I recently stumbled on a cluster of half built McMansions in a failed subdivision while visiting relatives in a distant suburb of Los Angeles. I found myself drawn to the structures and engaged in a bit of impromptu archeology. At the top of the market circa 2006 homes like these sold at a premium to … Continue reading The American Dream – Architectural Vivisection
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.
Production home builders and municipal planners often latch on to trends that appeal to home buyers and present a forward-looking outward image of the community. But sometimes the individual elements don’t add up to a complete rational result. For example, bike lanes suggest a healthy, active, environmentally-friendly lifestyle and look good in press releases. But … Continue reading Why Green Energy, Bike Lanes, and Public Transit Can’t Save Exurban Sprawl
This is a story of unintended consequences. In recent years several laws were created that were designed to protect women and children from sexual predators. Legislation such as Megan’s Law, Amber Alerts, and Jessica’s Law were promoted by residents of family-oriented suburban communities and passed by their elected representatives. Who could possibly be against … Continue reading The trouble with Jessica, Megan, and Amber
Jeff White is a longtime community development advocate in Salt Lake City. He identified a need for low cost senior housing in an older inner ring suburb near downtown and set about designing and building a prototype home out of shipping containers. Ultimately he’d like to see clusters of these homes organized into … Continue reading Salt Lake Shipping Container House
I attended the Congress for New Urbanism in Salt Lake City, Utah and interviewed James Alfandre as he put the finishing touches on the Granary Row project. This story was edited by my friend Kirsten Dirksen in Barcelona and was originally posted to her site Faircompanies.com Continue reading Granary Row, Salt Lake City, Utah
I’m a big fan of the Urban Cincy podcast coming out of Cincinnati, Ohio. This short video is a response to some of the head-scratching and confusion about why some San Franciscans are protesting the so-called “Google Bus”. The protests aren’t about the buses themselves or private transportation per se. Instead, the protests are about real estate and … Continue reading Where Transportation and Property Values Collide: San Francisco’s “Google Bus”