race and Class, but Fear of Outsiders."
8. "How Many Gentrification Critics Are Actually Gentrifiers Themselves?"
9. "Globalization and World Cities Research Network."

Postscript: A link that didn't make the final cut, "Middle Class Flees New York. Who Needs ‘Em?"

As much as I would like to confirm my conviction that New York’s Blue State governance philosophy is an economic-development train wreck, I’m not sure there’s a huge problem here. New York is not losing its most productive citizens. Hint No. 1: $49 billion in lost income sounds like a lot of money but when it’s spread over two million people, it amounts to an average income of only $24,500 per person — just a tad more than the region’s 1999 per capita income of $22,000. Hint No. 2: The two top destinations are Miami and Orlando, both retirement destinations.

In other words, NYC is not losing its creative class — its wealth creators — who continue to place a premium on the ability to interact with others like themselves. It appears that the city is leaching away its middle class, particularly its retirees.

Emphasis added. Mining the American Community Survey data for 2000-2010, the NYC metro region gained over 900,000 college graduates. LA is number 2 in the rankings with +559,904. The critique of New York's economic development is a train wreck.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Vagabonds Will Revitalize Detroit

A Korean parable and Saskia Sassen at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Migration and innovation.

Subject Article: "Big Dreams, but Little Consensus, for a New Detroit."

Other Links: 1. "Inbreeding Homophily."
2. "What Makes the Bywater So Hipster?"
3. "The Magic of Cities."
4. "Look to the Gem Within: A Harvard PhD’s Views on Korea’s Potential."
5. "A New Magazine Takes on Old Rust Belt Stereotypes."
6. "How Green Was My Port Clinton."
7. "Unlike Detroit, Chicago’s diversified industrial base has helped it to successfully switch from a material to a knowledge economy."
8. "Talent Retention And Displacement."
9. "Migrant Networks and the Spread of Misinformation."

Postscript: Saskia Sassen's piece deserves a second look. I've heard it said, on many occasions, that Chicago's boon was its economic diversity. I thought that meant other than manufacturing, which didn't make sense because Chicago was more dependent on manufacturing than other Rust Belt cities that didn't globalize. The diversity lauded is within the manufacturing sector. Sassen makes this point clear and notes that Detroit similarly benefits. Then why the divergent paths? A few large firms dominated the economic landscape in Detroit. Whereas smaller independent firms in Chicago handled the specialization. This line of argument strikes me as a stretch. However, Edward Glaeser invoking the ghost of Benjamin Chinitz with a fates comparison of Pittsburgh and New York City says otherwise. "Smaller, non-integrated firms" helped Silicon Valley beat out Boston. But that doesn't preclude my own theory of migration and knowledge networks from explaining things. I'll chalk it up for now to covariance.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

City as Suburb

Mega commuters mega gentrifying Rust Belt cities at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic convergence of innovation and the rise of the flat world class.

Subject Article: "Paris: the affordable London suburb."

Other Links: 1. "Megacommuters: 600,000 in U.S. Travel 90 Minutes and 50 Miles to Work, and 10.8 Million Travel an Hour Each Way, Census Bureau Reports."
2. "Mega Commuters in the U.S.: Time and Distance in Defining the Long Commute using the American Community Survey."
3. "Geographic Arbitrage: Telecommuting."
4. "Why New Yorkers Are Moving to Philly and What It Means for Our City."
5. "Decline Of Chicago."

Postscript: I've seen ample evidence of NYC mega gentrifying urban neighborhoods in other metros. Wondering if Chicago is having a similar effect in that neck of the woods. St. Louis? Indianapolis? Des Moines? Milwaukee? Minneapolis?