Category Archives: Los Angeles

World’s best cities for business according to Mastercard Worldwide research

Earlier this week, MasterCard Worldwide released its annual survey of “the global economy’s most influential cities”. Read on…

MasterCard Worldwide Research Highlights Growing Role of Asian and Eastern European Cities in the Global Economy

London remains the global economy’s most influential city, according to the 2008 MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index™, an annual research initiative designed to evaluate and rank how major cities compare in performing critical functions that connect markets and commerce around the world. The future, however, appears to belong to Asia and Eastern Europe, whose cities represent the fastest rising regions within the Index.

Shanghai had the largest jump in overall rank – moving eight spots from 2007 to 2008 – bringing it into the top 25 of this year’s Index and demonstrating the growing importance of Asian cities to a progressively urbanized global economy. Moscow, a gateway for the fast- growing Eastern European region, showed the greatest improvement in actual Index score and had the most significant gain on London year-over-year. Continue reading

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Filed under Hong Kong, Industry, London, Los Angeles, Media, New York, Osaka, Tokyo, Toronto, Trade

Japan’s cool trumps L.A’s, apparently…

From food to fashion to music, Los Angeles is seeing a wave of Japanese culture like never before — according to a recent cover story from the L.A. Times.

Southern California is arguably the epicenter of Japanese cool in America, with three major hubs of restaurants, bars and shops in Torrance and Gardena, West L.A. and the Sawtelle corridor, and downtown’s Little Tokyo. And just about everywhere you look, it seems another Famima!! or Beard Papa is springing up.

Are we to expect an influx of sukiyaki restaurants and high-end izakayas that Vancouver is currently enjoying? However, the article doesn’t exactly make Southern California sound like a haven for ramen noodles (cited as being “either a little bit watery or too soy-based”)… yet.

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Filed under Culture, Food and Dining, Japan, Los Angeles

North Americans want high-speed rail

Make no doubt about it: In North America (and indeed globally), rail is hot. One need look no further than Metro Vancouver, and its three new commuter rail lines slated for the next decade, for proof.

High-speed rail, at least in theory, is hotter.

But since the industry’s glory days in Canada and the US, it’s North America that has become the laggard. Asia and Europe have embraced modern rail. And there’s no hint of a anything approaching the Shinkansen adorning the landscape between Los Angeles and New York, or Vancouver and Montreal.

Part of this is a function of culture: North America is still a car culture. But more importantly, it’s a function of geography. The continent is huge, and bullet trains are monumentally expensive to build and maintain.

They require densities that few regions can approach — except for metropolises like Paris or Shanghai. In the case of Japan, a variety of bullet trains serve the Tokyo-Osaka corridor — since the two megacities weigh in with populations of 32 and 19 million, repectively.

But at least people on -this- side of the Pacific, and Atlantic, are talking about it. Ontario and Quebec are once again talking about a fast train running between Toronto and Montreal — and extending as far as Quebec City in the east, and Windsor in the west.

Perhaps more realistically, there is also renewed talk in the state of California about a San Francisco to Los Angeles high-speed railroad. But a combination of environmental and economic factors could make this one achievable, as pointed out by the East Bay Express.

“It’s the perfect storm right now,” said San Francisco Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, citing concern about global warming coupled with the rising cost of gasoline-dependent auto and air travel. As chairwoman of the legislative High-Speed Rail Caucus and one of the project’s two chief legislative advocates, Ma is actively recruiting support. “As I’m going around the state, people are sick and tired of sitting in gridlock and going to the airport two hours ahead of time,” Ma said. “I think voters will pass this overwhelmingly.”

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Filed under Environment, Los Angeles, Montreal, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, Transportation

Vancouver Province column: Turnstiles are needed to turn transit into a better environment for travel

January 14, 2008

Ever since Kevin Falcon announced his desire to install turnstiles at SkyTrain stations across the Lower Mainland, the B.C. transportation minister has been on the receiving end of a predictably hot-headed response from some vocal adversaries.

Falcon’s critics have trashed his proposal, arguing that securing the stations with new gates is a colossal waste of energy and money.

But the detractors should reconsider their tough stance.

It’s time to get tough instead on the freeloaders who think they’re entitled to ride the rails for free, at the expense of taxpayers and fellow riders.

According to TransLink, nearly five per cent of SkyTrain revenues are lost through fare evasion — a number that both Falcon and TransLink chairman Malcolm Brodie think is even higher. Continue reading

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Filed under Hong Kong, Law and Order, Los Angeles, Transportation, Vancouver, Vancouver Province Columns

The L.A. turnstiles debate

The downtown L.A. blog Angelenic takes an emotional stand in favour of bringing turnstiles to the city’s subway and light rail stations — an issue that has also been debated in Vancouver in recent memory:

Has anyone considered the new passenger gates could bring more to our transit system than financial gain? How about improved safety, order and cleanliness?

An obvious benefit is keeping out the riffraff who sleep on the trains, vandalize the interiors and don’t pay for the ride! As a daily metro customer, I’ve witnessed this first-hand repeatedly over the years. If you doubt me, try taking the Metro Red Line to North Hollywood after 9pm on a weekend. Obviously, turnstiles wouldn’t be a cure-all for these problems, but they will help thwart them.

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Filed under Law and Order, Los Angeles, Transportation