Planning

Neo-Feudalism in California

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From the beginning, California promised much. While yet barely a name on the map, it entered American awareness as a symbol of renewal. It was a final frontier: of geography and of expectation.
—Kevin Starr, Americans and the California Dream: 1850–1915  read more »

The Urban Project: Urbanization, Urbanisms, and the Virus – A Historical Take

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Observing and writing 20-some years before the oil embargo (1974) and 30 years before the stern Brundtland report (1987), Jane Jacobs (1961) resolved that density comes in “good” and “bad” varieties.  read more »

Back to the Drawing Board?

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The global response to the impact of the Coronavirus seems consistent in at least one respect: everything we previously took for granted is now up for grabs. Long held truisms, established patterns of corporate and individual behaviour, doctrinal teachings, professional articles of faith – nothing is immune from Covid-19 induced change.  read more »

The Future of Residential and Commercial Real Estate

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What is the future of real estate after Covid-19? Please join Richard Florida, Joel Kotkin, Marshall Toplansky and other leading experts to see where the real estate market is going. We will be discussing issues including the future of office space, retail, affordable housing, inner cities, suburbs and small towns.  read more »

A Walk Around Downtown Cincinnati

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Recently I had to outrun a snowstorm, by driving to reach an appointment in Columbus (Ohio), out of fear that by morning the St. Louis airport might be closed (or the flight might be cancelled). This gave me the chance to stop by downtown Cincinnati, on the way home.  read more »

Upzoning — Be Careful What You Wish For

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I have a difficult relationship with "upzoning", the reform of zoning ordinance codes that allows for a wider range of housing types and greater densities than typically seen in single-family-home dominant areas. It's clearly a positive strategy for cities with strong growth and demand for housing, and it clearly leads to the kind of urban development that I find most pleasing -- dense, walkable, a mix of uses, transit accessible. But cities that relax zoning standards without super-hot economies may be creating cities that end up being more unequal, not less.  read more »

Studying the Wrong Cities Will Lead to Repeating Their Mistakes

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The junket factor must be the only logical criteria by which various industry “study tours” overseas are planned. How else to explain how entirely inappropriate the choices are? The list of cities identified for “study” by Australian development and planning industry bodies reads like the pages of a glossy weekend travel magazine: we’ve seen study tours to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, London, Vancouver and (of course) Portland. The purpose? One recent blurb promises it is “to expand our horizons and bring new ideas back to Aussie shores.”  read more »

The Battle of Oak Grove

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“People Come and Go. I Plan for the Land.”

Our initial efforts to save Oak Grove from densification were pretty naïve. First, we thought we could persuade the Clackamas County planners that densification was a bad idea. We invited the lead planner to walk the neighborhood with some of us, a walk that ended with a visit in Jeanne Johnson’s home.  read more »

To The Economist: Planning, Not Home Ownership, Caused the Housing Crisis

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The January 16, 2020 cover story in The Economist magazine trumpeted “The West’s biggest economic policy mistake: It’s obsession with homeownership undermines growth, fairness and public faith in capitalism. “The Economist explains:  read more »

Make America Affordable Again

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked for comments on eliminating regulatory barriers to affordable housing. This is my response.  read more »