Yesterday I enjoyed a Sunday breakfast with friends at Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Buddhist Thai Temple in Berkeley. The Temple has been serving food in their courtyard as a community event and fund raising mechanism every Sunday for years. This is the Thai version of Lutheran church basement hot dish. (I recommend the green papaya salad … Continue reading Church and Plate
In the early days of the auto industry Detroit was a dynamic machine churning out huge numbers of cars with integrated supply chains clustered tightly together around Ford’s River Rouge complex in Dearborn or General Motors’ assembly plant in Hamtramck. But over time the industry spread out across the landscape, first to nearby states, then … Continue reading Bozeman: A Blessing and a Curse
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!
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
There’s a certain amount of nostalgia these days for 1950’s suburbs when men were men and ladies mopped linoleum floors in white pumps and pearls. I’m not entirely sure that world ever really existed precisely the way it was portrayed on black and white television, but we seem to want it to be true. Here … Continue reading The Ghost of Mamie Eisenhower
Last year I engaged in a failed attempt to renovate and expand an old house in an 1890’s era neighborhood in Ohio. It ended badly. So I thought I’d do a follow up on what actually does work given the legal parameters and cultural context. I sold the house to a smart young local guy … Continue reading Doing What Actually Works