together NYC

populyst is launching a new initiative, together NYC, to crowd-source and to map sentiment across New York City. It is an invitation to users to mark on a map their sentiment at a given location and point in time. There is a menu of eleven preset sentiments and one that is user defined (see Legend in map below). A user can sign in as a guest, or can create an account if he/she wishes to track or review their own sentiments over time. Click on this image to open the page.

Home page of together NYC

Since this is a first effort, it is a beta test of sorts and will evolve significantly over time. Sentiments as of now are fairly basic and reflect a personal need or a change in personal circumstances, such as “I am hungry” or “I am getting married”. Over time, we will be adding other sentiments and perhaps editing some out where participation is low. The learning curve will lead us to a place where users respond to the proposed menu of sentiments and will participate in growing numbers.

Our purpose is to maximize participation because the relevance of this effort depends on a high level of participation. The fact that an individual user is experiencing a certain feeling or going through a life change is important information mainly to his family, friends and colleagues.

But the fact that a large number of people are experiencing the same sentiments or life changes at the same location is of relevance to all of us in at least three ways: one, it raises awareness of sentiments within the community and anchors those sentiments in specific locations; two, it may stimulate better understanding, a change of attitude or a response from the community; three, it allows us to see how various communities are faring in comparison to others, first within Manhattan and adjoining areas and later vs. other cities around the country or world. Of course, we are cognizant that the outcome may be biased by the type of person who participates, and we will have to work around that.

Based on the success of this effort and feedback that we receive, we envisage taking the same effort to other cities in the US and abroad.

We will post more as this project evolves but this is it for now. Thank you for your support and participation. Here is the just launched map. Click on it to access.

Talking About Cities, with Aaron Renn

“You go to some of these places [Midwestern cities], the question they ask when they meet you is ‘where did you go to high school’?… The fact that where you went to high school is a social marker places you in a community. You go to Washington DC and nobody cares where you went to high school… In New York, they ask ‘where are you from?’ because it is assumed that you are not from here. Some of these places in the Midwest… need more outsiders to come in because outsiders are the natural constituency of the new.” _____Aaron Renn

AaronRennAaron Renn, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, speaks to Sami J. Karam about US cities. What makes the large coastal cities so successful? What are the prospects for mid-sized and smaller cities in the Rust Belt? What is the current state of play for mass transit? What role does immigration play in the development of cities?

Among the cities discussed, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, Charlotte, Minneapolis-St Paul, Nashville, Columbus, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, Madison, Iowa City, Rochester (MN), Singapore, Paris.

Topics include:

  • 0:00 Introduction of Aaron Renn
  • 1:15 What makes the large coastal cities so successful at creating wealth?
  • 8:30 Can a large city become dominant in a new sector? (e.g., New York in tech)
  • 13:00 How would you categorize non-coastal cities in terms of their prospects?
  • 16:30 Why some cities are struggling while others are restructuring successfully
  • 20:55 Will some smaller cities turn into ghost towns within twenty years?
  • 26:35 What is going on with Detroit’s recovery?
  • 30:40 The role of new immigrants in the development of a city
  • 36:50 Immigration policy in Canada and Australia compared to the US and UK
  • 43:50 What is the future for mass transit?
  • 48:00 The lack of city to city benchmarking in infrastructure costing and execution
  • 53:40 Is there anything going on in high-speed rail, other than in California?
  • 59:40 The decline of trust in institutions and the problem of cronyism.

TO HEAR THE PODCAST, CLICK HERE OR ON THE TIMELINE BELOW:

A Different Kind of Border Wall

To slow mass migration, stop the illicit capital flight from poor to rich countries.

An asset manager called ____ Capital recently sent out this email seeking referrals:

The US Investor visa program allows one to invest $500,000 U.S. in a government licensed fund for a period of about five years and in around 18 months, a conditional green card is attained for the investor and their immediate family. The investor and their family can live, work and study anywhere in the United States and there are no educational, age or English language requirements.

Most experts report that on September 30th the investment amount will increase from $500k to $1.3m, a significant jump that will price out many potential investors.

There is still time to file before September 30th if you start your process with ____ Capital now.

Others can comment on the practice of selling green cards (and ultimately US citizenships) to wealthy foreigners while millions of other applicants, some of whom would be greater contributors to the United States, continue to wait in line for years. Our concern is one step removed and has to do with the legality of this money. Read more

New York, Two States of Mind

Is New York City helping or holding back Upstate New York?

Towards the end of times, when all of mankind congregates in a final purgatory to draw the main lessons of this grand adventure called Life, there will be special attention paid to the centuries’ long efforts at harmonizing individual happiness with the needs of the collective. There will be seminars on leadership and war. There will be a thick chapter on the blessings and dangers of science. There will be a long section, co-written by poets and undertakers, on the success of freedom and the failure of tyranny. There will be wonder and consternation about religion and the nature of the universe. And there will be, inevitably, extensive reporting on economic ideology.

Here, a slim primer on laissez-faire will easily outshine ponderous encyclopedic tomes on communism, socialism and other failed -isms. Capitalism, the word and the theory, will be presented as a zealous and perhaps unnecessary attempt at creating a code for laissez-faire, something that occurs naturally. Cronyism will be understood as the corruption and distortion of laissez-faire and the phrase crony capitalism will be dismissed as an oxymoron and an unwarranted amalgamation. Read more