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

Compromised

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

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