Monday, December 30, 2013

Suburban Sprawl Spurs Innovation

Want diversity and creativity? Moving to the suburbs at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Innovation geography.

Subject Article: "The Young, the Restless and Economic Growth: Countries with a younger population have far higher rates of entrepreneurship."

Other Links: 1. "My Own Private Metropolis."
2. "The artsy pulse of a city: The beat is moving to the burbs."
3. "Urban Minor Leagues of Globalization."
4. "Every Artist's Studio Is a Future High End Rental."

Postscript: Saint of Urbanity, Jane Jacobs once wrote, “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings." Cities with good bones and the right density are centers of innovation. Jacobs privileges place over people. The diffusion of knowledge and subsequent innovation are considerably less romantic. People move and share ideas. City or suburb, old or new building, only migration matters.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Urban Minor Leagues of Globalization

Fleeing alpha global cities for more innovative geographies at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Convergence of the Innovation Economy.

Subject Article: "The Metro Areas With The Most Economic Momentum Going Into 2014."

Other Links: 1. "Displacing Education as the Most Important Asset for 21st Century City Growth."
2. "Economy, opportunity thinning restaurants' supply of cooks."
3. "Portland Restaurants, Tech Cafeterias Are Eating Up All Of S.F.'s Cooks."
4. "The artsy pulse of a city: The beat is moving to the burbs."
5. "My Own Private Metropolis."

Postscript: I often meander away from a post title, which isn't a problem. Just change the title to capture the emergent theme before clicking publish. I forgot to do that. No matter since this one post has two themes going on. The first part is how globalization is moving down the urban hierarchy (e.g. from San Francisco to Portland). The second part is how innovation and creativity are moving from the urban core to the suburbs, a reconfiguration of economic geography similar to that of restaurant talent moving from DC to Pittsburgh. I intend to take on that second theme more thoroughly in my next blog post using this article as the subject, "The Young, the Restless and Economic Growth: Countries with a younger population have far higher rates of entrepreneurship." The positive correlation between a younger population and more entrepreneurship makes the same mistake as those who emphasize the positive correlation between greater urban density and more innovation. Both perspectives overlook the impact of migration itself on creativity.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

San Francisco's Fortress Against Gentrification

Increasing the supply of housing makes gentrification worse at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Ironic demographics.

Subject Article: "Arise, Tenderloin: It is San Francisco’s most glaring contradiction, an island of need in a sea of prosperity. Can it be helped? Does it even want to be?"

Other Links: 1. "'Cool Gray City of Love,' by Gary Kamiya."
2. "Soaring rents force lifestyle changes."
3. "Move Silicon Valley to Cleveland."
4. "Of Course Uber Should Be Regulated."

Postscript: From the subject article, a possible link between government engineered gentrification and the reduction of crime:

To explain the unique policing challenge posed by the Tenderloin, Cherniss cites an analytical framework used by criminologists: the so-called crime triangle, which posits that crimes have three components—suspect, location, and victim. In the Tenderloin, “going after the suspects is pointless,” he says. “I need to get rid of the location to solve the problem.”

Emphasis added. That neatly sums up former NYC mayor, Rudy Giuliani's method of cleaning up the city. He got rid of the red light district Times Square, gentrifying the neighborhood for tourists. Chicago's mayor (Rahm Emanuel) is following the same script, knowing that going after the suspects is pointless. Emanuel will help other parts of his city gentrify as a solution to the crime problem.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Silicon Cleveland, Where the Rent Isn't Too Damn High

Innovation has already abandoned Silicon Valley at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Convergence of the Innovation Economy.

Subject Article: "Some Further Thoughts on Moving Silicon Valley to Cleveland."

Other Links: 1. "Rust Belt of Silicon Valley: San Jose Is Dying."
2. "A Creative Comeback in the Big Easy."
3. "A Snowier Silicon Valley in BlackBerry’s Backyard."
4. "Midsize Cities in Poland Develop as Service Hubs for Outsourcing Industry."

Postscript While the move of Silicon Valley to Cleveland got the blog post spotlight, economic convergence in Poland was the star:

In fact, Lodz, a former textile manufacturing center with a population of about 740,000, is just one of several Polish cities that have become service hubs for an international corporate clientele that values Poland’s well-educated and often multilingual work force.

In midsize cities like Wroclaw and Gdansk, Poles are doing back-office work not only for Indian outsourcing companies like Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consulting Services, but also for major corporations like IBM and banks including Citigroup and Bank of New York Mellon.

About 110,000 people work in what is broadly known as the business services industry in Poland. The category includes outsourcers like Infosys that take over such functions as finance or information technology for customers, as well as banks and other companies that set up in-house operations to do their own back-office work.

For me, Poland has been a bellwether for the convergence of the Innovation Economy. Dell moved operations from Limerick, Ireland to Lodz, Poland. Ireland itself is a hot spot of economic convergence. The competition for talent is fierce with more places competing for a piece of the innovation pie. The salary ask for employees in alpha global cities is too damn high.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Creative Urban Spaces Don't Promote Innovation

Artists and techies duke it out for control of the city at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Density, migration, and innovation.

Subject Article: "San Francisco City-Makers Say the Tech Sector Is No Good at Urbanism."

Other Links: 1. "The Geography of Anti-Gentrification: Google Buses and the World Trade Center."
2. "What Tech Hasn’t Learned From Urban Planning."
3. "Expensive cities are killing creativity: New York City, a traditional incubator for artists, has now become a 'gated citadel' for creativity."
4. "Loudoun County population is the fastest-growing in fast-growing Northern Virginia."

Postscript: I published the blog post at Pacific Standard yesterday. I read the following this morning:

This group of people, the tech workers who came here strictly to follow money, is a serious point of tension among San Franciscans. Pat T describes, “Now that they’re here they have all these complaints about it…Twitter just happens to be here. That’s a point of contention for a lot of people in the city because a lot of people want SF to be their idea of SF. They have this idea of San Francisco, and these new transplants aren’t coming for that same city.”

The artists are indigenous, the real San Francisco. The techies are newcomers, who don't understand the city's soul. The gentrification battle is about control of urban space, not displacement.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Geography of Anti-Gentrification: Google Buses and the World Trade Center

Putting jobs in the middle of the gentrification debate at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Employment and gentrification: consumer city versus producer city.

Subject Article: "What Tech Hasn’t Learned From Urban Planning."

Other Links: 1. "French McDonald's Bombed; Breton Terrorists Suspected."
2. "Talent Geography 101."
3. "Thousands protest at former U.S. embassy in Iran."
4. "Do Jobs Follow People or Do People Follow Jobs?"
5. "No Rest for the Wealthy."
6. "In Search of the Next Hot Neighborhood: As gentrification heats up, here are the signs that an area is primed to take off."
7. "Google bus blocked in San Francisco gentrification protest."

Postscript: Anti-gentrification factions attacking commerce in Berlin:

Despite the increases, the cost per square meter for a Berlin apartment remains about a third of wealthier cities such as Hamburg and Munich.

But like music fans who rebel when their favorite indie bands makes it big, no one seems particularly happy about the city's new wealth or its hip international profile, which old-timers blame for driving up the rents and attracting legions of American poseurs.

The ban on vacation apartment rentals is part of a growing backlash that has seen protesters attack investors at a business convention and anti-gentrification activists vandalize a newly opened hotel.

Gentrification, it's producer city versus consumer city.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ireland: Gentrification of a Nation

Time to dump the conversation about gentrification at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic dislocation and forced migration.

Subject Article: "Irish exodus casts shadow on recovery from financial crisis."

Other Links: 1. "Were Jews Political Refugees or Economic Migrants? Assessing the Persecution Theory of Jewish Emigration, 1881-1914."

Postscript: To extend the metaphor of Irish emigration as gentrification, global talent displacing native workers:

"If you look at why multinationals came to Ireland before the crisis, they came for a number of reasons," said Barry O'Leary, the Industrial Development Agency's (IDA) chief executive.

"The things that they came for were not affected when the international financial crisis hit," he told AFP.

For foreign-born software developers, there was no financial crisis in Ireland. They can pick the nicest flat in the city. Competition for local real estate is a mismatch between tradable skills and labor (usually construction) concentrated in non-tradable industries. If you want work and a place to live, then you must leave home.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why Is Gentrification Such a Hot Topic?

The geographically mobile gentrify the neighborhoods of the stuck at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Geographic mobility, class, and gentrification.

Subject Article: "Why Are Americans Staying Put?"

Other Links: 1. "New York City's Perpetual Gentrification."
2. "A Pilgrimage to the Vanishing Streets of My Grandmother’s Lower East Side."
3. "The Freegan Establishment."
4. "What drives human migration?"

Postscript: Does not a post make, but good food for thought here:

1917—The Great Jazz Migration begins when noted musician Joe “King” Oliver leaves New Orleans, La., and settles in Chicago, Ill. He is soon joined by other early Jazz greats. Their presence in Chicago laid the foundation for the Southern Black music genre (with heavy sexual overtones) to become a national obsession. Actually, the “migration” may not have been quite so romantic. Instead of being forced by the closing of the New Orleans Storyville district, Jazz greats probably left New Orleans for Chicago for the same reason other Blacks left the South–failing crops forced the disappearance of jobs while Northern factories recruited Blacks for work to produce arms and other goods for World War I. Nevertheless, many historians view Oliver’s relocation to Chicago as the start of New Orleans Jazz migrating to the rest of the nation.

I've read many people framing the Great Migration as forces of politics and culture pushing African-Americans out of the South. First off, a large number of Blacks relocated within the South (rural-to-urban migration). Second, often glossed over is the importance of recruitment and publicity to paving the way for the move from rural South to urban North. A similar migration folklore is confusing the debate about gentrification.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New York City's Perpetual Gentrification

Gentrification is forever at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Demographic churn and gentrification.

Subject Article: "A Pilgrimage to the Vanishing Streets of My Grandmother’s Lower East Side."

Other Links: 1. "About Arrival City."
2. "Bronx Gentrification."
3. "NY Times Explores The 'Gentefication' Of Boyle Heights By 'Chipsters.'"
4. "Halloween in Detroit: Theatre Bizarre."
5. "America’s rental crisis."

Postscript: Aspirational migration doesn't seem to be a problem until the aspirants pine for a neighborhood where most residents are stuck. Thinking of Pittsburgh, and other legacy cities, gentrification will pit return migrants against elderly, fixed-income residents. The abandoned city made dirt cheap living possible. But those out-sized pensions demand high property taxes. The influx of city-slickers will jack up real estate values, challenging renters and home owners alike. Then there are the non-profits (e.g. hospitals and universities) buying up huge tracts of land, making residential more dear and more important for municipal revenue. Furthermore, anchor eds and meds gentrify residential neighborhoods. Meanwhile academics and activists act like something insidious is going on. Everything is gentrification and it is all bad. Left unsaid is that only Marxist revolution will fix the "problem".

Monday, December 09, 2013

Identity: State of Mind or State of Place?

The long history of gentrification in New Orleans at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Migration and gentrification.

Subject Article: "What does it mean to be a New Orleanian?: Richard Campanella."

Other Links: 1. "New Orleans' history shows that culture can be invigorated by new influences: Richard Campanella."
2. "Forget Brain Drain. The Truth Is Israel Gains When Talent Goes Abroad."

Postscript: Not New Orleans, but on point:

"The old-timers see: We are losing" said Katia Kelly, a Gowanus blogger and longtime local. "Whole Foods is one more example of stores catering to the affluent newcomers."

If some of the old-timers were becoming affluent, then you would hear a different story about gentrification. The angst is more about citizenship than displacement.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Transit Oriented Boondoggle: The Problem With Detroit's Streetcar System

Investment in any kind of transportation should aid production, not consumption at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Producer city versus consumer city.

Subject Article: "Invest in mass transit to retain young people, Michigan Municipal League says."

Other Links: 1. "Do Jobs Follow People or Do People Follow Jobs?"
2. "Knight Creative Communities Initiative (KCCI) Evaluation: Final Report."

Postscript: Speaking of Michigan:

Making Woodward Avenue cool — presumably more than it is already to muscle car fans and pub-crawling millennials — could revitalize Pontiac, diversify the economy into the technology sector and even reverse brain drain, a committee of the Oakland County Business Roundtable has determined.

The "Coolest Corridor" initiative, proposed by the roundtable's Economic Development Committee at the annual roundtable meeting today at the Troy Marriott, calls for convening a task force to determine how to support business growth trends and attract and retain tech companies. ...

... "Woodward Avenue does not stop at the boundary of Oakland County, providing an opportunity to connect with edgy communities within Detroit," the report states. "The Coolest Corridor initiative would promote a vibrant mix of social gathering where commerce, culture, recreation, entertainment, education and inspiration meet."

Michigan already tried the consumer city approach to urban revitalization (“Cool Cities” Initiative) under former Governor Jennifer Granholm. It didn't work because people follow jobs, not the other way around.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

U.S. Geography of News Stories

Drawing outside the lines on the map in order to include Pittsburgh at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Geographic stereotypes and mesofacts.

Subject Article: "Michigan can't afford to lose its lead in engineering talent."

Other Links: 1. "Middle Ground: The first national public radio show to focus only on Middle America, the states in-between California and the eastern seaboard. Who says it's flyover country?"
2. "Map of Middle Ground."
3. "For Celeste Headlee, the Middle Ground is Not Flyover Country."
4. "Mitten State: Michigan Nickname Used In Wisconsin Tourism Campaign."

Postscript: This blog post is a shameless plug for the Middle Ground fundraiser:

A basic studio setup with a mic, mixer, Telos unit for recording phone calls, acoustic foam for the walls and audio editing software. Those are all one-time investments. But we also need funds to pay local reporters for their stories, to pay commentators, and to pay local stations for studio time. 

At the time of this posting, there are only 33 hours left in the campaign to raise $20,000 with almost $6,000 to go.

Legacy Economy: Pittsburgh Steel Crazy After All These Years

Steel king in Pittsburgh at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic development.

Subject Article: "Pittsburgh's evolving steel legacy and the steel technology cluster."

Other Links: 1. "Life after steel: Hamilton grows up."
2. "Steeltown: A Century of Steel."
3. "Why Are Some Cities More Entrepreneurial Than Others?"
4. "The factory of the future."
5. "Michael Porter's cluster theory as a local and regional development tool: The rise and fall of cluster policy in the UK."
6. "Ann Arbor looks to stake its place at the intersection of IT and the automotive industry."

Postscript: I searched the term "legacy economy" recently. It's used in a pejorative sense, which suits me just fine. Like Pittsburgh's brain drain, the legacy economy is a good thing. The quality of regional talent production, as well as talent refinement, is a draw for business. I'm getting more confident that the Talent Economy is the heir apparent for the Innovation Economy, which is already converging.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Economic Geography of Eds and Meds

Eds and meds are dying at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic divergence of the Talent Economy.

Subject Article: "Where 'Eds and Meds' Industries Could Become a Liability."

Other Links: 1. "The End of the Road for Eds and Meds."
2. "Historic Jobs Factoid II."
3. "Key to job growth, equality is boosting tradable sector of economy."
4. "Colleges deploy marketing pizazz to woo students: New tactics to chase shrinking pool of high school grads."
5. "Pittsburgh campus freshman class bigger, better."

Postscript: I wrote about the economic geography of eds and meds last March. I danced around the heart of the issue: whether or not a sector of an economy is tradable. Only recently have I come to appreciate the importance of the tradable economy for the development of cities. Urban amenities are non-tradable. You have to move to a city in order to benefit. That's the thrust of Richard Florida's model of migration. Jobs follow people. However, the tradable economy drives urban growth and prosperity. People follow jobs. The cool cities game is zero-sum, with most places losing. I'm astonished how many cities and towns pursue this strategy. Pittsburgh is eating their lunch.