What will be the Future of Cities?

The Future of Cities

Whatever the future holds for humanity, it is likely to take place in an urban context. Yet, there are many, and sometimes divergent, urban futures. This book is being published as a series, with permission of the American Enterprise Institute. Please return weekly to read each chapter as it is published.
Working class protestors in Paris, France

The Two Middle Classes

by Joel Kotkin — Politicians across the Western world like to speak fondly of the “middle class” as if it is one large constituency with common interests and aspirations. But, as Karl Marx observed, the middle class has always been divided by sources of wealth and worldview. Today, it is split into two distinct, and often opposing, middle classes.
San Jose housing not affordable

Make America’s Housing Affordable Again

by Randal O'Toole — Fifty years ago, housing was affordable everywhere in the country. The 1970 census found that the statewide ratio of median home prices to median family incomes was greater than 3.0 only in Hawaii (where it was 3.04). Price-to-income ratios were under 2.5 in every other state, and under 2.2 in California, New York, and other states that today are considered unaffordable.

Discouraging Panhandling, Airport Wag Brigade, 6-Figure Incomes, and More

Gattis urges Houston to discourage panhandling in favor of promoting comprehensive charitable services and to get a wag brigade of cuties roaming area airports for PR buzz that money can't buy. Airport therapy pig, anyone?
The Economist cover - and some housing facts

To The Economist: Planning, Not Home Ownership, Caused the Housing Crisis

by Wendell Cox — The January 16, 2020 cover story in The Economist magazine trumpeted “The West’s biggest economic policy mistake: It’s obsession with home ownership undermines growth, fairness and public faith in capitalism...”

Red v. Blue

by Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox — The political and cultural war between red and blue America may not be settled in our lifetimes, but it’s clear which side is gaining ground in economic and demographic terms. In everything from new jobs—including new technology employment—fertility rates, population growth, and migration, it’s the red states that increasingly hold the advantage.

Nobody Wants to Leave Houston!

Nobody wants to leave Houston!  Well, I might be exaggerating a bit, but this CityLab piece shows Houston as the 9th most popular city for inbound apartment searches, but it doesn't even make the top 20 for outbound apartment searches.
METRO bus, Houston transit

METRO Board Considering Elimination of Transit Fares

Houston's METRO board is considering of doing away with transit fares, making buses and trains free for everyone. KPRC interviews Tory Gattis as they report on the story.

California Preening: Golden State on Path to High-Tech Feudalism

by Joel Kotkin — “We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta....” declared then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. In truth, the Golden State is becoming a semi-feudal kingdom, with the nation’s widest gap between middle and upper incomes—72 percent, compared with the U.S. average of 57 percent—and its highest poverty rate.
Roy Luck

Why METRO Should Eliminate Transit Fares

by Tory Gattis — The big item this week is my mention in this Chronicle article for getting Metro to reconsider spending $100 million on new fare-collection equipment while they're still looking at going completely fareless
Aerial view of skyscrapers

Mayors Won’t Rule the World

by Joel Kotkin — Earlier in this decade, cities—the bigger and denser the better—appeared as the planet’s geographic stars. According to the 2013 book If Mayors Ruled the World, everyone would be better off if state rule were replaced by rule from the most evolved urban areas.