Some months ago a friend reached out to me about a problem. She and her siblings were scattered far from their elderly parents and there was some family business that needed to be managed here in San Francisco. She asked if I could help and a cautionary tale unfolded. Partly it was about her family. … Continue reading Skinning Your Knee vs. Breaking Your Leg
First, a definition is in order. A khrushchyovka is a typical Soviet era apartment block that derives its name from Nikita Khrushchev who implemented the initial design concept and construction. I lived in a few of these with Russian families in Leningrad and Moscow as a young adventurer the summer after the Berlin Wall fell. … Continue reading Американская Хрущевка
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
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 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.
Everywhere I go it seems there’s some kind of housing crisis. In some places home values are dropping precipitously, people are unable to sell and move on, and formerly middle class homes are being abandoned or converted to poorly maintained rental properties. In other places home values and rents are obscenely high and ordinary people … Continue reading The Really Big Housing Picture