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Monday, May 23, 2011

Why are we moving to cities? In large numbers.

Half of the world's wealth is concentrated in the largest 25 cities. 250 million Americans live in cities.
Almost half of the world's population call cities home, and the percentage in industrialized "modern"
countries is even higher

America was built around transportation...ports, canals, railroads and highways. American cities grew
around the production centers that depended on transportation hubs, the industries that flourished there.
The East coast offered welcoming shores for immigrants, with plenty of room for growth. In 1900 one
in five Americans lived within fifty miles of the Atlantic Ocean. Today that number has shifted, but
remains one in three Americans within 100 miles of the Atlantic coast.

Living in a city meant transportation, jobs, higher pay (today by an average of 30%), traditional culture (theatre, art, museums, universities), conveniences and the opportunity for housing and a sense of home.

The First World War brought millions of soldiers from rural areas, for many the only places they have
ever seen, to cities and the opportunities and culture of cities young men found attractive. World War II
left GI's discharged far from home, often in cities that were warmer in climate, exotic compared to
"home", with ample post-war jobs in areas from booming construction to ship building and trade.

"A chicken in every pot...a car in every garage, your own bedroom, a lawn, close to school and medical help, walking distance...."

With the Eisenhower years urban sprawl began, the focus on home ownership and the use of trains,
planes and automobiles to commute and as everyday tools of business. Suburbia, and a rapid expansion of urban America continued until the recession of 2008, and in some areas continues to grow.

50% of Americans now live in urban areas, with one third of the population within city limits. By 2050
estimates put that number at over three out of four Americans. For the first time since World War II,
cities are growing 30% faster than suburbia. Three quarters of the population occupy less than three
percent of the landmass, not counting Alaska or Hawaii.

The urban cores of major cities, which were decaying into poverty, are now upscale and resurgent, the 'in" place to live.

Why are people moving to the cities in 2011?

There are short term answers that could mislead but would not answer the really. The price of gas, declining home values in suburbia, loss of farm and rural jobs, a decaying national infrastructure, and a return to where mom and dad lived explain some reasons, but not the larger trend.

This is where I leave it to you to think, read and maybe come up with some answers.

It's an interesting trend, one that is growing on a world wide level.

My guess..."the promise of jobs and of a better life." The primary historic reason for most all migrations over the centuries. But is it better?

Being Popular Could Keep You From Being Sucessful

So your kid is not a jock or one of the "popular" kids. Don't worry about it. "The Geeks Shall Inherit
Robbins believes traits that often make high school students outsiders are the same qualities  that will
help them thrive as adults. She spent ten years analyzing the behavior of high school students who do
not sit at the "popular table." Many of the quirks or differences that isolate students make them succeed
outside of school, Bruce Springstring, JK Rowling, and fashion icon Tim Gunn are just three examples
of outsiders who because of it, began highly successful careers. Actual self esteem suffers in the judgemental popular group, but empowers the outsiders, nerds and gamers. Most high school students see themselves as they think others see them. Robbins says that schools actually contribute to the hierarchy and social class system in schools. Perceived and social metric are the two types of popularity. Perceived are the ones schools call popular, such as quarterbacks and cheer leaders. Social Metric is the earned popularity from piers. The elements of social metric popularity help individuals make gains in business, politics and other fields. Perceived works for social climbers and highly structured corporate structures. Geekdom and other "outsider" traits lead to individualism and innovation....but beware, they could go the other direction, toward what "Star Wars" calls "the Dark Side" as well.

Apple joins "cloud music" club

From the LA Times Company Town (click here).
Preparing to launch its own "cloud music service," Apple Inc. has reached tentative agreements with all four major record labels that would allow users to listen to songs from an Internet connection.
It is unclear whether the Silicon Valley company has actual contracts with those labels -- Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group, EMI Group and Universal Music Group -- or whether details of the agreements are still being ironed out, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
Representatives of the four labels declined to comment. CNET reported last week that EMI had signed on to Apple's service.
To read more and find out how Apple differs from Amazon and Google, click on "read more" below.

Jack Sparrow and Woody Allen, the Odd Box Office couple of the week

Ahoy, matey. The fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" sailed to an impressive $256.3 million in global ticket sales over the weekend. In the U.S., the movie took in $90.1 million, a figure that was seen as soft by industry observers. "Bridesmaids" continued to deliver, taking in $21.1 million, which is only 20% less than what it made in its opening weekend. Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" also delivered very impressive numbers in its limited opening. Box-office analysis from the Los Angeles Times andMovie City News.
"Midnight in Paris," packed with Angelenos and New Yorkers, scored the best limited-release opening ever for Woody Allen as it opened in the two cities. Riding a wave of good reviews and publicity from the Cannes Film Festival, Allen's new film, starring Owen Wilson as a writer drawn to the City of Light, opened to $578,805, according to an estimate from distributor Sony Pictures Classics. That's a very strong performance considering the picture was playing at just six theaters, two in Los Angeles and four in New York. Despite Allen's New York roots and sensibility, the Landmark Theatre in West Los Angeles was the highest-grossing location for the picture. Its per-theater average of $96,468 is not only the best ever for Allen, but also the best so far of 2011 and the 15th highest of all time, not accounting for ticket-price inflation, according to Box Office Mojo.

It's about the Nook, not the book. Media mogul John Malone, the chairman of Liberty Media and the godfather of the modern-day cable industry, raised a lot of eyebrows last week with his company's offer to buy Barnes & Noble. After all, an old-school business like a bookstore chain didn't seem something that would interest Malone, who's always focused on the future. But turns out the crafty deal maker may want Barnes & Noble so he can get his hands on their e-reader device, the Nook, and perhaps turn the tablet into a stronger rival to Apple and Amazon, among others. Variety with a look at what might be Malone's endgame.
Inside the sleaze factory. Jim Rutenberg, who used to cover media for the New York Times before moving on to politics, returned to his old stamping grounds Sunday with an exposé about the inner workings of TMZ and Radar, the kings of tabloid. It will probably come as little surprise that those who seem to hold the most interest for these two voyeurs and vultures operations are also often in on the coverage. Still, there is much to be disturbed about in how they operate in this detailed look inside. The government is also poking around in an effort to find out about leaks of health records and police reports, which TMZ and Radar thrive on.
End of an era. Oprah Winfrey ends her daytime talk show on Wednesday to focus on her cable channel, OWN, and an industry fears that when she goes, so will millions viewers. For 25 years, Winfrey has owned a huge chunk of daytime TV. Although her own audience has eroded over the last several seasons, she is still the ratings champ, and so far no one else out there seems to have the chops to step up and fill the void. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal look at what Winfrey's exit will mean. The Los Angeles Times already did this story a few weeks ago.
The kingmaker. Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes doesn't just run one of the most important units in media-mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. empire, but also his coverage can sway politics, particularly within the Republican party. New York Magazine looks at what the lackluster stable of Republican candidates for 2012 says about Ailes and his network.
Better luck next year. Consumer-electronics giant Sony Corp., whose holdings include Sony Pictures as well as PlayStation, said the company will lose money for the third straight year. The new forecast is much more downbeat than what Sony had been telling the street as the company is predicting a loss of more than $3 billion. More from Bloomberg. The new forecast is the latest of several stumbles for Sony. Reuters takes a look at CEO Howard Stringer's stewardship of the company.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Kenneth Turan on the big winners at Cannes. Mary McNamara on the "Glee" tour.
-- Joe Flint