Shopping mall developers are exceptionally good at what they do. They’ve spent the last few generations refining all the little design elements that make a place profitable for retail trade. Their buildings go up fast, return a profit for investors, generate tax revenue for local government, and create jobs. That’s why the same big box … Continue reading The Barlow
Some friends recently took a trip to Laughlin, Nevada for a few days. Laughlin and the adjacent town of Bullhead City, Arizona are on the Colorado River where Arizona, Nevada, and California converge. Laughlin earns its living by being a closer, smaller, less expensive version of Las Vegas. It’s a reasonable drive from the population … Continue reading Front Loading Value is a Mistake
I was at a company Christmas party (not mine, by the way) last night and after about half an hour I ran out of my extremely limited supply of social skills. I ducked out into the city and started taking photos in the misty drizzle – a serious gift after a three year drought. … Continue reading Belden Place: Dark Alley Urbanism
I recently read a great post by Nathaniel Hood on the Strong Towns blog here describing the plight of many aging second ring suburbs. He was concerned that auto-dependent low-density communities were running into structural problems as they entered their fourth or fifth or sixth decade. Declining municipal revenue is combining with increasing costs for everything … Continue reading Density Without Urbanism
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
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.
I attended the Congress for New Urbanism in Salt Lake City, Utah and interviewed James Alfandre as he put the finishing touches on the Granary Row project. This story was edited by my friend Kirsten Dirksen in Barcelona and was originally posted to her site Faircompanies.com Continue reading Granary Row, Salt Lake City, Utah