It’s Black Friday and I thought I’d do something out of character for me, but entirely in keeping with the season. I went to a shopping mall. For those of you not used to the customs of the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas present purchasing period. Most … Continue reading Black Friday: Scenes From A Mall
I’m currently engaged in a series of on-going conversations with various folks around the country about the future of the suburbs. We tend to agree about the broad outlines, but when it comes to the details we part company pretty fast. Retrofitting most suburbs is less likely than having a few successful ones remain as they … Continue reading The Frankenburb
There’s a struggle between people who like the suburbs just as they are and people who feel passionately that low density development needs to be retrofitted to become more dense, walkable, bikeable, and transit served. I sympathize with both perspectives to various degrees, but when I look at reality on the ground I think they’re … Continue reading Compromise, Reality, and Disappointment
This is Cherry Hill. It is by far the most desirable suburb in this part of southern New Jersey as measured by all the usual metrics. Property values are high. Public schools are great. The municipal government is lean and responsive. This is as good as the American Dream gets. The families who live here … Continue reading Cherry Hill: The Winners
Every once in a while I find myself standing in a place that’s right on the cusp of being transformed from one thing to another. I turn slowly and take in the landscape and decades flash by in an instant in my mind. It’s easy. We’ve all seen this show before. We know exactly how … Continue reading Quakertown
I’m a long time member of the Strong Towns organization and this week is our annual membership drive. If you’re reading Granola Shotgun you obviously have some interest in the built environment. I invite you to check out all the great resources and dynamic people involved in the Strong Towns movement and join today. … Continue reading Strong Towns
I occasionally stumble on a property like this one. Its trajectory over the decades is clear. It started as a comfortable middle class home. You can still see the outlines of the kidney shaped pool in the back yard. It’s obvious that the road out front was widened. And widened again. And widened again. High … Continue reading Pave. Fail. Pave. Fail. Repeat.
There’s a weird war raging these days. There are people who advocate high rise living and public transit in the urban core to the exclusion of other arrangements. And then there are folks who can’t hold their head up high in church on Sunday if they don’t live on a quarter acre lot out on … Continue reading Collingswood: The Main Street Model