Don't mess with Americans' lawns

I went bike-riding this past weekend. The weather was mild and people were working in their yards. The smell of fertilizer and fresh-cut grass filled the air. All of a sudden it hit me: Focus group-driven political leaders who increasingly rail against suburbs, "sprawl" and automobiles may be in for a rough time. The same for real estate lawyers, land use planners and "green" developers who sponsor seminars and community meetings to advocate the "new urbanism" and "transportation oriented development" (called TOD) - including light rail to anywhere at any cost.

Reforms could make cities work

Talk to anyone about cities and the conversation quickly moves to negatives -- to issues like crime and violence, traffic congestion, schools that don't work, poverty, decay, racial tensions and divisions, out-of-control taxing and spending and, too often, out-of-control police and self-serving politicians. 

American outback on the rebound

Population growth in America's small towns and rural places -- what the demographers call "non-metropolitan" areas -- has been "widespread and substantial . . . at the fastest rate in more than 20 years," according to Loyola University demographer Ken Johnson. 

Nevada shows West the way

LAS VEGAS - "Vast acreage surrounded by untouched public lands; unique desert terrain teeming with native wildlife; a bustling metropolis; a Jack Nicklaus golf course..." So reads the brochure of the new Lake Las Vegas development designed for upscale retirees or the Lone Eagle freelance professional working from his desert home to deliver services over the Internet. 

Sydney: West's gateway to Asia

SYDNEY, Australia -- Viewed from the U.S. or Europe the rapidly growing economies of the Asian Rim are attractive but often bewildering markets. 

Fear subverts political stability

The character of the post-Cold War world is the subject of a sobering, doomsday cover story by editor Richard Kaplan in the February issue of The Atlantic Monthly. 

Kaplan doesn't dwell on the usual post-Cold War themes: regional conflicts, the role of the UN, growth of trading blocs. Kaplan is a Malthusian and a pessimist, not a strategist with faith in man's ability to transform or accommodate social and physical limits. 

Crime coddlers in high places

Following a week of senseless shootings and spreading problems of gang violence in America's largest cities, the Clinton administration's response is to "do something about drug treatment" (the president), license guns (Attorney General Janet Reno), and understand that crime is a public health problem like polio and AIDS (Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala). 

Federal money won't fix cities

The bankruptcy of ideas among America's urban leaders is on full view this week as the U.S. Conference of Mayors meets in New York City. The message big city mayors have chosen to send to the American people is anemic and uninspiring: They want more "federal" money and are disappointed that the President and Congress have failed to deliver new urban spending programs that were promised in the campaign, amplified during the transition and scripted in the President Clinton's February 17 State of the Union address. 

Urban base camps drive new tourism

The travel and tourism industry is big business. It is also the nation's primary source of foreign exchange earnings -- more than $64 billion last year -- considerably more than agriculture, which used to be in first place. One of the most rapidly growing segments of the tourism business is urban tourism -- even in the American West, where some of the world's most spectacular natural attractions are located. 



It’s better to wear out than rust out.”  That is the message of Reboot!  While American culture glamorizes the “Golden Years” of endless leisure and amusement, Phil Burgess rejects retirement, as he makes the case for returning to work in the post-career years, a time he calls later life.

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