Could a New River City Transform California?

Along the San Joaquin, Madera County Is Building Thousands of New Homes—and Perhaps Shaping the State's Next Great Region

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit of a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens will be determined in Madera County, on the north side of the river from Fresno. There, a new city, consisting of multiple large planned communities, is finally under construction after decades of planning and litigation.

The city has no name and incorporation could be decades away. But within a generation, its population could grow to more than 100,000 people; by …

Could These Four ‘Lady Bird’ Sequels Save Sacramento?

Greta Gerwig Has Promised a Quartet of Films About Her Hometown, and California's Capital Needs New Narratives

Here’s the good news in Sacramento: “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age film set in Sacramento—and written and directed by the California capital’s own Greta Gerwig—has been nominated for five Academy Awards, …

Small and Speedy, Gonzales Is a City on the Move

With a Growing Economy, Good Schools, and a Low Crime Rate, It's Outpacing Bigger Salinas Valley Rivals

Here’s a nasty bit of conventional wisdom: California’s small, rural places are supposedly desperate and doomed, with few economic prospects in an era when state policy favors the urban coastal …

All Aboard, Bay Area, on Your Fast Train to Wasco

This Kern County Town, a Conduit for High-Speed Rail, Has a Lot to Offer

Dear Bay Area,

Welcome to Wasco.

You may never have heard of this small city of 25,000 in the San Joaquin Valley. You probably can’t pronounce it (it’s WAW-skoh).

But you and …

It’s Time for the Central Valley to Grow Up

Bridging the Region’s Urban-Rural Character Requires Unity and Planning

“Are we urban or are we rural?” moderator Dan Morain asked at the start of a lively Wednesday panel discussion on the future of California’s Central Valley.

“Both” was the answer …