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William Fulton  |  Columnist

Email : bfulton@rice.edu

William Fulton is the director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University and the author of Guide to California Planning and The Reluctant Metropolis. Fulton came to Rice from California where he served as the planning director for the City of San Diego. He formerly served as mayor, deputy mayor and a member of the city council in the City of Ventura, Calif.

Urban Notebook

Despite Political Divides, Suburbs Need Cities

Outlying communities and central cities should do more to work together.

August 9, 2018
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Urban Notebook

In Fights Between States and Cities, It's Not Just Red vs. Blue

Preempting local laws is no longer a trend in just conservative states.

June 18, 2018
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Commentary

How to Test Your Economic Development Strategy

It’s not about how successful any business is but what the city has left after it leaves.

April 26, 2018
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Commentary

There Are Changes Bigger Than Self-Driving Cars Coming

Online shopping and the automation of jobs are going to transform cities.

February 16, 2018
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Commentary

After Harvey's Rainwaters Receded, Fears Rose

Like Katrina and Sandy, Harvey shook Houstonians' from their complacency.

December 12, 2017
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Urban Notebook

The ‘New Urbanism’ Movement Might Be Dead

City revival has ceased to be a radical idea, and that’s a good thing.

October 25, 2017
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Urban Notebook

Why Sun Belt Cities Need Unique Solutions to Common Problems

The typical tools of urban America don’t always work in the rapidly growing region.

August 15, 2017
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Urban Notebook

The Transportation Side Effects of 'The Great Inversion'

Low pay and long, pricey commutes often go hand in hand.

June 1, 2017
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Urban Notebook

Have States Lost Their Place as Labs of Democracy?

Experts say cities will be the new place for innovative policy. But there are two reasons that might not happen.

April 12, 2017
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Urban Notebook

A Low-Cost Solution to Traffic

Instead of building expensive roads, we should be building housing that limits how far people have to drive in the first place.

February 13, 2017
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Urban Notebook

How Can Cities Get Denser and Sprawl at the Same Time?

There’s a dispute about whether the movement toward city living is real. But this either/or battle is a distraction.

December 1, 2016
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Urban Notebook

Are Cities Growing or Not?

As it turns out, there is no one answer.

October 17, 2016
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Urban Notebook

To Subsidize Development or Not?

Often-uninformed city leaders struggle with the decision, and taxpayers pay the price for their lack of financial knowledge.

August 18, 2016
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Urban Notebook

The Urbanization of the 'Burbs

Regardless of where they live, urban amenities are no longer a bonus but a requirement for many millennials.

June 10, 2016
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Urban Notebook

In Defense of the Urban Freeway

There's a push to tear them down. But they're one of the biggest things driving the urban renaissance.

April 26, 2016
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Urban Notebook

Why We Shouldn't Let the Sharing Economy Kill Zoning

The sharing economy is challenging the demand for land-use regulations, but they're still necessary.

February 1, 2016
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Urban Notebook

When Less (Regulation) Is More

A solution to a decades-old parking problem in one city shows how others can harness the power of market economics.

December 1, 2015
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Urban Notebook

To Help Poor Neighborhoods, Urban Planners Have to Do More Than Urban Planning

They can't just improve the physical environment if they want to revitalize poverty-stricken areas.

October 1, 2015
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Urban Notebook

Drowning in Data, Cities Need Help

Urban planners have historically had to do their jobs with only the dimmest understanding of what’s going on. Now they have more information than they can handle.

August 1, 2015
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Urban Notebook

Are Millennials Really More Urban Than Previous Generations?

Most of them actually live in the suburbs.

June 1, 2015
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Urban Notebook

The Future of Parking in an Era of Car-Sharing

Services like Uber and Zipcar could radically change city streets.

April 1, 2015
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Urban Notebook

Houston: From Sprawl to City

Once wide open and famous for sprawl, the Texas city is becoming increasingly crowded and expensive.

February 1, 2015
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Goodbye Governing, Hello San Diego

After 26 years, this journalist will stop writing and start doing in San Diego as the city’s newest urban planner.

September 1, 2013
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Is Texas’ Economy Really Better Than California’s?

Gov. Rick Perry often touts Texas’ economic success, which he attributes to lower taxes and fewer regulations than cash-strapped California. But if Texas is so compelling, why did Perry go to California looking for new companies?

April 30, 2013
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Why States Keep Playing the Losing Tax-Incentive Game

Elected officials and experts aren’t sure if tax breaks actually create jobs. So why do they keep offering millions of dollars worth of subsidies to companies?

February 28, 2013
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Sandy Forces Northeast to Rethink Infrastructure

In an effort to emerge more resilient and prosperous, states and localities are rethinking power grids, roads and sewers in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

December 28, 2012
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Do Millennials Want to Call Your City ‘Home’?

Millions of millennials will soon be putting down roots. Cities and suburbs that are less attractive to them have a limited window to turn things around.

October 31, 2012
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Transportation & Infrastructure

University Business Parks Model North Carolina State’s Centennial Campus

The campus throws academics, nonprofits and businesses together to facilitate the constant and intense interaction required to bring research breakthroughs to market.

August 31, 2012
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Rick Snyder Takes a Venture Capitalist’s Approach to Governing Michigan

The governor is redirecting economic development incentives. Will it work?

June 29, 2012
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Silicon Valley Considers Personal Rapid Transit System

Can an innovative transit idea keep Silicon Valley -- home to tech giants like Google and Microsoft -- from choking on congestion? Or is the answer to their problems much simpler?

April 30, 2012
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Redevelopment Financing Gets an Overhaul in California

The governor eliminated the state’s redevelopment agencies -- and the way it funds urban revitalization. Now the Golden State must find new money sources.

February 29, 2012
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Cities Push the Business ‘Start-up’ Envelope

The business incubator is no longer a new idea. Cities are pursuing business accelerators, a kind of incubator on steroids.

January 1, 2012
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Should Government Spend or Invest Money?

In order to ensure long-term economic prosperity, states and localities should focus on investment.

October 31, 2011
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Jobs Aren’t Enough

Economic development’s key measure of success is not the only approach to turning lagging economies into prosperous communities.

August 31, 2011
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Tax Credit or Tax Cut?

Political rhetoric comes down to being for or against taxes with little discussion about their effect on economic development.

June 30, 2011
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Economic Development in the 1099 Economy

Temporary work is becoming the norm. Economic developers must change their focus if they want to create jobs in this new economy.

April 29, 2011
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Economic Development President

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama was using the language of economic investment -- language mayors and governors use all the time.

February 28, 2011
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Young Professionals Return Home, and Stay

Cities are launching "boomerang" efforts to bring their young professionals back home.

January 1, 2011
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Search for Infrastructure-Driven Transformation

There are infrastructure projects, and then there are infrastructure projects that transform.

November 1, 2010
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Getting the Job Done

It's become good politics in urban areas to advocate `skills training' for immigrant groups, even if the skills are pretty basic.

August 1, 2001
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Governing: State and local government news and analysis

Measuring Economic Development Without Depending on Jobs

Can you have economic development without job growth?

September 1, 2010
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Angel at the Airport

Wichita is providing a discount air carrier with a $5 million subsidy in an effort to bring cheaper air service to its airport.

December 1, 2002
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Paying the Hotel Bill

Increasingly, cities and development authorities are building and owning the hotels that support their convention centers.

August 1, 2002
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Playing Off History

The charming but non-functioning Erie Canal could be the foundation for economic revival in Upstate New York.

June 1, 2000
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Growth Without Growth

A new, provocative report finds places where the economy is growing strong even though the population isn't.

April 1, 2002
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Mutual Attraction

The popular perception may be that all the jobs are moving to the suburbs. But the statistical data show otherwise.

August 1, 2000
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Local Hero V. Regional Champ

Very often, a big development project achieves regional goals but does so by flattening a local community. Or vice versa.

December 1, 2000
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Big-Box Food Fights

There's a looming battle over groceries, but the battleground itself is the local government land-use approval process.

February 1, 2001
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Politics & Elections

Making Work

A new study suggests that state and local tax incentives for existing businesses don't create new jobs.

June 1, 2003
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Big-Box Blues

A Wal-Mart grocery invasion could be very bad news for cities and the tax revenue they get from local supermarkets.

February 1, 2004
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Will Retail Still Rule?

How the Internet tax war plays out will have a major role in determining future economic development strategies.

October 1, 2000
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Open Innovation

R&D has evolved from a private company effort to a collaboration between private, public and academic partners.

December 1, 2004
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Living the Niche Life

Building housing downtown is the latest trend, but it's hardly the return to the past that people think it is.

August 1, 2004
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Growing Pangs

There's been a lot of hand wringing in my hometown. Our second largest private employer is leaving.

December 1, 2001
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Transportation & Infrastructure

A Rural Knockout

The rapidly changing relationship between prosperous U.S. cities and their traditional hinterlands is creating 21st-century problems.

October 1, 2001
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Health & Human Services

Refugee Renewal

Absorbing the displaced from overseas can be a tough urban task. But for a city in decline, it can be an unexpected opportunity.

May 1, 2005
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The e-Archivers List

When it comes to the New Economy, no metropolitan area is without assets--and precious few have a monopoly on success.

June 1, 2001
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Spawning Spark

Knowing how startups are born is vital to economic development: Entrepreneurs drive a lot of opportunities.

October 1, 2003
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Transportation & Infrastructure

In The Zone

A new study finds that state enterprise zones don't do much good, partly because they suffer from fuzzy policy goals.

December 1, 2003
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Panacea Patrol

A fresh idea about how to stimulate local economies is fueling a debate about whether it can solve all problems.

October 1, 2004
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Twin Towers' Afterglow

While a new project will rise on the site of ground zero, the Twin Towers' legacy survives throughout metropolitan New York.

February 1, 2002
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The 21st Century Ltd.

California's freight corridor is a prime example of the most important kind of development projects our cities will see.

June 1, 2002
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Job Hunt

The two-tier economy seems more of a reality in the America of today than it has in almost a century.

June 1, 2004
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Clawback Clause

If a company getting tax breaks doesn't deliver the goods, should the state or locality involved demand its money back?

October 1, 2002
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Fedex Story

Why did a fledging overnight-delivery company relocate in Memphis--and what does it take to keep it there?

April 1, 2000
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Transportation & Infrastructure

Creating A Land Boom

Some older cities are playing with an idea that would encourage landowners to develop or sell their 'fallow' lots.

August 1, 2003
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Transportation & Infrastructure

The Not-So-Boring Basics

Even in the era of the New Economy, a successful economic development strategy still depends on plain ol' infrastructure.

April 1, 2001
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