Nolan Gray a regular contributor to Market Urbanism. He is also a practicing city planner, having earned a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. His work regularly appears on Citylab and Strong Towns. He lives in New York City and is originally from Lexington, Kentucky.
You can find his contributions to Market Urbanism here.
Send your questions, comments, and frustrations to him on Twitter at @mnolangray.
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Liberalizing cities | From the bottom up
You might think the North Pole is the most magical place on earth. But behind the magic, our deep dive into the history of Christmas movies reveals that there’s more to it than that. In our firstPop Culture Urbanism holiday special, I explore the urban planning behind the North Pole. Be sure to follow future […]
If there’s one thing that unites TV and film since the fifties, it’s the archetype of the dastardly developer – forever destroying homes and hiking rents. But it wasn’t always this way. Where did this trope come from, and is it true? This week on Pop Culture Urbanism, I dig into the cronyism and red […]
The post How Developers Became Hollywood’s Favorite Villain appeared first on Market Urbanism.
Has the Water Tribe gone full NIMBY? Can Avatar Aang overcome his angry impulse to preserve? Why is Ba Sing Se so segregated? And what can we learn from the success of Republic City? In this week’s episode of Pop Culture Urbanism, we explore the trade-offs and complications that every growing city has to deal […]
The post The City Planning Behind Avatar: The Last Airbender appeared first on Market Urbanism.
Nolan Gray plunges into the Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" trilogy to uncover the housing problems (and solutions) of expensive cities like New York.
With Spider-Man: Far From Home hitting theaters earlier this month, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken one of the series’ biggest risks yet: pulling Spider-Man out of New York City. The gravity of this decision is baked into the film’s title — with good reason. More than any other Marvel superhero, Spider-Man is a uniquely […]
We are blessed and cursed to live in times in which most smart people are expected to have an opinion on zoning. Blessed, in that zoning is arguably the single most important institution shaping where we live, how we move around, and who we meet. Cursed, in that zoning is notoriously obtuse, with zoning ordinances […]
As zoning has become more restrictive over time, the need for “safety valve” mechanisms—which give developers flexibility within standard zoning rules—has grown exponentially. U.S. zoning officially has two such regulatory relief mechanisms: variances and special permits. Variances generally provide flexibility on bulk rules (e.g. setbacks, lot sizes) in exceptional cases where following the rules would […]
Over the past few years, Japanese zoning has become popular among YIMBYs thanks to a classic blog post by Urban kchoze. It’s easy to see why: Japanese zoning is relatively liberal, with few bulk and density controls, limited use segregation, and no regulatory distinction between apartments and single-family homes. Most development in Japan happens “as-of-right,” […]
The post Why Is Japanese Zoning More Liberal Than US Zoning? appeared first on Market Urbanism.