Power Station

A friend and I recently explored an old waterfront industrial zone here in San Francisco. First we poked around on our own as urban adventurers trying to access the city’s forgotten fringes. There were polite interactions with private security along the way. Then we returned a week later to attend a community engagement event organized … Continue reading Power Station

The Olde Country

My great grandparents arrived in America over a century ago from Sicily. They were dirt poor, uneducated, swarthy, and considered undesirable by the ruling Protestant standard of the day. Sicilians weren’t much liked by other Italians to the north back home either. They wandered the country from Alabama to Chicago and eventually settled in Boerum … Continue reading The Olde Country

24 / 58

Many readers are familiar with the 8/80 urban planning meme. It’s a simple concept. Can an eight year old and an eighty year old each meet their daily needs on foot, possibly with the extension of a bicycle or a little public transport from time to time? Most North American communities fail this test. To … Continue reading 24 / 58

It’s Complicated

Last night I had dinner at a friend’s house. The group was composed of the usual San Francisco mix: a college professor, an architect, and a collection of software engineers of various stripes. They were single-ish. Childless. Forty-ish. Well traveled. Charming. Between them they could speak eight languages. They were old enough to be semi-established … Continue reading It’s Complicated

Moving House

I spent the last week helping pack and unpack for a family as they moved to their new digs. I’ll start with the house porn since the new place was magnificently staged by real estate professionals. Then I’ll work backwards to tell this story. The new house is four stories tall and was last used … Continue reading Moving House

Big Picture

There are some serious forest fires burning all across California at the moment and the smoke from distant counties has turned the air here in San Francisco into an autumnal barbecue flavored mist. Bits of white flaky ash are drifting down from the sky like cherry blossoms. Last year around this time there were similar … Continue reading Big Picture