Durable Growth

Checking up on sprawl

Sprawl largely stopped dead during the recession, leaving analysts pondering whether the development paradigm had truly changed or if the slowdown was solely the result of a lack of demand in a stalled economy.

Today, I remain skeptical about the long-term strength of the economy, fearing that more bumps will come our way from the […]

Durable Growth, Environment

Sprawl-booster ignores the implications of his own data

Recently, Bob Silvestri, a Marin-based proponent of auto-oriented, low-density development, argued that auto-orientation is more energy efficient than person-orientation and, therefore, superior.

Yet his data, while implying that New York City or Paris are terrible polluters, does not support his thesis that Marin is the pinnacle of environmental quality. That’s not to say his data […]

Durable Growth

Final thoughts from San Diego County

Carlsbad Village Drive

Two months ago, I traveled to San Diego County with a companion. Our only goal was tourism. But there’s no off-switch for the urbanism chip in my brain, so I collected and have already shared thoughts about a shipping container waffle shop in Carlsbad that might have application to Petaluma, the […]

Durable Growth

Urbanism gaining ground, but outcome may remain in doubt in the North Bay

Downtown Street in Chico

For the last few posts, I’ve riffed on arguments made by Jeff Speck in his book “Walkable City”. It’s been a remarkably easy way to write, because Speck offers a wealth of riff-worthy arguments.

I’ll continue on this path for today before leaving Speck for awhile. But I will return […]

Durable Growth

Grady Ranch is all wrong

A great place for some infill development. Photo by Skywalker Properties.

George Lucas’s great foray into affordable housing is wrong for Marin, wrong for affordable housing, and wrong for the people that would live there. The Grady Ranch development plan needs to be scrapped.

After the collapse of LucasFilm’s Grady Ranch studio proposal, then-owner […]

Durable Growth

It’s policy, not preference, that shapes cities

Baltimore. Photo by Oslo In The Summertime, on Flickr

People keep writing about the effect of our urban policies, but very few outside the urbanist blogosphere write about the policies themselves. The articles that result satisfy our curiosity about change but fail to actually inform. They’re all candy, no vegetable. Two articles published last week […]