Durable Growth

I’m gonna make my own college list

University of California Campanile from Sproul Plaza

During the 1970s, I couldn’t have told you what an urbanist was. Perhaps someone who studied the gum stuck on the bottom of park benches. Or maybe someone who documented the different types of sewer manhole lids. I had no idea.

But I knew I loved living […]

Durable Growth

Can Bates Outsmart Anti-Growthers, Again?

Downtown Berkeley. By Kevin Gong, on Flickr.

For much of the past decade, anti-growth activists have been working overtime to block development in downtown Berkeley. But they’ve suffered a series of setbacks, losing key elections and city council votes. They haven’t given up, however, and are now pushing a November ballot measure […]

Durable Growth, Transportation

Tear down 980 to transform Oakland’s geography

As a practicing urban designer, I’m not that different than any other person in the Bay Area in that I constantly think about how to improve my surroundings. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but we need to make some big changes so we can preserve what we love about living here. And in […]

Durable Growth, Transportation

Making car non-ownership seamless

Streetcar in Padua, Italy

Convincing people to make lifestyle-changing commitments to transit is a multi-faceted challenge. There are some bright folks who are offering creative solutions. But there may also be transit agencies which are failing to address the problem.

One can make two types of decision regarding transit use. Let’s call them “daily […]

Durable Growth

College urbanism

Clocktower in Iowa State’s Campus Town

While traveling in the Midwest this past summer, my traveling companion and I took a day trip to Ames, Iowa, home of Iowa State.

Sidenote: On the freeway between Des Moines and Ames, we noted an exit for “High Trestle”. It sounded vaguely interesting, but not intriguing enough […]


Delays, headaches reign on an overloaded Saturday ferry

Bikes are piled against the railing. Photo by the author.

The San Francisco Bay Ferry System exists to provide resiliency in the region’s transportation network, specifically for routes connecting San Francisco to the North and East. Since the Bay Bridge and the Transbay Tube are likely to be taken off-line for inspections and repairs […]

Durable Growth, Government

The zoning board should not be our nanny

2701 Shattuck. Image from the developer.

There’s an apartment building being debated in Berkeley, and it’s not a bad proposal. At 60 feet tall, it would be about as tall as other buildings facing Shattuck. 2701 Shattuck would include 70 studio apartments (PDF), ranging in size from 307 to 344 square feet. It’s close […]

Durable Growth

Promoting fine-grained neighborhoods

A large mixed-use project on the Oakland waterfront, Brooklyn Basin, was recently announced with great fanfare.

Brooklyn Basin Rendering by Signature Development

Politicians from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to Governor Jerry Brown lauded the proposal, which will be built with extensive foreign capital.

Urbanists promptly weighed in with their thoughts on the plan, offering […]

Durable Growth

BART TOD: Stoops

Stoop at Pleasant Hill TOD

In my last post, I wrote of touring transit-oriented developments (TODs) along the BART system. A friend joined me in the travel. Our goal was to gather insights that might be useful during the upcoming review of the proposed Petaluma Station Area plan by the Petaluma City Council. In […]

Durable Growth

BART TOD: The range of alternatives

View from Pleasant Hill BART Station

The Petaluma Station Area plan will be taken up by the Petaluma City Council on Monday, May 6. If you care about urbanism, it would be a good meeting to attend. And if you haven’t yet read the final draft plan or the concurrent changes to the Smart […]