Given the importance of cities in the modern economy, it is surprising how little academic blogging there is focused on cities. There seem to be zillions of environmental blogs but few urban blogs. So, I was happy to learn about the birth of a new blog published at http://urbaneconomics.blogspot.com.
These are exciting days in academic urban economics. I've been told that the recent regional science meetings in Toronto were a great success. Ed Glaeser's profile in the New York Times in March 2006 was a salient example of some of the great research being done. See
What surprises me is that many of the leading universities have no tenured urban economists these days. Ask Stanford, Yale, Chicago, Northwestern "who teaches your urban economics class?" and they will tell you that they don't offer the subject.
That's ugly! A majority of the world's people live and work in cities, it might be useful to have a better sense of how spatial considerations affect productivity and quality of life in such cities. This was my prime motivation for writing my Green Cities book.
So, I have a vested interest in there being greater demand for urban economists but the broader intellectual point is to think about "fashion cycles" for sub-fields of academic economics. How do some fields such as development economics or behavioral economics rise up right now while other sub-fields are in less demand? How do economists decide "what is hot" and "what is not"? Maybe we should as Paris Hilton?