Durable Growth

Do we have too much elbow room?

I know a family who undertook an extended European vacation a couple of years ago. With their children nearing the time when they would take wing, it was a final family fling. And they flung well, with stops in several European countries, an extended visit with the family of an exchange student they had hosted, […]

Durable Growth

Having more trust in our neighbors

Market Street in San Francisco

In my previous post, I wrote that site design can be effective at promoting public safety. If land uses are designed to encourage people to be outside or to keep an eye on the public realm even when they’re inside, crime can be reduced. Also, as Charles Montgomery writes […]

Durable Growth

Promoting public safety through land-use design

Vertical mixed-use in Waynesboro, North Carolina

I’ve previously written about UrbanPlan, a program of the Urban Land Institute which introduces students to the complexities and trade-offs of land-use decisions. ULI recently updated the UrbanPlan package to include additional elements, such as green roofs, and new voices, such as aging-in-place advocates, to add to the […]

Durable Growth

Can twenty be plenty?

Typical California arterial street

In my last post, I wrote about how our grandparents and great-grandparents yielded our streets to the automobile in the early 20th century, with the result that we’re no longer even allowed to hold block parties in the street.

Before the advent of the automobile, most street uses occurred at […]

Durable Growth

Who owns our streets?

Typical California arterial

While behind the wheel yesterday, I came across a group of dozen teenagers trying to cross a street between intersections, an action that is generally called jaywalking. I was driving on an arterial in a Central Valley city, a street with five lanes and a 40 mph speed limit. It wasn’t […]

Durable Growth

Are we fooling ourselves about parks?

Eagle Park

I’ve previously written that one of the fuels of drivable suburbia is self-myths, stories about ourselves that we’d like to believe to be true, but aren’t.

Although it’s declining as a demographic segment, let me use the nuclear family as an example. Mom fantasizes about serving drinks in a formal living room […]

Durable Growth

Are we happy yet?

I’m not good at book reviews. A good reviewer should finish the book, cogitate upon the full extent of the thesis being argued, and then write about the complete book.

But I can’t finish a book before beginning my cogitation. I come across a chapter, a paragraph, or even a single idea that captures my […]

Durable Growth

Climbing through a fence for a Pommac

Neighborhood retail in Seattle

In my last post, I commented about the eastside of Suisun City needing a retail area to develop its walkability. It’s an observation I’ve made previously. But this time I thought about the proximity of the available site to the middle school serving Suisun City and measured that opportunity against […]

Durable Growth

Is happiness intertwined with place?

Downtown Winters

Can living in a well-designed place make us happy? Is contentment more a function of good design than of financial wealth? Have poorly designed places been sapping our satisfaction with life?

Author Charles Montgomery tackles those questions in his book Happy City. He begins with Enrique Penalosa, who in his term as […]