I recently participated in an affordable housing conference in Orange County. I’ll write on the specifics of the event in a future post. But as is typical I learned more outside the university environment than at the event itself. There’s always a gap between professional statistical analysis and external reality. Humans are odd creatures that … Continue reading The Airport Lounge School of Economics
Many years ago I remember a television commentator saying more Americans have outhouses than computer connections. This was in the early days of dial up modems. He seemed to suggest that household computers were little more than Japanese video games, which was actually true at the time. Well, thirty years have passed and this afternoon … Continue reading Shovel Ready
I’m going to ask you, Dear Reader, to pick apart a paper I’ve been asked to write for another organization. I was given the topic. Here’s my assessment of the situation. I’m curious what comments might ensue… What Can Other Places Teach California About Addressing Its Housing Crisis? There is no ready-mix recipe for affordable … Continue reading What Can Other Places Teach California About Addressing Its Housing Crisis?
I recently published an article that explored some of the ways regulations make it difficult for small businesses to get off the ground and function. Among the examples I used from around the country was Bank Suey in Hamtramck, Michigan. My story was subsequently reposted on various other sites which the owner, Alissa Shelton, read … Continue reading Hamtramck: Scale and Institutional Frameworks
I got push back from readers when I dissed some flavorless suburban condo complexes in the context of urban agriculture. My observation was meant to be simple. We’re on a trajectory of ever larger, more complex, and highly leveraged institutional “solutions” to endemic social and economic problems that don’t actually make things better. Quite the opposite. What … Continue reading Give it Another Century and We’ll See How it Goes
There’s what exists on paper according to the authorities, and then there’s reality on the ground. The recent fires in Sonoma and Napa counties destroyed 7,000 buildings – almost all of them single family suburban homes. Entire subdivisions were wiped out overnight. This occurred in a part of the world where the gap between what … Continue reading The Domino Effect
I’m fond of describing Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns as my de facto secular parish priest – my consigliere. But I find myself drifting away from the flock and feel an obligation to articulate why. Perhaps in describing my concerns I can either be persuaded to fold back in, or at least give Chuck something to chew on … Continue reading An Open Letter To Chuck Marohn