Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Parking Past

  I’ve been asked by the Strong Towns folks to write about Black Friday parking. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving which signals the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. This general consumer feeding frenzy is responsible for the largest single chunk of many retailers’ sales and profits for the entire year. Even if … Continue reading Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Parking Past

Our State Religion

The Mayans and Egyptians built pyramids. The Chinese built the Great Wall and armies of clay soldiers. The Khmer built temples in the jungle. Americans build highways. It’s our state religion. The federal government conjures up money out of the ether and funnels cash through multiple layers of state and local agencies – each getting … Continue reading Our State Religion

Beer Church

I’ve heard it called Beer Oriented Development. The concept is simple enough. There’s a strong demand for gathering places where people can come together and enjoy being part of the larger community and feel welcomed. It’s a bit like church. A beer hall has the potential to do a disproportionate amount of heavy lifting for a … Continue reading Beer Church

Homesteading the Suburbs

My last post was about the lackluster older suburbs that are neither vibrant and cosmopolitan enough for some buyers, nor leafy and upscale enough for others. Property values are low, as are prospects for radical reinvention in the conventional sense. These locations aren’t ever going to be transformed into urban centers with Main Street downtowns. … Continue reading Homesteading the Suburbs

Orderly, But Dumb

. Municipal governments all have land use policies that attempt to achieve particular goals: economic development, ease of traffic flow, maintaining open space, segregating noxious industries, and so on. So local authorities break out the colored pencils and create big blocks on the map. We all know what this looks like on the ground. . Single … Continue reading Orderly, But Dumb