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
I’m not a “fight City Hall” kind of guy. I can’t be bothered with the imperial intrigue of Washington or state politics. I avoid anything done on a large complex scale. Instead, I look for local affordable rational work-arounds that get the job done under the radar in places that the big boys just don’t … Continue reading Slack Haven: Slow Urbanism
This post will explore what I like to call “alternatives to the alternatives” in housing. This story demonstrates what’s possible if you’re willing to try something new and a bit out of the ordinary. Many years ago I became friends with a couple in San Francisco who migrated to Hawaii. Partly they loved the islands, … Continue reading The Green House
Google Before I get to the urbanism portion of this post I need to do a quick geography and geology lesson for those readers who are unfamiliar with Hawaii. The state is made up of a chain of islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, the Big Island (that’s the largest island called “Hawaii”) and numerous … Continue reading Volcano Urbanism
Back when I was younger and a lot poorer I built a small cottage in rural Hawaii. At the time I didn’t qualify for any sort of mortgage or construction loan so I built incrementally and paid for things over a period of several years on a cash basis. In the end the house cost … Continue reading Building Codes and the Self Built Mortgage Free Home