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
. . . 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.
When I was a kid back in 1971 I lived in Anaheim, California where my mom was a waitress at a local amusement park. Exploring Orange County as an adult recently it all felt more or less the same as I remembered – only more so. The primary adjective has always been beige. The last … Continue reading Anaheim Transit: Suck It Up
I’ve been asked to submit a proposal for the next Congress for New Urbanism in May of 2018 by one of the organizers in Savannah, Georgia. I declined the first two times I was asked, then reluctantly agreed to offer a tentative outline the third time I was approached. I’m not convinced the committee will have much … Continue reading The Trouble With The Congress For New Urbanism
I recently wrote about the need to embrace reality when it comes to land use regulation, culture, politics, and economics. My interpretation can seem a bit… dark. It’s not my intention to discourage people looking to make a positive difference in their communities. I’ve just seen how things tend to play out and the process … Continue reading Deep Ellum