In today's NY Times, William Falk ("Should Old Articles Be Forgot") itemizes what he sees as major news from 2009. He dwells on Robotic Warfare (ever more drone attacks over Pakistan and other places), Car-Crazy in China (duh), Real Working Wives (wives are now "needed" as breadwinners to keep ever more families "afloat"), A New Source of Stem Cells (superb), and Teeming With Planets (yup, we are unlikely to be alone or even unique).
Re China and cars, when people have money they want cars. And when people have cars, origins and destinations disperse. But then more people want cars, etc., etc., etc.
In today's WSJ, James B. Stewart cites Amazon's amazing sales in an economic downturn and describes a " ... paradigm shift: the coming-of-age of Internet shopping and the long, slow demise of the mall,"
Perhaps. Yesterday, I finally visited the Americana at Brand in Glendale, near LA. It is a mixed-use, vertical "lifestyle center" that could sustain downtown Glendale. It has lots of parking.
Paradigm shifts (such as Amazon and internet shopping) occasionally happen, but it is also fascinating that regional sub-centers (like downtown Glendale) can accommodate up-to-date developments that can give them new life. Glendale (its politicians and various local lobbies) and market-savvy developers found a way to live with each other -- as well as with "car-crazy" Southern Californians.