What do you do with an aging 1950’s suburb that can’t compete with newer McMansion communities or vibrant downtown neighborhoods? Many of these places are declining along with the bifurcating and contracting American middle class. But these towns could be reinvented as the ultimate sweet spot for a new generation on a limited budget. The … Continue reading Hard Infrastructure
Over the years I’ve belonged to a variety of different organizations that had the ostensible goal of accomplishing X or Y. At a certain point I would realize that all anyone was doing was exercising their fears and frustrations. Most of all they were trying to stop other people from doing things they didn’t like. … Continue reading DIY Urbanism
Many years ago I attended a state university on scholarship in an east coast town that had been hit hard by deindustrialization, white flight to the suburbs, and some really tragic attempts at urban renewal. The school, a couple of medical centers, and a corporate campus were little islands amid the crusty remains of a … Continue reading Separated At Birth
Many folks dream of living in close proximity to like minded people – preferably on a tight budget. These visions range from large extended families, “maker” types looking for an arts compound, self organized retirement villages, and all sorts of other affinity groups. There’s an understandable impulse to want to build a specially designed place from … Continue reading Intentional (Sub)Urban Community
I recently heard a well respected (white) commentator use the term “ethnic cleansing” in the context of gentrification. As in… such-and-such neighborhood used to be black and now it’s lily white. It made me think about the way demographic migrations are interpreted by different groups. This is the south side of Dallas, Texas. This was … Continue reading The Urban Ethnic Shuffle
Last year I was looking at property in the Cincinnati area. I realized that many of the old forlorn city neighborhoods were rapidly coming back to life and this was a good time to buy and improve property. I found a small historic building with a shop on the ground floor and three apartments upstairs. … Continue reading Who Really Controls Which House You Buy?