Futurist to diss declinism at Revelle Forum lecture

At American dinner parties, guests are asking the fateful question: Will our future be marked by a declining influence in the world and reduced circumstances at home?

With an answer to that question and many others, trend analyst Joel Kotkin will come to town as a guest of The Revelle Forum at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at The Neurosciences Institute.

The Revelle Forum is a series of public interviews with leading figures from the worlds of arts and culture, literature, current events and the media, named in honor of Roger Revelle, a distinguished scientist and one of the founding fathers of the San Diego campus of the University of California.

Kotkin will speak about his new book, “The Next Hundred Million” (Penguin Press), where he offers a surprisingly positive view of the year 2050 and American life in the not-so-distant future.

According to the social and economic expert, by midcentury, the United States’ population will swell to 400 million Americans. Will we be able to accommodate 100 million new citizens? It’s Kotkin’s belief that a brighter future for America may lie ahead. By focusing on the evolution of the more intimate units of society (families, towns, neighborhoods, industries — rather than power brokers, policy disputes or abstract trends), he will provide an optimistic road map to how we all will live and work by 2050.

His previous acclaimed book, “The City: A Global History,” was published in 2006 by Random House/

Modern Library, with editions in China, Spain, U.K. and the British Commonwealth, Japan and Korea.

Kotkin is Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange and an Adjunct Fellow with the Legatum Institute in London. A speaker and futurist, he consults for many economic development organizations, private companies, regions and cities.

He writes the weekly “New Geographer” column for He previously wrote the monthly “Grass Roots Business” column in The New York Times’ Sunday Business section. He served as West Coast editor for Inc. Magazine for five years and continues to contribute to the publication. His work also appears in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The American and on He served as business trends analyst for KTTV/Fox Television in Los Angeles.

Kotkin is also the author of “The New Geography: How the Digital Revolution is Reshaping the American Landscape” (Random House, 2000) and “Tribes: How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success In the New Global Economy " (Random House, 1993).

He co-authored “The Third Century: America’s Resurgence in the Asian Era (Crown, 1988). His first book, “California, Inc.” (Crown, 1982), dealt with the state’s links to the emergent powers of the Pacific Rim.

Over the past decade, he has completed studies on several major cities. In association with the Planning Center and the La Jolla Institute, in 2006 he completed a study on the future of suburban development. His most recent published studies have focused on the economic revitalization for Salinas, the future of New York’s middle class, and an economic vision for the city of Ontario.

He is currently finishing a major study for the La Jolla Institute on the Four Corners region of Southern California (20-mile radius from where San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties meet) and an international study on urban upward mobility for the Legatum Institute in London.

Kotkin attended UC Berkeley. A native New Yorker, he has lived in California since 1971 with his wife, Mandy Shamis, and two daughters.

Evening with Joel Kotkin

  • What: The Revelle Forum lecture
  • When: 7 p.m. Feb. 23
  • Where: The Neurosciences Institute auditorium, 10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive
  • Parking: Free
  • Tickets: $25 at (858) 882-8000 or (ID No. 074736)
  • More on Kotkin: