Urbanophile.com Growing up I remember the adults talking about the old neighborhood in Brooklyn where my grandparents lived during the Great Depression and World War II. In spite of the hardships of the era it was described as a great place full of life and colorful characters and extended family all on the same block. … Continue reading Voting With Your Feet: Aaron Renn’s New Donut
I tend to fixate on certain places – sometimes because I love them, other times because I can’t help but stare at twisted wreckage. Lancaster, California has always been 30/70 leaning toward wreckage, although it does show signs of ongoing reinvention so I keep going back. Lancaster is highly representative of most places in … Continue reading The Other Side of the Tracks
This story was edited by Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies.com One of the challenges faced by individual households and municipal governments alike in our current economic predicament is the need to become more efficient and to generate additional revenue without taking on new debt or obligations. The city of Lancaster, California recently changed its building and … Continue reading Garage Apartment Conversion, Lancaster, California
I recently stumbled on a cluster of half built McMansions in a failed subdivision while visiting relatives in a distant suburb of Los Angeles. I found myself drawn to the structures and engaged in a bit of impromptu archeology. At the top of the market circa 2006 homes like these sold at a premium to … Continue reading The American Dream – Architectural Vivisection
Here’s the short version. The planning department in Lancaster, California did something that made property values increase by 9% this year while property values outside the project zone decreased by an average of 1% during the same period. This was in an economic environment where real estate hasn’t yet properly recovered from the 2008 crash. … Continue reading Adding Value and Building a Strong Town: Lancaster Blvd.
Production home builders and municipal planners often latch on to trends that appeal to home buyers and present a forward-looking outward image of the community. But sometimes the individual elements don’t add up to a complete rational result. For example, bike lanes suggest a healthy, active, environmentally-friendly lifestyle and look good in press releases. But … Continue reading Why Green Energy, Bike Lanes, and Public Transit Can’t Save Exurban Sprawl
This is a story of unintended consequences. In recent years several laws were created that were designed to protect women and children from sexual predators. Legislation such as Megan’s Law, Amber Alerts, and Jessica’s Law were promoted by residents of family-oriented suburban communities and passed by their elected representatives. Who could possibly be against … Continue reading The trouble with Jessica, Megan, and Amber
The Antelope Valley is a collection of exurban communities in the high desert of eastern Los Angeles County. Many people have relocated to the “AV” in recent years in response to the increasing cost, congestion, and perceived dangers of living “Down Below” in Los Angeles proper. Real estate developers are eager to entice new buyers … Continue reading Antelope Valley, Infrastructure and “Independence”