There was a time not all that long ago when ordinary people built simple small scale mixed use buildings on Main Street in every little town in North America. This was completely normal. Of course the family that owns the corner grocery store lives upstairs. Dah. But we almost never see such structures built new … Continue reading The Stealth Triplex
I’m fond of describing Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns as my de facto secular parish priest – my consigliere. But I find myself drifting away from the flock and feel an obligation to articulate why. Perhaps in describing my concerns I can either be persuaded to fold back in, or at least give Chuck something to chew on … Continue reading An Open Letter To Chuck Marohn
Last week I entertained friends from Ohio here in Northern California. The house itself is small and unremarkable, but the land and location are pretty sweet. The property is currently in between tenants so I’m busy cleaning, painting, and gardening while my guests are out exploring the countryside. My invitation to them was part of … Continue reading A Dry Run
. One of my cousins recently attended an event at a suburban church and I tagged along. I’m amoral and omnivorous. I’ll go to any house of worship on the odd chance I might actually learn something useful – and I often do. And I meet a lot of really nice people along the way. … Continue reading Big Box Jesus
Last year I was looking at property in the Cincinnati area. I realized that many of the old forlorn city neighborhoods were rapidly coming back to life and this was a good time to buy and improve property. I found a small historic building with a shop on the ground floor and three apartments upstairs. … Continue reading Who Really Controls Which House You Buy?
Back when I was in high school (see bad 80’s hair above) I did the sort of work around the neighborhood that’s typical of teenagers. I mowed lawns, cleaned rain gutters, washed windows, and did a lot of general housekeeping for folks. I earned a bit of money and learned some important lessons that have … Continue reading The Lost World of the Solvent American
When I first arrived in San Francisco many years ago I bounced around from couch to couch and rented space in other people’s homes until I finally found a place that I could afford on my own. It was a little 1930’s garden shed in what was then a disreputable neighborhood. (How times change.) It … Continue reading Affordable Housing, Minus the Housing and Affordable Parts