I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chapman University professor and urban geographer Joel Kotkin here. But I tend to engage in a little philosophical tug of war with him over a few of his finer points. For example, Mr. Kotkin is entirely correct when he says that the vast majority of people in … Continue reading Compromised
There’s an established image in the collective imagination of the kinds of places artsy types tend to live: the painter in a Paris garret, the actor in a Brooklyn brownstone, the musician in a San Francisco Victorian, or the playwright in a fisherman’s shack on Cape Cod. It’s all very romantic. We currently associate these … Continue reading The New Bohemia: Not Where You Expect
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
One of the common criticisms leveled at people who promote urban living goes something like this. “Cities are great for college kids, people starting off in their careers, bohemians, and maybe some older empty nesters with money who have a taste for theater and art. But most people have families and tight budgets. Suburbia is … Continue reading Family Friendly Cities
I recently interviewed Alex Melamed and Andrew Kline of Green Generation Building in Yellow Springs, Ohio Here for an upcoming video story. They design and build highly insulated homes that meet the Passive House standard. A Passive House uses innovative construction techniques to keep itself warm in winter and cool in summer with almost no fuel. The initial cost … Continue reading The Passive House Movement: Super Insulation and Radically lower Energy Bills
I recently encountered an article on Apartment Therapy entitled, “What Are You Willing to Compromise for Location?” Here The article went on to list the many common indignities people endure in order to live in a fabulous city: multiple room mates, crazy high rents, satanic landlords, cramped windowless apartments and so on. The photo depicted my neighborhood … Continue reading What Are You Willing to Compromise for Location?
I travel frequently and one of my great laments is the way so many places around the world are focused on modern development at the expense of local heritage. Here’s an example from Beijing. This is a traditional hutong or courtyard house I once lived in. It’s 800 years old and has served as … Continue reading Beijing – Old and New