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 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
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