This is the house I grew up in. It wasn’t a terrible house. It wasn’t a great house. It was what my parents could afford. And it was nearly identical to all the houses that everyone in suburban southern New Jersey lived in back in the 1970’s. People with more money fixed up these little … Continue reading Suburbs and Class Identity
Lost in the suburban sprawl of New Jersey are remnants of previous forms of town planning from the pre-World War II era. One of my favorite examples is Island Heights along the Toms River in Ocean County. I’d like to describe the town and compare and contrast its urban form with the surrounding sprawl. Island … Continue reading Waterfront Development – Old vs. New
A while back I visited friends at their home on the New Jersey shore. The home was spacious and comfortable with a great water view. It was, in fact, a million dollar home. Like many homes along the coast in New Jersey there was a canal in their back yard. New Jersey is the most … Continue reading Aquatic Cul-De-Sacs, Finance, and Risk Management
Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns recently opened a conversation about race and inequality as it relates to urban planning in America. I’d like to respond. Half of all Americans under the age of five are either latino, black, or Asian – or more likely some combination of those three mixed with some European lineage. In twenty … Continue reading Race, Class, and the New Slums
I have a tendency to directly confront the things that scare me most. I’m calmed by getting up close and personal with a bad thing until it becomes familiar and prosaic, whereas distant nebulous threats work on my nerves and become more ominous with time. So while I was in Kiev last summer an Italian … Continue reading Chernobyl and Pripyat: My Radiation Vacation
I’ve lived in San Francisco long enough (I’m getting old) that I’ve seen several waves of bright young people arrive, burn out, then move away. For some they were looking for adventure, found it, and then carried on with normal life elsewhere. But for most it was simply a matter of the numbers not adding … Continue reading The New Sweet Spots
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.