Durable Growth, Government

For good government, ideas must roam freely

Oregon vista

Many readers have likely had experiences similar to mine when it comes to sharing new concepts. I’ll think through a thorny problem, find an alternative perspective to the conundrum, and use that perspective to find an unexpected solution. But when I first share the idea, perhaps in a meeting where other’s thoughts […]


“The Planners” keeps hitting the mark

Greenwich Heath near London

I’ve previously offered praise for the BBC show The Planners. I find my enthusiasm continues to grow with every episode I watch. Nor am I alone in my approval. Writing in CityLab, Feargus O’Sullivan expresses similar feelings about the show, noting the captivating conundrums presented by the producers and the […]

Durable Growth

CNU 22: Only to urbanists would Buffalo be better than Dallas

Buffalo City Hall

In my last post, I began my report from CNU 22, the 22nd annual meeting of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Today, I’ll offer some moments from the conference. Not detailed analysis, but just moments. Snippets of conversation or observations that give a flavor to what it’s like to hang […]


Stopping for pedestrians

Typical North Bay arterial

A reader recently asked for my advice about adding crosswalk markings in his community. I provided contact information for a key contact in his town. But I also provided a warning about the response he might receive.

The crosswalk location of interest to him seemed, at first glance, to be […]

Durable Growth

City grids are evidence of where we’ve been

Urbdezine map of New York (from linked article)

From above, the street pattern of Petaluma is engrossing. Decade by decade, it shows who Petalumans were and how they thought about their town. It’s a fine historical overview, even if some of the information it imparts is unfortunate.

Southwest of the river, many of the […]

Durable Growth

Walkability under attack

Pedestrian way in downtown Napa

A recent article in CNN Money reviewed Walgreen’s current strategies regarding store locations. Much of the information was standard corporate-speak for the benefit of stock market investors. But there was some startling information near the bottom of the article. It was troubling in its content and in the fact […]


Giving a fair start to the next generation

Low-income housing in Sacramento

I recently spotted a building under construction in a redevelopment district. I concurred with the mixed-use and transit master plan for the district, so was pleased to see the construction.

When I asked about the building, I was told that it was low-income housing, not surprising because the post-recession financing […]


How much democracy can land-use tolerate?

Observer of San Francisco waterfront

The biggest decisions in land-use should have broad public involvement. Whether the decision might be the adoption of a general plan, downtown specific plan, or rewritten zoning ordinance, extensive public participation should be part of the process. The involvement might be through a general vote or it might be […]

Durable Growth

Great public spaces needn’t be owned by the public

Larkin Square in Buffalo

Most well-used public spaces are owned by the public. When I talk with others of creating more energized public places in the North Bay, the initial assumptions are publicly-owned parks and downtown plazas.

Much of the reason for the assumption is that privately-owned public spaces in recent times are often […]

Durable Growth

Balancing tourism and urbanism

River Inn, Memphis, Tennessee

Last year, a group of Sonoma citizens put forth a ballot measure to limit downtown hotel development in their city. I was generally supportive of their goal, but disliked how the measure was structured.

I feared that setting a maximum hotel size and prohibiting new hotel development until high occupancy […]