Durable Growth

Debating the new normal in Petaluma

Downtown Petaluma

Like many cities across the country, Petaluma may put a proposed tax increase on the November ballot. The great recession took a big chunk of the municipal budget and the economic recovery, although stronger than many had feared, hasn’t provided adequate revenue to address backlogged needs, some of which date from before […]

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

Unsettling encounter in Copperopolis Town Square

Town square


I know a couple who split their time between the North Bay and Twain Harte, a community in the Sierra foothills near Sonora. Several years ago, the husband recommended Copperopolis as a town they enjoyed for stopovers on the drive between their two homes.

I still don’t know if he meant […]

Durable Growth, Transportation

Jeff Speck on induced traffic

Parisian traffic

An aspect of urbanism that I love is how the land-use pieces fit together in complex but comprehensive patterns. It’s the antithesis of drivable suburban development where houses can go in one block, retail a half-mile down the street, and an office park a couple of miles away.

In urbanism, the pieces […]

Durable Growth

Northern California tour: Folsom

Historic district sewer cleanout lid

In several recent posts, I wrote of a one-day roadtrip I took through Northern California, sampling urbanism both successful and not. My first stop was Suisun City and my last was the Laguna West subdivision in Elk Grove, which is where the saga could have ended. But a few […]

Durable Growth

Summing up on neighborhood parks – Part 3

St. James Park in London

After cogitating on neighborhood parks for weeks, I have a concept to propose, a concept that may surprise many. And that’s fine. Many ideas, some of which turn out to be far-sighted, elicit that initial response.

I’ve recently written several posts about parks, particularly the disappointingly low usage of […]

Durable Growth

Summing up on neighborhood parks – Part 2

Forsyth Park in Savannah

In my previous post, I began responding to questions and comments made about earlier posts on park usage. I’ll finish up with a few more responses before moving onto musings about alternative ideas for neighborhood parks in my next post.

To reiterate one point, parks matter to urbanists because walkability […]

Durable Growth

Summing up on neighborhood parks – Part 1

Typical neighborhood park

In recent posts, I’ve written about public parks in Petaluma. As an urbanist, I care that parks are vital places, adding to the life of a neighborhood and a community.

To summarize the discussion thus far, I periodically observe five specific parks in my role on the Petaluma Recreation, Music, and […]

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 […]