I have a tendency to directly confront the things that scare me most. I’m calmed by getting up close and personal with a bad thing until it becomes familiar and prosaic, whereas distant nebulous threats work on my nerves and become more ominous with time. So while I was in Kiev last summer an Italian … Continue reading Chernobyl and Pripyat: My Radiation Vacation
I’ve lived in San Francisco long enough (I’m getting old) that I’ve seen several waves of bright young people arrive, burn out, then move away. For some they were looking for adventure, found it, and then carried on with normal life elsewhere. But for most it was simply a matter of the numbers not adding … Continue reading The New Sweet Spots
I recently stumbled on a cluster of half built McMansions in a failed subdivision while visiting relatives in a distant suburb of Los Angeles. I found myself drawn to the structures and engaged in a bit of impromptu archeology. At the top of the market circa 2006 homes like these sold at a premium to … Continue reading The American Dream – Architectural Vivisection
Here’s the short version. The planning department in Lancaster, California did something that made property values increase by 9% this year while property values outside the project zone decreased by an average of 1% during the same period. This was in an economic environment where real estate hasn’t yet properly recovered from the 2008 crash. … Continue reading Adding Value and Building a Strong Town: Lancaster Blvd.
Production home builders and municipal planners often latch on to trends that appeal to home buyers and present a forward-looking outward image of the community. But sometimes the individual elements don’t add up to a complete rational result. For example, bike lanes suggest a healthy, active, environmentally-friendly lifestyle and look good in press releases. But … Continue reading Why Green Energy, Bike Lanes, and Public Transit Can’t Save Exurban Sprawl
This is a story of unintended consequences. In recent years several laws were created that were designed to protect women and children from sexual predators. Legislation such as Megan’s Law, Amber Alerts, and Jessica’s Law were promoted by residents of family-oriented suburban communities and passed by their elected representatives. Who could possibly be against … Continue reading The trouble with Jessica, Megan, and Amber