I write a weekly column for The Philadelphia Citizen, a nonprofit media startup that pioneering solutions based journalism. The Citizen is creating an electronic public square that explores issues and identifies solutions.

Americans who travel abroad sometimes wonder why many of our airports are lacking in comparison to the best international airports. Or they want to know why other nations seem to do a better job with public transportation and the management of other public assets, from ports to parks. The answers we are tempted to give are that we do not invest as heavily in public infrastructure as many other nations and that a market-oriented American ethos with an entrepreneurial culture prefers private solutions (cars versus trains) to public ones. These answers are certainly part of the story.

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Jul 28

The Art of Misdirection

Donald Trump used misdirection in business and entertainment. He is doing the same in politics.

Misdirection is the central craft of magicians and hucksters. Get people distracted, turn their senses toward a sound, statement, or sight…while doing something else without detection. The military calls it tactical deception.

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Dec 23

Trump and The City: Infrastructure

Infrastructure was a persistent theme of Donald Trump’s campaign. He claimed, with some justification, that America’s roads, bridges, ports, waterways and airports were no longer first rate. And he promised to invest a trillion dollars into infrastructure—twice as much as Hillary Clinton proposed. But the difference in their plans was not so much the amount, but how resources were to be delivered, including the role of government versus the private sector.

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Dec 12

Trump and The City: Housing

My last two columns focused, respectively, on education and law enforcement under President-elect Donald Trump. This week, we’ll look at federal housing policy and identify major questions likely to surface over the next year.

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Dec 5

Trump and the City: Law Enforcement

Last week, we analyzed the new challenges facing cities when it comes to education policy in Donald Trump’s America. This week, we’ll dive into law enforcement.

Donald Trump owes little to cities politically. His winning electoral numbers were overwhelmingly rural, small town industrial belt, and exurban. Yet many of the cities and metropolitan regions that voted Democratic are increasingly the major generators of economic value and demographic growth. He cannot succeed unless those cities succeed.

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Nov 29

Trump and The City, Part 1

Let’s begin with the obvious: From the perspective of rewarding his base, Donald Trump owes little to cities. After all, his winning electoral numbers were overwhelmingly rural, small town industrial belt, and exurban.

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Nov 22

Trump Shock

As political scientists and journalists take apart Tuesday’s election, we will learn more about how this happened. Right now many of us are in a state of disbelief. While I work through the five levels of grief (I am far from acceptance), here are eight takeaways from the tsunami we just witnessed:

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