I got a phone call a few months back from a woman in Arizona who sought my advice. Her town was receiving an influx of new residents from out of state and it was obvious the trend was accelerating. The resulting growth and economic distortions caused by an expanding population, more traffic congestion, less open … Continue reading The Californians Are Coming!
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
Each time I visit freinds in suburbia I’m confronted with the reality that there is no public realm. All space is private – if not legally or physically then certainly culturally. I’m reminded of my transgressions when I don’t follow the rules. The space in front of each house is de facto an extension of … Continue reading Get Off My Lawn You Rotten Kids!
I was last in Reno, Nevada twenty years ago and I can’t say I had a strong opinion of the place. It was just another forgettable generic one night stop over on a long drive to somewhere else. But I found myself back there twice in the past month. First, a young friend was leaving … Continue reading My Reno Epiphany
Here’s a spot in Santa Ana, California – although it could be just about anywhere. Every town in North America has a string of used car lots along the sides of its aging eight lane suburban arterials. In this location land values and market demand for housing are so incredibly high even the obscene regulatory … Continue reading The Platypus
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 spent the last several years on an extended tangent exploring land use policy, the dynamics of a shifting economic and political landscape, and popular interpretations of how things should be. I’ve come to a peculiar set of conclusions and it’s not what I expected. We have a collection of rules, regulations, social expectations, and … Continue reading Mind the Gap