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City Journal's 10 Blocks

City Journal's 10 Blocks, a weekly podcast hosted by editor Brian C. Anderson, features discussions on urban policy and culture with City Journal editors, contributors, and special guests. Forthcoming episodes will be devoted to topics such as: predictive policing, the Bronx renaissance, reform of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, homelessness in Portland, Oregon, and more. City Journal is a quarterly print and regular online magazine published by the Manhattan Institute.
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Now displaying: Page 4

Urban policy and cultural commentary with City Journal editors, contributors, and special guests

May 13, 2020

James R. Copland joins Brian Anderson to discuss how America's uniquely cumbersome regulatory system impeded the national response to the Covid-19 crisis and how costly litigation could damage the economy even further.

The FDA and CDC's administrative failings in the early days of the crisis proved costly. The federal process for reviewing and approving drugs and medical devices, writes Copland, still leaves much to be desired. And a wave of coronavirus-related lawsuits poses a serious threat to future business viability.

May 6, 2020

Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams joins Seth Barron to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, as well as New York City's looming fiscal crisis, how to address homelessness, the future of the Rikers Island jail, social-distancing enforcement, and more.

With more than 45,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, Brooklyn is one of the hardest-hit sections of the hardest-hit city in the United States. As president of the borough, Adams has responded to the pandemic with initiatives such as distributing personal protective equipment to NYCHA residents and calling for oversight on the handling of coronavirus victims' bodies. Once the acute phase of the crisis passes, Brooklyn, like the rest of New York, will face a long road to recovery.

Apr 29, 2020

Arpit Gupta joins Brian Anderson to discuss how New York City can safely restart its economy and allow people to resume normal activities—the subject of his new Manhattan Institute issue brief (coauthored with Dr. Jonathan Ellen), "A Strategy for Reopening New York City’s Economy."

As the U.S. city most affected by the coronavirus, New York faces unique challenges in its road to recovery. The key question remains: how can the city's economy reopen safely? The issue brief provides a strategic blueprint for doing that, with two key components: effective measures to reduce the risks of new infection and a phased approach that protects vulnerable populations.

Apr 22, 2020

Edward L. Glaeser joins Brian Anderson to discuss the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on city life in America, the connection between urban density and contagious disease, how to prepare for the threat of future outbreaks, and the economic-policy response of leaders in Washington.

As New York enters its second month under effective lockdown, Glaeser reminds us that "density and connection to the outside world—the defining characteristics of great cities—can also turn deadly." Contagious disease has always been the enemy of urban life; overcoming it in the past has required massive investments in sanitary infrastructure. The current pandemic could prove a long-run disaster for urban residents and workers unless public fear is alleviated.

Apr 15, 2020

Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and son of the late evangelical leader Billy Graham, joins Howard Husock to discuss his organization's response to the coronavirus pandemic, the volunteers behind these efforts, and how secular Americans can better understand faith-inspired philanthropic work.

In New York City's Central Park, Graham's disaster-relief organization set up a field hospital to treat patients overflowing from nearby Mount Sinai Hospital. Since the facility opened, its medical teams have treated more than 100 patients. Graham notes that he’s following in his grandfather’s footsteps, providing medical help not only in New York but also in China, where Samaritan’s Purse has donated supplies and personal protective equipment. "American civil society," writes Husock, "diverse and self-organized, still responds to need."

Apr 8, 2020

Virologist and investor Peter Kolchinsky joins Brian Anderson to discuss a coronavirus vaccine, the critical genetic differences between Covid-19 and the flu, and his proposals to reform the pharmaceutical industry.

As millions of Americans approach a month of living under stay-at-home orders, scientific teams across the globe are racing to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. According to Kolchinsky, several vaccines are already in development, and concerns that the virus will mutate and evade them are overblown. But until a treatment is made widely available, he warns, we will have to maintain a level of social distancing to prevent the health-care system from being overwhelmed. Kolchinsky is the author of The Great American Drug Deal: A New Prescription for Innovative and Affordable Medicines.

Apr 1, 2020

Seth Barron and Nicole Gelinas discuss the latest developments in New York City's fight against the coronavirus, the impact of the city's lockdown on future growth, and the response of state and local leaders.

As New York continues under lockdown, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak are becoming evident: the city's death toll has passed 1,000, with more than 40,000 confirmed cases. In addition to health-care professionals, essential public employees like the city's transit workers and NYPD officers are falling ill at a troubling rate. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have responded to the crisis with varying degrees of effectiveness, but the outbreak has revealed a lack of preparedness for a public-health emergency of this scale.

To follow City Journal's ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on New York, the United States, and the world, click here.

Mar 25, 2020

Steven Malanga and Brian Anderson discuss how the economic shock resulting from the coronavirus—the closing of large sections of the American economy, the plunge of stock markets—is likely to undermine state and local budgets around the country.

Even as states are searching for extra funds to help battle Covid-19, the loss of tax revenue during the crisis will be devastating. "States that rely on meetings, conventions, and tourism, or that derive substantial economic growth from energy production, or that depend on big gains in the financial markets from wealthy individuals, will be among the biggest losers unless the economy turns around fast," Malanga writes.

To follow City Journal’s continuous coverage of the pandemic, click here.

Mar 18, 2020

Seth Barron and Nicole Gelinas discuss the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, the drastic measures being taken to control its spread, and the consequences of an economic slowdown for the city and state budget, the MTA, and New York residents.

New York—particularly New York City—is moving toward a full shutdown. Over the past week, schools have cancelled classes for an extended period and restaurants, bars, and many other businesses have closed. The historic losses in revenue to the city's public-transit system alone will require a multibillion-dollar bailout, Gelinas believes. Read more of City Journal’s COVID-19 coverage on our website.

Mar 11, 2020

Physician Joel Zinberg joins Brian Anderson to discuss the global coronavirus epidemic, public-health efforts to contain the virus's spread, America's medical supply-chain vulnerabilities, and more.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, have been identified in more than half of U.S. states. Globally, the number of coronavirus cases exceeds 100,000. "The New York experience to date suggests," writes Zinberg, "that the disruptions this new virus causes—particularly to the availability of medical care, for any condition—may be more dangerous than the illness that it causes."

Mar 4, 2020

Rafael Mangual joins Kay Hymowitz to discuss evidence suggesting that children are often better off when criminal parents are imprisoned—the subject of Mangual's story, "Fathers, Families, and Incarceration," from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal.

A common criticism of incarceration in the United States, notes Mangual, is that it harms children by taking parents or siblings out of their homes. But recent studies show that children living with a parent who engages in high levels of antisocial behavior may be worse off than kids with incarcerated parents.

Feb 26, 2020

John Tierney joins Brian Anderson to discuss the campaign to ban the use of plastic products and the flawed logic behind the recycling movement—the subjects of Tierney’s story, "The Perverse Panic over Plastic," from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal.

Hundreds of cities and eight states have outlawed or regulated single-use plastic bags. But according to Tierney, the plastic panic doesn't make sense. Plastic bags are the best environmental choice at the supermarket, not the worst, and cities that built expensive recycling programs—in the hopes of turning a profit on recycled products—have instead paid extra to get rid of their plastic waste, mostly by shipping it to Asian countries with low labor costs. However, the bans will likely continue as political leaders and private companies seek a renewed sense of moral superiority.

Feb 19, 2020

Christopher Rufo joins Brian Anderson to discuss drug addiction and homelessness in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Skid Row, the subject of Rufo's story from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal, "The Moral Crisis of Skid Row."

"They call Los Angeles the City of Angels," writes Rufo, "but it seems that even here, within the five-by-ten-block area of Skid Row, the city contains an entire cosmology—angels and demons, sinners and saints, plagues and treatments." To address the growing public-health crisis, progressive activists and political leaders have relied on two major policies: "harm reduction" and "housing first." But despite nearly $1 billion in new spending, more people are on the streets than ever—and the crime and addiction are getting worse.

Feb 12, 2020

Catesby Leigh joins Seth Barron to discuss President Trump's draft executive order to give priority to classical-style architecture in the design of federal courthouses, agency headquarters, and other federal office buildings.

The classical style has inspired the most revered and popular buildings in the country—the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and the Supreme Court. But as Leigh reports, new federal rules after World War II enabled modernist styles of design, such as Brutalism and Deconstructivism, to set the tone for federal architecture. If adopted, the Trump administration's order would designate the classical and other traditional architectural styles as "preferred" for all federal buildings.

Feb 5, 2020

Mark Mills joins Brian Anderson to discuss the enormous energy demands of the world's modern information infrastructure—"the Cloud"—the subject of his new book, Digital Cathedrals.

"Tech companies confront an inconvenient fact," writes Mills. "The global cloud uses more energy than is produced by all the planet's wind and solar farms combined." In fact, digital traffic has become the fastest-growing source of energy use. While nearly every tech company has pledged to transition to renewable energy sources, most data centers are physically connected to the conventional power grid, fueled by hydrocarbons. The modern economy won't be exclusively powered by renewables any time soon.

Jan 29, 2020

Karol Markowicz joins Kay Hymowitz to discuss raising young children in New York City.

"Raising a family in the city is just too hard," concluded The Atlantic's Derek Thompson last summer. But in Park Slope, one of New York's most desirable neighborhoods, thousands of families thrive. Still, parents must navigate a host of challenges unique to urban life, including pricey housing, complex schooling options, and sometimes-unfriendly public spaces.

Jan 22, 2020

Allison Schrager joins Brian Anderson to discuss how risk propels economic growth and why government efforts that go too far to mitigate risk undermine America’s economic vitality.

“Risk, for better and worse,” writes Schrager for City Journal, “is at the heart of economic growth, and successfully apportioning it—not avoiding it—is the key to prosperity.” While government has a role to play in managing risk, the U.S. economy has thrived by trusting markets to allocate it efficiently. Overly intrusive efforts to reduce risk in the economy—such as California’s new law regulating freelance or “gig” work—may prove counterproductive to workers of all incomes.

Jan 15, 2020

Steven Malanga joins Seth Barron to discuss efforts to restrict dollar stores in cities across the country—the subject of Malanga’s popular story for City Journal, “Unjust Deserts.”

For nearly 20 years, “food deserts”—neighborhoods without supermarkets—have captured the attention of public officials, activists, and the media, who often blame the situation on dollar-discount stores in these areas. These stores, it’s claimed, drive out supermarkets with their low prices and saturate poor neighborhoods with junk food. But are dollar stores really to blame for bad diets?

Jan 8, 2020

Manhattan Institute's Michael Hendrix interviews Mayer Brown partner Andrew Pincus, the lead attorney in a lawsuit taking on New York State’s sweeping rent-regulation laws.

In 2019, New York strengthened its already-strict rent regulations, while state legislatures in Oregon and California approved caps on rent increases. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders have even proposed national rent-control policies. Pincus explains what's wrong with rent control, from violating due process and property rights to shutting out newcomers attempting to find housing in cities.

If you're interested in learning more about rent control, check out a new report by Michael Hendrix from Manhattan Institute's Issues 2020 series.

Dec 31, 2019

Naomi Schaefer Riley joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the state of the American child-welfare services, and describes and what some nonprofits are doing to improve foster care across the country.

Nationally, Riley notes in City Journal, about 444,000 children are in foster-care. And in many states, "officials report a severe shortage of families to take in these children." On top of that, disturbing incidents like the death of Zymere Perkins in New York highlight the failure of local child-welfare services to intervene in the face of clear evidence of abuse.

Dec 23, 2019

Merry Christmas from the editors of City Journal. In another special episode of 10 Blocks, editor Brian Anderson extends his best wishes to all our listeners during the holiday season, reflects on a year of terrific guests, and more.

If you're interested in supporting the Manhattan Institute and City Journal, please visit our website.

Dec 18, 2019

In a special holiday edition of 10 Blocks, Timothy Goeglein joins City Journal assistant editor Charles McElwee to discuss how people of faith can help renew American society—themes explored in his new book, American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation.

Coauthored with Craig Osten, American Restoration calls for a revival of spiritual values in America and offers a roadmap for people of faith to engage with our modern culture—especially at the local level.

Timothy Goeglein is Vice President of External Relations for Focus on the Family. Formerly, he served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush and as a deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison.

Dec 11, 2019

Amity Shlaes discusses the economic history of the 1960s and the efforts of Presidents Johnson and Nixon to eradicate poverty—the subjects of her just-published book, Great Society: A New History.

The 1960s were a momentous period, from the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War, but Shlaes's book focuses on the incredibly ambitious government programs of the era, which expanded the social safety net beyond anything contemplated before. Overall, the Great Society programs, Shlaes writes, came "close enough to socialism to cause economic tragedy." Great Society is a powerful follow-up to her earlier book, The Forgotten Man, about the Great Depression and the 1930s.

Dec 4, 2019

Seth Barron talks with four City Journal contributors—Rafael Mangual, Eric Kober, Ray Domanico, and Steven Malanga—about former New York City mayor and now presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg's record on crime, education, economic development, and more.

After years of teasing a presidential run, Bloomberg has entered the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Just a week before his official announcement, he made headlines by reversing his long-standing support of controversial policing practices in New York—commonly known as "stop and frisk." Bloomberg's record on crime will factor heavily in his campaign, but his 12 years as mayor were eventful in numerous other policy areas.

Nov 27, 2019

Howard Husock interviews four remarkable leaders of nonprofit groups who were recently honored as part of Manhattan Institute's Civil Society Awards and Civil Society Fellows Program.

Manhattan Institute and City Journal have long sought to support and encourage civil-society organizations and leaders who, with the help of volunteers and private philanthropy, do so much to help communities address serious social problems. In this edition of the 10 Blocks podcast, Husock speaks with:

If you know individuals or organizations that deserve a Civil Society Award, please visit our nomination page and tell us about them.

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