Two years ago this month I wrote a post about a building fire here in San Francisco. These events are statistically unlikely in any given year or for any individual household. But when they do happen – to you – they’re devastating. It’s the little personal disasters like this that concern me most. Civilization carries on. Your old … Continue reading Two Years and Counting
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 recently participated in an affordable housing conference in Orange County. I’ll write on the specifics of the event in a future post. But as is typical I learned more outside the university environment than at the event itself. There’s always a gap between professional statistical analysis and external reality. Humans are odd creatures that … Continue reading The Airport Lounge School of Economics
Last night I went down a YouTube rabbit hole watching Douglas Coupland, author of the 1991 novel Generation X. Coupland is the unofficial spokesman for my age cohort. He’s the person who named us and has continued to chronicle our misadventures through life – not least of which his own. His subsequent novels Shampoo Planet, … Continue reading “Hoard Anything You Can’t Download” – Douglas Coupland
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