I spent the morning touring a friend’s newest project as we went over the things that needed to be done. Cleaning, painting, tinkering. He just sold his suburban home since he was ready to move on and this is a great time to sell property. However, it’s a terrible time to try and buy. So … Continue reading Bay Area*, Two Beds*, Two Baths*, Utilities Included, $340* a month (See Asterisks)
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
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
. . . I got an e-mail from an architect friend yesterday and I need to make a big decision. It’s not one I’m taking lightly. He let me know that in the wake of the recent fires that destroyed thousands of properties all across the county officials were temporarily suspending a lot of the … Continue reading Crisis. Opportunity. Ambivalence.
There are things that we can do as a society to work through our big structural difficulties at an institutional level. And there are other things that can be done independently at the household level by individuals. I don’t have the technical skills, political skills, social skills, credentials, patience, or desire to engage the large … Continue reading Orange County’s Low Hanging Fruit
A few years back I did a video tour of Rishi Kumar’s suburban home in southern California. I was seeking examples of ordinary people living in cookie cutter landscapes who were making their households more dynamic and resilient. Rishi’s goal was to transform his family home from a center of consumption to a place of production. … Continue reading Manju Kumar and the Box People
Behold Evergreen Gardens in Pomona, California. The cultural imperative in the suburbs is to maintain the emotional facade of the single family home and the security of a private enclave. If you squint this place comes close enough. Cough. Residents drive in through the electronic security gate, park in the garage, and head for the … Continue reading Evergreen Gardens