Finance & Business

Nov 21 2021

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William Fulton | Columnist

William Fulton is the director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University and the author of Guide to California Planning and The Reluctant Metropolis. Fulton came to Rice from California where he served as the planning director for the City of San Diego. He formerly served as mayor, deputy mayor and a member of the city council in the City of Ventura, Calif.

Despite Political Divides, Suburbs Need Cities

Outlying communities and central cities should do more to work together.

In Fights Between States and Cities, It’s Not Just Red vs. Blue

Preempting local laws is no longer a trend in just conservative states.

How to Test Your Economic Development Strategy

It’s not about how successful any business is but what the city has left after it leaves.

There Are Changes Bigger Than Self-Driving Cars Coming

Online shopping and the automation of jobs are going to transform cities.

After Harvey’s Rainwaters Receded, Fears Rose

Like Katrina and Sandy, Harvey shook Houstonians’ from their complacency.

The ‘New Urbanism’ Movement Might Be Dead

City revival has ceased to be a radical idea, and that’s a good thing.

Why Sun Belt Cities Need Unique Solutions to Common Problems

The typical tools of urban America don’t always work in the rapidly growing region.

The Transportation Side Effects of ‘The Great Inversion’

Low pay and long, pricey commutes often go hand in hand.

Have States Lost Their Place as Labs of Democracy?

Experts say cities will be the new place for innovative policy. But there are two reasons that might not happen.

A Low-Cost Solution to Traffic

Instead of building expensive roads, we should be building housing that limits how far people have to drive in the first place.

How Can Cities Get Denser and Sprawl at the Same Time?

There’s a dispute about whether the movement toward city living is real. But this either/or battle is a distraction.

Are Cities Growing or Not?

As it turns out, there is no one answer.

To Subsidize Development or Not?

Often-uninformed city leaders struggle with the decision, and taxpayers pay the price for their lack of financial knowledge.

The Urbanization of the ‘Burbs

Regardless of where they live, urban amenities are no longer a bonus but a requirement for many millennials.

In Defense of the Urban Freeway

There’s a push to tear them down. But they’re one of the biggest things driving the urban renaissance.

Why We Shouldn’t Let the Sharing Economy Kill Zoning

The sharing economy is challenging the demand for land-use regulations, but they’re still necessary.

When Less (Regulation) Is More

A solution to a decades-old parking problem in one city shows how others can harness the power of market economics.

To Help Poor Neighborhoods, Urban Planners Have to Do More Than Urban Planning

They can’t just improve the physical environment if they want to revitalize poverty-stricken areas.

Drowning in Data, Cities Need Help

Urban planners have historically had to do their jobs with only the dimmest understanding of what’s going on. Now they have more information than they can handle.

Are Millennials Really More Urban Than Previous Generations?

Most of them actually live in the suburbs.

The Future of Parking in an Era of Car-Sharing

Services like Uber and Zipcar could radically change city streets.

Houston: From Sprawl to City

Once wide open and famous for sprawl, the Texas city is becoming increasingly crowded and expensive.

Goodbye Governing, Hello San Diego

After 26 years, this journalist will stop writing and start doing in San Diego as the city’s newest urban planner.

Is Texas’ Economy Really Better Than California’s?

Gov. Rick Perry often touts Texas’ economic success, which he attributes to lower taxes and fewer regulations than cash-strapped California. But if Texas is so compelling, why did Perry go to California looking for new companies?

Why States Keep Playing the Losing Tax-Incentive Game

Elected officials and experts aren’t sure if tax breaks actually create jobs. So why do they keep offering millions of dollars worth of subsidies to companies?

Sandy Forces Northeast to Rethink Infrastructure

In an effort to emerge more resilient and prosperous, states and localities are rethinking power grids, roads and sewers in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Do Millennials Want to Call Your City ‘Home’?

Millions of millennials will soon be putting down roots. Cities and suburbs that are less attractive to them have a limited window to turn things around.

University Business Parks Model North Carolina State’s Centennial Campus

The campus throws academics, nonprofits and businesses together to facilitate the constant and intense interaction required to bring research breakthroughs to market.

Rick Snyder Takes a Venture Capitalist’s Approach to Governing Michigan

The governor is redirecting economic development incentives. Will it work?

Silicon Valley Considers Personal Rapid Transit System

Can an innovative transit idea keep Silicon Valley — home to tech giants like Google and Microsoft — from choking on congestion? Or is the answer to their problems much simpler?

Redevelopment Financing Gets an Overhaul in California

The governor eliminated the state’s redevelopment agencies — and the way it funds urban revitalization. Now the Golden State must find new money sources.

Cities Push the Business ‘Start-up’ Envelope

The business incubator is no longer a new idea. Cities are pursuing business accelerators, a kind of incubator on steroids.

Should Government Spend or Invest Money?

In order to ensure long-term economic prosperity, states and localities should focus on investment.

Jobs Aren’t Enough

Economic development’s key measure of success is not the only approach to turning lagging economies into prosperous communities.

Tax Credit or Tax Cut?

Political rhetoric comes down to being for or against taxes with little discussion about their effect on economic development.

Economic Development in the 1099 Economy

Temporary work is becoming the norm. Economic developers must change their focus if they want to create jobs in this new economy.

The Economic Development President

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama was using the language of economic investment — language mayors and governors use all the time.

Young Professionals Return Home, and Stay

Cities are launching “boomerang” efforts to bring their young professionals back home.

The Search for Infrastructure-Driven Transformation

There are infrastructure projects, and then there are infrastructure projects that transform.

Getting the Job Done

It’s become good politics in urban areas to advocate `skills training’ for immigrant groups, even if the skills are pretty basic.

Measuring Economic Development Without Depending on Jobs

Can you have economic development without job growth?

Angel at the Airport

Wichita is providing a discount air carrier with a $5 million subsidy in an effort to bring cheaper air service to its airport.

Paying the Hotel Bill

Increasingly, cities and development authorities are building and owning the hotels that support their convention centers.

Playing Off History

The charming but non-functioning Erie Canal could be the foundation for economic revival in Upstate New York.

Growth Without Growth

A new, provocative report finds places where the economy is growing strong even though the population isn’t.

Mutual Attraction

The popular perception may be that all the jobs are moving to the suburbs. But the statistical data show otherwise.

Local Hero V. Regional Champ

Very often, a big development project achieves regional goals but does so by flattening a local community. Or vice versa.

Big-Box Food Fights

There’s a looming battle over groceries, but the battleground itself is the local government land-use approval process.

Making Work

A new study suggests that state and local tax incentives for existing businesses don’t create new jobs.

Big-Box Blues

A Wal-Mart grocery invasion could be very bad news for cities and the tax revenue they get from local supermarkets.

Will Retail Still Rule?

How the Internet tax war plays out will have a major role in determining future economic development strategies.

Open Innovation

R&D has evolved from a private company effort to a collaboration between private, public and academic partners.

Living the Niche Life

Building housing downtown is the latest trend, but it’s hardly the return to the past that people think it is.

Growing Pangs

There’s been a lot of hand wringing in my hometown. Our second largest private employer is leaving.

A Rural Knockout

The rapidly changing relationship between prosperous U.S. cities and their traditional hinterlands is creating 21st-century problems.

Refugee Renewal

Absorbing the displaced from overseas can be a tough urban task. But for a city in decline, it can be an unexpected opportunity.

The e-Archivers List

When it comes to the New Economy, no metropolitan area is without assets–and precious few have a monopoly on success.

The Spawning Spark

Knowing how startups are born is vital to economic development: Entrepreneurs drive a lot of opportunities.

In The Zone

A new study finds that state enterprise zones don’t do much good, partly because they suffer from fuzzy policy goals.

The Panacea Patrol

A fresh idea about how to stimulate local economies is fueling a debate about whether it can solve all problems.

Twin Towers’ Afterglow

While a new project will rise on the site of ground zero, the Twin Towers’ legacy survives throughout metropolitan New York.

The 21st Century Ltd.

California’s freight corridor is a prime example of the most important kind of development projects our cities will see.

The Job Hunt

The two-tier economy seems more of a reality in the America of today than it has in almost a century.

The Clawback Clause

If a company getting tax breaks doesn’t deliver the goods, should the state or locality involved demand its money back?

The Fedex Story

Why did a fledging overnight-delivery company relocate in Memphis–and what does it take to keep it there?

Creating A Land Boom

Some older cities are playing with an idea that would encourage landowners to develop or sell their ‘fallow’ lots.

The Not-So-Boring Basics

Even in the era of the New Economy, a successful economic development strategy still depends on plain ol’ infrastructure.

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Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University and former mayor of Ventura, Calif.

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