Good Enough Urbanism: Faster, Cheaper, Smarter

    There’s plenty of blight out there. Inner city blight, failing suburban blight, long lost rural small town blight… empty storefronts, boarded up buildings, dead streets. There’s simply no government program that’s going to bring these places back to life. No Wall Street investment scheme is likely to revive these places. Developers have no economic … Continue reading Good Enough Urbanism: Faster, Cheaper, Smarter

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

The Reluctant Suburbanite, Or Why San Francisco Doesn’t Always Work

  This week I’m helping a friend move house after watching her grapple with some unappealing options for the last couple of years. In the end she’s leaving San Francisco and moving to the suburbs forty-seven miles to the south. She absolutely hates the suburbs, but given all the possibilities it really is the right … Continue reading The Reluctant Suburbanite, Or Why San Francisco Doesn’t Always Work

Seattle: Trade Offs, Upsides, Downsides, and Work Arounds

  I just spent a long weekend exploring Seattle, Washington where I interviewed people about why they live where they do. It’s one thing to ask a city planner, economic development official, or transportation engineer about what people want in theory, but I prefer to ask ordinary people directly about the choices they’ve actually made. … Continue reading Seattle: Trade Offs, Upsides, Downsides, and Work Arounds