Urban Policy

In Praise of Suburbs

  • By
  • Joel Kotkin,
  • New America Foundation
January 29, 2006 |

As California's first large urbanized region, the Bay Area has a long and compelling history as a center of city life. When Fresno was little more than a couple of shacks and Los Angeles a gunslinger's cow town, San Francisco already saw itself as a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city.

The War Against Suburbia

  • By
  • Joel Kotkin,
  • New America Foundation
January 14, 2006 |

Suburbia, the preferred way of life across the advanced capitalist world, is under an unprecedented attack--one that seeks to replace single-family residences and shopping centers with an "anti-sprawl" model beloved of planners and environmental activists. The latest battleground is Los Angeles, which gave birth to the suburban metropolis. Many in the political, planning and media elites are itching to use the regulatory process to turn L.A. from a sprawling collection of low-rise communities into a dense, multistory metropolis on the order of New York or Chicago.

Shelter and the Storm

  • By
  • Katherine Boo,
  • New America Foundation
November 28, 2005 |

Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, is a hub of oil and fishing industries on the Gulf of Mexico. The hamlets along its waterways rise in elevation and affluence as they increase in distance from the coast. Trailers, aluminum foil in their windows to beat back the sun, give way to communities screened by oak and cypress trees. One of the loveliest neighborhoods is Bayou Black. There are thoroughbreds on lawns there, and an alligator farm. The week's sole rush hour begins Saturday before dawn, when fathers and sons leave home to fish and hunt.

Katrina and Urban Liberalism Left Behind

  • By
  • Joel Kotkin,
  • New America Foundation
  • and David Friedman
September 14, 2005 |

President Bush's inept response to the Katrina disaster has called into question whether his brand of conservatism is capable of responding to national emergencies--and rightly so. From the administration's pre-hurricane reluctance to fund infrastructure upgrades to its appointment of political cronies to crucial federal agencies, the last few weeks have showcased the American political right at its very worst.

Democracy and Disaster

  • By
  • Jedediah Purdy,
  • New America Foundation
September 6, 2005 |

In a country as wealthy and technologically capable as the United States, there is no such thing as a simple natural disaster. Every disaster is also a social event, made up by human will and ingenuity--or neglect and indifference. Famines, famously, do not happen in democracies, because no matter how severe a drought or blight, only the voiceless and powerless are ever left to starve.

The Future of California's Cities

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - 12:00pm

California has a history of urban innovation, from the earliest missions to the rise of the Gold Rush era in San Francisco, the sprawling metropolis of Southern California and the "technopolis" that emerged in late 20th Century in places like San Jose, San Diego and Orange County.

The City: A Global History

April 5, 2005

Selected reviews of The City are featured below:

Kirkus Reviews

Tuesday, April 5, 2005
In gentle rebuke to those who never saw the good side of a city, urbanist and commentator Kotkin looks at the bright side, calling cities "humankind's greatest creation."

Programs:

American Cities of Aspiration...

  • By
  • Joel Kotkin,
  • New America Foundation
February 14, 2005 |

For much of the past decade, Darik Volpa labored long and hard in the high-tech vineyards of San Jose and Boston. As an executive in the medical instrument industry, he earned good money, but could not achieve a middle class lifestyle in those pricey locales.

Rule, Suburbia

  • By
  • Joel Kotkin,
  • New America Foundation
February 6, 2005 |

The battle's over. For half a century, legions of planners, urbanists, environmentalists and big city editorialists have waged war against sprawl. Now it's time to call it a day and declare a victor.

The winner is, yes, sprawl.

Suburban Culture

  • By
  • Joel Kotkin,
  • New America Foundation
January 19, 2005 |

Patricia Jones remembers when, as a 20-something aspiring actress, she first arrived in Southern California from Michigan. Her friends urged her to move to the bright lights of Hollywood or the hip, arty precincts of Santa Monica. But Ms. Jones, seeking "peace and quiet" instead, chose Thousand Oaks, a bedroom suburb then a 30- to 40-minute drive northwest of Los Angeles.

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