Here’s the ubiquitous American landscape with a dash of central New Jersey local color. It’s not the rain and dark skies that make it look so bleak. No amount of sunshine can brighten this much asphalt, synthetic stucco, and vinyl siding. There’s no point in complaining about any of it. It exists and will continue … Continue reading Methodist Urbanism: Ocean Grove
I was recently invited to give a talk at a housing conference down in Los Angeles. Once again my fellow speakers engaged in the usual arguments. Aging Baby Boomers asserted that we need to keep building more 1957 style suburban homes on the edge of the metroplex because that’s what people want and can afford, … Continue reading Beginnings, Middles, and Ends
On Sunday we gathered at the home of our friends Sara and Andre for a summer barbecue. They live in a 600 square foot one bedroom apartment here in San Francisco. We talked about their housing situation and their long term trajectory. Sara has lived in this building since she first arrived in the city … Continue reading The Squeeze and Wiggle
Yesterday I enjoyed a Sunday breakfast with friends at Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Buddhist Thai Temple in Berkeley. The Temple has been serving food in their courtyard as a community event and fund raising mechanism every Sunday for years. This is the Thai version of Lutheran church basement hot dish. (I recommend the green papaya salad … Continue reading Church and Plate
In the early days of the auto industry Detroit was a dynamic machine churning out huge numbers of cars with integrated supply chains clustered tightly together around Ford’s River Rouge complex in Dearborn or General Motors’ assembly plant in Hamtramck. But over time the industry spread out across the landscape, first to nearby states, then … Continue reading Bozeman: A Blessing and a Curse
I spent the afternoon yesterday helping my neighbors pack, clean, and complete a series of fix-it projects around their apartment. They’re moving from San Francisco to a semi-rural town of 28,000 in western Massachusetts. My neighbor bought her one bedroom apartment a decade ago for what seemed like the outrageously high price of $400,000. Today … Continue reading The Big Move
I got a phone call a few months back from a woman in Arizona who sought my advice. Her town was receiving an influx of new residents from out of state and it was obvious the trend was accelerating. The resulting growth and economic distortions caused by an expanding population, more traffic congestion, less open … Continue reading The Californians Are Coming!