Low Hanging Fruit

As a San Franciscan I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I mention that I recently bought property in Cincinnati. “Huh?” Then I walk them through it. Here’s the mom and pop business district along Hamilton Avenue in the Northside neighborhood during a recent Summer Streets event. This is a classic 1890’s Norman Rockwell … Continue reading Low Hanging Fruit

Municipal Solvency: How to Not Go Broke

There’s currently a lot of talk about why so many towns, counties, and states are going broke. “Teachers are getting paid way too much.”  “Cops and fire fighters have extravagant pensions.”  “It’s waste, fraud, and abuse.”  “It’s welfare queens.”  “It’s immigrants.” “It’s the Democrats.” “It’s the Republicans.” But here’s the truth. Even if you fired … Continue reading Municipal Solvency: How to Not Go Broke

The “Inner Cleveland” of Trendy Cities

     Check out these photos and try to guess where they were taken. If you thought Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati, or a dozen other Rustbelt towns you’d be mistaken, although your confusion is completely understandable. It’s actually Portland, Oregon – that bastion of liberal, crunchy, hippie, yuppie, hipster, eco-friendliness. Go figure. I’m not putting … Continue reading The “Inner Cleveland” of Trendy Cities

Paved to Death

Here’s what a tradition street grid looks like from Google Earth. This is how most towns in America were organized until about 1945. Kids walked to school. Families walked to church on Sunday. People could easily get to work and access the local bakery, hardware store, library, etc. without a car. This was Norman Rockwell’s … Continue reading Paved to Death

Shoestring Pre-vitalization: Walnut Hills

North America is populated with endless examples of previously great neighborhoods that have fallen on hard times. How do we reactivate these places on a super tight budget without resorting to the usual Silver Bullet build-it-and-they-will-come model of the heavily subsidized casino, stadium, outlet mall, aquarium, or convention center which are all proving increasingly ineffective … Continue reading Shoestring Pre-vitalization: Walnut Hills