I spend a lot of time traveling around the country exploring what makes towns and cities tick. And there are always two kinds of conversations. One takes place early on at City Hall. The other takes place much later in someone’s kitchen. Those are very different talks. . In the office there’s all the usual … Continue reading The Money Just Isn’t There
. 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
I know families where three or four people live in a five bedroom house with a two car garage and a swimming pool. Yet they feel oppressed by the fact that they don’t have enough space. The kitchen needs to be remodeled. The bathrooms are outdated… We all get distracted from real needs and confuse … Continue reading Enough
I could be a pompous prick and brag about how I live in a compact, walkable, mixed use, transit served neighborhood in a seven hundred square foot apartment. My commute to work is measured in blocks not miles. Compared to the average North American I use tiny little sips of water and power. I already … Continue reading My Other Bicycle Is An Airbus A380
A climate change agreement was signed in Paris yesterday by nearly two hundred countries. Long pause. Heavy sigh. Let me walk you through a particular set of examples from India since this is the kind of location where the future of energy and climate will ultimately be determined. This is what the air looks like … Continue reading Climate Agreements and Realpolitik
Compared to what? That’s the question I kept asking myself as I explored Dubai for the second time. Like many people I have serious concerns about the glistening new city-state. But in the end I’ve decided that it’s all really a matter of degree, not kind. I came to this conclusion unexpectedly and begrudgingly. I … Continue reading What If Singapore and Las Vegas Had a Love Child?
Americans are used to a development pattern that’s orderly, but bumb and expensive. It wasn’t always like this. But over the last few generations we’ve become used to installing a huge amount of very expensive public infrastructure first, then slowly building some skimpy private structures on that chassis. Then, because people fear density, traffic congestion, lower … Continue reading Chaotic, But Smart
Chuck Marohn at strongtowns.org eloquently describes the difference between a road and a street. Most people use the terms interchangeably, but it’s important to understand the distinction. Above we have roads. They’re designed specifically to allow vehicles to travel as quickly and efficiently as possible between two places. A road is entirely about getting from … Continue reading The Difference Between a Road and a Street (India Style)