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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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A Conversation With Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–With Donald Trump’s election—along with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and Republican governorships in 31 states–this would seem like a golden age for the GOP. And yet something about the party feels unsustainable. Their branding, now rooted more in nativism and white identity politics than in promoting liberalized markets, is unpopular in urban areas. According to an Atlantic Magazine report, this recent election, for all its supposed race and gender divides, was really about city versus country.… Read more

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Oklahoma City’s MAPS Is A Model Public Works Program

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–There have been numerous failures throughout the history of public works initiatives, with different major U.S. cities subject to bureaucracy, graft and poor design. And then there’s the program in Oklahoma City. Since 1993, the state capital has pursued multiple stages of its Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), funding structures that have been credited with reviving the city. And it has done this the right way, following accounting principles that seem lost on bigger cities. Recently I visited some projects and spoke with officials who were instrumental behind MAPS, to hear what other cities could learn…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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When Outsourcing Works

[Originally printed in Governing Magazine]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–Many public services are now outsourced. From education and transit to garbage pickup and park maintenance, there’s a notion that nongovernmental organizations can do things better. Certainly, privatization has seen its share of successes and failures. But one of those successes is economic development — at least in Oklahoma City.

Since the beginning, economic development in Oklahoma City has been handled not by a public entity as in many cities, but by the Chamber of Commerce. Putting the chamber or other private groups in charge of economic development has long been common at the local level.… Read more

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A Tale Of Two Alcohol Laws: New Orleans and Oklahoma City

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Oklahoma City, OK–When planning my cross-country trip last year, I knew that my successive months in New Orleans and Oklahoma City would be wildly different. New Orleans, as one friend noted, is a “sorority city” full of drinkers and partiers. Oklahoma City is the capital of one of America’s most conservative states, with a culture rooted in work, family and religion. And these differences are embodied in both states’ alcohol laws. Louisiana–particularly New Orleans–has some of America’s loosest laws, and Oklahoma some of the strictest.… 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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OKC Rising

[Originally published by National Review]

 

It’s odd to think that either the Republican or Democratic party would overlook one of its rising local leaders. Generally, it seems that anytime a mayor or governor even trips into the national spotlight, he is immediately touted by party elders as the next big thing, whether or not he’s accomplished anything in office. But for ten years, one Republican has remained under the radar even while effectively leading a major city — normally hostile territory for the GOP. He is Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett.… Read more

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