16 thoughts on “About”

  1. Would love your thoughts on this. I don’t know Houston but these images are wild.

    1. Here’s the California version of the same kind of development. https://granolashotgun.com/2018/01/24/the-platypus/ You get more space at a lower price in Texas – as usual. But it’s the same same.

      I have friends in Houston and I appreciate its dynamism. I call it “Lagos with good governance.” But it’s not a place I would ever want to live. This particular new development is a grab bag of all kinds of goodies as described in the real estate copy, “gated charming chic urban farmhouse architecture and resort style community pool.” It’s like a parlor game where all the desirable adjectives were put in a bag and mixed together. The buildings and urban form are better than a lot of places I’ve seen. (That’s a very low bar.) But the whole point of living in a city isn’t to wall yourself off in an ersatz resort. Unless you like that sort of thing… and these upscale townhomes in Houston are probably heaven.

  2. Hello Johnny

    i would like to inquire as to where in Hawaii did you purchase the land that was featured in the episode

    Mortgage-free , tiny home on a housekeeper’s salary

    posted on Kirsten channel dated 06 February 2012

    Thank you,

  3. Hello Johnny,

    I’m studying digital media and have been enjoying your blog — nice writing and great consideration of aspects of modern livability. One of my class assignments is to get some tips from someone I follow in the digital industry, and I’m hoping you could share a few tips on how your blog has opened opportunities and activities for you.

    I see from some of your posts that you’ve participated in conferences on topics such as housing affordability, and I”m wondering has that activity emerged organically or have you sought such opportunities? Does your blog relate to your professional activities?

    My blog doesn’t currently focus on a single area, but writing itself is a strong interest. I have just a few posts on a range of topics, and the one that’s closest in subject to your blog is:
    “Is Portable Supportable?” at https://thymes225014846.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/is-portable-supportable/

    Thanks so much for any advice or notes you can offer me.


    1. If you’re ever in San Francisco look me up. I’ll make you dinner and we can chat.

      My advice to you is clichéd. Do what you love and have a real passion for. The rest will eventually fall into place.

      I started this blog as a way of venting my frustrations about our built environment. I never tried to monetize it in any way. But as a byproduct of writing on the subject I’ve made many new friends and contacts that created “social capital.” I have rental property and my current tenants (wonderful people) found me through the blog. I have also been asked to speak at various events around the country for fun and on occasion for pay. Overall blogging has been a vector for other positive experiences.

      WordPress is particularly easy for me to use and I recommend it to anyone who has ideas they wish to explore and share, regardless of technical ability.

  4. Hey Johnny,

    Was trying to find a way to shoot you an email. Really, really love your work in both the terms of writing and thoughts, but photography as well. Been checking your website everyday since I first read the post about Colerain Ave. in Cincinnati. You left a comment on my website (queencitydiscovery.com) awhile ago and I unfortunately just saw it. If you’r ever back in Cincinnati, beer’s on me. Shoot me an email: ronnysalerno@gmail.com

  5. Hey Johnny,
    I’ve read several articles in your blog and found them fascinating. I am an Italian guy in San Francisco, launching a new startup that is related to urbanism and architecture.
    I would very much like to get in touch with you. Can you drop me an email?

  6. Hi John,

    I came across your article “AFFORDABLE CITIES ARE THE NEW SWEET SPOTS” via Planetizen, and was caught by two things: one is the question “Who needs New Urbanism or Smart Growth when so many amazing old neighborhoods are just sitting out there”, the other is your bio saying that “He earns his living by buying, renovating, and renting undervalued properties in places that have good long term prospects”. I’ll say that the second quotation describes my dream job, or, I should say my dream life. Hopefully one day I’ll get there. Then go back to the first question – I guess New Urbanism and Smart Growth could place more focus on the “context”/”system”/”fabric” level, to figure out what is the underlying context of those nice old neighborhoods, including infrastructure context, social and economic context, regulatory context (e.g. zoning, housing subsidy, etc.), in other words, more on the planning side. If NU and SG works at this planning level, and come up with a proposal to layout a better contextual framework, more architects, real estate developers, constructors may be motivated to do more work work as that you’re doing.

    BTW, your blog is really fantastic! I wish I had found it earlier.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this!


  7. I was fascinated by your tiny home YouTube video from faircompanies.com . Are there still lots available similar to yours in a failed subdivision?? I am interested in building my own tiny home also and move to hawaii morgage free and debt free. Please guide me where I can buy land possibly in Maui?! Thanks in Advance, James.

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