Bicycle Rights?
March 22, 2011

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was set to ride a bicycle across Portland, Ore.’s Hawthorne Bridge this morning.                        Which of course reminded me of this…   

2011--The Year of the U.S. Economic Comeback?
January 14, 2011

Jim O’Neil, an economist at Goldman Sachs and the man who coined the acronym “BRICs” (standing for Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and thereby promoted those countries to the forefront of U.S. and European consciousness, is now saying that the year 2011 is “the year of the U.S. comeback.” Now, it’s true, analysts at investment banks make a lot of lousy predictions. And as our last “MetroMonitor” showed and as everyone in touch with reality already knows, the U.S. economy is still struggling.

Tarnished Stirling
December 17, 2010

“Notes from the Archive: James Frazer Stirling, Architect and Teacher”Exhibition runs until January 2, 2011 at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, and will then travel to the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Post-modernism in architecture came to the public eye when, in the late 1970s, The New York Times printed on its front page the astonishing image of Philip Johnson’s model for the proposed AT&T (now Sony) building in midtown Manhattan.

This Is What a Cluster Looks Like
November 29, 2010

I posted earlier about Joe Cortright’s interesting work describing the size, structure, and dynamics of Portland, Ore.’s athletic and outdoor cluster--firms that design, develop, manufacture, market, distribute, and sell apparel, footwear, and gear for active outdoor recreation. (Think Nike). Joe’s work shows that far from a crunchy West Coast niche activity the so-called “A&O” cluster now consists of more than 300 firms with a payroll, and employs more than 14,000 Oregonians, at an average wage of more than $80,000 annually.

Getting Active on Clusters: Portland, Ore.
November 23, 2010

We’ve been writing a lot recently about regional industry clusters and cluster policy, especially after our  fall “innovation clusters” event. Still, it’s always good to reiterate what, exactly, a cluster is, and to show that, rather than to tell it. Our colleague Joe Cortright has done just that in completing some fascinating work describing a fine case-in-point: Portland, Ore.’s athletic and outdoor (A&O) industry cluster. In this work, undertaken for the Portland Development Commission and other state and regional partners, Joe has provided a cogent analysis of the size, scope, structur

In the Northwest, Angry Voters Dump Pocketbook Initiatives
November 11, 2010

Despite the Democratic firewall in the Pacific Northwest last week for congressional representatives, many ballot measures thought to be supported by Democrats failed. In Washington state, measures to establish an income tax on high earners, sell bonds for school energy retrofits, and privatize state liquor sales all failed. Additionally, sales taxes on candy and bottled water were repealed and a two-thirds legislative supermajority for tax increases was established (again). Across the mighty Columbia in Oregon, five of seven ballot measures passed.

How to Increase U.S. Exports
July 28, 2010

In the national conversation on trade policy, it’s rare to get beyond exchange rates and trade agreements. While these are certainly important topics in their influence on the volume and balance of trade, the focus relegates the debate to federal policy and misses a myriad of opportunities at the state, local, and metropolitan level to promote exports. So what do exports look like on the ground level?

Think Locally, Act Globally
May 26, 2010

Did anyone notice that NEC director Larry Summers quietly exploded old-fashioned urban policy last week?  He didn’t mean to. In a speech at the Brookings-White House Council on Automotive Communities summit on May 18, Summers set out to talk about the economy, and how to stimulate manufacturing in general and auto manufacturing in particular.   He identified four policy areas that are particularly important: the availability of credit; exports; innovation and R&D; and human capital. More credit, more exports, more innovation, and more educated workers could, in conjunction with huge and su

A New Metro Map
May 10, 2010

Do you live in the “Rust Belt” or the “Sun Belt?” Are you a West Coaster, an East Coaster, or a resident of “flyover country?” Perhaps you’re a proud New Englander, Midwesterner, or Texan. More to the point, does any of that matter? (For the full-size map click here) Maybe not as much as you think. Our new report, the State of Metropolitan America, surveys the demographic landscape of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas over the 2000s. It finds that who metropolitan areas are is in many ways more important than where they are. In fact, my Brookings colleagues and I identify seven categ

Please “Treme,” I Beg You--Get Over Yourself
May 07, 2010

On Wednesday, TNR senior editor Ruth Franklin explored the way authenticity is played with in David Simon’s new HBO show, “Treme.” Here, John McWhorter offers his own, markedly different opinion on the subject. People can get irritating about their authenticity.