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Downtown Los Angeles Is America’s Most Colorful Neighborhood

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Los Angeles–For those who love navigating cities by foot, New York will always be America’s main option. Los Angeles, despite being the densest urban area, never achieved this walkability, thanks to government efforts to socially engineer sprawl. But one Los Angeles neighborhood, at least, offers something more colorful–and arguably better–than anything else in the U.S. It is the city’s downtown area, better known here to locals as “DTLA.”….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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The Houston Rodeo Has Returned For Its 86th Year

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Every major American city has its landmark annual event, ranging from SXSW in Austin, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, to the New Year’s Eve Times Square ball drop in New York City. But one such event gets far less media attention than the others, despite having a larger attendance and arguably more cultural relevance, at least to middle America. It occurs, no less, in the nation’s 4th-largest city and its 5th-largest metro area. That event is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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America’s ‘Inner City’ Problem, As Seen In One Baltimore Neighborhood

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Baltimore, MD–Much was made about the campaign rhetoric from President Donald Trump on America’s inner cities. This is because he spoke about them in the blunt and sensationalized way that only he can.

“Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before, ever, ever, ever,” he declared at one campaign stop. “You take a look at the inner cities, you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street.”

Similar statements during the presidential debates caused the press and social media to jump on him, often sarcastically placing his phrase “inner city” into scare quotes….[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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austin

I Spent A Year Traveling Through America’s Fast-Growing Sunbelt

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

There’s a severe shift occurring right now in the United States. The Northeast and Midwest are ceding people to the South and West, with migrants moving particularly to America’s Sunbelt. Like with other global migration shifts, there is an underlying political context to all this. Regulations on housing construction and other economic activities are making certain northern cities hostile to all but elite income groups. Meanwhile, the more open southern economies are receiving the exodus, becoming more economically and culturally dynamic. For the last year, I’ve traveled through this southern slice of the country, witnessing all these changes at street level–and it’s been something to behold…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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‘Friendsgivings’ Are A Growing Urban American Tradition

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

West Hollywood, CA–What happens during Thanksgiving in a big American city filled with Millennials, transplants, events seekers, social butterflies, or some combo? There will be fertile ground for many “Friendsgivings.” The idea of a family inviting outside friends who don’t have anywhere else to eat on Thanksgiving is common nationwide; but recently it’s taken a twist, as unrelated young people throw Thanksgiving dinner parties among themselves. This past Thursday, I got to tour several of these parties in Los Angeles, experiencing a West Coast slice of the budding urban American tradition…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Meet The Millennials Transforming San Antonio

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

San Antonio, TX—The dinner party that I hosted in late August, while passing through one night during my 1,000-mile drive between Austin and Phoenix, offered the quintessential combo of old and new San Antonio. I was dining at La Fonda On Main, a San Antonio institution in the historic Alta Vista neighborhood that is famous for its upscale Mexican cuisine. Yet sitting in the restaurant’s back room with me, amid the clatter from the kitchen, was a group that personifies the new San Antonio: 11 professional-class Millennials, selected at random, who are launching their careers in the Alamo City.… Read more

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sixth street

Austin Needs To Unleash 6th Street

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Austin, TX–People familiar with Austin might be perplexed by this headline, having noted that the city’s main nightlife strip is already plenty unleashed. I’m talking, of course, about a certain portion of 6th Street stretching through downtown, known here by locals as “Dirty Sixth.” It is one of America’s leading strips for music and debauchery, and one of Austin’s leading tourism drivers. But the area’s potential is constrained by the same anti-nightlife regulations that are common nationwide. In Austin, these regulations have been recently strengthened, thanks to a perverse and seldom-discussed brand of NIMBYism…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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How No Zoning Laws Works For Houston

[Originally published by The Federalist]

 

Houston, TX — When traveling through America’s foremost boomtown, the atmosphere of change quickly becomes evident, from new buildings to added traffic. But one can’t truly appreciate this growth until on a balcony. So there I was one December evening in 2015 atop a high-rise, watching the sun set over Houston. My view was of an urban core that, contrary to its reputation, has become dense, global, and cosmopolitan. The panorama conveyed, moreover, growth that has been driven not by government centralization, but a laissez-faire mentality….[read the rest at The Federalist]… Read more

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How Tinder Is Changing The Urban Bar Scene

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–The way men and women meet nowadays is totally different than before. It used to be that if a guy saw an attractive woman, he’d approach her–unaware of whether she was even single, much less interested–and then brace himself for a humiliating rejection. Now both parties just use internet apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Match.com, which streamline the vetting and meeting process. But this hasn’t kept bars–with their social lubricant of alcohol–from remaining the places where prospective couples meet. The question is how such dating shifts have altered bars’ business and social models.… Read more

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fidel albelo

What Is It Like To Escape Cuba By Raft?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Miami, FL–There are over 1.1 million Cuban immigrants in the United States, and even more than other immigrant groups, they have clustered, with over two-thirds living in greater Miami. What unites this group is not dislike of their home country, but the need to leave the Castro brothers’ Communist regime. Without the money or legal ability to fly out, however, many have risked their lives by floating on man-made rafts to Florida, Mexico and elsewhere. Thousands of these raft people—or “balseros”—are traversing the streets of Miami, carrying a memory that is seldom-discussed in Cuban culture.… Read more

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