Some Cities Will Thrive in a Warmer Climate

UCLA economist Matthew Kahn has a new book out that examines the economic implications for cities if global warming forecasts are accurate. Climatopolis: How Our Citie Will Thrive in the Hotter Future is the first attempt I know of that provides a readable and accessible analysis of how cities might fare if temperatures continue to rise.

Not surprisingly, some will do well and others will not. Cities like Los Angeles and New York will face significant challenges that will effect their economic competitiveness, but for different reasons: Los Angeless will get much hotter and face water shortages while Manhattan will face severe flooding. The good news is that they will likely have the ability to adapt. The bad news (for New York, Los Angeles, and other climate warming challenged cities) is that cities like Salt Lake City and Fargo (ND) are likely to perform much better simply because of their geography.

Thus, global warming will challenge the competitiveness ranking of cities. How they adapt and cope to the warmer climate will determine their ability to remain healthy and vital.

Climate skeptics might be dismayed by Kahn’s acceptance of the global warming mantra, but alarmists will be equally unhappy because he recognizes that global warming is a mixed bag. Some cities will lose and others will win. Moreover, Kahn’s book is firmly grounded in the reality that we are highly unlikely to reduce carbon emissions to the level many climate scientistis say is necessay to stablize world temperatures (if you put stock in these models). So, this is a refreshingly pragmatic view of cities and their future if temperatures continue to rise.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.

Staley is the author of several books, most recently co-authoring Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008). Texas Gov. Rick Perry aid Staley and Moore "get it right" and world bank urban planner Alain Bartaud called it "a must read for urban managers of large cities in the United States and around the world."

He is also co-author, with Ted Balaker, of The Road More Traveled: Why The Congestion Crisis Matters More Than You Think, and What We Can Do About It (Rowman and Littlefield, September, 2006). Author Joel Kotkin said, "The Road More Traveled should be required reading not only for planners and their students, but anyone who loves cities and wants them to thrive as real places, not merely as museums, in the 21st Century." Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters said, "Balaker and Staley clearly debunk the myth that there is nothing we can do about congestion."

Staley's previous book, Smarter Growth: Market-based Strategies for Land-use Planning in the 21st Century (Greenwood Press, 2001), was called the "most thorough challenge yet to regional land-use plans" by Planning magazine.

In addition to these books, he is the author of Drug Policy and the Decline of American Cities (Transaction Publishers, 1992) and Planning Rules and Urban Economic Performance: The Case of Hong Kong (Chinese University Press, 1994).

His more than 100 professional articles, studies, and reports have appeared in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Investor's Business Daily, Journal of the American Planning Association, Planning magazine, Reason magazine, National Review and many others.

Staley's approach to urban development, transportation and public policy blends more than 20 years of experience as an economic development consultant, academic researcher, urban policy analyst, and community leader.

Staley is a former chair for his local planning board in his hometown of Bellbrook, Ohio. He is also a former member of its Board of Zoning Appeals and Property Review Commission, vice chair of his local park district's open space master plan committee, and chair of its Charter Review Commission.

Staley received his B.A. in Economics and Public Policy from Colby College, M.S. in Social and Applied Economics from Wright State University, and Ph.D. in Public Administration, with concentrations in urban planning and public finance from Ohio State University.