Mind the Gap

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

Give it Another Century and We’ll See How it Goes

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

Evergreen Gardens

Behold Evergreen Gardens in Pomona, California. The cultural imperative in the suburbs is to maintain the emotional facade of the single family home and the security of a private enclave. If you squint this place comes close enough. Cough. Residents drive in through the electronic security gate, park in the garage, and head for the … Continue reading Evergreen Gardens

The Domino Effect

There’s what exists on paper according to the authorities, and then there’s reality on the ground. The recent fires in Sonoma and Napa counties destroyed 7,000 buildings – almost all of them single family suburban homes. Entire subdivisions were wiped out overnight. This occurred in a part of the world where the gap between what … Continue reading The Domino Effect

Garden Grove: The Other Kind of Incremental Urbanism

This is the historic Main Street in Garden Grove, California. Back in 1874 land was platted in small twenty five foot wide lots and sold off with minimal infrastructure. Individuals built modest pragmatic structures with funds pulled largely from the household budget, extended family, and short term debt. This was long before the thirty year … Continue reading Garden Grove: The Other Kind of Incremental Urbanism