What if You’re Right?

For many observers Covid-19 has vindicating the view that cities are unhealthy doomed places. Dense urban centers, they insist, will be abandoned for sensible suburban and rural alternatives. Downtown office towers have already depopulated as companies switch – permanently – to telecommuting. Restaurants, bars, hotels, and public accommodations of all kinds will continue to founder … Continue reading What if You’re Right?

Cheetah

I’m fascinated by how quickly some folks adapt to shifting circumstances and how others fail. There’s nothing like a planet-wide quarantine to wreak havoc on entire segments of the economy and society. Meanwhile, others are directly gaining from the turbulence as new opportunities present themselves. Back in October I had an old friend over for … Continue reading Cheetah

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Many readers are familiar with the 8/80 urban planning meme. It’s a simple concept. Can an eight year old and an eighty year old each meet their daily needs on foot, possibly with the extension of a bicycle or a little public transport from time to time? Most North American communities fail this test. To … Continue reading 24 / 58

It’s Complicated

Last night I had dinner at a friend’s house. The group was composed of the usual San Francisco mix: a college professor, an architect, and a collection of software engineers of various stripes. They were single-ish. Childless. Forty-ish. Well traveled. Charming. Between them they could speak eight languages. They were old enough to be semi-established … Continue reading It’s Complicated

Moving House

I spent the last week helping pack and unpack for a family as they moved to their new digs. I’ll start with the house porn since the new place was magnificently staged by real estate professionals. Then I’ll work backwards to tell this story. The new house is four stories tall and was last used … Continue reading Moving House