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
I’m a big fan of the concept of Economic Gardening which is the exact opposite of Economic Big Game Hunting. I’m also a big fan of Cincinnati. So I thought I’d use Cincy to demonstrate examples of various strategies for economic development. I should start by defining the terms here. Economic Gardening is the process of … Continue reading Economic Hunting and Gardening in Cincinnati
Here’s a little trend I’ve noticed as I travel around the country. As substantial numbers of both Millennials and Boomers continue to migrate away from car-dependent suburbs toward walkable mixed use neighborhoods there’s a matching shift in the quality of public schools and other city services. The photos above are an example. This 1950’s … Continue reading Public Schools: Rising and Falling