WBEZ | Aaron Renn http://www.wbez.org/tags/aaron-renn Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is Chicago a second-rate city? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/chicago-second-rate-city-100211 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5391670328_f8d6f4fdeb_z.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px; " title="(Flickr/Edward Wade)" /></p><p><strong>- Is Chicago a second-rate city?</strong></p><p>That&#39;s a question urban analyst Aaron Renn asked in an <a href="http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_chicago.html">article</a> published in the <em>City Journal</em> that many are calling &quot;sobering.&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbanophile.com/bio/">Renn</a>, who lived in Chicago for 20 years, basically slams Chicago for its obsession with calling itself a &quot;global city,&quot; saying that will not cure the city&#39;s <a href="http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/17661">deep poverty</a>, <a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1714000.html">declining population</a>, <a href="http://chicagoloopalliance.com/pdfs/2011_Loop_Economic_Study_FINAL.pdf">Loop job losses</a> and Illinois&#39;s precarious <a href="http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/illinois-budget-pension-reform-1040300-1.html">fiscal situation</a>.</p><p>&quot;The gleaming towers, swank restaurants, and smart shops remain, but Chicago is experiencing a steep decline quite different from that of many other large cities,&quot; Renn wrote. &quot;It is a deeply troubled place, one increasingly falling behind its large urban brethren and presenting a host of challenges for new mayor Rahm Emanuel.&quot;</p><p>Renn&#39;s main point: unlike New York or Silicon Valley, Chicago&#39;s economy lacks a &quot;calling card&quot; industry &ndash; it&#39;s more like the &quot;unofficial&quot; capital of the Midwest.&nbsp;</p><p>His piece is quite the talk around town, <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120615/BLOGS02/120619858/is-the-second-rate-city-hindered-by-a-diverse-economy">Crain&#39;s columnist Greg Hinz writes</a>.</p><p>Lee Bey (full disclosure: one of our WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey">bloggers</a>) told me what was remarkable about the story that was Renn &quot;gave voice publicly to things that have been whispered privately,&quot; adding he, like many, feel it is an honest assessment of the city.</p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.07520196377081467">&quot;I wanted to really put out the data that shows we have big, big problems in Chicago,&quot; Renn said, when I reached him yesterday at his new home in Rhode Island. &quot;I think bits and pieces have been put over the place, but I don&rsquo;t think people have tied in the economic, demographic and financial problems</span><span id="internal-source-marker_0.07520196377081467">.&quot;</span></p><p><strong>- Is there a skills mismatch in the job market?</strong> Economists like to use this term to talk about the difference between the skills workers have and the skills needed for the jobs employers are hiring for. There&#39;s been much talk about this during the Great Recession, but a <a href="http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/chicago_fed_letter/2012/cfljuly2012_300.pdf">new report</a> from the Chicago Fed concludes probably not, at least in a widespread way.</p><p>The authors analyzed a lot of data to conclude that most likely the low levels of hiring are because employers appear &quot;hesitant to fully commit to hiring&quot; for the openings they have, although there is evidence there may be a mismatch among &quot;middle-skilled&quot; workers, or those who require a moderate level of skill. I did a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/new-manufacturing-workers-need-strong-math-reading-skills-99882">story about this last week </a>looking at people who want to get into these types of jobs in manufacturing that looked at the advanced math and reading skills required these days for jobs like welding &ndash; and how many workers just don&#39;t have those basic skills.</p></p> Tue, 19 Jun 2012 08:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/chicago-second-rate-city-100211 CHA plans to transform Lathrop Homes raises community concerns http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-16/cha-plans-transform-lathrop-homes-raises-community-concerns-94089 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-16/DSC00160.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.thecha.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Housing Authority’s</a> Lathrop Homes have stood at the intersection of Diversey, Clybourn and Damen Avenues since the late 1930s. The homes were scheduled for major renovations. According to the CHA, the changes will help integrate residents into the surrounding community and make the buildings more environmentally sustainable.</p><p>The renovations fell under the <a href="http://www.thecha.org/pages/the_plan_for_transformation/22.php" target="_blank">CHA’s Plan for Transformation</a>, the plan that brought down high rise projects like Cabrini-Green and delivered a new mix of market-rate and subsidized housing to other developments. However, Lathrop residents and community members were concerned that the approach to other sites might not be right for Lathrop. Aaron Renn, an urban planner who has written about Lathrop Homes on his blog, <a href="http://www.urbanophile.com/" target="_blank">Urbanophile</a> and Veronica Gonzalez, the CHA's development manager.</p><p><em>Music Button: Sounds from the Ground, "Blink", from the album High Rising, (Waveform)</em></p></p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-16/cha-plans-transform-lathrop-homes-raises-community-concerns-94089 Mayor Monday: Assessing the future of transportation in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/mayor-monday-assessing-future-transportation-chicago <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/cta train_flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Every Monday &quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; looks at some of the issues facing Chicago&rsquo;s next mayor with the series Mayor Monday. This Monday's topic is transportation. Talk about planes, trains and automobiles is on the docket. But in a city whose El is as much icon as mode of transport, getting around goes much deeper.<br /><br />The panel of experts is <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/sps/about/ourfacultystaff/FullTimeFaculty/schwieterman.asp" target="_blank">Joe Schwieterman</a> is a Professor at DePaul University&rsquo;s School of Public Service. Aaron Renn blogs about urban planning and transportation as <a href="http://www.urbanophile.com/" target="_blank">The Urbanophile</a>. And, Mike Brockway is the Parking Ticket Geek from <a href="http://theexpiredmeter.com/" target="_blank">The Expired Meter.com</a>.</p><p><em>Music Button: Empresarios, &quot;Pensamiento&quot;, from the CD Sabor Tropical, (Fort Knox)</em></p></p> Mon, 10 Jan 2011 14:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/mayor-monday-assessing-future-transportation-chicago