Joel Kotkin (born December 28, 1952) is a fellow in urban studies at Chapman University in Orange, California. He writes about demographic, social, and economic trends in the U.S. and internationally. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Beast and Forbes.com and is on the editorial board of the Orange County Register. Kotkin attended the University of California, Berkeley. A native of New York City, he now lives in Los Angeles.
Books and thought
Kotkin is the author of several books. The New Class Conflict was published in September 2014 by Telos Press Publishing. In this book, Kotkin assesses the changing complexities of class in the United States, which he argues can no longer be understood in terms of traditional political divisions between left and right or conservative and liberal. For Kotkin, the new class order of the twenty-first century is marked by the rise of a high-tech oligarchy, a culturally dominant academic and media (both journalism and entertainment) elite, an expansive government bureaucracy, and a declining middle class.
In The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 (Penguin Press, 2010), Kotkin speculated how the nation might evolve in the next four decades. Previously he authored a controversial book "TRIBES: How Race, Religion and Identity Are Reshaping the Global Economy" positing, some say advocating for, a stateless, ethnic groups based world and global economy.
He has also authored The City: A Global History and The New Geography, books about city development, and has studied various major cities, including Houston, New Orleans, New York, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. Previously he was a fellow at the New America Foundation, Pepperdine University, and at the Milken Institute. In addition, he was a columnist for the New York Times, a business reporter at KTTV, earning a Golden Mic award for his reporting, and was West Coast editor for Inc. magazine.
Kotkin argues that the model of urban development as exemplified by pre-automobile cities such as New York City and Paris is outdated in many cases. Kotkin believes in a "back to basics" approach which stresses nurturing the middle class and families with traditional suburban development. He states that the current trend of growth of suburbs will be the dominant pattern around the world. As a result, one of his arguments is that rail transit is not always ideal for modern cities and suburbs. Kotkin has previously called a two and a half story building a 'monstrosity.' 
According to Matthew Yglesias and other critics, Kotkin's claim of a popular American preference for suburbs is mistaken; the popularity of the suburbs is due in part to higher housing prices in the cities, which are further bolstered by anti-density regulations that Kotkin himself supports. On similar grounds, Kotkin has been accused of lacking a basic understanding in economics.
Bloomberg View columnist Noah Smith has criticized Kotkin for objecting to urban densities as 'undignified,' and for claiming to favor greater housing affordability, while objecting to higher density housing solutions.
- "Faculty Directory". Chapman University.
- "Our Group". Praxis Strategy Group.
- "Contributors: Joel Kotkin". The Daily Beast.
- "Opinion Columnists". Orange County Register. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Kotkin, Joel. "In the Future We'll All Be Renters: America's Disappearing Middle Class". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
- Reynolds, Glenn Harlan (September 10, 2014). "America's New Class System". USA Today. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- Bauer, Fred (September 11, 2014). "A Divided America". National Review.
- Sohn, Ira. "Review of The Next Hundred Million" (PDF). Foresight (Summer 2010): 43–45.
- Renn, Aaron M. "Joel Kotkin on the Future of the Heartland". The Urbanophile.
- Roberts, Sam (February 25, 2010). "A Nation 400 Million Strong". New York Times.
- Keough, Robert (January 1, 2006). "Development Expert Joel Kotkin on Suburban Life: Mend It, Don't Try to End It". CommonWealth Magazine.
- "City of Villages - Joel Kotkin". Joel Kotkin. 2014-03-21. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
- Yglesias, Matthew (2012-09-05). "When Conservatives Love Central Planning". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
- "Joel Kotkin thinks you want to live in Houston. Here's why you don't". Grist. 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
- Smith, Noah (2012-04-25). "Noahpinion: Joel Kotkin lives in a Reaganite fantasy adventureland". Noahpinion. Retrieved 2017-12-04.