• 12 Reasons the Glass is 1% Full
    March 27, 2020   Blog Posts   9 Comments

    Let’s stipulate upfront that there’s nothing to celebrate about a pandemic.  The damage COVID-19 is wreaking—in terms of deaths, sickness, business closures, unemployment, and misery—is incalculable.  But this crisis is changing the world in subtle ways that may ultimately improve our lives.  So…in the spirit of Winston Churchill, who once implored not to let a good crisis go to waste, here are the positives I’m observing. (1) Resilience – Never Read more

  • Why Local Economies Matter
    January 27, 2019   Blog Posts   No Comment

    I recently was hired by Utopies, a French think tank, to help MCB, the largest bank in Mauritius, rethink its approach to economic development.  The following is from an interview I did with MC, which summarizes the case for local economists.  (Another interview I did with them, on what MCB and other banks can and should be doing to support localization, will be posted shortly.)   MCB:  You’re a well-known Read more

  • A Truly “Business Friendly” Leader
    October 22, 2018   Uncategorized   No Comment

    Where I live, in Montgomery County, Maryland, this is a critical election, because we finally have an opportunity to elect a leader, Marc Elrich, who really understands the meaning of economic development. His principal opponent, Nancy Floreen, is justifying her quixotic, independent bid to become County Executive with the claim that she is the only “business friendly” candidate. As someone who has spent his 25 years working on economic development Read more

  • A Tax Revolt Against Corporate Subsidies
    June 10, 2018   Uncategorized   8 Comments

    Many thanks to the WASHINGTON POST for publishing on June 7th my latest take on the Takoma Junction Redevelopment Project. I argued that Takoma Park is now the proverbial canary in the coal mine. The era of communities giving huge subsidies to developers may be ending, and progressive revulsion at the practice may turn out to be as powerful as the conservative tax revolt ushered in by Proposition 13 in Read more

  • More on Takoma Junction
    April 16, 2018   Uncategorized   32 Comments

    The analysis I summarized in the previous blog post generated numerous responses from the public, the City, and the developer.  One central theme of the responses has been skepticism over my contention that the City is subsidizing the developer, NDC. What follows are my further comments on the debate for the Takoma Park City Council:   Is Takoma Park Subsidizing NDC? My preliminary answer was “yes.”  Compared to the lease Read more

  • Rethinking The Takoma Junction Redevelopment Plan
    March 20, 2018   Blog Posts   4 Comments

    A basic mantra of progressive economic development should be to deploy public land for public purposes.  This has become clear to me as I’ve watched the nearby City of Takoma Park, Maryland, struggle to move ahead on a controversial development project on a 1.4 acre site called Takoma Junction.  The site is largely undeveloped except that the neighboring Co-op grocery store leases part of it for parking and deliveries. In many ways, this Read more

  • An Interview With Transition Towns
    May 15, 2014   Blog Posts   1 comment

    One of the most influential drivers of localization worldwide is the Transition Towns movement, launched by Rob Hopkins in the United Kingdom, which has inspired initiatives in literally thousands of communities.  “The Transition Network,” according to its web site, “is a charitable organisation whose role is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.  Read more

  • We’ve Won! Now What?
    May 2, 2014   Blog Posts   2 Comments

    Last week, I gave a lunchtime talk to the board of the Fresh Sound Foundation in New York City, where I was asked to help this small family philanthropy think about how it could best assist the local economy movement. I thought this was a really interesting question, because depending on one’s perspective, it meant critiquing the movement or identifying great opportunities for it. My basic message was that we Read more

  • Lawyer-Free Crowdfunding in Maryland
    April 21, 2014   Blog Posts   1 comment

      I’m pleased to report that crowdfunding reform has just reached an important milestone in the state where I live—Maryland.  Legislation just passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Marty O’Malley now allows every Maryland resident to lend up to $100 to any local business with virtually no legal hassles whatsoever.  The fact that neither expensive legal documentation nor a cumbersome intermediary “portal” is required is, frankly, revolutionary. Read more

  • Wanted: Creative Localistas for State Legislatures
    March 15, 2014   Blog Posts   2 Comments

    Over the past year probably a dozen current or aspiring state legislators have asked me for advice on what kinds of legislation they might advocate that could support local living economies.  While there’s a long list that comes to mind, here are my top ten items.  (I’ve excluded from this reforms related to community capital and investment, which I will post in a separate blog piece.)  In case you don’t Read more